Same Vocabulary but a Different Dictionary?

When my children were young we lived in Germany for a few years. It was during the 1980’s when the dollar was strong, which meant that we had enough money to travel. We visited Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The people in each of these countries spoke different languages and it was difficult trying to communicate with them. They used different words than I did to convey the same thing. On each trip we took a dictionary to help us translate that country’s language into English, but it wasn’t easy. Somehow we managed to get along and we thoroughly enjoyed our travels throughout Europe.

It wasn’t until after the Holy Spirit brought me to faith that I discovered I had another language barrier with the people around me. But this time I was interacting with Christians. The language barrier was less obvious than when in Europe because we were using the same words—but the meaning was different! Talk about confusing! Even though we used the same words, my understanding of what those words meant was very different than theirs. I realized that because I had grown up in a Mormon family I had been taught a very unique language. I discovered that Mormons speak the same vocabulary as Christians, but they use a different dictionary! Once I recognized that this was the problem it became a lot easier to communicate and to study the Bible.

It took me two years of very intensive Bible study to really understand just the basic truths! Since I was familiar with the Topical Guide in the back of my LDS KJV, I used that as my starting point for each concept or word. Often, simply by studying each passage listed and then reading them in context, I could come up with the true meaning. Once I had done that I would use the Nave’s Topical Guide. This guide always broadened my perspective and often gave me several key passages that had unfortunately been left out of the LDS Topical Guide. After going through the Nave’s I would turn to the Strong’s Concordance and look up every passage using the words suggested by each of the Topical Guides. It was very time-consuming but I loved every minute of it! I still study God’s Word this way (except I now have a computer) and the more I learn the more I desire to dig in and see what God wants me to learn.

The fact that Mormons speak many of the same words as Christians but use a different dictionary causes lots of misunderstandings. Over the next couple of weeks I plan on discussing some of these words and showing the two different meanings.

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Are You One Hundred Percent?

I was reading an article at MormonTimes.com about a talk given by the Young Women’s General President, Elaine Dalton. She issued a “challenge” to Young Women to study the Book of Mormon at least five minutes a day, say morning and nightly prayers and to smile. The article states:
“Elaine Dalton hopes she soon has young women approaching her with two thumbs up. That signifies they are ‘One-hundred Percent’ — one hundred percent in daily prayer, scripture study and what she says may be the most challenging, smiling”.

Two phrases in this article jump out at me. They are “challenge” and “One-hundred Percent”. They bring to mind one of my favorite scenes in the life of Jesus. It is the story about Simon the self righteous Pharisee and the woman who loved Jesus so much she washed His feet with her hair and tears (Luke 7:41). As a Pharisee Simon daily challenged himself to follow the teachings of his Church one hundred percent.

But Jesus used the example of the sinful woman to teach Simon a beautiful message: Someone who is forgiven much—-will love much! This Young Woman did not need to be challenged, because her focus was not on one hundred percent obedience; but rather on her one hundred percent forgiveness. Even through her tears you can see her smiling. Her tears were not ones of pain, guilt or stress; but tears of joy, thanksgiving and devoted love!

As a Mormon I was familiar with the concept of being challenged. I felt guilty reading Jesus’ words: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). I desperately wanted to be worthy but I knew in my heart that I loved my children and husband more than I loved Jesus. Since I didn’t know how to love Jesus more, I challenged myself to worthiness by trying to keep the commandments. And the greatest challenge was putting on a smile over my pain.

It was 1994 when I learned what Jesus tried to teach Simon. That was when I heard the truth that one hundred percent of my sins were forgiven! Like a giddy young schoolgirl I fell in love with the man who took away all my guilt! The love of my life became my Savior Jesus! That was over 14 years ago and I still love Him more than life itself, more than my husband and my children. My love for Jesus transformed me from a person who needed to be challenged to follow God’s commands—to a person who is compelled to follow them by love. Now, I would be challenged to hide my smile!

Elaine Dalton issued the challenge to be “One Hundred Percent”. She said “Can you imagine the implications that this has, if a young woman is 100 percent for 10 years, for 15 years?”

I imagine that the Young Women will dutifully say their prayers every morning and night. They will read the Book of Mormon, checking the clock to see when they have accomplished their goal. But without the knowledge that they have been one hundred percent forgiven, will they be any closer to loving Jesus? Will they be any closer to being compelled by such love?

The desire of my heart is that every Mormon hears they are “One Hundred Percent” forgiven! Can you imagine the implications if every Mormon knew this? They wouldn’t need to be “challenged” to pray and read scripture! Since Jesus would be their very best friend they would willingly pray to Him and their Father in Heaven whenever they could. They would willingly read the Bible—God’s love letters, and pour over its pages for comfort and guidance. And, they certainly would not have to be “challenged” to smile. The joy that comes from knowing you are “One Hundred Percent” forgiven, brings a sincere smile that lasts through eternity!

Click on this link to listen to a short video clip of an ex-Mormon Young Woman who discovered the joy of obedience through love:

Standing Before God on Judgment Day

Today I was listening to a favorite song which stirred up some strong emotions regarding Judgment Day. It is a beautiful reminder of the before and after picture of my life. “Before” I knew I had been forgiven and “after” I received this forgiveness through faith.

Most of my life I dreaded Judgment Day. I believed there would be this huge movie screen which played scenes from each person’s life. It terrified me that every thought, emotion and action from my entire life would be displayed for all to see. I envisioned standing before God as Jesus called my name. As I stood before Him, Jesus would begin Judging my works as they were displayed on the screen. I knew that my eternal destination hung in the balance of my worthiness. I always imagined that Jesus would frown, shake His head and turn His back on me.

The following words from the song remind me of these years as a Mormon:
“I was dreaming about Heaven
Dreamed I was standing at the pearly gates
We were all there and I was so scared
Standing in the presence of One so great.
I felt so very unworthy I felt like running away.
I bowed my head and I turned to go.”

Year after year I felt impending doom whenever I thought of Judgment Day. I was tormented and racked with guilt and shame because I knew I was not worthy to spend eternity in Heavenly Father’s presence. What’s amazing is that these emotions are what finally forced me to seek a Savior. As soon as I sought Him I found He had been seeking me! The Holy Spirit brought me to faith! He bore witness to me that Jesus came to earth to bestow forgiveness on sinners just like me! Thus began my “after” years. On Judgment Day I will have no sins to be judged because all of my sins have been forgiven!

The ending words of the song so beautifully describe the “after” picture of my life:
“Dreamed I was standing at the pearly gates
When I heard someone say
“Father this one’s with me, part of the family.
One of the reasons I died on Calvary.
Father welcome him in, I paid the price for Him.
Father, oh Father this one’s with me.
When I looked up the gates were open wide
And in the distance I saw Jesus
Our eyes met and I began to cry”

Every time I hear this song I get teary—it is a powerful reminder of what Jesus did for me! Now, I can’t wait for Judgment Day because on that Day I get to run to Jesus and put my arms around Him in thankfulness! Do you know that Jesus did this for you too? Jesus died for every person who has ever lived. You are “one of the reasons” Jesus died on Calvary. He paid the entire price for you. The work of your forgiveness was completed over two thousand years ago. You have been forgiven for every sin you will ever commit! If you believe this, on Judgment Day you will hear Jesus say “this ones with me”!

But if you trust in false leaders who testify that the work of your forgiveness is not complete; that it hangs in the balance of your own works—you reject what Jesus did for you! On Judgment Day Jesus will say “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Anyone who points to their own works as a reason they should be allowed to dwell with God will be sent to live eternally with Satan.

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

The Blessing of 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 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. As a Mormon 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 earned. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding a cure.

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

A few 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 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 Mormonism 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 Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compels 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 your eternal life.

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

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 42, “This Is My Gospel?”

LDS Belief:

The “concise, complete definition” of the LDS Gospel is that Jesus was lifted up on the cross so men would be resurrected to stand before God and be judged of their works. No unclean thing can enter into God’s kingdom—only those whose garments have been washed in Christ’s blood. Having your garments washed by Christ’s Atonement is conditional upon having faith, repenting of all your sins and being faithful till the end.

LDS Words

Found in lesson 42, pages 186-187:
Point out that when Latter-day Saints bear their testimonies, they often say that they know the gospel is true. Ask class members to silently consider how they would respond if, after saying “I know the gospel is true,” they were asked, “What is the gospel?

Write “This is my gospel” on the chalkboard. Explain that after Jesus said that His Church must be built on His gospel, He gave His disciples a concise, complete definition of His gospel. Have class members take turns reading verses in 3 Nephi 27:13–22, looking for different aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

3 Nephi 27:15:
And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.

3 Nephi 27:19:
And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.

Link to Lesson:

Lesson 42

The Bold Truth:

The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is the “good news” that Jesus died on the cross and paid the penalty for the sins of the world. Jesus was lifted up on the cross to cover over all sin. Through His shed blood He has washed and cleansed every person from the stain of sin. This Good News has no conditions whatsoever attached to it. This gospel has nothing to do with what any person besides Christ can accomplish. It is based solely on the fact that Jesus successfully completed His mission to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.

I grew up loving New York Cheesecake. My mom had a recipe that was easy to make—no baking and little fuss. When I had children I often made this for them. One evening my husband took me to a restaurant for a special meal. For dessert I ordered the “Authentic New York Cheesecake”. But, when the waitress brought it, I was appalled. It did not look like the cheesecake I was familiar with. I didn’t want to try it but the waitress assured me it was delicious. I took one small bite and felt like I had entered heaven. It was the best thing I had ever tasted in my entire life! I realized that the recipe I had been using all those years was not really New York Cheesecake, even though it was titled such. I had no idea what I had been missing all those years. Now, whenever I see a “fake” cheesecake I identify it immediately because not only does it taste different, it looks different.

In a similar way, I grew up believing in the LDS gospel. It never entered my mind that it might not be authentic. The only doubts I ever had were doubts about my own ability to follow the gospel. I knew I was unworthy and no matter how hard I tried I could not gain forgiveness. My prophets taught me that forgiveness was dependent upon my own works; my ability to keep all the commandments. Every day I failed miserably and every minute I felt unworthy. While I doubted my own ability, I never doubted in the LDS gospel.

A few years after tasting my first authentic New York Cheesecake I tasted the true gospel of Jesus Christ! My loving Father in Heaven rescued me from the torment of my guilt by bringing me the “good news” of His true Gospel. I learned that “gospel” means literally “good news”. The good news is that not only was Jesus worthy for me, He died for me! The good news is that Jesus satisfied Gods’ demands for Justice and Mercy now reigns. The good news is that Heavenly Father has forgiven every single sin you have ever committed. This is a fact proven by His resurrection. Jesus’ entire purpose for coming to earth was to cover our sins with His blood. That is the authentic Gospel. We can discern the true gospel by answering the question from the Lesson “Why was Jesus lifted up?” According to the LDS Gospel the answer focuses on what we have to do—Jesus gives us bodily resurrection so we can be judged by our own works. That is not good news” because our inadequate works make us unworthy! According to the true Gospel the answer focuses on Jesus—He paid the penalty for the sins of the world which washed everyone’s sins with His blood.

I thought I was using the authentic recipe for New York Cheesecake. It wasn’t until I tasted the real thing that I knew the difference. The same was true for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I had no idea what I had been missing for all those years. The true gospel tastes so sweet to me that it is the foundation for everything I do. The good news of the gospel compels me to serve Jesus every minute of every day. Not because I have to, but because I get to!

Eternal Consequences

Anyone who rejects the true gospel of Jesus Christ will stand “unclean” before Heavenly Father on Judgment Day. No unclean person will dwell in the kingdom of God with Jesus, Heavenly Father or the Holy Spirit. The only other alternative is to spend eternity in hell with Satan.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
The Gospel: Why Jesus came:
– Isaiah 61:1
– Isaiah 53:4-12
– Luke 4:17-20
– John 1:29
– Romans 1:16
– 1 Corinthians 1:17-18
– 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
– 1 Peter 1:18-25
– Galatians 3:10-13
– 1 John 2:2
– Hebrews 10:12
– Revelation 1:5
– Revelation 7:14
Don’t believe in false gospels, even if an angel tells it to you:
– Galatians 1:6-9
– 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Even the Apostle Peter had to be reprimanded about following the gospel:
– Galatians 2:14, 16, 21
Additional LDS Words:

Found in lesson 42, pages 186-187:
You may want to invite a class member to list the responses on the chalkboard. Some possible responses follow:

a. Jesus’ submission to the will of the Father (3 Nephi 27:13)
b. The Atonement (3 Nephi 27:14)
c. Resurrection (3 Nephi 27:14–15)
d. Judgment (3 Nephi 27:14–15)
e. Repentance (3 Nephi 27:16, 19–20)
f. Baptism (3 Nephi 27:16, 20)
g. Faith in Jesus Christ (3 Nephi 27:19)
h. The gift of the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 27:20)
i. Enduring to the end (3 Nephi 27:16–17, 19)

Found in lesson 42, page 187:
What did the Savior promise to those who live according to His gospel? (See 3 Nephi 27:21–22.) 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; 22 Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.

3 Nephi 27:13-14:
Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me. 14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—

Links to Additional LDS Words:

Quotes of LDS Prophets about how to gain forgiveness:

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

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

LDS Belief:

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

LDS Words

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

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

Link to Lesson:

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38

The Bold Truth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eternal Consequences

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

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

TofP=Teachings of Presidents of the Church

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

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

Gospel Doctrine Lesson 38: All blessings are predicated upon obedience?

LDS Belief:

Jesus’ Atonement fulfilled the law of Moses. He gave us a Higher Law to follow. Our eternal destination is predicated upon our obedience to this Higher Law.

LDS Words

Found in lesson 38, page 168:
President Lee:
“In His Sermon on the Mount the Master has given us somewhat of a revelation of His own character, which was perfect, or what might be said to be ‘an autobiography, every syllable of which He had written down in deeds,’ and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives” (Stand Ye in Holy Places [1974], 342).

Page 172:
3 Nephi 14: 21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Why must we do the will of Heavenly Father to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven? See D&C 130:20–21: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— 21 And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

Have a class member read 3 Nephi 15:1 aloud. “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had ended these sayings he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and said unto them: Behold, ye have heard the things which I taught before I ascended to my Father; therefore, whoso remembereth these sayings of mine and doeth them, him will I raise up at the last day.”

The Bold Truth:

Jesus came to do God’s will and perfectly fulfilled His Law as our substitute. Our eternal destination depends upon what we believe: “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

For most of my childhood my father held callings within the Church, including Bishop, Stake President and Stake Patriarch. The sentence I most remember my father saying was “All blessings are predicated upon obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.” I am sure he taught this to me over and over because he loved me and he wanted me to learn what he believed was the only way to gain eternal life. These words are actually from a revelation given to Joseph Smith in D&C 130. In this week’s Gospel Doctrine Lesson we are referred to this revelation after the question is asked: “Why must we do the will of Heavenly Father to be able to enter the kingdom of heaven?” The answer, found in this section, is “when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.

God has given to us many laws that must be obeyed before we can dwell in His presence. By far the most daunting command given was when Jesus said we must be as perfect as Heavenly Father Himself! (Matthew 5:48 ) The Apostle Paul revealed that no unclean person can dwell with God (Ephesians 5:5). The sobering truth is that there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

This is why Jesus had to come to save us! He kept God’s commandments for us because we were doomed to failure without Him. Jesus perfectly obeyed God’s will in our place. He came to be our substitute for the righteousness demanded by Heavenly Father. The very purpose of His Atonement was to do what we were unable to do for ourselves—fulfill God’s law. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9). He is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes (Romans 10:4).

From this week’s Gospel Doctrine lesson we see the Mormon belief that Jesus merely came to be our Example—to show us how to gain eternal life through our own obedience. LDS Prophet Harold B. Lee claimed that Jesus lived a perfect life “and in so doing has given us a blueprint for our own lives”. What do you believe Jesus did for you? Did He fulfill God’s law for you? Or did he give you a blueprint showing you how to fulfill the law yourself?

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

Please don’t make the mistake that my father did and teach your children that eternal life is predicated upon their obedience to God’s laws. Instead, teach them the glorious message that, in love, Jesus kept those laws perfectly for them!

Eternal Consequences

If you believe gaining eternal life is predicated upon your obedience to God’s law you will not attain it. On Judgment Day you will be found unclean because you rejected Christ as your substitute for Righteousness. Consequently Heavenly Father will reject you and deny you eternal life.

Additional Testimony of the Bold Truth:
Jesus came to do the will of Heavenly Father:
– Hebrews 10:5-9
Messianic Psalm:
– Psalm 40: 6-8
Jesus submitted to God’s will:
Jesus:
– John 4: 33
– Luke 22: 42
God’s will is to give eternal life to believers:
Jesus:
– John 4: 38-40
Jesus came to fulfill God’s law:
Jesus:
– Matthew 5:17
Christ’s Atonement is the end of God’s law for believers:
The Apostle Paul:
– Romans 10:4