Stay in the Boat – Part 1

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Many faithful Mormons are having concerns about the Church’s doctrines, policies, and history.  What do you think the LDS leadership’s attitude are toward those doubting members?

I think their attitude toward those members who are having doubts and questioning their faith was demonstrated in a recent church-sponsored, world-wide devotional for young adults. 

 

Dale Renlund, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke with his wife, Ruth.  The address they gave on January 13, 2019, titled “Doubt Not, but Be Believing” was very unkind and uncharitable. 

They told a parable about a boy who, was rescued from the sea.  Once in the boat, the boy became unhappy with the condition of the vessel.  The complaining boy demanded that he be returned to the sea from which he had been rescued. 

"If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.”

George A. Smith

Journal of Discourse Vol. 14 pg. 217

If he were a true apostle – a servant of the Lord – he would have showed understanding and compassion towards these members.  He would have told his audience that doubt is actually a growth-element of faith.  Using the Bible, the Renlunds could have shown that many of Jesus’s own disciples struggled with doubts and a lack of faith.  He could have quoted Hebrews 11:1 which says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

 

And, it would demonstrate these “doubters” aren’t taking their religion for granted.  Latter-day Saints SHOULD compare Mormonism’s historical claims and doctrinal assertions against those of Christianity. 

 

But the Renlunds say that would be a faithless thing to do. 

 

But it is exactly what God calls us to do.  A true apostle of the Lord – John – cautioned us in 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  

 

The Renlunds said that doubt and faith cannot exist in the same person at the same time.  And that doubt NEVER leads to faith.

 

That is a blatant lie.  Here, in the Bible is an example of a man who had faith – but struggled with doubt.  Mark 9:23-24 “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”  If we were completely honest with ourselves – every devout follower of Christ has their doubts from time to time.  That’s when we ask God to strengthen our faith as we get into HIs Word to search for answers. 

 

The Renlunds said that doubt prevents a person from receiving answers from God.

 

Again, that sounds contrary to the message of the Bible.  Even our Lord, Jesus Christ, had doubts in the Garden of Gethsemane about his ability as a mortal man to face the impending physical pain and torcher from the Roman soldiers.  Jesus prayed to His Father – if there was any other way.  The answer to His prayer came in the form of an angel who came to strengthen Him.  It is often when we are in the throws of our doubting and questioning, that we become open to answers from God.

 

The Renlunds also said that doubt leads to being taken captive by the devil.  

 

Sounds like scare tactics to me. 

Try convincing the apostle Thomas of that.  Following Jesus’ death, Thomas rejected the idea that Jesus was alive again.  He said in John 20:25 “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”  For eight days Thomas doubted and disbelieved.  Was he taken captive by the devil – like the Renlunds said would happen?  No!  Jesus appeared to Thomas and provided the evidence Thomas needed.  John 20:27 “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and BE NOT FAITHLESS, BUT BELIEVING.” 

 

And, I love how Thomas responded to Jesus when he said in Verse 28 “My Lord and my God.” 

 

 

Contrary to the bad advice about doubt, given by LDS apostle Dale Renlund and his wife – doubting and questioning are healthy thoughts that lead to study and research in an effort to find truthful answers.  Our sincere intentions and diligent seeking draws us closer in our relationship with God.  

 

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The Moroni Challenge

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Can we trust in our feelings when it comes to proving that the Book of Mormon is true?

Have you ever read and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true? This is a common phrase used by the Latter-day Saint.

The “Moroni Challenge.” Is recorded in the Book of Moroni 10:4-5. 

“And when ye shall receive theses things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

How does God manifest the truth by the Holy Ghost?

“You will feel a burning in your bosom or, a peaceful feeling will come over you.”

So, to prove if anything is true we are to put all our trust in our feelings?  Don’t you think that’s a little dangerous?

Cause God doesn’t use feelings to testify of truth.  Feelings in Scripture are often spoken of as untrustworthy.  Let’s read Proverbs 28:26.

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” 

Is it proper to use feelings as a test for truth?  Our feelings can be influenced by many outside sources which may not be reliable. 

Honestly, I’m convinced the Book of Mormon is not the Word of God.  And it’s not because of anything I felt or failed to feel.  It’s because of what is true and what is not true. 

What do you believe is not true about it?

Okay, “Author and Proprietor Joseph Smith.” is printed and stated in the original 1830 Book of Mormon.  He owned the copyright, and he intended to make money from that.  It is obvious that Joseph knew nothing about the ancient American world or ancient Jewish culture, because he makes some horrible errors and oversights in the Book of Mormon. 

Such as:

The complete lack of archaeological support for the Book of Mormon.
The numerous historical anachronisms in the Book of Mormon.
Racism taught and displayed in the Book of Mormon.
Plagiarism of the King James Version passages in the Book of Mormon. 

So, you see with a logical rational mind I can reason that the Book of Mormon is not what it claims to be.  Certainly not the Word of God.

Elder Young

We realize you have doubts and concerns, but only God can answer them for you.

 

Chris

Elders do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

 

Elder Smith

Of course.  We believe it is inspired Scripture from God.

 

Chris

Do you believe everything the Book of Mormon teaches?

 

Elder Smith

Yes.

 

Chris

Is there anything in the Book of Mormon that you question?

 

Elder Smith

No.  What is there to question?

 

Chris

As I read the Book of Mormon I found that it reflects 19th century American Christianity more than it does current LDS doctrine and teaching. 

When I put the Book of Mormon down and I picked up the Bible and started devouring it.  I started to see God’s word change my life and testify to its truthfulness in ways incomprehensible to me.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt the Bible is the Word of God, and it’s not because of anything I’ve felt.  It was knowledge and realization in my mind that it had to be the Word of God. 

Elder, please read Jeremiah 17:9

 

Elder Young

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

 

Chris

That is what the Bible teaches about trusting the heart.  Our heart, our feelings, our emotions can fool us into believing things that aren’t true or good for us.

Instead of the Bible telling us to pray about it – It teaches us to “search the Scriptures.” 

In our next visit about the Book of Mormon, I’d like to take you to some passages that teach orthodox Christian doctrine.  These will be doctrines the LDS Church currently does not teach, and in some cases would label as false doctrine. 

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Joseph Smith Translation – Matthew 1; Matthew 25; Mark 12-13; Luke 21

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Will you and I be prepared someday to meet the Lord?

In Matthew chapter 24, many prophecies were given which were to be fulfilled as the time of the Second Coming approached.  Chapter 25 continues with instructions on how they were to prepare personally for the Second Coming.  The Savior uses the Parable of the Ten Virgins to teach them.  Verse 1 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”  When the Son of man returns in judgment, the church will be like ten virgins coming to a wedding ceremony.  The coming of Jesus the bridegroom – to receive his church, is often presented like a marriage – with the Church (body of believers) represented as His spouse or bride.  In the Greek the term “virgin” would imply clean vessels, purity by way of being covered by faith in Christ’s blood.  I need to point out in the story that these ten virgins – or maidens – were not brides – but part of the wedding procession.  Verses 2-4 “And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”  Now, throughout scripture oil is often pictured as the Holy Spirit, which is one reason in the Old Testament Levitical priesthood ordinations were accompanied by literally pouring olive oil over the head of the High Priest.  So, half of these virgins possessed oil to fortify their torches – lighting the procession way for the groom and His bride – and the other half did not.

Verses 5-6 “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”  This is a picture of the Second Coming of Christ.  Verses 7-9 “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for the lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”  The five prepared virgins represent those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior.  The five unprepared virgins had not enough faith to believe on Jesus and to accept the gift of eternal life.  That was something the wise virgins could not do for the foolish virgins.  Verse 10 “And while they (the foolish virgins) went to buy, the bridegroom came (catching them unprepared); and they that were ready; went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut.” Locked out – like the shutting door of Noah’s Ark.  Verse 11 “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying Lord, Lord, open to us.”  I can’t help but notice that Jesus uses the very same words as He does back in Matthew 7:21, where He said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  Back to Verse 12 “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”  Finally, Verse 13 “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” 

Before we end, I need to respond to a point made in the Come, Follow Me manual for Individuals and Families.  The manual references Mark 12:18-27 claiming this, “We learn from modern revelation that Jesus’s statement ‘When they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage’ refers to those who have not entered into the covenant of celestial marriage (referencing D&C 132:15-16).  A celestial marriage, in which ‘a man marries a wife…by the new and everlasting covenant,’ will last ‘through all eternity’ if the husband and wife are true to their covenants (referencing D&132:19).”  First, of all the ONLY marriage extolled or celebrated in the New Testament is the spiritual marriage of the believer to Christ.  See 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Revelation 21:2. Jesus didn’t view marriage as something that would extend into the next life.  When Jesus says, in Mark 12:25 “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven,” Christ is making the argument that marriage will not exist in the resurrection.  All of us go to heaven to be judged on our own.  And there, we will be single like the angels.  The Joseph Smith Translation leaves this verse unmodified, so it stands as it’s read in the King James VersionDoctrine and Covenants 132:15-16 adds the provision that it is only those who are not married for all eternity by the proper priesthood authority that will become as angels and remain single.  All others become gods and their marriage continues.  But that is not supported in the Bible nor the Book of Mormon for that matter.  Let’s remember, that when the manual quotes from D&C 132, that the heading of this Section states this, “revelation given through Joseph Smith” is “relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant, as also plurality of wives.”  In the actual passages of Section 132 verses 58 through 66, it states that the “Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth.”  So, this entire Section 132 was written by Joseph Smith to try and convince his wife Emma that he should live polygamy.  He had already married other women behind her back.  So, he was trying retroactively, to get her consent.  If you go to LDS.org which is the new ChurchofJesusChrist.org and read the Gospel Topic Essay titled “Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo” written in 2016, you will find that Smith had at least 40 plural wives.  A third were already married to other men, and another third were teenagers as young as 14.  So, I’m quite surprised that the manual would want to open up that can of worms in this lesson.  

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Keeping the Sabbath?

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What does it mean to keep the Sabbath as a Christian?
We should allow Scripture to answer that. Let’s read what the apostle Paul declares in Colossians 2:16-17. “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
These Scriptures make it clear that, for the Christian, Sabbath-keeping is a matter of spiritual freedom, not a command from God. It is a matter which each Christian needs to fully be convinced in his/her own mind.
Sabbath-keeping was not one of the commands the apostles felt was necessary to force on Gentile believers.

Romans 14:5

Latter-day Saints believe the Sabbath is a day of worship.

Why just one day. We should worship God every day, not just on Saturday or Sunday! There is freedom in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1). And those who choose to practice Sabbath-keeping should not judge those who do not keep the Sabbath. Further, those who do not keep the Sabbath should avoid being a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 8:9) to those who do keep the Sabbath.

Paul sums up the whole issue in Galatians 5:13-14.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

In this way, keeping the Sabbath becomes an issue of conscience where each believer is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in their life, come to their own convictions, but not convince others that they are wrong in their personal convictions on this issue.

There are always people who want to burden others with aspects of the Old Covenant or Law. They want there to be outward demands that make people feel inwardly holy. They want to impose law over grace. That is called religion!

Jesus can be our Sabbath because as it says in Matthew 12:8, He is “…Lord even of the sabbath day.” He decides the true meaning of the Sabbath because He created it.

The New Testament says that “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Jesus was restating the principle that the Sabbath rest was instituted to relieve man of his labors – Just as He came to relieve us our attempting to achieve salvation by our efforts or works.

We no longer rest for only one day, but forever cease our laboring to attain God’s favor. Please read Hebrews 4:9-11.

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

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Apostasy of Church and Scripture

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I’ve noticed that most groups considered as a cult, teach there was an apostasy of the Christian church, causing that true church to disappear from the face of the earth.  Those groups also teach that the Bible had been tainted and corrupted by men. 

Latter-day Saints do not consider their church a cult. But do believe in a Great Apostasy.

Let’s see what Jesus has to say about that?  Will you please read Matthew 16:18?

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus is teaching that Hell, or Hades, cannot stand against the growth of the church.  Yet, that is what the claim of the apostasy is suggests.

Latter-day Saints believe this verse is saying that the church ultimately won’t be overcome by Hades.  Because there will be a restoration of that church centuries later. 

But Jesus here is speaking offensively, not defensively.  Jesus is saying the gates of hell will not be able to withstand the growth of the church.

Admittedly, Scripture does say things would become worse and worse before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  But Jesus would never allow for the church as, a whole, that He is building, that He died for, to be overcome by Satan. 

Latter-day Saints believe the Apostles were killed and there was no one with authority capable of preserving the church.

But you see,it wasn’t up to man to preserve the church. Men weren’t in charge of the Lord’s church.  Jesus was in charge.  And Jesus is fully capable of preserving His church. 

There is an over abundance of Scriptures both in the Old and New Testament that says God’s word will not fail.  He will preserve it.  A beautiful promise made by the Lord himself is in Matthew 24:35.

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

There never was a point in time when the gospel was not available to men.  And there never was a time where the Scripture was tainted to the point where “plain and precious truths” were removed from the them. 

If that did happen, what would that make Jesus?

A false prophet!

Those inspired writers of the Bible went through painstaking labor to bring us the written word.  Take for example, Dr. Luke who thoroughly researched eyewitness accounts when writing his gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.  

“Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus.”

As the Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, their message is that after establishing His church, God allowed it to fall into complete apostasy for many centuries.

Then you would have to ignore another statement Jesus made found in Luke 16:16-17 “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.  And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one title of the law to fail.”   

I want you to read how much God values his word.  Psalm 138:2

“I have reverenced my word, even above my name.”

Do you think God would allow His Word to be changed or corrupted for 1500 years until a fourteen-year-old boy came along who would restore it back to earth? 

And do it, no less, through another book Joseph Smith called scripture?

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The True Jesus

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I have friends who will ask – Are Mormons, Christians?  They think ANYONE who believes in Christ is a Christian.
 Latter-Day Saints say they believe in Christ because it is his name is in the title of their church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If Mormons are Christians, then does that make Christians Mormons?

No, not exactly.

If you believe in Christ, then I have, to ask you – which Christ?

Let’s read 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, where Paul warns about this very thing.

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,  so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

We are warned about deceivers who would come preaching “another Jesus”. 

Latter-Day Saints believe in a Jesus who came to earth 2000 years ago, lived a perfect life, suffered and died for us and then was resurrected. 

But we need to keep in mind what it says in James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”  So even demons believe!
Jesus said it himself in Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name…? And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me…” 

You see,many people who think they know the Lord and serve who they thought was Jesus Christ, don’t have the correct understanding of who God really is. 

Latter-daySaints will argue that they believe in the same Jesus Christ as Christians do. 
Their own church leaders have recognized there is a difference.

LDS Seventy, Bernard P. Brockbank, said “It is true that Christians worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  The Living Christ (Bernard P. Brockbank, 1977 Annual General Conference, Ensign

And, in the June 20, 1998 “LDS Church News” we read: “In the bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the church who say Latter-day Saints do not believe in the traditional Christ.  ‘No, I don’t,the traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of who I speak.  For the Christ of who I speak has been revealed in this dispensation of the fulness of times.’”

A few years later,President Hinckley again stated: “As a Church we have critics, many of them.  They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity.  There is some substance to what they say…” (Ensign, May 2002, p.90)

So, you see!  Even the LDS leaders admit that the Mormon Jesus is a different Jesus than the Jesus of traditional Christianity. 

But Latter-day Saints believe that Mormonism has more to add to the knowledge of who Jesus is. 

There are many differences that we could discuss concerning the Jesus Mormons worship,and the Jesus Christians worship. 

Jesus said in John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”

All I can say is – If the ONLY way to the Father is through His Son as taught in John 14:6, then anyone not believing in the biblical Jesus is in serious trouble.

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Salvation

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What is the Mormon concept of salvation?

Bruce R.McConkie said in his book “Mormon Doctrine”,

“Unconditional or general salvation, that which comes by grace alone without obedience to gospel law, consists in the mere fact of being resurrected.”  And then a couple pages later says,“Immortalityis a free gift and comes without works or righteousness of any sort; all menwill come forth in the resurrection because of the atoning sacrifice ofChrist…In this sense, the mere fact of resurrection is called salvation by grace alone.” (p. 669, 671)

So “unconditional” salvation by grace comes through the resurrection for all mankind.  But you’re also taught, that “conditional” salvation comes through personal works of righteousness.

LDS Third Article of Faith declares: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”

Meaning the laws and ordinances of Mormonism.

Latter-Day Saints believe in doing all one can do and then believing that the grace of God will make up for what we lack. 

I’m familiar with the passage in the Book of Mormon – 2 Nephi 25:23 that declares: “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

This Book of Mormon teaching creates a sense of pride in a Mormon for doing their part to make themselves “worthy”, doesn’t it?

We try to avoid being prideful, but our efforts to keep the commandments is what helps us earn God’s grace.” – They say

However, the abundance of clear biblical scripture leaves no room for us to think our own works could save us in any degree.  I would like to lay a biblical foundation of God’s point of view. 

Isaiah 64:6

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags…”

The Apostle Paul has a lot to say about this.  Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

And, Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

Romans 10:4

“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”

Romans 11:6

“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”

Titus 3:5  

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

You see, the emphasis is not on merit or works.  Rather on grace – God’s free, gift.

How then are we to understand what was said in James 2:20 “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

James is not arguing for good works as a, means to salvation, but rather as a product of salvation.  It might be put like this: “Faith alone saves, but a saving faith is never alone.” 

We are justified before God on, the basis of faith alone and before men on the, basis of our works.  So, we can see that “works” are a result of a life lived out of love for God.  But if one claims to be saved and shows no “works”, he is not truly saved.

What about Philippians 2:12 where it says, ”Wherefore my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Notice, that it does not say “work FOR your salvation” but “work out your salvation” (that which you already possess).  The following verse 13 tells us, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

If the Apostle Paul were telling us we had to do works to be saved, he would be contradicting himself in the very next chapter, Philippians 3:9 says, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

The gospel is the “good news” that Christ purchased our salvation for us.  He redeemed us in full.  All that is left for us to do is believe in Him and receive His free, gift.  “His works” will be manifested in our lives.  

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Article Bible References

  • Isaiah 64:6

  • Galatians 5:4

  • Romans 10:4

  • Titus 3:5

  • James 2:20

  • Philippians 2:12-13

  • Philippians 3:9

The Law of Tithing – Part 3

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The requirements of religion are all about control.  The opposite of that, is a personal relationship with Jesus.

The LDS Church does not allow members to examine any financial records.

LDS members are required to put their trust in the Church leaders and their decision not to disclose the Church’s finances.

Tithing is Essential for membership

LDS.org Article

Tithing is like a celestial investment plan.  LDS President Brigham Young  said  “The law of tithing is an eternal law.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 177)

Follow the Profit: A Guide to the LDS Church’s For-Profit Companies

List of companies owned by the LDS church under the corporate name Deseret Management Corporation. (Because these business’ are all under the non-profit church entity they do not have to pay taxes.)

  • Bonneville International – Media holding company
  • Bonneville Communications – Full service marketing firm.
  • Bonneville Broadcasting – Radio stations
  • 97.3 FM KIRO Radio Seattle
  • 710 AM ESPN Seattle
  • 770 AM KTTH Seattle
  • 92.3 FM KTAR News Phoenix
  • 98.7 FM Arizona Sports Phoenix
  • 620 AM ESPN Phoenix
  • 101 FM KOSI Denver
  • 98.5 FM KTGO Denver
  • 104.3 FM KKFN Denver
  • 1600 AM KEPN Denver
  • 102.7 FM & 1160 AM KSL Salt Lake City
  • 103.5 FM KRSP Salt Lake City
  • 0.3 FM KSFI Salt Lake City
  • Bonneville Distribution – Distribution for TV & radio stations that broadcast Mormon Tabernacle Choir and LDS General Conference
  • KSL 5 TV – NBC TV station
  • Deseret Digital Media – Website management company
  • Deseret News Publishing – News publishing company
  • Deseret Book Co. – Religious goods retailer and distributor
  • Covenant Communications
  • Seagull Book & Tape
  • Shadow Mountain Press
  • Excel Entertainment
  • The Pacific Business News – News outlet servicing Hawaii

AG Reserves – Agricultural holding company

  • AgriNorthwest (Washington) – 60,000 acre farm growing potatoes and wheat
  • Boardman Tree Farm (Washington) – 25,000 acre tree farm
  • Winnecook Ranch (Montana) – 50,000 acre cattle ranch and dry farm
  • Sheridan Ranches (Wyoming) – Information unavailable
  • South Valley Farms (California) – Grows almonds and pistachios
  • Deseret Farms (California) – Grows walnuts and prunes
  • Deseret Land & Lifestock (Utah) – Approx. 200,000 acres cattle & sheep ranch
  • Elberta Valley Ag (Utah) – 160 acre dairy cow ranch
  • Rex Ranch (Nebraska) – 228,000 acre cattle ranch
  • Deseret Cattle Feeders (Kansas) – Information unavailable
  • Sooner Cattle Company (Oklahoma) – 50,000 – 70,000 acre cattle ranch
  • Triangle Ranch (Texas) – 120,000 acre ranch
  • Deseret Ranches (Florida) – 300,000 acre cattle ranch
  • Unknown Name – 383,000 acre timber ranch
  • Trail Creek and Livestock (Montana) – Information unavailable
  • Sun Ranch (Wyoming) – Provides greater access to Martin’s Cove
  • Deseret Ranches of Alberta – 100,000 acre cattle ranch
  • Deseret Ranches – 66,000 acre cattle ranch
  • Deseret Farms of Texas – 10,000 acre farm
  • Hawaii Reserves – Hawaii real estate holding company
  • Laie Water Company – Provides water to all of Laie
  • Laie Shopping Center – 72,000 square feet of shopping and services
  • Laie Park – Laie Hawaii park
  • Laie Cemetery – Laie cemetary
  • Hukilau Beach Park – Beach park in Laie
  • Many other commercial & residential properties

• Property Reserve Inc – Real estate holding company

  • Utah Property Management Associates – Real estate management company
  • Commercial Properties:
  • Beneficial Tower – 20 story office building
  • World Trade Center – 366,696 square foot office building
  • Deseret News Building – 9 story office building
  • Eagle Gate Plaza – 11 story office and parking structure
  • Key Bank Tower – 27 floor office building
  • Social Hall Plaza – 6 floor office building
  • Triad Tower – 3 buildings totaling 48,502 square feet
  • Zions Bank Building – 18 floor commercial office building
  • 139 E South Temple – 38,192 square foot office building
  • JC Penney Building – 15 floor commercial office building
  • Ensign Plaza South – 75,000 office building in Ogden Utah
  • Regent Street – 47,970 square foot office building
  • Orpheum Office Plaza – 24.682 square foot office building
  • McIntyre Building – 11,065 square foot office building
  • Gateway Tower West – 19 floor commercial building
  • 40 East 100 South – 37,089 square foot office building
  • Deseret Book Building – 48,612 square foot office building

Residential Properties:

  • Brigham Apartments – Apartment building in downtown Salt Lake
  • Colonial Court Apartments – Apartment building in Ogden Utah
  • Eagle Gate Apartments –
  • Gateway Condominiums
  • City Creek Landing – Apartment building in downtown Salt Lake
  • West Temple Apartments – 8 story apartment building in downtown Salt Lake
  • Garden Apartments – Apartment building in downtown Salt Lake
  • First Avenue Apartments – Apartments in Salt Lake City

Mixed Use Properties

  • City Creek Center – 700,000 square foot mall in downtown Salt Lake
  • Lake Park Corporate Centre – 260 acrea mixed use development
  • Highbury at Lake Park – Mixed use development in West Valley, Utah
  • Shoal Creek Valley (Liberty, Missouri)
  • 1600 Vine Street Complex – Mixed use development in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Other:

  • Temple Square Hospitality (Catering Company)
  • Beneficial Financial Group (Insurance and Financial Services Company)
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Baptism for the Dead – Part 1

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Mormons believe that individuals who have died can hear and receive the  gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit world.  And through proxy baptism performed for them in an LDS temple, they can attain eternal life in the presence of God.

The important question here is – does baptism for the dead have a basis in the Bible?  Was this Mormon temple rite originally established by Jesus, and taught and practiced by His apostles?

LDS believe the ordinance of baptism for the dead was practiced in the early church, because the Apostle Paul mentions it in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?  Why are they then baptized for the dead?”

The first thing to notice about this verse is that baptism for the dead is only mentioned – it is not actually taught.

The best way to understand any single verse in Scripture is to examine the verses surrounding it.  When we read 1 Corinthians 15:29 in its context it is clear, that resurrection – not baptism – is the dominating theme throughout the chapter.   False teachers had infiltrated the church at Corinth, teaching “that there is no resurrection of the dead” (verse 13).  The whole chapter is devoted to reasons why this is a false teaching.

In verse 29, Paul is pointing out an inconsistency in the practice of these false teachers.  Apparently, they did not believe that the dead would rise (verse 15), but they practiced proxy baptism for the dead.  If the dead do not rise, why did they bother doing baptisms for them?

By carefully noticing the third person pronouns in that passage, one can see who was practicing baptisms for the dead.  Paul says, “…what shall THEY do which are baptized for the dead… Why are THEY then baptized for the dead?”  Paul did NOT say,

“Why are YOU – Corinthian Christians – then baptized for the dead?”

He did NOT say,

“Why are WE – followers of Christ – then baptized for the dead?”

He was asking in effect, a rhetorical question: why these false teachers, who did not even believe in the resurrection, would want to baptize for the dead if the dead will never rise?

Latter-day Saints believe that baptism is necessary for the salvation of all men.

The most important question to ask is:

 Is baptism necessary for salvation?

Because that would be the premise of baptism for the dead.  The New Testament certainly teaches that baptism is an important step, but it does not teach it is necessary to receive forgiveness of sins and to receive eternal life.In that regard, baptism for the dead can not accurately be called a Christian practice.

Mormonism is the first and probably the only religion ever to claim that everyone of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived in history needs to have baptisms performed on their behalf?

The LDS believe that along with baptism – other works for the dead are necessary for their salvation.  As LDS members they do research to get the names of the dead.

It is called genealogy – which by the way – is condemned in the New Testament for religious practices (1 Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9).

In the LDS temple, once the proxy baptism is done for a person, if the dead person is a male, he receives the priesthoods by the laying on of hands.  Then someone must go through what is called the “initiatory” work for the deceased subject.  After that, a person must go through an “endowment” session.  Then the dead subject must go through a sealing of himself to his wife and children.

Once all this “work” is completed by a member of the Mormon Church, the dead person on the “other side” will decide if they want to accept those ordinances or not.  If they don’t, they will never get to live with God.

All, of that busy work requires a living person or persons to spend at least a total of eight hours of proxy work in the temple on behalf of just one dead person.  All of that, including the required ten percent of their income to build these elaborate temple buildings, from one obscure verse totally, misinterpreted and completely misapplied.

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Mother in Heaven – Part 3

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Gospel Topics Essays found onLDS.org  – Mother in Heaven published on October 23, 2015.

We have been discussing the unique Mormon belief that there is a Mother in Heaven.  Or, even, Mother’s in Heaven.

Let’s read on where we left off in that essay.

“Latter-day Saints direct their worship to Heavenly Father, in the name of Christ, and do not pray to Heavenly Mother.”

But why shouldn’t she be worshipped?  If she did her part and “our heavenly parents work together for the salvation of the human family,” shouldn’t she receive some of the credit?

Do Mormons not worship or pray to her because she’s not worthy?  Or because LDS scripture doesn’t say they should?

Where in the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants does it say not to pray to Heavenly Mother?

The essay says,

“In this, they follow the pattern set by Jesus Christ, who taught His disciples to ‘always pray unto the Father in my name.”

Come to think of it – Jesus MUST have known there was a Heavenly Mother!  If she really existed, why is she never mentioned by Him?

“Latter-day Saints are taught to pray to Heavenly Father, but as President Gordon B. Hinckley said, ‘The fact that we do not pray to our Mother in Heaven in no way belittles or denigrates her.’  Indeed, as Elder Rudger Clawson wrote, ‘We honor woman when we acknowledge Godhood in her eternal Prototype.’”

She’s called a “Prototype!”  How flattering!

“As with many other truths of the gospel, our present knowledge about a Mother in Heaven is limited.”

If there really is a Mother in Heaven and the regular LDS member’s knowledge is limited, shouldn’t the Church Prophet – with his ability to receive revelation – provide more details about this mysterious lady?

This short essay really doesn’t do her justice, if she even does exist.

“Nevertheless, we have been given sufficient knowledge to appreciate the sacredness of this doctrine and to comprehend the divine pattern established for us as children of heavenly parents.  Latter-day Saints believe that this pattern is reflected in Paul’s statement that ‘neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.’  Men and women cannot be exalted without each other.  Just as we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven.  As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, ‘Our theology begins with heavenly parents.  Our highest aspiration is to be like them.’”

If LDS theology “begins with heavenly parents,” then it seems more emphasis ought to be given to the other half of the couple – Heavenly Mother.

I just want you to know that when it comes to Christianity, the only real practice or belief that ties Christianity into the LDS view of a Mother in Heaven comes either from paganism and/or the Origin of Mary Worship.  Both of, these have ties to the notion of a Queen in Heaven, which is mentioned in the Old Testament.

Let’s look at Jeremiah 7:17-18.

“Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.”

Here, God warned the Jews who had rebelled against God by honoring “the Queen of Heaven.”

In my estimation all of this Mother in Heaven and Queen of Heaven talk is just another means to get people to take their eyes off the One True and Living God.

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