All Things Denote There Is a God: But What Does He Look Like?

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

This weeks Gospel Doctrine Lesson brings up what they claim is a false teaching of Zoramite: “God was, is, and always will be a spirit (Alma 31:15)” (The Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 27: All Things Denote There Is a God, p.123)

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

After searching the scriptures I quickly discovered that the words of this LDS prophet were false. Since the beginning of forever, there has always been only one God. The Prophet Isaiah wrote:

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (43:10, 44:6)

Learning that God could never have been a man still didn’t explain to me what God “was”. I wondered what He looked like. I had been taught that since I was created in God’s image, then God must look like me. I decided to read all the passages referenced in the LDS Topical Guide about the body of God to see if any had been miss-interpreted. To my surprise, they hadn’t. These passages clearly taught that God has the physical characteristics of a man. They attributed God as having a face, mouth, voice, fingers, hands and feet.

Wanting to learn more, I started doing word studies. When I found another passage saying that God had a hand as well as ears, I wondered why this passage hadn’t been listed in the LDS Topical Guide. Reading in context answered my question and led me to a surprising discovery! Not only did God have ears, He had wings and feathers:

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

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

From my study I learned that while scripture often attributes human characteristics to God, it also uses non-human characteristics to describe Him. (Not surprisingly, you won’t find any of these passages listed in the LDS Topical Guide.) Mormons can no more claim that God is a glorified man than someone could say He is an enormous bird.

My search led me to find where Jesus taught us the truth—God is a spirit: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) God is so powerful that He can take on any form He chooses. We see at Christ’s baptism that the Holy Ghost took on the physical form of a dove.

Scripture often uses word pictures to give us a glimpse of what God is like because He is so unlike humans: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

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

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

Jesus took on human flesh and became a man “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:14-18). Even though He was God, He “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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

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

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

Click here for additional LDS quotes:

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An Enthusiastic Desire to Share the Gospel: What Christ Taught—at “BeYePerfect.org”

I found it sad reading the Relief Society Lesson, chapter 12 of Teachings of Presidents of the Church. President George Albert Smith taught “There is a real famine in the world for the words of the Lord.” Then he had the audacity to claim what is being taught by Christian Ministers around the world. I wonder if he ever even attended a church service that wasn’t LDS. He certainly isn’t describing any Pastors’ messages that I have heard.

In speaking about Christian Ministers, he claims:

“These good men, not understanding the gospel and the necessity for the ordinances of the same, confine their teachings very largely to moral lessons and to reading the psalms to their congregations. Isolated passages of scripture are chosen as texts for addresses on virtue, honesty, etc., all of which are helpful and uplifting, but few sermons are preached explaining the requirements made of every soul before we can enter the kingdom of heaven. It is this information of which the world is most in need.

Few ministers have a message for their congregations that inspires in them the belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ and the necessity of partaking of the ordinances of the gospel prescribed by him.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 12: An Enthusiastic Desire to Share the Gospel, p. 125)

The Ministers at my church follow the example of Jesus Christ. He Preached a wonderful sermon called the Sermon on the Mount. Here, Jesus preached about many commands that God requires each of us to obey. His most difficult “requirement made of every soul before we can enter the kingdom of heaven” is to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

I belong to a church called “Cross of Christ”. Our “ministers have a message… that inspires in (us) the belief in the divinity of Jesus Christ.” That message is about our Substitute Savior Jesus Christ, Who was perfect for us–in our place! It is only through faith in Him that we meet God’s requirements for eternal life. It’s knowing all that our Savior God has done for us, which inspires us to live our lives for Him.

My church website explains the basic message that will be shared in each sermon:

“At Cross of Christ our messages reflect these basic truths:

1.) We have sinned against God and deserve his punishment. (To show how we have sinned, our Pastor teaches something that God requires of us in His law, which leads us to see that once again we have sinned.)

2.) God’s mercy is infinitely greater than our sin, and He has freely forgiven our sins by taking our punishment for us and crediting us with His holiness and perfection (through faith).

3.) As we Christians apply these first two truths to our lives, we are motivated to give thanks to God and love him in return for his love shown to us in Jesus. God teaches us very practical ways to live for Him every day. God also gives us incredible promises and special comforts to guide and bless us in our daily tasks.

All these points are shared each week in practical messages for all people.”

Despite what President Smith claimed, Christian ministers do teach what God requires of us. We must be as perfect as God Himself! Christians are taught every Sunday that that’s why they need a Savior: Because of what God truly requires of us, we know we have failed and are hopelessly lost. Christians are people who honestly look at themselves and know that they can never meet God’s demands. We sin all the time. That’s why we place our trust for eternal life solely in Christ. “He has freely forgiven our sins by taking our punishment for us and crediting us with His holiness and perfection through faith.”

Would you like to learn more about this topic? The Ministry that I volunteer with has just released a new website: BeYePerfect.org. It was written especially for you!

Temple Blessings for Ourselves and Our Ancestors: Can Eternal Marriage Be Perfect?

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

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

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

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

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

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

When He chose me as His bride, He showered me with so many undeserved gifts. But the gift I have treasured most is the forgiveness won for me by His shed blood. His blood has made me clean! My life of shame was taken away the moment He chose me to be His bride. He even gave me my wedding garments! I sing with joy the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10) This gift of His robe of righteousness cleansed me of all sin, so I can dwell in the very presence of God!!

Having been given this amazing gift has changed my life drastically. One of those changes has been my desire to study God’s Word. I pour over the pages of the Bible, discovering the things that God wants to teach me. LDS Prophets claim that marriages performed in LDS Temples will last into eternity: “Grateful should we be for a knowledge of the eternity of the marriage covenant.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 8: Temple Blessings for Ourselves and Our Ancestors)

But when I did a study on whether a marriage between a man and a woman will last into eternity, I found God’s truth. The only marriage relationship that will last beyond the grave is one with Jesus. Jesus Himself testified of this truth:

“For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” (Mark 12:25).

This doesn’t mean that believing husbands and wives won’t be together for eternity. It just means that their relationship will not be as a man and wife. All believers will spend eternity together, in companionship with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

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

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

General Conference: To the Women of the Church from the Prophet

Listening to a speaker at Conference yesterday reminded me of a talk President Hinckley once gave. While both men focused their words to single mothers, the Prophet directed his words specifically to those with emotional pain.

Everyone has felt pain. Pain is often a warning of something wrong and in this way can be a blessing. I have experienced both physical and emotional pain in my life. Once I had a pain in my side that finally got bad enough I went to see a Doctor. He detected and removed a very large cancerous kidney tumor. I had a similar situation a few years later when headaches led Doctors to find and remove a brain tumor. While this physical pain was not fun, its warning saved my life – twice. I could have chosen to ignore my pain, but I didn’t. If I had, I would have forfeited my life.

The same can often be said of emotional pain. When I was LDS I suffered the pain of failing to gain forgiveness through the process of repentance. I failed because I just couldn’t keep all of Heavenly Father’s commands all the time. When I repeated a sin, like gossiping or not forgiving someone, I lost what precious forgiveness I had already gained. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding the only cure — my Savior.

When I met the true Christ I learned that no one can gain forgiveness with their own works. John the Baptist declares that Christ’s works have already taken away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The forgiveness of sins comes only through the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice. And Jesus sacrificed His perfect life for us over 2,000 years ago. The Apostle Peter testifies that forgiveness is granted the moment a person believes in Jesus: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43).

Are you a woman in pain who struggles with depression or anxiety? Were you sexually abused as a child and don’t know how to overcome the emotional trauma? Is your spouse addicted to pornography? Are your burdens heavy because you have been abandoned by your husband or have been widowed? Have you been left alone to raise your children? Do you often “cry in your closet” but wish you had someone to simply listen to you? Do you pretend you are fine but “put a smile on your face whenever you are in front of others“?

Put on a smile before others

Put on a smile before others

Some years ago in General Conference President Hinckley had a message for such hurting women: “Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.

Hiding your pain from family and friends is never the answer! If you had a daughter whose spouse died or who abandoned her, would you tell her to pray and cry in her closet but pretend to others that her burden was not heavy? How could anyone reach out to her if she hid her affliction from others? The most daunting aspect of these words is that according to LDS prophets they are not merely President Hinckley’s opinion, they are the words of Heavenly Father – His latest revelation.

My pain of failing to earn forgiveness led me to discover that Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compel your Christian brothers and sisters to reach out to you in love (Galatians 6:2). God’s Words comfort, heal and speak of unconditional forgiveness. God showed His ultimate love for us by punishing His one and only Son to heal our disease of sin (John 3:16).

Are you in pain and tired of pretending? If so, I pray that pain drives you to seek the Savior who has borne your grief and carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). May it drive you to a Christian Congregation of brothers and sisters who welcome the opportunity to share your burdens.

Or, you could choose to hide your pain, alone in your closet. But if you do you may well forfeit the joy of living with your Savior for life eternal.

Additional Testimony:
Visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions:
– James 1:27
Give all your burdens to Heavenly Father & Jesus:
– Matthew 11:28
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Philippians 4:6-7
– Psalm 23:4
– Psalm 119:50
Additional LDS Words:

Found in TofPofC-Harold B. Lee, page 84:
“His prophet is upon the earth today, and if you want to know the last revelation that has come to this people, you get down the last conference report and read carefully especially what the First Presidency said… “You will have the best and the last word that has been given from our Heavenly Father.”

Found in D&C Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, page 244:
“Emphasize that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators. They continue to receive revelation to guide the Church. “Their direction is “the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.

Link to President Hinckley’s Words:
General Conference, Ensign, November 2003, page 115
President Gordon B. Hinckley, To the Women of the Church

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.“.

If LDS “Leaders are Chosen by the Lord” How Could They Intentionally Change His Word?

Would the Lord want you to sustain as leaders of your Church, men who intentionally changed His Word? They did this in “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”. This weeks Priesthood and Relief Society Lesson focuses on sustaining these men as leaders of the LDS church: “Our leaders are chosen by the Lord, and He expects us to sustain them in word and action.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 6: Sustaining Those Whom the Lord Sustains)

One LDS prophet–Wilford Woodruff, gave you this promise about LDS leaders: “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme.” (Gospel Principles, p 42)

But what if President Woodruff was a false prophet when he made this declaration? Wouldn’t his false promise “lead you astray“?

Just over ten years ago LDS prophets and apostles wrote down their testimony: “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”. It was signed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which included President Thomas S. Monson. When I first read it, I discovered something that could only be meant to intentionally “lead astray” its readers.

These LDS Apostles quoted Ephesians 2:20 but took out part of the passage and replaced it with “…”. My suspicion gets raised when I see a Bible passage quoted with missing words. It’s amazing how easy it is to change the intended meaning of a passage by leaving certain words out. My purpose for writing this post is to warn you of the danger you are in. It is my hearts desire to share my Jesus with you! But to do this I must compare His truths with the false teachings of Mormon prophets.

First off, I want to establish why “…” is used in a quote. In general, the purpose of using “…” is to shorten a quotation by removing words that are not pertinent to your discussion. But, if someone uses “…” to substantially change the meaning of a quotation, then they are being deliberately deceptive!

In their testimony, LDS Apostles state: “We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth—“built upon the foundation of … apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20).

Here is the entire passage as it appears in the Bible: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Now, take a closer look at how this passage appears in the testimony of LDS Apostles. What “phrase” has been removed from the quotation? Actually, only one little word was left out—the word “the“! One must ask the question “Why was the word ‘the‘ taken out of the passage?” Does this deletion shorten the quotation? Obviously it doesn’t; in fact the word “the” takes exactly the same amount of space as the “…” it was replaced with!

If using “…” doesn’t shorten the passage, then what could have been the purpose for removing this word? The Apostles had to know that taking out the word “the” before the words “apostles and prophets” substantially changes the meaning of the passage! In fact, the majority of times that Ephesians 2:20 is used in official LDS literature, this word is taken out.

There is a huge difference between the intended meaning of this passage and the way LDS leaders have changed it. If God’s Church is “built upon the foundation of “…” apostles and prophets” the emphasis is placed on the office of apostles and prophets. Doing this gives credence to the LDS teaching that God’s Church must continue being led by “living” prophets and apostles. However, if God’s Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” then the emphasis is placed upon a specific group of Apostles and Prophets, namely the New Testament Apostles and the Old Testament Prophets.

The word “foundation” helps clarify that God did not intend for His Church to continue being led by apostles and prophets. Just think about the meaning of the word. When building any house, how many times is a foundation laid? Only once! The truth found in this New Testament passage is that Jesus is the chief cornerstone in the foundation of God’s house. The New Testament Apostles and the Old Testament Prophets are the “foundation of God’s house! The founding work of these Apostles and Prophets is what they taught and can be found in God’s word. The rest of God’s house, His Church, is built upon this foundation. (The Apostle Peter talks about remembering the words of these prophets and apostles, in 2 Peter 3:1-2.)

Hebrews 1:1-2a gives us additional insight as to why God’s Church isn’t led by modern day prophets: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,” In fact, do a simple Bible search and you will find that every time the New Testament refers to “latter-day” prophets, the word “false” is associated.

Gospel Principles claims: “Many people live in darkness, unsure of God’s will. They believe that the heavens are closed and that people must face the worlds perils alone.” (Chapter 9: “Prophets of God” p 39)

Christians certainly don’t live in darkness and face the worlds perils alone! Jesus promised “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) Every Christian knows this personally because Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit all dwell inside the heart of every believer: “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.” Ephesians 3:10-19

This Savior who loves you warned you take heed so no one would deceive you:

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many… And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many… Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Mt 24:4-5; 11; 23-24)

Every time I read “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” I turn to God in thankfulness for being rescued from these false prophets! The Lord did not choose these men as His prophets. I beg you to test your prophets and apostles. Compare their words with those of the Prophets and Apostles who ARE the foundation of God’s Church!

Link to “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”:
http://jesuschrist.lds.org/SonOfGod/eng/testimonies-of-him/articles/the-living-christ-the-testimony-of-the-apostles-of-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints.html

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

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

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

This experience happened over 25 years ago but it came to mind when reading the Sunday School Teacher’s Manual for 12 & 13 year olds. The lesson explains the “Plan” of Salvation according to LDS prophets and scripture. An Enrichment Activity directs the teacher to display a road map and ask the questions:

“What is this? Why would someone use this?” The teacher is then told: “Explain that life is like a journey. Heavenly Father knew that we would need directions to help us find our way back to him, so he provided the plan of salvation as a kind of map for us to follow. How can we ‘read’ this map and know what we must do to reach our destination of living with Heavenly Father again? (Answers may include by studying the scriptures, following the prophets, and listening to our teachers and parents as they teach us about the gospel.)” (Preparing for Exaltation: Teacher’s Manual, Lesson 1: A Loving Father—An Eternal Plan, pp 1–7)

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

The Old Testament Gospel Doctrine Lesson “maps” out the same requirements. It explains that even though eternal life is the “greatest of all the gifts of God” you obtain it through your own works and effort: “We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.” (Old Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual Lesson 1: “This Is My Work and My Glory” p. 4)

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

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

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

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24).

This gift came because of Heavenly Father’s great love for you: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Believe it and receive it! “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47).

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

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

Have You Seen The DVD About The First Vision? Why Didn’t Joseph Believe Jesus?

Have you seen the Church DVD called The Restoration? I watched it back in 2004 when I received it with my October Ensign. Page 54 explains the short movie as “a beautiful new dramatization of the First Vision”. It’s very well done and at times is so realistic it’s as if you’re right there with Joseph Smith.

Throughout the movie we see Joseph seeking answers to spiritual questions. Two questions that run throughout the movie are “How will we know if we are saved?” and “How can we know which doctrine is right?” As I watched, I found myself wanting to reach out to Joseph—to help him recognize that even from the very beginning of his search, God was already answering his questions. If this movie is an honest depiction of what happened, then God answered Joseph’s questions before he went to the grove to pray. By going to the grove to pray he confirms that either he believes his questions weren’t answered; or, that he has rejected God’s answers.

So what are God’s answers? God provides the answer to Joseph’s first question ““How will we know if we are saved?” before he even asks it. Barely one minute into the movie Joseph’s family gathers to listen as his father reads from the Bible. From the book of John, he reads the words of Jesus Christ our Savior, words which clearly tell us how to be saved:

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.

This passage from God’s Word is probably the most popular verse in the Bible for Christians. At almost every football game shown on TV you will see someone sitting in the stands holding a sign that reads “John 3:16”. The reason this verse is so precious to believers is precisely because it does tell every human how they are saved! But Joseph misses it! The very Son of God promises that all who believe in Him have everlasting and eternal life!!!

It is as though Joseph Smith does not hear these words! Just four minutes after we hear Joseph’s father read this promise from God, Joseph asks him “How will we know if we are saved?” As I watched the movie, I wanted to reach out and shake him and say “Jesus already told you! If you believe in Him you are saved. Why can’t you trust him? Why do you deny Him?

Joseph Smith’s testimony of how to be saved is seen in the third article of faith: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” This ordinance stands in direct opposition to the words of the Son of God. Because Joseph chose not to believe Jesus, he has taught millions of Mormons the wrong way to gain eternal life.

God also answers Joseph’s second question “How can we know which doctrine is right?” About seven minutes into the movie Joseph reads from Psalm 119:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Again the answer is so clear. God’s Word lights the path—revealing the way. But Joseph again denies the clear instruction of God and seeks his own understanding. He finds his own way to discern truth. He denies the truth that God has already revealed in the Bible and decides to pray for wisdom. The wisdom that he needed was that it is unwise to reject God’s Words. By placing his own way above God’s already revealed way he is easily misled by false spirits. God’s way is to use His Word to light the path—to show the way.

God’s Word is so sweet to me!! It has shown me which doctrine is right. I bear witness to you on the basis of God’s Word that eternal life is a free gift, given to all who believe in Jesus. Believe His Words of John 3:16 and you have eternal life. You are saved. You will have found the way of truth that sadly eluded Joseph—to his eternal torment!

Allow me to share just one more of many clear “lamps” found in God’s Word. Again, these words were written down by John the Beloved. God’s Word bears witness of the truth. Referring to the fact that we can know we have eternal life through belief in Christ, John testified:

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:9-13)

Believe it and receive it!!!

Link to LDS video The Restoration:

Hearken to the Truth and Give Heed unto It

I was 28 years old when I realized that Mormonism was false. I spent a few years searching for the “true church” amongst the protestant religions. After I decided that Christianity didn’t “feel” right, I went from one form of spirituality to another. Finally, I gave up searching for the truth. But I could never stop believing that there was some kind of God. Merely looking around at the marvelous universe was enough to convince me that there had to be a God who had created everything. I finally determined that God had simply left us humans to ourselves.

Looking back, I realize that through all my years of searching, I had always used the LDS method of determining whether or not something was true—trusting in my feelings. One example of this is found in the Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual Lesson 5:

Elder Boyd K. Packer taught: “The Holy Ghost communicates with the spirit through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings, through impressions and promptings. It is not always easy to describe inspiration. The scriptures teach us that we may ‘feel’ the words of spiritual communication more than hear them, and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes (see 1 Nephi 17:45)” (pp 22-23)

True to the Faith explains how feelings from the Spirit should be used to determine if something is true:

Note the Lord’s final words in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 [-9: “But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;] therefore, you shall feel that it is right. [But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong…]” The burning described in this scripture passage signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity, not necessarily a sensation of heat.” (True to the Faith, page 144; D&C 9:8-9)

I spent three decades searching for truth using this LDS formula. Instead of finding the one and only “true God” I found many different people whose hearts gave them very different answers as to what truth was. There are millions of people from various different faiths who have trusted that their strong feelings were God’s answer to their prayers. I found those who sincerely believed in Shamanism, Mormonism, Buddhism, New Age thinking, Deists, Atheists and Agnostics. All truly had faith that what they believed in their heart was true. They based their faith on very strong feelings that what they were following was truth.

There are many different examples of those who have trusted in their feelings to determine truth. Take the crusades where millions were killed and persecuted in the name of God. These people who were murderers were zealots who truly believed they were doing what God wanted them to do. They believed this because they listened to their feelings and to their hearts. Take the men who bombed the World Trade Center Towers. These men believed so strongly that their feelings would never lie to them that they committed suicide doing what “felt right“.

In all my searching I realized that humans are just really messed up. There have been many horrible aspects which define “religion”. But none of these have anything to do with God—each one is simply man claiming to act on God’s behalf. I finally came to the conclusion that a person can’t determine what is true by trusting in their feelings. Feelings often lie to you and tell you what you want to hear. Many people from different religions feel that what they believe is truth, and yet there can only be one truth.

It wasn’t until I met the “God of love” that I learned that many “religions” are simply man-made attempts to define God. For years I had believed that all those horrible “religions” actually defined the Christian God. But I was wrong. The day I met the God of love, I found a God that I had never even dreamed of. This one true God loves me unconditionally and came to earth to give me a life of peace and love. Despite all the many horrible things that I have done in my life, this God actually chooses to dwell inside of me. His love fills my heart despite all the times I forget to trust fully in Him.

There is not one thing that I did to gain His love. Amazingly, Jesus came to earth to show me just how much He loves me. The Son of God lowered Himself and became a human because He unconditionally loves us. Our Savior gave His life so that we could grasp just how much He loves us.

I love the fact that Jesus told us how to determine truth! He testified, over and over again to search the scriptures!! That is where we can find God’s truth! Many times He chastised people who did not turn to scriptures for answers to their questions. After He was crucified He met two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. He hid from them who He was and listened to them as they were trying to figure out why Jesus had been crucified. The reason they didn’t know is because they hadn’t turned to scripture to find the answers. Instead, they were studying it out in their minds. But Jesus revealed truth to them by taking them to scripture! Notice, He didn’t tell them to pray so that the Holy Ghost could reveal to them what was happening. Instead, Jesus pointed them to scripture as the place they could find the truth. (Prayer is how we speak to God–God speaks to us through His scripture (Matthew 22:29-32):

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27).

Even though they claimed later that their “bosoms” burned when Jesus spoke to them, their feelings were not what they used to determine whether Jesus spoke truth. They knew what was true because Jesus took them to the source of truth–God’s Holy scripture. If we want to know what is and isn’t true, we are to test everything with what the Holy Ghost has already revealed to us in scripture.

At times I can barely fathom God’s love for me. But I trust that He does because of all the promises He has left for me in scripture. Unfortunately, those who don’t really know Him often run and hide from Him.

I love these words about our God who loves us unconditionally–in spite of our sinfulness:

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 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; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7)

I pray that you will come to know of your Savior’s love for you. His love is so great that He gave His life–just so you could spend eternity with Him. Turn to Him and you will find the deepest love of your life. His greatest longing is to lavish His love on you. With the Apostle Paul, I pray this prayer for you:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 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.

The Great Apostasy? God’s True Church has Been on Earth Since Christ’s Resurrection!

The Book of Mormon Gospel Doctrine Lesson 4 tells of Nephi’s vision of the future. But Nephi’s vision did not come true! Please, listen to your heart as you read the very words of Christ and His Apostles. They prophesied that God’s True Church would survive throughout the ages.

The Apostle Paul declared that Christ’s glory would be in the church throughout all ages: “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 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, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph 3:19-21)

The LDS belief that God’s church had collapsed and needed its foundation rebuilt is totally false! The problem begins when Mormonism defines God’s “church” as an “organization” or “religion” This is not true! You believe that God’s true church is the Mormon Church. But, the truth is that there is not one single “religion” that is God’s true church. God’s true church is made up of His people. Every single person with faith in Jesus is part of God’s true church. The Apostle Paul wrote

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Co 1:2)

Remember what the Ephesians 2:20 passage said? The very foundation of God’s Church is made up of people: Jesus, the prophets and the apostles. But then look at verse 22: “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

From the time of Christ’s resurrection, God’s true church has existed and will continue to exist forever. When the angel appeared to Mary to tell her she would give birth to the Messiah, she was told:

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.(Lk 1:30-33)

Jesus told His Apostle Peter “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18)

Do you beleive the words of your Savior? Jesus promised “I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:19-20) Even if only two believers are alive, God’s true Church is on the face of the earth!

Jesus promised He would be on earth, with believers “unto the end of the world”:

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.(Mt 28:18-20)

In spite of the LDS leader’s attempts to convince the world that power comes through the Priesthood, it doesn’t. The power and authority to act in God’s name comes through the Holy Spirit and is given to every single believer—man woman and child. (To read more on this, go to my post “Should LDS Women be Allowed to Hold the Priesthood?”) Verse 18 of Ephesians 2 explains that through faith in Jesus, both Jews and Gentiles (meaning every person who will ever live) have “access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ, His apostles and the prophets of the Old Testament. This foundation was not lost, nor was it missing. The Holy Spirit has inspired every word found on the pages of the Old and New Testaments. It is literally “God-breathed“!

John the Beloved testified that while there were many other signs which Jesus did that are not recorded in His book, what has been written brings faith and life through Jesus: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)

I pray that you might have life through belief in His name!

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph 2:18-22)

All praise and glory to Christ our Lord!

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