The Plan of salvation

In this months Relief Society Lesson we are reminded that “Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to save us from the Fall and from our sins.” Here we are taught about Christ’s part in the Plan of Salvation:

“It therefore became necessary for the Father to send his Only Begotten Son, who was free from sin, to atone for our sins as well as for Adam’s transgression, which justice demanded should be done. He accordingly offered himself a sacrifice for sins, and through his death upon the cross took upon himself both Adam’s transgression and our individual sins, thereby redeeming us from the fall, and from our sins, on condition of repentance. (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith
Chapter 3: The Plan of Salvation, p. 62)

This conditional “plan of salvation consists of the following things:”

“First, we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; we must accept him as the Son of God; we must put our trust in him, rely upon his word, and desire to gain the blessings which come by obedience to his laws.

Second, we must repent of our sins; we must forsake the world; we must determine in our hearts, without reservation, that we will live godly and upright lives.

Third, we must be baptized in water, under the hands of a legal administrator, who has power to bind on earth and seal in heaven; we must, through this sacred ordinance, enter into a covenant to serve the Lord and keep his commandments.

Fourth, we must receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; we must be born again; we must have sin and iniquity burned out of our souls as though by fire; we must gain a new creation by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Fifth, we must endure to the end; we must keep the commandments after baptism; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord; we must so live as to acquire the attributes of godliness and become the kind of people who can enjoy the glory and wonders of the celestial kingdom.

Now I testify that these laws which men must obey to gain salvation and which comprise the gospel of Jesus Christ, have been revealed in this day to prophets and apostles, and that they are now administered by his church, which he has again established upon the earth.” (p. 65)

Did you notice all “we must” do? Thankfully, these are the words of false prophets. In contrast, I love the simplicity of God’s true Plan of Salvation as revealed through living prophets and apostles and found in scripture. It was Jesus who revealed this plan to us, and amazingly it’s all about what He has already done for us. The plan of salvations is an accomplished fact! Christ has already been lifted up on the Cross and His blood has covered the sins of the whole world. According to our Lord and Savior, the very moment you believe in Him, you receive eternal life! This is an unconditional gift from Heavenly Father:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 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.” (John 3:1-18)

God gave His Son to be lifted up on the cross because He loved us that much. Christ’s mission was to take away the sins of the world, and He did so. Everything necessary for us to live forever with Heavenly Father has already been accomplished. Read the entire chapter of John three to see all that Jesus taught Nicodemus regarding Gods Plan of Salvation. You will learn that the only “spirit children” of Heavenly Father are people who believe in Jesus. The very moment the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith, that person becomes a child of God, and is born-again through the Holy Ghost:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

“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)

The Immortality of the Soul: As Man Is, God Once Was, and As God Is, Man May Become?

The Relief Society and Priesthood Lesson for this week states: “The Lord has blessed us with a knowledge that he lives, and has a body, and that we are created in his image. We do not believe that he is some kind of essence or that he is incomprehensible.”

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 the Holy Spirit brought me to faith in the true Christ, I discovered that this doctrine was unique to Mormonism. And I soon found out that the Christian churches I attended taught other things about the nature of God that didn’t make 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)

Underlying the LDS teaching that God has a body of flesh and bones is the belief that God was once a sinful man, subservient to an earlier created god: “…we believe that “As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become.” [See Lorenzo Snow, “The Grand Destiny of Man,” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 7: The Immortality of the Soul, p 71)

Searching the scriptures I quickly discovered that the words of this LDS prophet are false. God’s Prophet, 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 had 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. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 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 this 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.

Jesus told us the truth about what God is. He revealed:

“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 created 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 did for us. 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 our sins upon Himself, as if they were His own; and give us His righteousness, as if it was our 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 His blood. Believe it and receive it, and 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:

Is the LDS Process of Repentance a Blessing?

About a month ago the 12 and 13 year old’s were taught that “Repentance is a Blessing.” The Lesson Manual tells the teacher to explain the reason why repentance is such a blessing:

“Explain that repentance is the process Heavenly Father has given us for ‘erasing’ our sins. Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with him after this life, but no unclean, or sinful, person can live with him (see Moses 6:57). Heavenly Father knows that everyone will make mistakes and commit sins while on the earth, so he has given us a way to become clean again after we have sinned. This is repentance.” (Preparing for Exaltation, Lesson 12: Repentance Is a Blessing)

The Lesson teaches these children the many requirements to be met before they can gain forgiveness of a sin. This “process” has several aspects to it, but today I wish to discuss Joseph Smith’s revelation that a person gains forgiveness by keeping the commandments. D&C 1:32: “Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.”

Testing the words of this LDS prophet with those of our Savior reveals the truth. Jesus revealed that doing all things which are commanded of you is simply what God requires of you, and is your duty! (Luke 17:9-10) When you sin (fail to keep God’s commands) you incur a debt, and need Heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Doing what is expected of you (keeping the commandments) cannot gain forgiveness for a debt. This merely prevents you from piling on more debt.

Here’s an illustration to explain what I mean:

It’s expected that you will pay your monthly bills. Last month you used part of your bill money to go on vacation and so you couldn’t pay all your bills. You used your credit card to pay for these bills and so incurred a debt on your credit card. This month you paid all your bills. You call up your credit card company and say “I paid all my bills this month so please forgive my debt from last month”. Do you think your credit card company will accept this offer as payment for your debt? Heavenly Father also, will not accept as payment for your sin debt, the works He already requires of you.

So how does a sin debt get paid? The writer of Hebrews testifies that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament we read that God’s people were required to offer animal sacrifices as payment for their sin. These animal sacrifices had to be perfect, without blemish.

But even if you gave your life’s blood as an offering to pay for your sins, your offering would be rejected by Heavenly Father. Why? Because you are not a perfect sacrifice! You are not without blemish. You are not without sin. Instead, you are in debt to God for all your sins. On Judgment Day, every single sin you’ve ever committed will be judged by Jesus, for all to see (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Anyone found unclean (without blemish) will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

But take heart, you are not without hope! Jesus shed His blood and paid the price for the sins of the entire world. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Jesus was a perfect sacrifice—without any sin debt. Heavenly Father accepted Jesus’ payment for the sins of the world and forgave every person’s sin debt. In your place, Jesus offered His life as a perfect sacrifice and paid your debt.

There is only one way to “receive” the complete forgiveness that has already been won for you, and guess what? It isn’t through your efforts at trying to keep God’s commands. You can only receive forgiveness by believing that Jesus’ blood covers your sin debt. The moment you have faith in this, you will receive complete forgiveness of all your sins (past, present and future)! Jesus loves us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Revelation 1:5) Believe it and receive it! The Apostle Peter testified: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

Once you know just how much you have been forgiven, you can freely live a life of thanksgiving! You can keep Heavenly Fathers commandments out of gratitude and love, not out of obligation or trying to gain forgiveness and eternal life!

Click here to go to my Page titled “The LDS Process of Repentance”:

Link to LDS Lesson: https://www.lds.org/manual/preparing-for-exaltation-teachers-manual/lesson-12-repentance-is-a-blessing?lang=eng

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:

Debt to God
Jesus:
– Matthew 6:12
Sacrifice for Sin
Heavenly Father:
– Leviticus 4:1-5
Works Judged
Jesus:
– Matthew 12:36
Forgiveness Through Blood
The Apostle Paul:
– Colossians 1:14
– Ephesians 1:7
– Romans 3:24-25
– Romans 5:18-19
John the Beloved:
– Revelation 7:14
– Hebrews 9:12-15
The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 1:18-19
Substitute Payment
The Prophet Isaiah:
– Isaiah 53:4-12
The Apostle Paul:
– Galatians 3:10-13
The Apostle Peter:
– 1 Peter 3:18
World’s Sin Paid
John the Baptist:
– John 1:29
John the Beloved:
– 1 John 2:2
Thankful Obedience
The Apostle Paul:
– 1 Corinthians 15:56-58

Are LDS Leaders, “Prophets” of God? Gospel Principles: Lesson 9

This weeks Gospel Principles Lesson focuses on Prophets of God. One LDS prophet–Wilford Woodruff, gives you this promise: “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.”

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 the LDS prophet and apostles wrote down their testimony: “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles”. It is featured on the home page at lds.org and was signed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When I read it, I discovered something that could only be meant to intentionally “lead astray” its readers.

The 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!

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 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? These apostles had to know that taking out the word “the” before the words “apostles and prophets” substantially changes God’s meaning for this 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 new 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 building, how many times is a foundation laid? Once! The truth revealed here 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 their teachings, and can be found in God’s word–the Bible. The rest of God’s house, His Church; is built upon this foundation. (The Apostle Peter wrote about remembering the words of these prophets and apostles, in 2 Peter 3.)

The writer of Hebrews 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” (Hebrews 1:1-2a) In fact, do a simple Bible search and you will find that when the New Testament refers to “latter-day” prophets, the word “false” is associated.

The Gospel Principles Lesson 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. 32)

Christians certainly don’t live in darkness and face the worlds perils alone! Jesus promised us all “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 our hearts:

“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

Every time I read “The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles” I turn to God in thankfulness for rescuing me from these false prophets! I beg you to test your prophets and apostles. Compare their words with those of the Prophets and the Apostles of old, who are the foundation of God’s Church!

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2 Peter 3:1-2: “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:”

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

Can Your Unworthy Bishop be the Judge of Your Worthiness?

A few weeks ago the Young Women were taught a lesson about “Appreciating the Bishop“. These young girls learned of the main role of their Bishop–“He is appointed as a judge in Israel for the ward members.” The Lesson explains:

“Your life here will be constantly weighed by him, for he is the judge of your worthiness … to receive higher ordinances, and to be worthy to go to the Temple. “If you are going to work in the Church system you will learn to be obedient to your bishop. If you get into trouble you will be wise if you seek his advice and counsel.

He has been designated by the Lord and appointed by the President of the Church to be responsible for you and to make sure you progress according to your worthiness and ability. …“… He will see you every year at tithing settlement. He will interview you. … If you go on a mission he will be the one who makes the first inquiry as to your fitness and ability to serve in this capacity”

I am ever so thankful that my eyes and heart have been opened to the truth! I know that this LDS teaching is false—the truth is that there is only one “Judge in Israel” and that is Jesus Himself. He alone determines who is worthy and guess what? Jesus has judged and determined that every single Bishop in the LDS Church is not worthy!

I am not really singling out Bishops The truth is that no one is worthy! In fact, Jesus testified that no one is even “good” (Matthew 19:17). God’s Word, the Bible, very clearly teaches that every person is unrighteous:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17: 9

“The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalm 14: 2-3

“For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Ecclesiastes 7: 20

“And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” Genesis 8: 21

“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

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53: 6

“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?” Proverbs 20:9

“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” Romans 3: 9

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2: 2

“There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

It is truly a blessing to be a member of a Church where no sinful man determines who is and isn’t worthy. The LDS Church grades sins by determining that some sins are worse than others. This makes it easy for a man to judge others as somehow more sinful than he is.

Every single believer in Christ knows that in and of himself—he is completely sinful; and, that everyone else is just as unworthy! It truly is a blessing to know that you are not alone in your unworthiness.

It is even more amazing to know that through faith, you are credited with Christ’s righteousness! Even Abraham knew that his righteousness came only through his faith:

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Romans 4:3-8

Through the offering of Christ’s body you have been perfected forever! (Hebrews 10:10-14). In God’s sight, you can be as worthy as Christ Himself because all your sins have been forgiven!

The Apostle Peter testified: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43

Believe it and receive it!

Because of all my Savior has done for me, along with the Psalmist, I sing:

“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised” Psalm 18:1-3

Link to LDS Lesson:

God’s Nature: 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”? As a Mormon 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)

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)

But searching the scriptures I quickly discovered that the words of this LDS prophet were false. 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. But reading in Genesis confirmed that this “image” could not be a “physical” one—I was a woman, not a man. 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 had 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. 8 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. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 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 this 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. While God is a spirit (John 4:24) He 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: 8 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 our 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 His blood. Believe it and receive it, and 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:

Are Fathers Evil?

The first time I attended a non-Mormon Church service was when I lived in Arkansas. A neighbor invited me to attend church with her and out of curiosity I decided to check it out. Talk about culture shock!!! This was my first experience of hearing a Preacher give a Sermon, and his preaching was that of a “fire and brimstone” Southern Baptist.

My neighbor must have warned him that a Mormon would be attending because he spent about five minutes attacking the Mormon Church and all who follow its teachings. From my Mormon ears, all I heard was that I was a horrible sinner and I had better repent or else I was going to hell. By the time the service was finished I had a horrible headache. I ran away from there as fast as I could, never to return.

Sermons are one thing many Mormons aren’t familiar with. Sacrament Meetings entail a few people who have been asked to give talks for that Sunday. These talks are nothing like a Sermon given by a Pastor. During my fifteen years as a Christian, thankfully I have heard many wonderful Sermons from many different Pastors. Each Pastor tends to have his own style of preaching, but I have discovered that his message testifies of a few simple truths:

1) Every human is evil and can never come even close to meeting God’s demands
2) Heavenly Father gives the gift of eternal life to those who believe that Jesus met God’s demands for them.

It took me awhile before I realized that these basic truths were being taught by every Preacher I heard. The first time I recognized this was when a Preacher I know was giving a Sermon about prayer. He boldly stated that all the fathers listening to Him were “evil”! When I heard that, I was a little uncomfortable. I know that our earthly fathers aren’t perfect, but calling them “evil” seemed to be a bit harsh. I wondered why the Preacher hadn’t chosen to use a softer word like “weak” or maybe even “sinful”. Then, I noticed a little later in His Sermon where He even commanded us to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father!

In reality, this Preacher was Jesus giving His Sermon on the Mount. His actual words were: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Talk about being blunt!! When I read His Sermon in context there was no indication that those listening to His Sermon were particularly evil. I remembered that Jesus had told the rich young ruler “there is none good but one, that is, God”. But saying Fathers are “evil” seems so much worse than saying someone is “not good”.

I soon discovered that Jesus talked about man’s evil deeds several other times during His Ministry. In the book of Mark, Jesus tells us where evil comes from: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts”. In the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Jesus asked a question of those who thought that God wasn’t being fair: “Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”

Jesus proclaimed God’s eternal consequences for all who do evil: “for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5).

Reading Jesus’ words enticed me to dig deeper into scripture. By the time I finished my study there was no doubt in my mind: all humans are evil. I discovered that the reason it’s difficult for us to see ourselves as evil is because our definition of what “evil” is differs from God’s definition. We like to categorize our sins, claiming that some are worse than others. We certainly don’t think that anything we do ourselves is actually “evil”.

I wasn’t surprised when I read that God considered murder and adultery evil; but the prophet Nehemiah preached that not keeping the Sabbath day holy was evil. He also testified that Israelites who married outside the faith committed a “great evil” (13:27). The writer of the book of Hebrews testified that “unbelief” is evil. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy that it is evil to not give money to a poor man in need. In Genesis, he taught the same message about man as what Jesus had taught:
for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”.

Everything I’ve mentioned so far is only part of what Biblical Preachers name as “evil”. (The word “evil” appears 624 times in the Bible.) The Apostle Paul understood that God sees all sin as evil when he lamented “but the evil which I would not, that I do” and “when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Romans 7) In Timothy he wrote that the love of money is the root of all evil.

To the Galatians, he wrote God’s consequence for not following every single command: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” James solidified Paul’s curse when he proclaimed: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” He then gave examples of evil:

“the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” and: “where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work”.

Studying God’s Words leaves no doubt that our holy God considers any sin as evil. The writer of Proverbs tells us that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” On Judgment Day “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

The inescapable conclusion is that everyone who sins is evil! I am so amazed every time I read words from these same Preachers saying that God loves us in spite of our evil! It’s hard to believe, but His mercy is shown to evil sinners! In Galatians, Paul gives us the only reason why:

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

To the Ephesians Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” It’s through Christ’s Atonement that our evil hearts are “sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10)

The very same Jesus that proclaimed the dire consequences of evil, shares our only means of escape—it’s through faith alone that we are saved and gain eternal life:

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 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.” (John 3:14-16)

First Presidency Message: The Best Christmas Ever

In December’s First Presidency Message, President McKay is quoted as saying: “If we are to have the best Christmas ever, we must follow in the Savior’s footsteps”. What would it look like if someone really “followed in the Savior’s footsteps”?

Jesus never sinned, not even once. How closely are you following in the Savior’s footsteps of obedience? Examining specific commands one begins to understand the extent of what it means to “follow” in the footsteps of Jesus. In the entire 33 years of the Savior’s life He never told a lie. Are you following the Savior’s example? Jesus perfectly kept himself morally clean. Are you following in his footprints? Have you ever lusted after a woman you were not married to? Jesus never worried, he always trusted his Father. Are your feet always in his footprints? If you ever worry, they are not. What about gossiping or being jealous of someone? I haven’t even mentioned the good things you are commanded to do that Jesus did perfectly–like praying continually and visiting the sick. Can you follow in the Saviors steps by giving up every material possession except the clothes on your back? Do you perfectly follow the Greatest Command to love God with all your heart, mind and soul? How about the second greatest to love your neighbor as yourself?

Are you prepared to follow his footsteps into the desert?

Are you prepared to follow his footsteps into the desert?

Christ endured 40 days of temptation from Satan – in the desert – without any food. Are you prepared to follow his footsteps into the desert? Let’s follow the Savior’s path to the Garden of Gethsemane where the turmoil He suffered caused sweat like drops of blood. Or, see those feet stumble on the path to Golgotha, bruised, beaten and carrying the cross He would be crucified on. Are you able to forgive every person who ever hurt you, as Jesus forgave his betrayers and executioners at the cross?

The Savior’s footprints walk a path of perfection that leads to a sacrificial death on the cross. You cannot “follow in the Savior’s footsteps” as President McKay testifies you must! You can’t even come close. You can only convince yourself that you are “righteous” by hiding your sins from yourself or by comparing yourself to others. Maybe giving yourself a gold star every time you do a good thing helps to discount all the bad things you’ve done. Jesus told the rich young ruler “No one is good but God”! If you truly want to have the best Christmas ever, you must recognize that your Savior’s footsteps are too big to follow!! Quit trying and simply trust that your Savior walked every step perfectly—in your place.

Now, take a closer look at the Saviors “bare” footprints. They bear the nail marks which paid the price for every time you failed to follow in His footprints. Those beautiful feet did the work that gained you forgiveness for all your sins by personally paying your debt to sin. His scars are proof that He took your guilt upon Himself and atoned for it. His willing steps led him to be your perfect substitute, your perfect sacrifice for sin on God’s ultimate altar! Believe it and a miracle will happen. When Heavenly Father looks at your sinful path through life it will be covered over by the Savior’s perfect footprints! Through faith, you get the credit for every perfect step Jesus took. Believe in this miracle and trust me, you will have the best Christmas ever!

Lesson 20 A Heart Full of Love and Faith: The Prophet’s Multiple Wives?

LDS Belief:

In order to obtain the highest degree of heaven a person must be married in the Temple. Through Joseph Smith God commanded plural marriage. Anyone who rejected this covenant would not be permitted to enter into God’s glory. LDS women today are protected from sharing their husbands with “sister wives” because Polygamy was abolished. In 1890 the US Government forced the LDS Church to end polygamy and abide by the laws of the land that it had been violating for fifty years.

LDS Words

Found in lesson 20, page 246:
The Prophet Joseph told Emma that he was “a true and faithful friend to [her] and the children forever,” and he thanked her for her “warm and true-hearted friendship

Found in D&C 132:
(Heading) Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet…as also 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
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…

Found in 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.

Found in 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 Lesson:

TofP Lesson 20

The Bold Truth:

All who have faith in Jesus will dwell in the highest degree of heaven with Heavenly Father—no matter whether they were married or single. Heavenly Father has commanded that marriage is between one man and one woman. Having more than one wife is committing the sin of adultery. Anyone who has ever practiced plural marriage sinned against God’s Holy law and suffered earthly consequences.

I recently watched a you-tube video called “Emma Smith — A Woman of Faith”. 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 the same house sexually involved with another 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).

Reading Joseph’s love letters to Emma in this Lesson and knowing that he was being sexually intimate with other women was not easy for me. It’s hard to understand how any man could declare his love and loyalty to his wife at the same time destroying the intimacy he had with her by giving it to other women. While it’s hard to understand, 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 turned to scripture she would have learned that Joseph was wrong. Nowhere does Heavenly Father command plural marriage. When we read about men with multiple wives these are passages which merely describe what’s happening. (For instance, God did not command men to have sex with harlots, even though scripture describes that Judah committed this sin, Genesis 38:15).

What is the truth about plural marriage? God’s Apostle instructed Bishops and Deacons they were to be husbands of but one wife. 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 practice polygamy).

Jesus testified that marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman, who become one flesh. They are no longer two, but one! 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 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.

Eternal Consequences

Don’t place your faith in LDS prophets who claim you must have a marriage relationship to dwell with Heavenly 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 Jesus did for you that everything you do is for Him?

Or, does Jesus merely give you the gift of resurrection and the opportunity to dwell with God if you do “all that the Savior commands”? If so, on Judgment day you will stand before God in your own imperfect and soiled righteousness.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Polygamy forbidden:
– Deut 17:17
– Lev 18:18
– Mal 2:14-15
– Matt 19:4-5
– Mark 10:2-8
– Titus 1:6
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
Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, not God
– Genesis 16: 1-6
Marriage is for earthly life, not eternity
– Matt 22:29, 30
– Mark 12:24, 25
Sins of the Fathers
– Exodus 20:5
Bishops can have only one wife
– 1 Timothy 3:2, 12
Additional LDS Words

Found in Gospel Principles, page 255:
“The atonement of Jesus Christ assures each of us that we will be resurrected and live forever. But if we are to live forever with our families in Heavenly Father’s presence, we must do all that the Savior commands us to do. This includes being baptized and receiving the ordinances of the temple.”

Found in 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. 17 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.

Links to Additional LDS Words:
Emma Smith, A Woman of Faith: How Much Can One Heart Take
You Tube Video Clip
Joseph Smith obeyed the command of plural marriage
Gospel Topics
Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, D&C Chapter 31
Address by President Woodruff Regarding the Manifesto
Doctrine and Covenants Official Declaration 1, Manifesto

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: Why do Mormons need the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be perfected?

LDS Belief:

To qualify for the grace of God and be perfected in Christ through the Atonement, you must first deny yourself of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength. If you do this, you may be perfected in Christ

LDS Words

Found in lesson 38, page 171:
After teaching the Nephites that they should love their enemies, Jesus said, “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected? (See… Moroni 10:32–33—“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

Found in Preparing for Exaltation, page 123:
“Have class members find and read Moroni 10:32. According to this verse, what must we do to “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him”? (“Deny [ourselves] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength.”) Explain that “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” means “give up your sins.”

Found in Ensign, May 1995, page 66:
Neal A. Maxwell, April 1995 General Conference: “Moroni declared the need for us to deny ourselves “all ungodliness” (Moro. 10:32), thus including both large and small sins.”

Link to Lesson:

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38

The Bold Truth:

The grace of God is an undeserved blessing given to all people. You are not capable of denying yourself of all ungodliness—in fact no one could even do this for one day! Instead, simply trust that your Savior did this for you, in your place and “hath perfected you forever”

Earlier I discussed Joseph Smith’s revelation that all blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws of the gospel. Before moving to another Lesson, it’s important to look at how this principle affects qualifying for the grace of God so Mormons can be perfected in Christ.

First, a simple illustration of earning a blessing through obedience:

(Condition): If she cleans her room. . . (Blessing): then, she can go outside and play with her friends.

In the Teachers Manual the question is asked: “Why do we need the Atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be perfected?” You are told to see Moroni 10:32–33 teaching us the condition for qualifying for God’s grace so as to be perfected in Christ:

(Condition): If you deny yourself of all ungodliness, and if you love God with all your might, mind and strength… (Blessing): then, you can qualify for God’s grace and be perfected in Christ.

But what does “deny yourself of all ungodliness” mean, according to Mormon doctrine? Since I prefer to let LDS Prophets explain their own scripture, I went searching and found the LDS definition in the Sunday School Teachers Manual for 12 & 13 year olds. In referencing this passage, it explains: “to deny yourselves of all ungodliness” means “give up your sins.” I also learned from the LDS Apostle Neal Maxwell that this includes “both large and small sins”. Can any Mormon actually do this? Can you “give up” all of your sins? What about all the sins of omission: visiting those in prison, praying constantly or not worrying? Could you stop sinning for even one day? If you truly could give up all of your sins wouldn’t that mean you were already perfect in yourself?

The sobering truth is that no one can meet these requirements! No one can deny themselves of all ungodliness and love God with all their might, mind and strength! Not even for one hour. Jesus testified to the rich young ruler that no one is good but God (Luke 18:18). Similarly, no one is Godly but God. Even one little white lie makes a person “ungodly”. No one, except Jesus, even comes close to denying themselves of all ungodliness.

So how does a person qualify for God’s grace? Instead of qualifying for it, like you would a scholarship, it’s more similar to a need-based grant. You have to be poor and needy—you have to be sinful. A righteous person doesn’t need Christ’s Atonement. But guess what—the truth is that no one is righteous. We all need Christ! Jesus said: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth…” (Matthew 9: 12-13). It means that all of us are sick (ungodly) and need the Great Physician who came to heal us!

Christ’s mission for coming to earth was to die for the ungodly. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). If you simply believe this and know that you are among the ungodly—a miracle will happen! In an instant, through belief, you will be made godly through faith in Jesus! You will be perfected in God’s sight forever!

Eternal Consequences

Don’t place your faith in the words of LDS prophets who claim that you must deny yourself of all ungodliness to be found perfect. If you do, you will die in your sins and you will not stand on Judgment Day. Why? Because you rejected the Savior who denied Himself of all ungodliness in your place. All who reject this gift from the Savior are ungodly.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Believe in the God that justifies the ungodly:
– Romans 4: 4-8
Jesus is the Deliverer:
– Romans 11: 26-27
Christ died for sinners – the ungodly:
– Romans 5: 6-8
– Matthew 9: 12-13
– Luke 19:10
– 1 Timothy 1:15
Godly blessed / Ungodly shall perish
– Psalm 1: 1-6
Wrath of God against ungodly:
– Romans 1: 18
– 2 Peter 2:6
– 2 Peter 3:7
God’s law is not for righteous, but for ungodly:
– 1 Timothy 1: 8-9
Links to Additional LDS Words:
LDS Definition of “Denying ourselves of all ungodliness”
– May 1995 Ensign
– Preparing for Exaltation
– Preparing for Exaltation
– JST Mathew 16:25-26
Mormons believe in a god who “justifieth NOT the ungodly”
– JST Romans 4:2-5

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