The Pre-Existence: How Could a “Loving” God Send One-Third of His Children to Outer Darkness for Eternity?

Today, I feel such an urgency to warn you of the grave danger you are in. Your prophets and apostles have told you that only a handful of people will spend eternity in hell—but they are deadly wrong!!! They declare that even an unbeliever as vile as Hitler will spend eternity in a glorious Kingdom of Heaven. This false teaching exposes that the LDS Church is led by false prophets who are not Christian. A Christian believes what Christ taught—and Jesus very clearly testified that all who die in their sins will dwell eternally in the very same domain as Satan.

Usually when I tell a Mormon about this teaching of Christ, they respond by saying:

Heavenly Father is a loving God—He would never send someone into eternal punishment.

This belief in a “loving” God is expressed by LDS Apostle Dallin Oaks, who recently spoke about the fundamental differences between Christian and LDS beliefs. In speaking of what happens after the Final Judgment, he explains this unique doctrine of Mormonism:

“Finally, our understanding of the purpose of mortal life includes some unique doctrines about what follows mortality. Like other Christians, we believe that when we leave this life, we go to a heaven (paradise) or a hell. But to us this two-part division of the righteous and the wicked is merely temporary while the spirits of the dead await their resurrection and Final Judgment (see Alma 40:11–14). The destinations that follow the Final Judgment are much more diverse, and they stand as evidence of the magnitude of God’s love for His children—all of them… The theology of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is comprehensive, universal, merciful, and true. Following the necessary experience of mortal life, all sons and daughters of God will ultimately be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory more wonderful than any mortal can comprehend. With only a few exceptions, even the very wicked will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory.

Notice how he claims that the various “destinations that follow the Final Judgment… stand as evidence of the magnitude of God’s love for His children—all of them”?

As I read his words—it hit me! The god of Mormonism did NOT show such “love” to ALL of his children. Literally one-third of all your spirit brothers and sisters were kicked out of the Pre-existence and became demon spirits on earth. Heavenly Father permanently punished his own children by throwing them out of his presence forever–never to return! Where do we see the “magnitude of God’s love for these children”? How could a “loving” God send one-third of all his children to an eternity in Hell? Given current estimates of the number of people to be born into this world, that amounts to at least ten billion of God’s children being permanently sentenced to Outer Darkness. Doesn’t this expose as false Elder Oaks statement: “With only a few exceptions, even the very wicked will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory”?

According to the false LDS teaching regarding the Pre-existence, an entire one-third of all your spirit brothers and sisters simply made one bad choice. They used their agency unwisely and chose to follow Lucifer’s plan instead of God’s. Because of this one mistake, they were doomed to spend eternity in Outer Darkness. Their Heavenly Father didn’t even give them an opportunity to repent:

Because our Heavenly Father chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior, Satan became angry and rebelled. There was war in heaven. Satan and his followers fought against Jesus Christ and His followers… In this great rebellion, Satan and all the spirits who followed him were sent away from the presence of God and cast down from heaven. A third part of the hosts of heaven were punished for following Satan (see D&C 29:36). They were denied the right to receive mortal bodies.” (Gospel Principles, pages 15-16)

I find it appalling that Elder Oaks claims the LDS belief that “even the very wicked will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory” to be “the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.” Jesus never once taught nor supported this horrendously false teaching. In fact, He declared the exact opposite! Every time Jesus spoke of what happens on the Final Day of Judgment, He clearly testified of a “two-part division of the righteous and the wicked.

While I hate all false teachings, the LDS doctrine that almost all people will go to a Kingdom of Heaven really makes me angry. Because of this false teaching I have numerous loved ones who have no sense of urgency. They are blissfully unaware of the danger they are in. I cringe every time my mother tells me that an LDS acquaintance has passed away and how happy she is that they are now in a much better place. She has no fear of death—she’s LDS and unfortunately believes what her church leaders have told her.

But Mormon prophets are false. By claiming that only a handful of people will spend eternity in Hell, Satan has successfully worked through these false prophets to deceive millions of people. By claiming that God will allow sinful human beings into His Kingdom, Mormons have been blinded to the truth. Many are left with complacency as a way to Heaven, where complacency is rewarded. LDS prophets have removed the ultimate consequence of sin–eternal death (Ezekiel 18:4). Because of this, the urgency to seek out a Savior who has removed every one of your sins has been taken away from you.

Christ clearly taught that having even one sin remaining at death means you will be cursed to spend eternity in Hell with Satan and his demons. There is no more vivid picture of this truth than Christ’s words, recorded in Matthew 25:31-46. He testifies that on the Final Day of Judgment all the nations of the world will be gathered before God. But even before the Judgment begins, God’s angels divide everyone into two groups—a “two-part division of the righteous and the wicked”:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left… And these (the wicked) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (verses 31-33, 46)

According to Christ you are either righteous, or wicked. Those who are placed on Christ’s right are called righteous because they did “good” to others in need. Those on His left are declared “wicked” because they didn’t do “good” to those in need. Notice that those He calls “wicked” aren’t even charged with doing what we humans might call grievous sins like murder or adultery. They are simply accused of committing sins of omission.

Another important point that Christ makes is the length of time that these sinners will spend in Hell—the very same domain as Satan. He uses the word “everlasting” to describe how long they will be there:

Then shall he (Jesus) say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

Jesus condemns them as “cursed” then sends them into everlasting fire to live eternally with Satan and his demons. Jesus clearly taught that the “two-part division of the righteous and the wicked” is NOT temporary. His Judgment and pronouncement happens on the final Day of Judgment. These very words of Christ certainly testify that Jesus does not believe that “even the very wicked will ultimately go to a marvelous—though lesser—kingdom of glory.

Amazingly, the truth is that Heavenly Father is a merciful and loving God. He does want every person to live eternally with Him. He loves us so much that He offered His Son as the final sacrifice for our sins. That’s why He punished Jesus instead of us. Christ’s shed blood truly covers over every one of your sins.

If you have faith in Jesus you are righteous in God’s sight right now—because every one of your sins have been forgiven and removed from you. When you die, you will have no sins to be judged! God’s angels will gather all who have faith in Christ to sit at His right hand—before He even begins judging anyone’s works. Every person who trusts in Christ as their Savior will spend eternity with God in His celestial glory.

Only those who reject this undeserved gift and deny this loving God will spend eternity in Outer Darkness. Unfortunately, that includes every Mormon whose hope for eternal life lies in their ability to qualify for this gift through worthiness.

Link to Dallin Oaks talk, Ensign, January 2011, pages 22-29:

Additional Testimony from Christ, His Apostles and God’s Prophets:

Jesus:

– Matthew 7:13-15; 21-23
– Matthew 13:37-43
– Matthew 22:11-14
– Mark 9:43-48
– Luke 16:19-31
– John 5:28-29
– John 8:24 (Without faith-die in sins)

John the Beloved:

– Revelation 20:10-15
– Revelation 21:7-8 (All liars go to hell)
– Revelation 21:27

The Apostle Peter:

– 1 Peter 4:17-18

The Apostle Paul:

– Romans 2:5-10
– 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

The Prophet Isaiah:

– Isaiah 66:24

The Prophet Daniel:

– Daniel 12:2

The Psalmist:

– Psalm 1:1-6

The Prophet Ezekiel:

– Ezekiel 18:4

The Prophet Malachi:

– Malachi 3:16-4:2

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Do Christians Ignore Passages About Our Need For Works?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have LDS Prophets Changed God’s Definition of Hell?

I remember reading a story about a man that was in one of the Towers when the plane crashed into the World Trade Center. On the 27th floor he had ample time to get out, but instead he decided to stay in the building to answer the phones. His co-workers made it to safety but he lost his life. Obviously this man didn’t recognize the true danger he was in. He died because he didn’t feel the urgency to leave a building which he believed had a solid foundation.

This is the way LDS members feel about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They believe that their Church is the only Church that can guide them to eternal life. But the truth is that one day Mormonism will collapse because its teachings are not “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” and “Jesus Christ”. And the tragedy is that anyone who places their trust in these false teachings will spend eternity in Hell.

God has declared that there are only two eternal destinations—Heaven and Hell. Hell is a very real and horrible place of suffering. The Bible uses many different words to describe Hell: Outer Darkness, the Second Death, a Lake of Fire and Brimstone, a Furnace of Fire, Eternal Fire, Everlasting Punishment, Everlasting Fire, Everlasting Destruction, Damnation and Where their Worm Dieth Not.

All these words and more describe a horrible place of suffering that does not end at Judgment Day. Hell lasts forever! Satan and his demons will spend eternity in Hell; so will many people (Matthew 7:13-14). Heavenly Father tells us that sin is the reason a person will be cast into Hell. God is so offended by sin, that on Judgment Day, any sin will produce the verdict of “guilty”.

LDS prophets have taken God’s stated truths found in the Bible and have omitted, altered and twisted His Words to mean something totally different. What makes me angry about the false LDS teachings regarding Hell is that because of it—Mormons are completely unaware of the danger they are in. LDS believe that as long as they don’t deny the Holy Spirit they will be OK. They trust that the worst kingdom they could spend eternity is in a world far better than earth.

Referring to the lowest Kingdom of Heaven, Joseph Smith taught that it’s glory surpasses all understanding: “And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding. And no man knows it except him to whom God has revealed it.” (D & C 76: 89-90)

Those who supposedly go to this “Kingdom of Glory” are those who:

“did not receive the gospel or the testimony of Jesus either on earth or in the spirit world. They will suffer for their own sins in hell until after the Millennium, when they will be resurrected. “These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” These people are as numerous as the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore. They will be visited by the Holy Ghost but not by the Father or the Son. (See D&C 76:81–86, 103–6.)” (Gospel Principles, page 298).

Comparing these words to God’s Truth proves they are false!! Jesus Himself told us about those who will be sent to Outer Darkness, and here are His reasons:

Showing up for God’s feast without a wedding garment (Matthew 22:13) an unprofitable servant who was so afraid of God that he hid his talent in the earth instead of using it (Matthew 25:30) and, Israelites who didn’t have faith (Matthew 8:12). People who simply don’t know God and those who don’t obey the Gospel will be sent to Everlasting Destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Our Savior testified that everlasting Fire and Punishment describe the eternal destination of those who merely commit sins of omission!! He also tells us that on Judgment Day, those who didn’t “feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked, visit those who were sick or those in prison” will be cast out to spend eternity in the very same place as “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41-46).

The Apostle John taught that the devil’s eternal destination is the “Lake of Fire and Brimstone”. But did you know it will also be the eternal home of “the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars” (Revelation 20:10 & 21:7-8).

Look closely back at those words—all liars will spend eternity with Satan and his demons, the very same place same as murderers and whoremongers! This is because God does not grade sins. Every sin receives the same consequence—eternal torment in Hell.

But despite these words of God, take heart—there is hope!! If you believe that Jesus’ blood covers over every one of your sins, then it does!! You are completely sin-less—right now!! John the Beloved tells us that those who overcome are God’s children who will inherit all things: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Revelation 21: 7).

This Apostle whom Jesus loved also tells us who overcomes and why: “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-54).

Link to Additional Bible References:

Through Christ’s Atonement You Have Been Reconciled To God!

The LDS Bible Dictionary gives the definition of Atonement as: “…the setting ‘at one’ of those who have been estranged, and denotes the reconciliation of man to God. Sin is the cause of the estrangement, and therefore the purpose of atonement is to correct or overcome the consequences of sin. From the time of Adam to the death of Jesus Christ, true believers were instructed to offer animal sacrifices to the Lord. These sacrifices were symbolic of the forthcoming death of Jesus Christ, and were done by faith in him.

Even though this definition claims that the Atonement “denotes the reconciliation of man to God” it goes on to explain that Christ’s Atonement doesn’t apply to each person’s individual sins:All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the fall of Adam. …The atonement is conditional, however, so far as each person’s individual sins are concerned, and touches every one to the degree that he has faith in Jesus Christ, repents of his sins, and obeys the gospel.

But, if the Atonement does not cover every single sin you have ever committed, then you are not reconciled to God! Your sins remain and you cannot come into God’s presence! Growing up LDS I was very familiar with the word “Atonement”. I understood the differences between the unconditional and conditional “gifts” of Christ’s Atonement. I believed that Christ’s Atonement gave me the opportunity to overcome the consequences of my many sins. I knew I was unclean and could never enter God’s presence until I washed myself clean through my own works; doing the process of repentance. I desperately clung to the hope that one day I could gain forgiveness.

Years after I left the Church I was surprised to find that the word Atonement wasn’t commonly used by Christians. This got my curiosity up so I started asking questions and searching the Bible for answers. What I found surprised me. The word Atonement appears to have come about in the sixteenth century during the translation of the Bible into the English King James Version. It was created because of the lack of an English word which could explain the Hebrew term which fully encompassed what Christ’s sacrifice accomplished: 1) through the sacrifice of Christ’s body, an atonement (appeasement) was made for all sins, which 2) caused God to forgive all sins, and 3) accomplished the reconciliation of man to God. In essence, “atonement” defines the work that Jesus did when He took care of the problem posed by the sin of man.

The most important truth I learned about the Atonement is what thrilled me!! I discovered that Christ’s Atonement is an accomplished fact! Christ atoned for our sins (paid the penalty due us) over two millennia ago. Through it, we have been given so much more than bodily resurrection and the opportunity to prove our worthiness. Christ’s blood covered over all of our sins and we are forgiven! Because of that accomplished fact—we have been reconciled to God. We can now boldly enter into His presence because through Christ’s sacrifice, He has made us holy and perfect! We read many times in the New Testament that Jesus’ followers knew their sins were forgiven and that they had been reconciled to God. They understood that to qualify for this gift one merely had to be a sinner and thereby be in need of it. They knew that Christ’s blood covered ALL sins, not just Adam’s!

The Apostle Paul testified to the Romans: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (5:10). To the Corinthians he declared: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5). In these words we see the fact that reconciliation was an accomplished fact through Christ’s Atonement!

The LDS teaching that the atonement is conditional “so far as each person’s individual sins are concerned” is a false teaching! But, thank God that His faithful Prophets and Apostles have faithfully proclaimed His truth! Their testimony can be found on the pages of the Bible! They proclaim that Christ’s Atonement covered over all of your sins! Your sins have been forgiven and you have been reconciled to God. Through faith in Christ’s Atonement, you will have eternal life! All of these gifts are accomplished facts granted through Christ’s Atonement! Please don’t reject these amazing gifts from your Savior. I implore you “be ye reconciled to God. 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.

Link to LDS Bible Dictionary:

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!

Is Jesus Your Substitute or Your Exemplar?

As a Mormon I thought I knew what Christ did for us in His Atonement. I knew He was my Savior and Redeemer. What I didn’t know is that His Role as the Exemplar is unique to Mormonism. LDS Prophets claim that Christ paid for our sins and became our Creditor through the Atonement. He gained immortality for us (bodily resurrection) but we have to qualify for eternal life through our obedience. Heavenly Father sent us to earth to be tested and we needed someone to show us how to be perfect through obedience.

Christ came not only into the world to make an atonement for the sins of mankind but to set an example before the world of the standard of perfection of God’s law and of obedience to the Father. In his Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of his own character, which was perfect… and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives.”

I was amazed when I learned that Christ is our Substitute–not our Exemplar! For thirty six years I never once heard the word “Substitute” in connection to Christ or His Atonement. When I first heard it—I rejoiced because of what it meant. I knew how sinful I was and how much I needed a Substitute. I knew that if my eternal life depended upon how well I followed Christ’s example, I was doomed. I learned that I was not the only person who was unworthy. I discovered that the very reason Christ came to this earth was because every person is unworthy and sinful (Romans 3:10-12). None of us has the ability to meet Heavenly Father’s demands. By nature we are children of wrath! (Ephesians 2:3) No one is righteous; in fact we’re not even good (Matthew 19:17). The Prophet Isaiah testified that even our righteous works are like filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6). Since our eternal destination hangs in the balance of meeting God’s demands, we need a Substitute–not an Exemplar.

The idea of a substitute is not foreign to God’s people. Heavenly Father had actually instituted Christ’s role of substitution through animal sacrifices. He declared that anyone who did not obey His commands must pay for their sin through eternal death. But since every person is sinful no one could be saved without an alternative plan. We see that plan demonstrated in the Old Testament sacrifices. A man’s sin could be atoned for by the shedding of the lifeblood of a substitute sacrifice. When an Israelite sinned, he brought a perfect animal to the Temple and the Priest sacrificed it as an atonement for his sin. If the sacrifice wasn’t perfect it was declared unfit to atone for another’s sin. All these animal substitutes merely pointed ahead in similitude to the perfect Substitute sacrifice—Jesus Christ! And, His perfect sacrifice was the final sacrifice—once, for all (Hebrews 10:10).

Before Christ could sacrifice Himself and become our Substitute, He first had to do what we could not do–live a perfectly obedient life. He successfully obeyed all the commands that God required of us, like visiting the sick, loving our enemies and forgiving those who despitefully used him. He did all of these things for us, in our place, as our substitute! (Romans 5:19) He did this because we couldn’t meet God’s demands to be obedient for ourselves! In a similar way that a substitute teacher takes over and accomplishes the work the teacher was supposed to do, Jesus lived His entire life doing the works we were supposed to do. When you read in scripture that Jesus prayed for His enemies, rest assured that this obedient act has been credited to your account. Jesus took your sins as if they were His own; and in exchange, gave you His perfect works, as if you yourself had accomplished them (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be our Substitute and not our Exemplar (53:4-12). He testified that Jesus would suffer the penalty for our iniquity. We all have gone astray, just like sheep! Even though we deserved punishment, God laid all our iniquity on Jesus. As our substitute He was wounded, bruised and stricken. Our eternal consequence for sin was to be cursed to eternal life with Satan because we failed to continue doing everything God commanded. As our substitute, Jesus became a curse for us! (Galatians 3:10-13). We were all unclean and not able to enter God’s presence; (Ephesians 5:5) but Jesus washed our sins away with His own blood and became sin for us.

In Hebrews we read that Christ offered His body as a perfect sacrifice and in exchange, we have been perfected forever! (10:10-14) “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” We who were sinful and imperfect, are found perfect in God’s sight. This is because Christ was punished for our sins, and covered us with His righteousness: Isaiah 61: 10 “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,” Heavenly Father loves you so much He sent His Son on a Mission to be your Substitute! Believe it and then live it through a life of joy and thanksgiving by committing your life to him as a gift of love.

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Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: Be as Perfect as Heavenly Father?

LDS Belief:

Perfection comes by complying with the formula Jesus gave us—keeping all the commandments and triumphing over sin. This command to be as perfect as Heavenly Father is an achievable goal.

LDS Words

Found in lesson 38, page 168:
After teaching the Nephites that they should love their enemies, Jesus said, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected? (See… Moroni 10:32–33—“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

Found in: The Miracle of Forgiveness, President Spencer W. Kimball, pages 208-209: “This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. In his Sermon on the Mount he made the command to all men: ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matt. 5:48.) Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.

Link to Lesson:

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38

The Bold Truth:

Only Jesus kept all of Heavenly Father’s commands perfectly. He acted as our proxy and accomplished what we were unable to do—be as perfect as our Father in Heaven. Perfection comes by trusting that Jesus was perfect for us, in our place. Through the offering of Christ’s body as payment for your sin, you have been perfected forever!

My focus today is on one of the commands given to the Nephites. This command is also found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Have you ever noticed that Jesus has set Heavenly Father as our standard for perfection? I often wondered why Jesus didn’t command us to be as perfect as one of God’s Prophets, like Abraham. Did Jesus truly mean we couldn’t commit even one sin? James agrees with Jesus: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (2:10). This shows that even if we were able to keep 99.99% of God’s commands we would still fail. Perfection is an all or nothing thing—you either are or you aren’t!

The sobering truth is that God doesn’t overlook any imperfection. His penalty for even one sin is being cursed! “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Galatians 3:10). As James says, the reason is because this law breaker is guilty of breaking the whole law! All who do not continue to keep every single command are cursed. Jesus will say to them, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

I’m often told that what Jesus must have meant is to “become” perfect someday. But notice the command doesn’t say to “become” perfect; it says to “be” perfect! Even Joseph Smith translated: “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect.” The verb is “be” and not “become”. “Be” describes a present state and “become” describes a progression. For instance if your Bishop tells you to “be” morally clean, certainly he doesn’t mean for you to eventually progress towards becoming morally clean someday. He expects you to be morally clean right now.

Nephi testified “that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” President Kimball agrees: “Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.”

There is a way to be perfect, but it is not through your own obedience as Mormon Prophets claim. The only way is to believe that God sent a proxy in your place to do what you were unable to do for yourself. His Son did not come to show you how to be perfect, but to be perfect for you. “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). You are sanctified by the offering of his body (verse 10). Because Jesus kept all of God’s laws perfectly in your place, Heavenly Father accepts you as perfect right now. This wonderful gift from God comes not because of anything you have every done or could ever do, but because of what Jesus already did for you!

Eternal Consequences

If you believe your righteousness is achieved by keeping the commandments and triumphing over sin—you are in big trouble! Since Jesus is the only person who could achieve perfection with His own efforts, anyone else who tries will fail and is under God’s curse. For rejecting Christ’s efforts on your behalf He will send you to live eternally with Satan.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
No one does good:
– Psalm 14:2-3
– Ecclesiastes 7:20
– Proverbs 7:20
– Romans 3:10-12
– Romans 3:23
– Genesis 8:21
Our own Righteousness is like filthy rags in God’s eyes:
– Isaiah 64:6
Righteousness comes by Faith in Jesus not by works:
– 1 Corinthians 1:30
– Romans 1:17
– Romans 3:22
– Romans 9:30-32
– Romans 10:1-10
– Galatians 2:16, 21
– Philippians 3:9
– 2 Timothy 1:9
Own works will not profit us, trust in God:
– Isaiah 57:12-13
Christ has covered us with His robe of Righteousness:
– Isaiah 61:10
Through Christ’s sacrifice we have been perfected forever:
– Hebrews 10:10-14
Those whose hope is in Jesus are as pure as He is:
– 1 John 3:2-3
We are holy and blameless in his love:
– Ephesians 1:3-5
Links to Additional LDS words:

TofP=Teachings of Presidents of the Church

Christ came to establish the standard of God’s perfection
TofP-Harold B. Lee
TofP-Joseph F. Smith
God will not give us a commandment we can’t obey
Book of Mormon-Prophet Nephi
Gospel Principles-Basic LDS Doctrine

Human perfection comes through individual effort
TofP-David O. McKay
Savior would not mock us by giving us an unobtainable goal to be perfect
TofP-Harold B. Lee
Every member of Church can live all laws of gospel perfectly
TofP-Harold B. Lee
TofP-Heber J. Grant
TofP-Brigham Young
The Lord demands perfection, commanded to be supermen, gods in embryo
TofP-Spencer W. Kimball
TofP-Spencer W. Kimball
TofP-Joseph Smith

Lesson 18: Beyond the Veil: Life in the Eternities

LDS Belief:

Heaven consists of three kingdoms and people will be assigned to one of these kingdoms based upon their obedience to God’s law.

LDS Words (J. Smith)

Found in Lesson 18, pages 219-220:
“My text is on the resurrection of the dead, which you will find in the 14th chapter of John—‘In my Father’s house are many mansions.’ [John 14:2.] It should be—‘In my Father’s kingdom are many kingdoms,’ in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with me. … There are mansions for those who obey a celestial law, and there are other mansions for those who come short of the law, every man in his own order.”

But,’ says one, ‘I believe in one universal heaven and hell, where all go, and are all alike, and equally miserable or equally happy.’ “What! where all are huddled together—the honorable, virtuous, and murderers, and whoremongers, when it is written that they shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body?

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:

Jesus:
– Matthew 13:37-43
– John 5:28-30

John the Baptist:
– Matthew 3:2

John the Beloved:
– Revelation 20:10-15
– Revelation 21:7-8
– Revelation 21:27

The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 4:17

The Apostle Paul:
– Romans 2:6
– Titus 1:15

The Prophet Daniel:
– Daniel 12:2

The Psalmist:
– Psalm 1:1-6

King David:
– Psalm 11:5

The Prophet Ezekiel:
– Ezekiel 18:20

The Prophet Malachi:
– Malachi 3:18

The Bold Truth:

The very Son of God believed in one universal heaven and hell!

Jesus taught that there were only two eternal destinations for all peoples of the world. He claimed that Heaven is where God and His eternal family will dwell and Hell will be the domain of Satan, his demons and the wicked. Jesus also grouped all peoples of the world into only two broad categories-the righteous and the wicked. According to the Son of God, you are either righteous, or wicked.

Our Savior gave us a very vivid picture of this truth in Matthew 25. On Judgment Day all the nations of the world will be gathered before Him to have their works judged. But even before He begins the Judgment, God’s angels divide everyone into two groups. Those on Jesus’ right are called righteous because they did good to others in need. The wicked on His left are there because they didn’t do good to those in need. Notice that these wicked people aren’t even charged with doing what we humans might call grievous sins like murder or adultery. They are simply accused of committing sins of omission. Jesus condemns them as “cursed”—then sends them into everlasting fire to live eternally with Satan and his angels. This picture certainly shows Jesus’ belief in one universal heaven and hell. It also shows us that Jesus divides the whole world into only two broad categories.

Many Mormons have said to me “Heavenly Father is a loving God—He would never send someone into eternal punishment”. But Jesus testified that Heavenly Father will do just that. God has given Jesus the authority to judge the world on Judgment Day. Jesus (not Joseph Smith) will determine who is worthy to receive a mansion in the Kingdom of Heaven. To be Righteous a person must have kept God’s law perfectly. Falling short of God’s law, in even one point, makes a person wicked. God does not “grade sins”. Each and every sin is disastrous because it is rebellion against God. Jesus shows that not doing the good things God commands will cause a person to live eternally in hell with Satan.

Yes, Heavenly Father is a merciful and loving God and wants every person to live eternally with Him. That’s why He offered His Son as a sacrifice to ensure this could happen when Jesus paid the demands of Justice. Jesus’ shed blood truly covers over the sins of the entire world. All who believe that Jesus kept God’s law perfectly for them, are righteous because their sins have been removed. On Judgment Day, God’s angels will gather these true believers to sit at the right hand of Jesus—before He begins judging anyone’s works. Every believer will receive a reward in God’s celestial glory.

Eternal Consequences

Please don’t reject Heavenly Father’s offer of complete forgiveness through Jesus’ blood. If you do, this means you don’t have faith in what Jesus did for you and you will sit on His left! “Then shall he (Jesus) say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”