Advancing the Work of the Lord: If You Shirk Your Part, Will You Forfeit God’s Blessings?

For most of my childhood my father held callings within the Church, including Bishop, Stake President and Stake Patriarch. The sentence I most remember my father saying was taken from a revelation given to Joseph Smith: “All blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.” (From Doctrine and Covenants 130) I’m sure my Dad taught this to me as often as he did because he loved me; and he wanted me to learn what he believed to be the only way to gain eternal life. I’m so thankful my eyes and heart have been opened to the truth in spite of what I was taught. As much as I love my Father, I place the words of my Savior above his:

“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” And also of John the Baptist: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:15, 36).

Along with many other LDS leaders, George Albert Smith must not have read the words of Christ. In spite of what Jesus Christ taught, he claimed that if you shirk in promoting the Lord’s work, you will forfeit God’s blessings. This week’s Relief Society Lesson:

“I must carry that part of the load that the Lord places upon me, and if I shirk, then I realize that I forfeit the blessing that would come to me by obedience to the commandments of our Father.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 15: Advancing the Work of the Lord, p. 160)

Reading this lesson made me wonder how LDS women react to these words of their prophet. Do you really believe that you can “live by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of our Father in heaven”? (p. 161) Have you even had the time to read His “every word”?

Do you fear for your boys and girls who are not “walking in obedience to the commandments of the Lord”? (p. 164)

How does it feel, knowing that the Lord’s promise of protection and safeguarding depends upon your ability to “honor him and keep his commandments”? (p. 162)

Do you really believe that “Mormonism… is the power of God unto salvation to those who will keep the commandments of our Father”? (p. 165) Then my question to you, is “Which commandments do you have to keep?” Cause there’s no way anyone can even come close to keeping all of God’s commands. Anyone that believes they can do this, doesn’t really know everything that God has commanded of you in His law. Heavenly Father has given to us many laws that must be obeyed before we can dwell in His presence. By far the most daunting command given was when Jesus claimed we must be as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48 ) The Apostle Paul revealed that no unclean person can dwell in God’s presence (Ephesians 5:5).

The sobering truth is that there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right (Ecclesiastes 7:20). That’s why Jesus had to come to earth and save us! He kept all of God’s commandments for us, because we were doomed to failure without Him. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s will in our place. It was His Mission to be our substitute for the righteousness demanded by Heavenly Father. Christ’s very purpose was to do what we were unable to do for ourselves—fulfill God’s law. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9). “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Romans 10:3-4).

The blessing of eternal life can only be gained as a gift. In fact, the most amazing blessings are unconditional gifts given by our loving Father in Heaven! Jesus testified that this unconditional blessing is actually God’s will for all who believe in Him: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)

If you don’t believe my words, then I beg you to honestly follow the words of your prophet—100%! Only then will you come to realize that you cannot do what your prophet demands of you.

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20)

“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Galatians 3:21-22, 24)

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Can Feeling Unworthy be a Blessing?

My oldest daughter Jenifer was born three months early, weighing only two and a half pounds! We couldn’t take her home from the hospital until she weighed four pounds, which seemed like an eternity. My second daughter Laura was born just two days before Jenifer turned one. I had my hands full with two small babies but it was mostly fun. Laura was often colicky and it was hard getting her to sleep at nights.

One of those nights has been etched in my memory forever. It was my Dad’s birthday. He loved cinnamon rolls so I had baked him a pan for his birthday gift. It was late when we got home from my parents house and I put the kids to bed and went to bed myself. Laura started crying so I got up to see what she needed. She wasn’t hungry or wet, and so I rocked her for several hours. I tried everything I could think of to get her to sleep, but nothing worked. I stayed up with her till after four, but finally just left her crying in her crib and went to bed. When I woke up around 8:00 am I immediately knew something was wrong because she always woke up before 7:00. I ran into her room and to my horror, she was dead!

I had never been through anything so traumatic and devastating in my life. The Paramedics who came said she probably died from SIDS. For days everything was a blur but I remember a few things very clearly. My parents and my little brother came as well as the Bishop. And then a few days later I remember running into a teenager from our Ward who occasionally babysat. She said, “Where is Laura?” I remember thinking “How do you tell a teenager that your baby is dead?” I also remember that the whole thing was very hard for my Grandma who had also lost a baby at about the same age.

When her casket was placed in the ground I realized that I would never have the opportunity to try and rock her to sleep again. I learned that death is not negotiable and that life goes on. A few weeks later I went to see my Bishop to get a Temple Recommend. We talked about Laura’s death and he promised me that if I was worthy, I would get to raise her during the Millennium. He also promised me that if I was worthy, Laura would appear to me when I was in the Temple. As the day approached to go to Salt Lake I was filled with nervous anticipation as well as excitement. After Laura’s death I had become consumed with guilt because I had left her to cry in her crib. I desperately wanted to tell her how much I loved her and that I was sorry for leaving her alone to die.

The day came for us to go through the Temple. Laura did not appear to me. I knew the reason why! My Bishop had told me that she would appear to me IF I was worthy. I knew she didn’t come to me because I was unworthy! The pain that this added to a life already full of pain, was unbearable. I didn’t speak of it to anyone. Every LDS person I knew was worthy and I felt like I was the only one who wasn’t. How could I tell anyone else what I was going through? I didn’t know any one as unworthy as I was.

Many years later I still wish my daughter hadn’t died. But looking back, I trust God’s promise that everything will work out. I now know that my feelings of unworthiness when Laura didn’t appear to me in the Temple were a blessing! This major event in my life became one very heavy weight added to many hundreds telling me how unworthy I was! These weights led me to seek a solution outside of myself–my Savior. Now, I realize what a blessing it is to know the truth! No one is worthy!! Every single person is unrighteous! Jesus Himself declared that no one but God is even good.

But in Mormonism, there is a façade that you can somehow be worthy based upon your own actions. LDS Bishops determine that some people are more worthy than others. To determine your worthiness, you are asked a handful of questions based upon a false man-made grading of sins. Certainly Jesus did not grade sins in this way. Simply read the Sermon on the Mount and you will see that the questions your Bishop asks are very different than what Jesus would ask to determine your worthiness. Along with many other questions, He would ask you if you were as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48)

Have you ever wondered why Jesus commanded you to be as perfect as Heavenly Father? He gave you this command, knowing that you couldn’t do it. The reason is because He loves you and knows that unless you are one hundred percent perfect, you can’t dwell in God’s presence! Jesus testifies that no one will ever be found worthy through obedience. He knows that the only way for you to be worthy is through faith that He was worthy for you–as your Substitute! Jesus wants you to give up trying to be worthy through obedience.

Heavenly Father wants you to realize that you can never be as worthy as He demands. The main purpose of God’s laws — His commands, is to show you just how unworthy you are. God’s law is like a mirror for us to look into and see how often we fail. Only when we know just how much we need a Savior will we turn to Christ and be saved!

It was in 1994 that I learned that all my sins had been forgiven. I gave my life to Jesus and have dedicated my life to sharing my Savior with everyone I meet. One blessing that I never even knew exhisted is attending a Christian Church where everyone knows that everyone else is equally sinful. At my Church everyone freely admits that they struggle with sin constantly. Nobody pretends to be something they aren’t.

In fact, every Christian I know believes what Christ said:

“..there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17)

At the same time, Christians also know that they have been credited with Christ’s righteousenss–through faith! In God’s sight, believers are as pure as Christ. That’s why true believers live their lives dedicated to their Savior Jesus.

If you feel unworthy, realize what a blessing it is to know the truth! Christ came to save the unworthy and it is through His Atoning Sacrifice that you have been made worthy (perfect) forever! (Hebrews 10:10-14) Because of what He has done for you, spend the rest of your life praising your Savior! He is the One who made you worthy by perfectly following God’s commands all of His life. And He did this for you, as your substitute!

I pray that you will turn to God’s holy Word and read what the Apostle Paul wrote about these truths: Galatians 3:21-24/Romans 7:7-8/Romans 3:19-20.

The Only True Security in Life is Living the Commandments?

There has been some discussion recently about things we can be absolutely certain about. Christiangirl said that she has “absolute certainty that God is who he said he is (all powerful, creator of earth, loving, just, redeemer, shepherd, no beginning and no end, etc), and the certainty that what Jesus did on the cross for me is sufficient to cover all of my sins.” I am thankful that she has shared her testimony and I agree with her wholeheartedly. I know with every fiber of my being that I have been saved—not because of anything I have ever done, but solely through faith in my Savior whose blood has washed me clean.

A few years ago in Conference a General Authority testified to Latter-day Saints that their only path of safety was in keeping the commandments. He talked about an “80:20 principle” and claimed that keeping the commandments only 80 percent of the time is not acceptable: “There are precious blessings that come only from the complete yielding of one’s heart to God.” The blessing he is talking about is “being saved”:

President Heber J. Grant said: ‘There is but one path of safety to the Latter-day Saints, and that is the path of duty. It is not a testimony, it is not marvelous manifestations, it is not knowing that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, … it is not actually knowing that the Savior is the Redeemer, and that Joseph Smith was His prophet, that will save you and me, but it is the keeping of the commandments of God, the living the life of a Latter-day Saint.’ Now, young men and young women, as you begin to set your priorities in life, remember, the only true security in life is living the commandments.

If you were listening to this talk in General Conference four years ago, did you rest in the certainty that your works were sufficient to earn your Salvation? Or, did you squirm when you heard these words? How does it feel knowing that your “certainty for being saved” rests on your own shoulders—your ability to keep the commandments?

If I had heard these words while I was LDS, I would have been completely stressed out. I was well aware of my inability to keep God’s commands. Today, reading these words I am so very thankful that the Holy Spirit has opened my heart and eyes to the truth. I bear witness to you that these words are false! No one will be saved by following the path that Mormon prophets have set you on—no one will be found righteous by keeping the commandments. The only “path of safety” lies in having faith in Jesus!

I know that President Grant was a false prophet and you can know this too—simply by testing his words with God’s prophets and apostles, found in His holy scripture:

The prophet Isaiah testified:
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.” (Is 61:10)

His salvation is forever:
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Is 51:6)

Not according to our works:
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:” (2 Ti 1:7-10)

Saved through faith—NOT by works:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

NOT by works of righteousness, but according to his mercy:
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Tit 3:4-6)

What must I do to be saved?
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Ac 16:30-31)

Believe and you will be saved:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Ro 10:9-10)

Whoever believes in Jesus HAS eternal life:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 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.” (Jn 3:15-18)

The Gospel of Christ is the power that saves–through belief:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Ro 1:16)

The message of the Cross is the power that saves:
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Co 1:18)

The LORD gives salvation:
For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.” (Ps 149:4)

With King David, I confessed my sins to God, and have devoted my life to teaching transgressors about God’s ways. I pray daily for God to restore to me the joy of His salvation—so that many sinners will be converted to Christ:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest… Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Ps 51:1-13

Link to General Conference talk:

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)