Strengthening and Preserving the Family

Our husbands could probably learn a few things from President Joseph Fielding Smith, who seems to have been a wonderfully perfect husband and father. You could hear this from the words of his wife and children in this months Relief Society lesson:

“The man I know is unselfish, uncomplaining, considerate, thoughtful, sympathetic, doing everything within his power to make life a supreme joy for his loved ones…. a kind, loving husband and father whose greatest ambition in life is to make his family happy, entirely forgetful of self in his efforts to do this.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith Chapter 4: Strengthening and Preserving the Family, pp 73-74)

Reading how much President Smith loved his family made it hard to read the lesson. I find it heartrending that he didn’t teach his loved ones the truth about gaining eternal life. There is and always will be, only one eternal Family and that’s God’s. The very moment the Holy Ghost brings someone to faith in Christ, that person becomes a child of God and a member of Heavenly Father’s forever family.

Regarding eternal marriage, Christ testifies that this LDS belief is false. He reveals that marriage isn’t required to gain eternal life: “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 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 12:23-25)

But President Smith refuses to believe Christ’s words. He makes the same mistake that I see other LDS leaders do, over and over again. They bear testimony to a belief in Jesus Christ, and yet they don’t believe or teach what Jesus taught. Rejecting Christ’s teaching, Smith uses his own imagination to describe how horrible he thinks this kind of life would be, living in the kingdom of God according to Christ’s teaching:

“Is it possible to imagine a greater source of sorrow than to be left in the eternal world without claim on father or mother or children? The thought of a nation without the family unit as its fundamental foundation, where all the citizens are comparatively strangers to each other and where natural affection is not found; where no family ties bind the groups together, is one of horror. Such a condition could lead to but one end—anarchy and dissolution. Is it not reasonable to believe the same thing true in relation to the kingdom of God? If in that kingdom, there were no family ties and all men and women were “angels” without the natural kinships, as many people believe, could it be a place of happiness—a heaven?” (p.78)

“Is it possible to imagine” living with Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost “where natural affection is not found”? God is Love! Just because marriages don’t last beyond this earth 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. Not only does Christ reject the false LDS belief, He even speaks highly of those who stay single—for the kingdom of heavens sake:

“His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19:10-12)

Just think of some of these men Jesus was talking about who never married; like the prophets Daniel, Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist. These men of God “made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” The Apostle Paul also never married, as he revealed through the Holy Spirit:

“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

“He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. (1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-35, 38)

Reading the purpose for families given in the Relief Society Lesson shows that LDS leaders also don’t know the true Christ. They reject the truth that Christ has already done this for us. Instead, they expect the family to do what God has already sent Christ to do, His mission on earth was to be our righteousness:

“The primary function of a Latter-day Saint home is to insure that every member of the family works to create the climate and conditions in which all can grow toward perfection.”

The most important truth that LDS leaders have kept from you is that your Savior Jesus is your Substitute for righteousness. The Prophet Jeremiah testified of this fact through these words: “The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16). The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ offered His body as a perfect sacrifice and in exchange, we have been perfected forever: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (10:10-14)

We who were sinful and imperfect, are found perfect in God’s sight. This is through faith in Christ as our Substitute. He was punished for our sins, and in exchange covered us with His righteousness, just as the Isaiah prophesied: “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)

Heavenly Father loves you so much He sent His Son on a Mission to be your Substitute Savior! Believe it and receive it. Now, spend the rest of your life in joy and thanksgiving as I do; giving my life to Him as my gift of love.

You can know these truths for yourself, by doing as the Apostle John revealed:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

“Sealed … for Time and for All Eternity”

This months Gospel Doctrine lesson testifies: “Eternal marriage is essential in Heavenly Father’s plan.” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 31: “Sealed … for Time and for All Eternity” p. 177)

If eternal marriage truly was essential, wouldn’t Jesus know about Heavenly Father’s plan? Because Jesus surely didn’t mention this in any of His teachings. In fact, His testimony disagrees with this false LDS belief:

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 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 12:23-25)

Christ explains further regarding marriage on earth:
“His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” (Matthew 19:10-12)

Just think of some of these men Jesus was talking about who never married; like the prophets Daniel, Elijah, Elisha and John the Baptist. These men of God “made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” Of John the Baptist, Jesus testifies:

“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Luke 7:28)

According to the LDS belief regarding eternal marriage, John the Baptist is not “assured of exaltation in the presence of our Heavenly Father”:

“President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “The ultimate purpose of all we teach is to unite parents and children in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, that they are happy at home, sealed in an eternal marriage, linked to their generations, and assured of exaltation in the presence of our Heavenly Father”. (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 31: “Sealed … for Time and for All Eternity” p. 177)

But the Apostle Paul never married, as he explains:

“For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

“He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.”

“So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. (1 Corinthians 7:7-9,32-35,38)

Just because marriages don’t last beyond this earth 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.

Christ testified-all who believe in Him, live eternally with Heavenly Father:

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Do You Want to 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 13. He worked four hours before school and four hours after school. There were several times 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, weren’t able to hold our marriages together. Even though both of our spouses were often unfaithful to us, we spent years trying to work things out.

Looking back, it’s easy to understand how emotionally messed up we were because of the sexual abuse. And, 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 faith.

After the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in the true Christ over 17 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 years ago when he felt something missing in his life and started attending a Christian Church.

I am thankful that the Holy Spirit works the miracle of conversion through the hearing of God’s Word. When he heard the Word he passed over from spiritual death to eternal spiritual life. As Jesus said: “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) Because my brother believes that God sent Jesus to save him, he “hath everlasting life”. Notice how Jesus reveals that all who simply believe in Him already have eternal life?

It’s so amazing that 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—it’s false. 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—including being credited with Christ’s righteousness.

I praise my Lord and Savior for choosing to save the weak and base things of this world, people like me:

“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. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:27-31).

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. We knew we could never be worthy enough to meet God’s demands for righteousness. Our siblings, whose lives seem pretty “good” in comparison to ours, still reject their Savior who did everything for them. They reject the Christ who testified that eternal life is a gift from God given to those who believe. Even though Jesus clearly commanded that we be as perfect as Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48), they still believe they can be worthy enough to gain eternal life “after all they [we] can do” (2 Nephi 25:23).

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 serving your Lord and sharing Jesus with those who don’t believe:

“That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.“.

Exaltation: As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be

After the Holy Ghost brought me to faith, I had a burning desire to share my Savior with my Father. He was dying of cancer in Idaho and I lived in Virginia. I was attending the College of William and Mary as an older student. 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 Dad before he died and I cherished every moment. We had different faiths, but the Bible was our common ground and while he lay in bed I read it to him often. 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 be humbled; to see his need for a Savior who had already done 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 Bob 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. Now his words were those of someone who was truly seeing himself as the sinful man that he really was. He was being humbled by God.

That was over fifteen years ago. Since that time, I have discovered a simple truth: Those who believe in Jesus are fully aware that they sin all the time–even though they try not to. Because of their own struggles with sin, they believe and understand the Words of Christ; that “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). Believers in Christ know that only God is good. That is one reason they are so thankful that it is through faith alone that they are credited with Christ’s righteousness, just as Abraham was (Romans 4:20-5:1)

Humility is one characteristic of every person who has a living faith in Jesus. Humble sinners know how often they sin. They know that if their eternal destination depended upon anything they had to do, they would be doomed to spend eternity with Satan. They know that God loves them so much He sent a Savior to rescue them from their depraved life of sinfulness.

The Apostle Paul described the criteria God uses to choose His followers and why:

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 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.” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31)

The very essence of LDS doctrine leads a person away from humility and towards pride. There is no better example of this than the belief that man is good enough to one day be a god himself! Gospel Principles Chapter 47 explains some of the blessings that will be given to those who obtain Exaltation through their obedience:

They will become gods (see D&C 132:20–23)…
They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have—all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (see D&C 132:19–20). President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to His commandments.” (p.277)

Can you see how blasphemous this is in God’s eyes? To Him it would be the epitome of arrogance! The Prophet Isaiah testified that even our righteousness is like filthy rags: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6).

When you believe that you can really become a God, it shows two things: (1) that you have no clue as to how amazing God really is, and (2) you have no idea how utterly sinful you are. 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.” (Romans 7:18-25)

The Apostle Paul did not despair because of how sinful he was. Instead, he spent his whole life thanking Jesus with a life dedicated to serving God! He knew that Jesus had already delivered him!

The Gift of Eternal Life is Truly a Gift! You Can’t Earn or Qualify for it through Obedience

Since today is my husbands birthday, I got to thinking about my gift for him. I decided to come up with a list of things he needed to do before I let him open his gift: mow the lawn, clean out the chicken coup, fix the rototiller, clean out the gliders cage, change the oil in both the vehicles… I know it’s a long list, but I expect him to finish everything on it before he can receive the gift I bought him.

It might sound absurd to talk about giving someone a gift with conditions attached; or to think that we have to qualify for the gift before we can receive it.  We trust that the giver of the gift loves us and has given us their gift freely and unconditionally. In fact, a gift is something that you freely give to someone you love–no conditions attached. If you look up the word gift in a dictionary you will find it defined as:

“Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.”

In LDS church teachings, the word gift takes on a whole different meaning. In fact, it has been re-defined! You can do a simple search at lds.org–in the gospel library. 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.

There are really only two unconditional gifts in Mormonism and those are the gifts of immortality (bodily resurrection) and free agency. All other “gifts” are “conditional”.

“Immortality is to live forever as a resurrected being. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone will receive this gift. Eternal life, or exaltation, is to live in God’s presence and to continue as families (see D&C 131:1–4). Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).”

Praise the Lord that the true Savior of the world loves you and 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 freely and voluntarily. This gift was made personally–just for you, and it wasn’t an easy gift for Jesus to make. He lovingly spent thirty three years working on His gift. Day after day, despite many temptations by Satan, Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s commandments—just for you. He did this so that He could be your Substitute for the righteousness required to dwell eternally in God’s presence. Through faith in Jesus you are credited with all of His perfect works. This is the only way you could meet God’s demands for righteousness.

His suffering on the night of His death as the Atonement for your sins was tremendous. It must have been excruciating to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world, and then to be cursed and abandoned by His Heavenly Father. His shed blood covered over every sin you will ever commit. He willingly lived and died to give you eternal life–as a gift.

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 first have to qualify for it. Imagine His disappointment when you reject His loving gift–the gift that He worked on His whole life and gave His life for. He did this especially for you–because He loves you unconditionally!

Please, don’t do this to my Savior Jesus! Don’t reject the gift of eternal life He worked so hard to freely give you! Don’t leave His precious gift unopened for another minute! Through His perfect works He has already 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 (have faith) that Jesus has already gained this gift for you and you will receive it! Then, spend the remainder of your life freely serving your Heavenly Father. Freely because doing so is your voluntary and unconditional gift of love for your Savior!

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)

Polygamy: Will You Have to Share Your Husband With Other Women?

A few years ago I watched a you-tube video called “Emma Smith — Never Had an Ordinary Day ”. It emphasized several traumatic events from Emma’s life, with background music repeating the words “How much can one heart take?” This video didn’t mention what I believe was the most difficult thing Emma’s heart endured—the unfaithfulness of her husband!

Every woman should put themselves in Emma’s place. How would you feel if your husband told you he had received a revelation from God commanding plural marriage? He then “obeys” God by “marrying” several women and consummates those marriages. Imagine, lying alone at night knowing that the man you love is in another room, being sexually involved with a woman whom he claims was given to him by God. Would you believe him and submit to his priesthood authority? It appears Emma tried to object, but Joseph claimed God told her to “receive all those that have been given unto” him or she would be “destroyed” (D&C 132:52, 64).

The same year I watched the you-tube video I also followed along with the Relief Society Lessons as they studied the “Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith”. It was not easy for me to read Lesson 20 “A Heart Full of Love and Faith: The Prophet’s Letters to His Family”. It made me sick to my stomach to read Joseph’s love letters to Emma; knowing that at the same time, he was being sexually intimate with other women. It’s hard to understand how any man could declare his loyalty and love to his wife; while at the same time destroying that intimacy by giving it to other women. However, I know it happens because the man I married in the temple did this to me.

Since Emma believed her husband was a Prophet she must have been conflicted about what was truly right. If she would have just turned to scripture; she would have learned that Joseph was wrong, he was committing adultery! Nowhere does Heavenly Father command plural marriage. When we read Bible passages about men with multiple wives these are verses which merely describe what’s happening. They are called “descriptive” because they are merely describing an event. For example, God did not command men to have sex with harlots, even though scripture describes that Judah committed this sin, Genesis 38:15.)

What is God’s truth about plural marriage? The Apostle Paul instructed Bishops to be husbands of but one wife:

“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” (1 Timothy 3:1-2) “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God” (Titus 1:6-7) Also Deacons: “Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (1 Timothy 3:12)

The Bible clearly shows the painful and natural consequences of the unnatural union of polygamy. Whenever women shared a husband we read of favoritism, rivalry and bitter jealousy. The sins of the father were “visited” upon his children and grandchildren through horrendous consequences including banishment, slavery, rape, betrayal, murder and rebellion. This was true for Abraham, Jacob, Hannah, David and Solomon’s families (Isaac and Moses did not have multiple wives).

Jesus testified that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman, who become one flesh. They are no longer two, but one! (Matt 19:4-5- Mark 10:2-8) In addition, a marriage founded on God’s love is even more rewarding and awesome! It’s a lovingly intimate relationship where two people forgive each others faults because they have received this forgiveness from Jesus! When Christ is at the center of a marriage, that marriage flourishes!

As painful as Joseph’s revelation concerning plural marriage was to Emma, it is not his most damaging revelation about marriage. He revealed that to gain the highest kingdom of heaven one must be married and both the husband and wife must be worthy to enter. A single person or a person whose marriage partner falls short will spend eternity as a “ministering servant for those who are worthy of a far more” exceeding eternal glory.

God’s truth, is that all who have faith in Christ will dwell in the highest degree of heaven with Heavenly Father—no matter whether they were married or single. Don’t place your faith in LDS prophets who claim you must have a marriage relationship to dwell with God the Father. The only relationship that matters is your relationship with Jesus! Is He your Savior from the sins that entangle you — even the ones you can’t seem to forsake? Do you trust completely that His blood covers all your sins and leaves you spotless? Are you so grateful for everything Christ did for you, that everything you do is for Him?

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Biblical Truth:

Polygamy forbidden: Deut 17:17; Lev 18:18; Mal 2:14-15

Evil Effects of plural marriages:
Deut 21:15-17; Gen 16; Gen 21:9-16; Gen 29:30-34; Gen 30:1-23; 1 Samuel 1:4-7; 2 Chr 11:21; 1 Kings 11:4-8

Marriage is for earthly life, not eternity:
Matt 22:29, 30; Mark 12:24, 25

LDS Teachings regarding polygamy:

(Until the laws of the U.S. change and polygamy can be re-instated, LDS women today are protected from sharing their husbands with “sister wives”. Polygamy was abolished in 1890 when the US Government forced the LDS Church to end polygamy and abide by the laws of the land that it had been violating for many years. But in one way, polygamy is still practiced. Men can be married in the Temple to as many women as they choose. Women can be married in the Temple to only one husband, even if that husband dies within days of their marriage.)

D&C 132: (Heading) “Revelation given through Joseph Smith… relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, and also the plurality of wives… Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, it is evident from the historical records that the doctrines and principles involved in this revelation had been known by the Prophet since 1831.”

Verse 1: “…Joseph, that inasmuch as “you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, “as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines
[I’ve always wondered how poor Emma felt about these words. Here we see that God didn’t call Joseph to give him this command. Instead, it was Joseph who initiated the idea. In prayer he went to God, and asked why men of the Old Testament times were “justified” to have multiple wives.]

Verse 52: “And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph… and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.”

Verse 64: “…if any man have a wife…and he teaches unto her…as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe and administer unto him, “or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God; for I will destroy her…”
Link to this LDS Scripture:

D&C Declaration 1, Manifesto: “The question is this: Which is the wisest course for the Latter-day Saints to pursue—to continue to attempt to practice plural marriage, with the laws of the nation against it and the opposition of sixty millions of people, and at the cost of the confiscation and loss of all the Temples, and the stopping of all the ordinances therein, both for the living and the dead, and the imprisonment of the First Presidency and Twelve and the heads of families in the Church, and the confiscation of personal property of the people (all of which of themselves would stop the practice); or, after doing and suffering what we have through our adherence to this principle to cease the practice and submit to the law, and through doing so leave the Prophets, Apostles and fathers at home, so that they can instruct the people and attend to the duties of the Church…”
Link to this LDS Scripture:

Lesson 31: “Sealed … for Time and for All Eternity”, Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, 176:
“At various times throughout biblical history, the Lord commanded people to practice plural marriage. For example, He gave this command to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon (D&C 132:1)… In this dispensation, the Lord commanded some of the early Saints to practice plural marriage. The Prophet Joseph Smith and those closest to him, including Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, were challenged by this command, but they obeyed it. Church leaders regulated the practice. Those entering into it had to be authorized to do so, and the marriages had to be performed through the sealing power of the priesthood.”
Link to Lesson: https://www.lds.org/manual/doctrine-and-covenants-and-church-history-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-31-sealed—for-time-and-for-all-eternity

LDS Scripture regarding those who do not marry in the Temple:

D&C 131:1-3: “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.

D&C 132:16
“Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; “but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, “without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.”

Link to: “Emma Smith, A Woman of Faith: Never Had an Ordinary Day

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith Lesson 20 “A Heart Full of Love and Faith: The Prophet’s Letters to His Family
Link: https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-20?lang=eng

Christmas Traditions: Family First?

Christmas has come and gone for 2010 and I hope that your celebration was as wonderful as mine. It’s such an awesome holiday because it’s the time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus and His mission to humble Himself and become our Savior. I’m sure you have some wonderful Christmas traditions. But, if you are LDS, you have probably never experienced my very favorite Christmas tradition—going to church for special Christmas Services. At my church, it doesn’t matter what day of the week Christmas falls on, as a Church Family we gather together to worship and praise our Lord and King!

To be honest, at first I couldn’t believe a church would actually hold services on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I still remember my first Christmas attending the Lutheran Church I’m now a member of. I was actually appalled when I heard of these meetings! I thought: “Doesn’t the Pastor know that Christmas is family time? Everybody knows that family comes first!”

When I brought this up with my Pastor, he asked me where I got that belief from. After thinking about it, I realized I had not gotten this from any of my Bible studies, but rather it was a relic of my Mormon upbringing.

Every Christmas Eve my Lutheran Church has a special candle-light service. Then Christmas morning we meet to once again sing praises to God and hear a message from our Pastor. During the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations it is an awesome reminder of the reason for the Season.

Attending these two Church services every Christmas season has become the highlight of my Christmas, and the most important tradition for my family. It is here that we are reminded of our Savior’s purpose for coming to earth: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

As a Mormon, I grew up believing in “Family First”. The belief that families come first is at the core of Mormonism. One practical example of this foundational LDS teaching is seen at Christmas time. Special Church services are not held for Christmas. In fact back when I was LDS, if Christmas happened to be on a Sunday, every church service was canceled. I knew the reason why, because I had been taught it all my life—Family comes first!

In Mormonism, nothing is more important than our eternal families and church was canceled so that families could spend time together on Christmas. My brother explained to me a few years ago that now if Christmas falls on a Sunday, the First Presidency leaves the decision of whether or not to cancel church meetings up to the Stake Presidency.

Today I am so thankful to know the truth. Our earthly families are not supposed to be first in our lives—God is! Our Heavenly Father, Christ and the Holy Ghost are to be the very center of our lives. Jesus taught us this truth when He said:

“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).

Does this passage make you feel uncomfortable? When I was LDS it always bothered me. Truthfully, I didn’t know how to love Jesus more than my children. It was when I came to know the true Christ that my heart understood in a way that changed my life. You see, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that my Savior had gained the forgiveness for all my sins! I tested this Spirit, making sure that this belief was in agreement with God’s prophets and apostles. To my joy, I now know that my Savior has gained the forgiveness for all my sins. John the Beloved testified:

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6)

Because of what He did for me, I am pure and holy in God’s sight! In thankfulness, every breath I breathe is devoted to serving my Lord and Savior. It is only because I was forgiven much, that I can love Him so much (Luke 7:36-43). My new life’s motto is “Jesus first!

Through faith, I’ve been given a new heart to love others, just as God has loved me. And, I have been richly blessed with a family of five girls. My daughters and step-daughters are all grown up now, and I have been blessed with two amazing grandchildren. I pray that every member of my family will see my love for my Savior, and through my example, be drawn to love “…him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

Did God Allow “Same-Sex” Marriages in the Temple?

I grew up dreaming about the day I would be married in the Temple. I think that dream is something instilled in the heart of every LDS girl. From a very young age we were taught that the only place to be married was in the Temple—for time and all eternity.

The Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Manual explains:

Why is it important that we marry in the covenant? (If necessary, explain that in our day, the phrases marriage in the covenant, eternal marriage, and temple marriage are often used interchangeably. How long has marriage in the covenant been a commandment of God? (It is an eternal ordinance that has been the Lord’s order in all ages when the fulness of the gospel has been on the earth. Adam and Eve were the first on this earth to enter into this ordinance.)” (page 41)

But if the eternal covenant of marriage were truly the Lord’s order in all ages since Adam and Eve, then wouldn’t Temple marriages have been practiced in Jewish Temples? Was the “fulness of the gospel” on the earth when Jesus and His Apostles lived? Were Temple marriages performed during Christ’s time?

The truth is, the only people allowed inside God’s Temples were men! Women were not even allowed inside! The Temple consisted of an outer Court for Gentiles, one for women, and one for men. Only the Priests were allowed to enter the Temple. The Holy of Holies, which is where God’s presence dwelt, could only be entered by the High Priest one day each year. He did this on the Day of Atonement, only after he purified himself with the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice.

If there were marriages taking place in God’s Holy Temple, then every single one would have been a “same-sex” marriage—men marrying men!! Since this is forbidden by God, we can be certain that there were no marriages taking place in God’s Temples!

When Jesus shed His blood on the Cross, His body was the ultimate sacrifice–paying the entire debt for the sins of the world! The very moment Jesus died, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom. God does not dwell in Temples built by men anymore. Literally, He dwells inside of the hearts of men and women themselves. Every person with faith in Jesus is a Temple of God. This can only happen because believers have been “perfected forever” and are as pure as Jesus Himself!

My dream of a Temple marriage has been replaced with joy from the most intimate relationship I have ever known—one with my Lord and Savior Jesus!! He actually lives inside of me, and the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

I so want to share with you this amazing love. Even though I don’t know you, I pray for you as the Apostle Paul prayed:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:17-21)

Till We Meet Again… At Jesus’ Feet!

I met Linda at church about thirteen years ago. Her deep love for God showed in both her words and her actions. The Holy Spirit gave Linda some amazing spiritual gifts and through these gifts she glorified her Lord with many works of love. I was drawn to Linda not only as my mentor, but also as my dear sister in Christ. Over the years she was there for me during times of trial as well as times of joy. Last May when she called to tell me she had terminal cancer, I knew I was going to miss her terribly. But both of us knew our parting would only be for a short time.

Throughout Linda’s illness her husband Rennie took wonderful care of her, showing his great faith and courage. Linda found out she had cancer the first week in May. From that time until she died, Rennie sent a weekly email giving a daily synopsis of Linda’s week. I’m so thankful that he kept all of us who loved her up to date with what she was going through.

Linda left this earth to be with the Lord on August 19th. As much as I miss her already, I can’t even begin to fathom how Rennie feels. Rennie and Linda were not only husband and wife, they were also best friends. They were married “till death do us part” (Matthew 22:27-30) but through faith in Christ, they will be together for eternity. I remember how surprised I was to discover that Christians believe they will spend eternity with loved ones who also have faith in Christ.

Three days before Linda died Rennie knew his time with her on this earth was coming to an end. In his weekly email update he included this little poem he had written, describing the emotions he was going through:

At times it is as if a heavy stone were sitting upon my chest.
At times I am as liberated as an eagle in flight.
I move from the darkest depths of an abyss to standing on a mountain top in the span of a heartbeat.
I am at once surrounded with warmth and love and alone in the universe.
We stand together at the threshold of forever knowing only one may cross it, for now.
For one, time will stop and it will be as an instant when the other joins.
There is only time, and there is time only for us.
Only the Lord knows when, and it will be the time that is best.

I could barely read his words to my husband Keith because I was crying so hard. Both of us were teary-eyed for quite a while, knowing how hard life would be for Rennie without Linda at his side. But we are also thankful that he has placed his trust in God’s will. We pray that he will find comfort in God’s amazing love and promises.

At church a few Sundays ago, we sang “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”. I had always thought this was a Mormon hymn, but years ago when we first sang it at my church, I did some research on it. I learned that it was written as a Christian good-bye in the 1880’s and was first sung in a First Congregational Church in Washington.

I love these words from the song, because I can’t wait:

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus’ feet.

Are You Tired?

My grandson Bryson recently started first grade. I’ve been a little worried about how well he would adjust; going from a half-day kindergarten to a full-day schedule. His Mom works late nights and so he isn’t used to getting up early in the morning. After his first day of school I called him to find out how it went. Boy did I get an ear-full. He didn’t like how long the day was nor did he like all the work he had to do. He complained for several minutes and finally I asked him “Wasn’t there anything you liked about school?” He replied “Well, there were four recesses”.

Sometimes I wish I had four recesses a day, especially at this time of year. I love gardening, but by the first of October I am usually plumb tuckered out. I have almost twenty fruit trees, grow vegetables and sell berries of all kinds. With all the picking, canning and weeding I’ve seldom had time to even cook dinner. Plus with all the health issues I’ve been having, this year has been extremely difficult. I have learned a new definition for the word courage. It takes courage to pull myself out of bed in the morning and courage to do even minimal tasks. Some days, I find it takes even more courage to just stay in bed all day. I grew up in a family with a strong work ethic and it’s difficult for me to admit that I simply can’t do everything that needs to be done. It isn’t that I don’t love everything I do, it’s just that I am physically exhausted and in pain most of the time. I would love to have someone tell me “Becki, it’s time for recess”.

Today, in a way, God did tell me it was time for recess. He speaks to me through His Word and I read in Psalm 23: “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Reading these passages restored my soul and slowed me down. It also reminded me of my life before I met my Savior. For almost three decades I was absolutely miserable because I could not find any rest for my soul. Year after year was spent pleading with Heavenly Father to forgive my many sins. I believed and trusted the words of my prophet Spencer Kimball. He claimed that gaining forgiveness depended upon my works and my ability to do everything required of me. But despite years and years of working for it, I did not receive the “positive assurance that the Lord had forgiven me”. My burden became too heavy to bear and I lost hope.

After that, it was another nine miserable years before I heard the wonderful message that God had already forgiven me through my Savior. Jesus had carried my burdens and in my place, had done all the works required of me to gain eternal life. I was dumbfounded when I learned that no one can gain forgiveness through their works of obedience! And, I learned that forgiveness is only obtained as a gift from Heavenly Father, given freely to the unworthy. All those years of pain and misery were unnecessary! But I didn’t know it, because I had believed the words of a false prophet; words that contradicted God’s Word. The Apostle Peter testifies that a person receives forgiveness through belief in Jesus. He also claims that all of God’s prophets bear witness to this truth! (Acts 10:43)

I now understand what my Savior meant when He said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” All sins were forgiven when our Savior shed His blood and paid for our sins. When I learned this truth, my burden truly was light. I found rest for my soul through faith that what Jesus had done for me was sufficient! Now, instead of doing works to try and qualify for forgiveness, I am free to joyfully serve my Lord, simply because I love Him.

I can’t wait to enter God’s eternal rest and be with my Savior for all eternity. My dearest friend Linda died about a month ago. She is now in the arms of our dear Savior, resting from her life of service to God. John the Beloved wrote about how blessed she is: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

All who trust solely in Jesus will spend eternity in the very presence of God Almighty, in constant wonder and awe. I am looking forward to it, because “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.” (Revelation 21:4)

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