More Mormon Problems

Mormons are anxious to be classified as Christians, but there are many differences between Christianity and Mormonism. I recently discovered a significant one.

The Bible says that anyone who repents and puts his or her faith in Jesus can be forgiven of any sin. There is no sin so big that Jesus’ perfect sacrifice won’t atone for it. Mormons differ. They say that Jesus’ blood didn’t atone for all sins. One exception is murder.

Mormons believe that if they commit murder, they must shed their own blood through their death to atone for that sin (Alma 42:19, Journal of Discourses Vol. 3, p. 243-249, Vol. 4, p. 51-57, Vol. 4, p. 215-221). The problem with this is that according to the Bible, hatred is murder. 1 John 3:15 says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer…”

Who among us hasn’t had a moment of hatred or intense anger at someone at some point in our lives? Who among us hasn’t called someone a name?

Jesus said in Matthew 5:22–23, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

If Mormons wish to remain true to their doctrine, they should submit themselves to the death penalty, post-haste, so that they can still have a shot at attaining their godhood. But the fact is, the Jesus of Mormonism isn’t the true Jesus. He didn’t die for all our sins. He is an idol—concocted by Joseph Smith—who happens to have the same name as the one true God. Mormons need to repent of the idolatry of Mormonism, and put their faith in the true Jesus of the Bible, whose sacrifice atones for all the sins—past, present, and future—of those who believe in Him.

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41 Responses to More Mormon Problems

  1. Jay says:

    Excellent cross reference between the Mormon book Alma and the true teaching from God’s Word! I hope and pray that Mormons will find the true Jesus of the Bible.

    Good post.

  2. Jay says:

    Once again LDS scripture is taken out of context to prove a point about Mormonism that isn’t even true in the first place.

    If you read Alma 42:19 in context it is not saying that you must die if you commit murder. If you read the next verse it is using murder as an example to show that if there was no law against sin there would be no deterrent for man to sin.

    Brigham Young taught about the shedding of one’s own blood to atone for sin (i.e. blood atonement). This is not doctrine of the LDS Church. It is false and sprang from Brigham Young’s own imagination. Proof of this is that he is the only one that taught it. If it were doctrine it would still be taught it today like many other early doctrines that persist (e.g. LDS Godhead, Eternal marriage, necessity of priesthood).

    The problem I see with many critics of the LDS Church is that they do not understand Mormonism. Many of the arguments rendered (including the one above) are so weak as to only convince those that know little about Mormonism or those that already agree with the writers main premise that the LDS faith is false.

  3. billphillips says:

    Jay,

    The problem is that LDS doctrine is constantly changing. Whenever someone comes up with a valid criticism, all you have to do is change the doctrine, or deny it ever was a doctrine. So what happens when in 30 years what is politically correct makes today’s doctrine obsolete and embarrassing? I guess it’s a good strategy, unless you’re actually betting your eternal soul on it. I’m sure those who acted on their belief in blood atonement believed it really was doctrine.

    So according to LDS doctrine, is Jesus’ sacrifice adequate to atone for all sins?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  4. Jay says:

    I once watched a documentary about the Secret Service. You know how they become experts at recognizing counterfeit currency? The don’t study all the counterfeits. They only study the real deal. That’s how they become experts at recognizing counterfeit currency.

    I was given a small Mormon tract recently. It wasn’t the whole Book of Mormon and all its teachings. It sounded nice—just a few pages. You might even say it sounded “Christian”. But you know something, even the introductory paragraphs were chock full of distortions of true, Biblical Christianity. So, I’m sorry, but Bible believers do not need to “understand” Mormonism or get a religious studies degree to recognize its errors. When you know the Truth it’s very easy to spot non-truth. Christians need only study the Truth found in God’s revealed Word—not Joseph Smith’s book.

    By the way, Jay (#2?), you just admitted that Brigham Young was a false prophet and/or taught falsely.

  5. billphillips says:

    Jay (oldfordroad.wordpress.com),

    Those are excellent points. Thanks for your comments.

    Jay (mormonstalk.wordpress.com),

    Joseph Smith said in Documentary History of the Church 5:296, “I am opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground and let the smoke ascend thereof up to God…”

    It seems like Joseph Smith esposed the idea of blood atonement as well as Brigham Young. In the Bible, there were no prophets that were sinless (except Jesus). Nevertheless the standard for a prophet was perfection in what he claimed came from God. If he said anything false, he was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

    Thanks,
    Bill

  6. Adam Smith says:

    This was a great post, Bill! I always love a post that starts “conversation.” (I say conversation, because as you know, you will not convince people such as the first Jay just by writing a blog).

    It is at this moment that I am reminded of 1 Peter 3:15-16.

  7. Jarom says:

    Well, we seem to have a small problem here. But one that is not difficult in settling. The first Jay was right in that the scripture from Alma was taken out of context to prove a false point. The second Jay was correct in stating that if the first Jay was entirey accurate, Brigham Young taught false doctrine. The truth is the Latter-Day Saints do believe in repentance from murder, but it is, like all other forms of repentance, difficult to a level related to the severity of the sin. Men can and have repented of murder. But the doctrine of putting the murderer to death is misinterpreted here. Latter-Day Saints also believe in a period following this life, but prior to Judgment. This period is referred to as the Spirit World, wherein the righteous teach those who did not receive Christ’s gospel in their earthly lives. Think about it. Many die without ever hearing Christ’s message in the East. Would a just God condemn them in their innocence? So there is an opportunity for these men to repent and accept their Savior. This also explains the LDS practice of postmortal baptism. Hope this clears up any misconceptions you might have had.

  8. billphillips says:

    Adam,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Jarom,

    Thanks for your comment. I think Jay and I have worn each other out in previous conversations, so I don’t blame him if he doesn’t want to write back, but I hope you can answer some of my questions. What Bible verse talks about a period of time between death and judgment? There are several different judgments, but The Bible teaches that each person either goes straight to heaven or hell immediately after death (Hebrews 9:27, etc.).

    I believe it is just for God to send anyone who has told a lie to hell, regardless of whether they’ve heard the gospel. We all have a God-given cosncience, so when we tell a lie, it is with full knowledge that it is wrong. All cultures believe it is wrong to lie. Because they’ve willingly broken His law, and because creation declares the existence of the Creator we’ll all give an account to, it is perfectly just for God to send people to hell regardless of whether they ever heard the gospel.

    Do you think anyone will reject the gospel when it’s explained to them after death? I would say no one would ever reject it at that time. If you believe that they’re going to hear the gospel after death, and almost certainly accept it at that time, why would you ever send out a 19 year old kid to express the gospel to someone on their doorstep? I’m sure most people reject Mormonism when approached on earth, so you’re really doing people a disservice to send out missionaries.

    I don’t think the question is whether someone can repent of murder, but whether Jesus sacrifice is adequate to atone for the sin of murder.

    If Brigham Young is a false prophet, have you thrown out the rest of his teachings? What about Joseph Smith? It’s clear he also was a false prophet. Have you thrown out his teachings–if not as a church as a whole, then as an individual?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  9. Jarom says:

    As to Bible chapter and verse, I’ll do my best. Here goes: John 20:17. The resurrected Christ stands before Mary Magdalene and commands her not to touch him, for He has “not yet ascended to [His] Father.” At this point, He was dead for three days. If he did not go to His Father (to Heaven) where did he go? I personally find it difficult to believe that He just disappeared. The LDS Church, through modern revelation, teaches that He went to set up the missionary efforts in the Spirit World.
    As to a sure conversion after death, I think you misunderstand what I mean by after death. The spirits of those who never receive the Gospel receive it after death at the hands of missionaries, not God himself. It is taught in almost the exact same way our missionaries do in this life. You would think that if a person received the Gospel from Christ, they would believe it, but the New Testament teaches us otherwise. Christ taught the Jews, and yet through their evil plannings, he was crucified.
    As to a missionary attempting to teach someone the Gospel damning them, you’re putting words in my mouth. I did not say that any contact, no matter how brief, constituted learning about the Gospel. My grandfather was married for years to an LDS woman. He was Southern Baptist, and a good man. He never did have the entirety of the Gospel laid before him in this life. My grandmother loved him very much, and so she didn’t press him to do something he didn’t want. Several years after his death, my grandmother had a dream, in which he asked her to have his baptism performed in the temple. He told her that he had been taught by missionaries and had accepted their words. His Temple work was done, and I believe he is waiting for the day when he and my grandmother can enter the Celestial Kingdom together.
    Now about Brigham Young. I didn’t say he *was* a false Prophet. I said that if he taught things that were not in harmony with Church doctrine, that would make him a false Prophet. The first Jay suggested that he taught his own personal non-doctrinal (I believe he said false) beliefs, but that the Church did not accept them. I would ask him for a specific example, because I know of none. I accept every word he said as a Prophet as doctrine. Joseph Smith as well. They were men, subject to fallacies, but God does not allow His Church to be led astray.

  10. Jarom says:

    By the way, I didn’t find what you said in Hebrews 9:27. Maybe our different editions of the Bible are very different, but the King James Version says that after death comes judgment, not that immediately after death, a person finds him- or herself in heaven or hell. Perhaps a different reference might yield a different answer. I’m open to any questions (or arguments) you may have about this.

  11. Jarom says:

    One more thing. I would suggest to you that 1 Corinthians 15:40-42 suggests the existence of postmortal realms other than simply heaven and hell.

  12. billphillips says:

    Jarom,

    Thanks for the discussion. I always enjoy finding out what other people believe and why. I guess I misunderstood who you believed would be presenting the gospel to people after their death. Thanks for clearing that up.

    Concerning heaven or hell, take a look at Matthew 25:31-40. Everyone is either a sheep or a goat that goes to heaven or hell.

    Why if Brigham Young taught blood atonement, and you think that doctrine is bogus, do you continue to believe he was a prophet? The standard for a prophet is perfection (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). Also, I hope you can answer whether you believe Jesus’ sacrifice was adequate to atone for all sins.

    Another question I had is how many gods do you believe in? I understand that you believe that Jesus is one god, the Father is one god, and the Holy Ghost is another god, so that’s three. Doesn’t that make Mormons polytheist?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  13. Jarom says:

    Matthew 25:31-40 talks about the Second Coming. Interesting you should bring that up. At the time of the Second Coming, according to LDS doctrine, Satan and his followers are to be bound 1000 years in hell, while the righteous live in the Millenium on this earth. They will build the Kingdom under the direct instruction of Christ himself. At the end of the 1000 years, those bound in hell will be given free rein one last time. Satan will descend on the people and tempt them for the last time. Then comes Judgment. By this point, everyone has been taught the Gospel. Everyone has a chance to succumb to Satan or endure to the end.
    As for Brigham Young’s teachings, I am not familiar with blood atonement. This doesn’t mean that he didn’t teach it, but if it is not doctrine, he didn’t teach it while he was the Prophet. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure exactly what it is, so I don’t know whether or not it is doctrine. You’re right. The standard for a Prophet, from a leadership standpoint is perfection. The Prophets cannot lead the people astray. God doesn’t allow it.
    Jesus’ sacrifice and atoning blood *did* atone for all sins. Every sin, every pain, every negative experience, he paid for it. The choice is up to the Sinner, whether or not to accept that gift. It’s difficult, but worth it.
    The Godhead: I don’t get tired of talking about this one. God the Father is one God. Jesus Christ is one God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament. The Holy Ghost is one God, who, like the other two, will one day take on a body of flesh and bone. These three, being one in purpose, are one Godhead, a concept different, though not entirely so, from the Trinity.

  14. Jarom,

    You believe in three gods. That is polytheism/plurality of gods.

    The Bible is so clear that there is only one God.

    The LORD says in Isaiah 43:10, “…before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

    “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God”
    (Isaiah 44:6).

    “Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:8-9).

    The New Testament says the same thing in Ephesians 4:6-7, 1 Corinthians 8:4, and a ton of other places. It never says there are three gods occupying one godship. It is so clear that there is only one God. The Bible talks about false gods such as idols and demons or the one true God.

    Do you believe that baptism is required for salvation? Do you believe that other good works are required for salvation?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  15. Brad says:

    “Brigham Young taught about the shedding of one’s own blood to atone for sin (i.e. blood atonement). This is not doctrine of the LDS Church. It is false and sprang from Brigham Young’s own imagination. Proof of this is that he is the only one that taught it. If it were doctrine it would still be taught it today like many other early doctrines that persist (e.g. LDS Godhead, Eternal marriage, necessity of priesthood).” (Jay)

    Jay, we have a problem here. If this is NOT doctrine of the LDS church (as you say), then why was the leader of the LDS church at the time (Young) teaching it? Whether it is taught today is completely irrelevant. It was taught by Young during the time Young was the Prophet. If he was a Prophet, then he would need to be perfect in whatever information he was feeding to others, and it would have to perfectly line up with what Scripture says. If it doesn’t, then he can’t be considered a prophet. If it does, then he can be. You’re saying it doesn’t line up with what the LDS church currently teaches (and I say it doesn’t line up with the Bible’s teachings, either), therefore by definition he can’t have been a true prophet. Yet he is regarded as a true prophet by the LDS church. There is absolutely no way around this, no twisting of words that can take it away, b/c it’s history that anyone can see. The LDS church is contradictory.

  16. Jarom says:

    Before going any further on the “polytheism” thing, I’d like a little bit more information on your standpoint. What is Christ’s relation to God the Father? Is he a man and not a god? If Jesus is God, how does he pray to Himself (John 17 is one of many prayers offered by Jesus to His “Father”)? If he is a man, how was he born without a father of this earth?
    As for baptism, absolutely. The Bible teaches: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (John 3:5)”
    Good works? Definitely! Once again, from the Bible. James 2:17-18: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    “Yea, a man may say, Thou has faith and I have works: Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

  17. Brad says:

    “Latter-Day Saints also believe in a period following this life, but prior to Judgment. This period is referred to as the Spirit World, wherein the righteous teach those who did not receive Christ’s gospel in their earthly lives. Think about it. Many die without ever hearing Christ’s message in the East. Would a just God condemn them in their innocence? So there is an opportunity for these men to repent and accept their Savior. This also explains the LDS practice of postmortal baptism. Hope this clears up any misconceptions you might have had.” (Jarom)

    Take a gander at Romans 1:18-20, and then tell me again if you think that ALL will not have an opportunity for salvation in this life. Based on that passage, it’s pretty clear that ALL will. Those in the East are no different than anywhere else – if they die unsaved, they are then permanently in hell, without Jesus. Period. It’s sad, but it’s in the Bible. By saying that they could die without ever having heard the gospel, you’re assuming (incorrectly) that humans are REQUIRED in order for God to spread His Word or for anyone to be saved. That’s putting a human limitation on God that we have no right to do. Romans 1 doesn’t say that every person will literally have a missionary come to their door and go over the points of salvation with them, but it does say that everyone has enough evidence to point them to God, so much so that ALL ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE!

    You also talk about a “just” God. We should all be thankful that God is not only just, but also full of grace and mercy. For if He were simply just, then we would ALL get what we deserve – hell. For NONE of us, when compared to a holy and righteous God, deserve to be in His presence. It can be summed up like this:

    Just – getting what we deserve (hell)
    Mercy – not getting what we do deserve (not going to hell)
    Grace – getting what we don’t deserve (heaven)

    By implying that a “just God” wouldn’t “condemn them in their innocence”, you’re also implying that condemnation is not what we deserve from the start, b/c of our sinful state. And nothing could be further from the truth.

  18. Brad says:

    “Before going any further on the “polytheism” thing, I’d like a little bit more information on your standpoint. What is Christ’s relation to God the Father? Is he a man and not a god? If Jesus is God, how does he pray to Himself (John 17 is one of many prayers offered by Jesus to His “Father”)? If he is a man, how was he born without a father of this earth?” (Jarom)

    Ah yes, folks, step right up for Round 1,386,495 of “It Doesn’t Make Human Sense, So It Can’t Be True”! B/c this is always the argument that is made. “Gee, it doesn’t seem possible, therefore it can’t be.” Problem is, we’ve then brought God down to OUR level, rather than acknowledging that He is on a level we can’t fully comprehend.

    Christ’s relationship to God the Father is as His Son. It is God the Son compared to God the Father. However, you must remember that Jesus had a dual nature – He was fully God, and yet fully man while on Earth. He ate, drank, laughed, cried, was peaceful, was upset, and experienced pain, like any other human. Yet at no point was he not fully God. Do I fully COMPREHEND it? No – nor can anyone FULLY comprehend it. But do I APPREHEND it? Yes – as can anyone. Was He a man? Yes. Was He also God (not just “a” god, but the ONLY God)? Yes. In John 17, as is a classic Mormon mistake, you are forgetting the dual nature of Jesus while on Earth. He is still praying to God the Father (b/c Jesus is NOT God the Father, but God the Son), yet He is still God, but the man Jesus, as well. How was he born without a physical father? B/c God effected His birth through the Holy Spirit. Do you know of anyone else who this has ever happened to? No – b/c it was a one-time event that God willed, solely to bring Christ to us as flesh. The problem with Mormonism (and any other religion which doesn’t believe this) is that to the human mind, it just doesn’t “seem” logical, therefore it is not believed. But that’s placing way too much faith in ourselves and our limited ability to understand things about God, and not enough faith in God and His ability to do anything!

    “As for baptism, absolutely. The Bible teaches: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. (John 3:5)” (Jarom)

    C’mon, Jarom, this is more of the same classical mis-interpretation from the LDS church. For one, this verse is WIDELY debated as to the correct interpretation. For others, what about the situations where people were not baptized? The Old Testament? The thief on the cross? What about Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Where is the mention of baptism? What about John 3:16, which also does not mention baptism? Nowhere in a correct interpretation of Scripture is baptism shown to be a requirement for salvation. What it is shown to be is the first thing we should do AFTER salvation, to signify to others the change we have made. I’m not disputing it’s importance as an ordinance of the church – I’m disputing it’s necessity for salvation.

    “Good works? Definitely! Once again, from the Bible. James 2:17-18: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    “Yea, a man may say, Thou has faith and I have works: Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (Jarom)

    Wow, more of the same. Again, a complete misunderstanding of James (especially as it relates to Ephesians 2:8-9). Without going into the textual rules and study of original Greek that make this an incorrect translation (b/c the context of the words used for “works” do not lend themselves to the same meaning in both passages), a short explanation will have to do. The passage in James NOT teach that salvation is accomplished by any human effort, but rather that no one can SEE one’s faith without works. James uses Abraham as his example, just as Paul did in Romans 4. However, James discusses how one’s actions “justify” him before other MEN, while Paul discusses justification before GOD (how one becomes saved). Between these 2 passages, the object of who we are justified BEFORE is different (James = men, Romans/Eph. = God). In fact, if the Bible were to be interpreted as you think above, it would be completely contradictory to Eph. 2:8-9, so unless you believe the Bible to be contradictory (which I don’t believe you do, as I don’t), it CAN’T be interpreted as you, and the LDS church, believe.

  19. billphillips says:

    Jarom,

    Jesus is one with the Father (John 10:30). There is only one God. Jesus isn’t the Father, and the Father is not the Son, but they are nevertheless one with each other. Jesus is fully God (Col 2:9). He is eternal and unchanging (John 8:58, Col. 1:17, Hebrews 1:11-12, 13:8). He is fully man (Luke 24:39). He submitted Himself to living a human life, under the law (Galatians 4:4). His humanity worshiped the Father, prayed to the Father, etc., but people worshiped Him (Matthew 14:33), and prayed to Him (Acts 7:59), because He is God.

    His birth was supernatural, Mary had no physical relations with God or anyone else. Jesus was born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1).

    If you don’t have a proper understanding of who Jesus is, and believe He is the brother of the devil, and one of many gods, you will die in your sins, and spend eternity in hell (John 8:24). I have to be blunt, because I care about where you spend eternity.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” If you’re adding baptism or any other work to your salvation, you’re trying to add works to your salvation. This is a different gospel than the one in the Bible (Galatians 1:8-9).

    It’s like baptism and good works are smoke. You’re trying to make smoke, hoping God will give you a fire. God gave me a fire (as a free gift) when He made me born again, and smoke results naturally. If someone claims to have fire, but really has no smoke, you can tell they don’t really have a fire. That’s what the verses talking about works are getting at.

    In John 3:5, Jesus is explaining what being born again means. You’re born once from your mother, and again spiritually. When you’re born from your mother, her water breaks. This is what Jesus is talking about when He says you must be born of water. If you read the chapter, it doesn’t even say anything about baptism. You’re reading something into that verse that isn’t there.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  20. billphillips says:

    Thanks Brad, those are good points. It looks like we agree.

    Jarom,

    I’m still not sure about what the truth is concerning the LDS doctrine of blood atonement. I don’t have these Mormon books, so maybe you can tell me about what this says, and the significance of these books (Doctrines of Salvation and Journal of Discourses), and whether they are doctrine or opinion:
    Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Smith, Vol. I p. 135

    Thanks for your help.

    Bill

  21. Jarom says:

    Brad, I think with Romans 1, you don’t necessarily prove your point. The verse does not say in this life, though I agree with the point that no one will have an excuse at Judgment. All will have had the Gospel preached to them in its fulness. God doesn’t require humans to do His work. I didn’t say that. Because there are righteous men, God does use them to do His work, and I think that’s a wonderful opportunity for us as men to act on behalf of God. God is just and merciful, absolutely. My point is this: would he, being both, extend mercy to you and not to me if we both repent, or vice versa? I don’t think so. There is a quote often used in our Church, from the Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 25:23 “…for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” This implies two parts: Number one is to do something. After that, number two comes into play: God grants grace to make up for what we just don’t have.
    You make a great point about God the Father and God the Son. He was both God and man at the same time, something which, as you say, is completely beyond our grasp as mere mortals. I, however, do not understand what you say when you claim there is one God ONLY and that God and Jesus are not the same being, and that God the Father and God the Son are separate. If he is God and he is not the Father, then he is also God.
    Baptism once again: Here we go. I believe I already stated the facts about the LDS doctrine on baptism for the dead. I love the practice. It gives me hope that I will live with my grandfather (who, in this life, was a Southern Baptist) in the Celestial Kingdom. You point out the thief on the cross and the reference by Jesus to “paradise.” I, personally note the definite lack of the word heaven. The dual nature of the Spirit World now comes into play. The term, “paradise,” as understood by Latter-Day Saints, refers to the Spirit World, but specifically, those people who are there to teach. If Christ taught the thief on the cross, he could then teach others. Make sense?
    Before I go on, though, I would like to say that Bill asked me what I believed and I answered candidly. I don’t appreciate the cynicism in your comments. I will be civil with you. Will you please return the favor?
    I didn’t say that works are all that is necessary. Once again 2 Nephi 25:23. After all that we can do, we are saved by grace. I know that God must intervene on behalf of humans, as we are incapable of saving ourselves. If we were, we would not need Jesus Christ, and that is blasphemous to believe that. I’ll admit that the English translation of the Bible can be, from time to time, tricky. The original Greek, Hebrew, and Latin might have had different connotations. The LDS Church readily acknowledges that fact: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. (Articles of Faith 8)” The operative words are not “Shew me thy faith,” but rather “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” This means that faith alone won’t save us, but I emphasize that I never said that works alone saved us either. As to the passage in Ephesians, I believe it. I believe that salvation does not come about solely by works. That’s all it says. It doesn’t say works have no part in it. You seem to imply that. I don’t read that into it.
    Bill: I’ve got to say some of the same to you. I don’t understand the “Jesus is God. Father is God. Jesus is not the Father. There is ONLY one God” mentality. I’m not saying it has to be wrong, and that you’re going to hell for believing it. I’m saying that I don’t believe it.
    As to being born of water, it looks like we have a definite difference of opinion. In the LDS Church, “born of water” means baptism. To add weight to my point, I access another of Christ’s teachings. When He approached his cousin, John the Baptist, He said that He was “fulfill[ing] all righteousness.” If Christ, being perfect, had need of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, I believe we all do.
    Last point (breathing heavily): blood atonement. I don’t have those books readily available myself. I just moved and brought very little with me. I have no transportation, so I can’t access them. I do have our Church’s book, “True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference,” and blood atonement isn’t mentioned that I can see.
    What I’d like to leave you both with, though, is that the true identifier of my faith is not all these deep doctrines or even basic ones. The fact is that God has told me (through a burning Spirit) that Joseph Smith had a vision. That he saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. That he received, through inspiration, an ancient record, engraved upon gold plates. That he translated that record by the power of the Holy Spirit. That that record is today known as “The Book of Mormon.” Because of my testimony in those things, God is able to help me accept the rest, even if it doesn’t always make sense to my mortal mind. I offer this testimony to you. I have felt the Spirit, at least once, in the attendance of every LDS Church meeting since the time of my true conversion to the Gospel. I have felt the Spirit testify of truth. I know that God has restored His Gospel to this earth. (By the way, the Bible talks about that too. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)) I don’t know everything. I don’t profess to know everything. In answering your questions, I have had to consult with my Priesthood leaders more than once. I do, however, know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has God’s Gospel. I say this without boasting, because it is obvious to me that you each possess a portion of God’s Gospel. That’s what’s so unique about the Church. If you bring us what you know, we can add to it until your knowledge is full. Don’t ever think that we, collectively, think ourselves better than you. As my Bishop always used to say: “The Church is not a retirement community for those who have already been saved. The Church is a hospital, where we can bring our injuries and have them made whole through the redeeming blood of Jesus the Christ.” I bear witness to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, that the words I’m saying are true. I would ask that if you have not read the Book of Mormon, you consider it. There is a passage near the end, which reads: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye woud 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 tht truth of all things. (Moroni 10:4-5)” This is what happened for me, and I know that it can happen again for you. My prayers are with you. I appreciate the fact that you allow me to speak this way. Many people don’t. It is in Christ’s name that I bear my testimony to you. Amen.

  22. Jay says:

    bill,
    Sorry I’m very busy, but I think the conversion is interesting. I really liked the scripture you keep referring to Deut. 18 20-22. I think it proves the point I was making earlier. Deut. 18: 21-22 it says,

    “21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
    22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. ”

    So you see that even though Brigham Young may have said things that were not doctrine he can still be a prophet. I am not bound to believe something that is speculation or opinion. Brigham Young was a very opinionated man.

    Jay,
    I never admitted that Brigham Young was a false prophet. Did he teach false things? I believe he did, but I challenge you to show me someone that doesn’t (other than the Savior). Everyone says false things when they don’t understand what they are talking about. It is mostly out of ignorance and not because they are intentionally trying to deceive.

    Jarom,

    Brigham Young did teach things that are not doctrine and offensive. He speculated about things that he didn’t know. Most anti-Mormons are aware of these speculations and like to insist that they are doctrine of the LDS faith. Many people have left the Church based on offensive things that Brigham Young said. However, others have been inspired by his leadership during the exodus from Nauvoo. If you think everything Brigham Young said is doctrine, you might want to reconsider because you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. Our prophets are not perfect men and although we look to them for leadership it’s important to remember that. If you would like to know specifically what I am talking about you can email me @ mormonstalk@gmail.com. I’d be happy to give examples of what I am talking about.

  23. billphillips says:

    Jarom,

    You’re bearing testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, but your Jesus isn’t the same as mine. I am monotheistic, and you’re polytheistic, so while the name of our God is the same, they’re clearly different. While it’s great to have good feelings, our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and we can fool ourselves rather easily. It’s been fun discussing this with you.

    Jay,

    How do you decide which statements of Brigham Young are doctrine and prophecy or just him stating the opinion of a sinful man?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  24. Jay says:

    This is a valid question, one that I have had to work through myself. I have been faced with it since the first time someone told me that the Adam-God theory was doctrine of the LDS Church. I was confused because I didn’t even know what the Adam-God theory was (mainly because no one has taught it since BY). How could there be doctrine that a lifetime member like myself didn’t know about? As I studied further the history of such statements I came to realize that prophets and leaders sometimes pontificate (Deut. 18: 20-22). Brigham Young, Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith and even Joseph Smith at times stated opinions or thoughts authoritatively. Their statements were recorded and later used as proof that the LDS Church teaches these things and that they are doctrine.

    Speculation of LDS leaders is something like a car mechanic trying to explain astrophysics. He knows nothing about it, but does his best using his own life experiences to explain to his child what gravity is. He may be totally off, but the child will accept his explanation until he learns for himself that what his Dad told him wasn’t true. The child doesn’t lose faith in his Dad as a Father or leader of the family. He becomes more aware that his Dad doesn’t know everything and that sometimes he is not speaking from his knowledge, but giving his opinion.

    A sure way to spot if something a prophet says is not doctrine is to look at how the statement has held up over time. Has the person that stated the “doctrine” been consistent? Is there a consensus on the issue among the 12 Apostles and the Prophet? When you ask these questions many of the anti-LDS arguments go away because you begin to realize that the things they are using to attack the LDS faith are just opinions and never were doctrine of the Church (e.g. Adam-God, God had sex with Mary, Blacks/priesthood).

  25. billphillips says:

    Jay,

    I agree that someone like Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet, was a sinner, who sometimes said stupid things. But, in his capacity as a prophet, did he ever say anything really stupid about God or about some doctrine?

    Another test for false teachers is whether what they’re saying is biblical or not. Matthew 7:15-20 also says that you can tell a false prophet by the fruit they bear.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  26. Jay says:

    I don’t know if Isaiah ever said anything “stupid”. I don’t believe that we have all the words he ever said as a prophet. We only have the ones that people thought were important. If he did say something that was thought to be in error, I’m sure it would have been removed long before we ever read the text.

    Overall I think Brigham Young’s fruits were good (although I am aware that someone could make an argument to the contrary). I suppose that it is up to the individual to decide if he believes the fruit to be bad or good.

  27. Terry says:

    While Jay and Jarom may disagree with the doctrine of blood atonement, or not be aware of it, to the best of my knowledge it is still doctrine of the LDS church. If it’s still a doctrine today, that’s a huge problem as Bill pointed out in this post, if it’s no longer doctrine it’s a huge problem that prophets of the church are false prophets.

    Like Bill already pointed out, take a look at: Journal of Discourses Vol. 3, p. 243-249, Vol. 4, p. 51-57, Vol. 4, p. 215-221, and Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Smith, Vol. I p. 135.

    Brigham Young said your own blood must atone for some sins.
    “There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it . . . ” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, page 247; see also, Vol. 4, pp. 53-54, 219-220.)

    Brigham Young said his discourses are as good as Scripture.
    “I say now, when they [his discourses] are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible . . . ” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 264; see also page 95.)

    Brigham Young said he had never given any counsel that was wrong.
    “I am here to answer. I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all the instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16, page 161.)

    Brigham Young compared his sermons with scripture.
    “I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom…I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, p. 95.)

  28. steffielynn says:

    Bill, Mormons believe differently than you it’s true. I was raised in a Lutheran church and always considered myself a “Christian” Now I am LDS and I STILL consider myself Christian (even MORE so now!) Mormons are the best Christians I have ever met!

  29. Jay says:

    Why would you say that blood atonement is still doctrine of the Church? Is there some official statement you know of? I’ll stand up before my LDS congregation and say that blood atonement is false. Apart from getting a lot of weird looks, nothing else would happen. If it was doctrine I would be excommunicated or at least brought in and talked to. If you are aware of Blood atonement being taught as doctrine please let us know. Instead of saying LDS doctrine you might want to use the term LDS thought. Brigham Young had many thoughts, many of them not supported by scripture or by anything that Joseph Smith said. Having his own thoughts and ideas doesn’t make him a false prophet it makes him a thinking individual.

    It is silly to think that Brigham Young never gave out wrong counsel. He was an imperfect man, even if you accept him as a prophet. His statement that he never gave wrong counsel is proof of his imperfection.

  30. billphillips says:

    Steffielynn,

    Mormons are very nice people.

    It’s not your faith that is important. It’s the object of your faith that is important.

    What about Isaiah 43:10, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” Where in this verse do you find the loophole that allows you to be a polytheist? Where does it allow for you to become a god? (Or maybe just your husband can become god? I’m not sure.)

    We’ve all lied, stolen, looked at someone with lust, thereby committing adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). We’re guilty of breaking God’s holy law. If you don’t have a proper understanding of who Jesus is, God will hold you accountable for those sins (John 8:24), and you will spend eternity in outer darkness.

    Please trust in Jesus alone for your salvation. Not your baptism, not temple ceremonies, but Jesus alone.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  31. Cherryn says:

    So BILL, basically what you have stated above, is that you belive that if a person does not have an absolute understanding of who GOD/JESUS is then they will be punished by spending eternity in outer darkness…

    If that is what you preach, I can understand why people dont want to listen.. At no point in my life have I ever witnesses such punishments… every indication that I have seen of God is a creator who reaches out and touches lives for good, through his minestry he healed the sick, fellowshiped the broken hearted, forgave the adulterer etc… where is it at all evident in his living minestry that he was casting anyone out?
    Sorry but I just dont see it, I dont see a kind and loving God casting people/souls into outer darkness for eternity becasue their understanding of him was not complete.

  32. billphillips says:

    Cherryn,

    God has done those nice things. He did something even more important. He gave His life for us. You’re rejecting Jesus’ sacrifice, and saying that you can get to heaven on your own. What more rebellious sin could there be than rejecting God’s salvation plan, and His word?

    Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

    Jesus’ message was offensive. It was so offensive, that they killed Him. Nevertheless, you don’t have to like it, you don’t have to agree with it, but you are commanded by the Creator of the universe to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15).

  33. billphillips says:

    Jay,

    I really don’t get what you’re saying. Did you read what Brigham Young said? This guy is either from God or he’s a raving lunatic. I really don’t see any room for anything inbetween. He was claiming to be speaking new Scripture. If you don’t believe he was speaking new Scripture, don’t you have to believe he was so crazy that he should have been locked up? How can you pick and choose which of his words to believe?

    Bill

  34. billphillips says:

    KJV Monotheism Verses

    Isaiah 44:6 “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

    Isaiah 44:8 “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

    Isaiah 46:8-9 “Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.”

    Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”

    Ephesians 4:4-6 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

    1 Corinthians 8:4 “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.”

    Galatians 3:20 “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

    Please give me one verse from the Bible that talks about any true God other than the one true God. In fact, throw in the Book of Mormon. I’ve never read it, but I’ve heard it is also monotheistic.

    You rely on modern day prophets, but you throw out what you don’t like. Rely on the Bible. It’s fine to listen to men, but if they disagree with the Bible, reject them. You will not be worthy of heaven without a savior. You will not attain perfection without the one true God–Jesus.

    Bill

  35. Jay says:

    Bill,

    I appreciate that you think Mormons are nice. I think non-LDS Christians are good people too. I don’t think that the LDS faith has a monopoly on the truth or goodness. If people live to the best of their knowledge what Christ taught, I think eventually God will not withhold truth to them.

    I like the concept of the Spirit guiding someone and revealing truth to everyone individually. There really is no other way to know truth. Many honest faithful people interpret the bible differently. How can God condemn them to hell just because they don’t understand a certain way of viewing Him? I just don’t see it. Also, what about someone that has never heard of Jesus Christ? How could they possibly have an understanding of who he is? By your interpretation they would go to hell.

  36. billphillips says:

    Jay,

    God will allow whoever He wants into heaven. If He gave me what I really deserve, I would go to hell. Heaven is a gift from Him, and there is not one good quality in me that would assuage God’s wrath against me. There is nothing He likes, not one characteristic, not one thing I have done that would cause Him to really like me and want me in heaven. Any good thing in me is what He has given me. He has done good things for us, and been so generous, and all we can do is throw His gifts back in His face by breaking His law (lying, stealing, blaspheming, lusting, etc.).

    Even though we don’t deserve it, while we were His enemies, He died for us. Blood is required for the forgiveness of sins (Leviticus 17:11). Jesus’ is the only blood by which we can be saved. That’s a gift. We can’t earn it by being baptized or doing good deeds.

    If we’re trusting in something besides Jesus’ blood, we won’t be saved. He is the only way to get to heaven (John 14:6). 1 John 4:2-3 says, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” We can disagree on the stringency of that test, but it is pretty clear that Jesus is the only way.

    God can save anyone, anywhere, anytime, even on Boingo Boingo. They have a conscience and creation and if they are convicted, God will give them a dream or a missionary or whatever, and save them. But, they can’t be saved without Jesus’ blood.

    If you think there are so many ways to interpret the Bible, interpret “beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). It seems abundantly clear. You’ve pointed out some verses where Jesus talks about false gods, but there is only one true God. If you still disagree on this, please take a look at http://www.macgregorministries.org/jehovahs_witnesses/could_jesus.html
    It’s mostly for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but take a look at the parts titled: ONLY ONE TRUE ETERNAL GOD
    WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER GODS?
    CATEGORIES OF “GODS” IN SCRIPTURE

    Thanks for discussing this with me.

    Bill

  37. Jay says:

    Bill,
    I agree with you that no work we do will earn us a free ticket to heaven. We could be the best person in the world, but without Christ atonement or grace we would not make it into heaven. With that said, I also believe that doesn’t excuse us from trying to do good works and performing the works that he asks of us. Why would he reward us for simply accepting His son’s sacrifice, but then turning away from his commandments? I understand that we break commandments every day perhaps even every hour, but God has asked us to obey His commandments. We have to do our best.

    The problem with taking a few scriptures and interpreting them is that the bible, as a whole, doesn’t always support interpretation of individual scriptures.

  38. billphillips says:

    Jay,

    I’m not espousing easy believism. I’m saying our salvation is totally a gift that we can do nothing to earn. (Salvation meaning going to heaven rather than hell.) After that, we do good works out of gratitude for being saved. We are supernaturally changed by being born again. We hate the things we used to love (sin) and we love the things we used to hate (studying the Bible, etc.).

    If someone claims to be a Christian, but doesn’t have the life to prove it, you know they’re a hypocrite. There are tons of people who claim to be Christians in America, I think mostly because they enjoy Christmas, not for any other good reason, and they’re hypocrites. There are a lot of verses I can give you to show that salvation happens at one point, as a gift, then you live the rest of your life in obedience, out of gratitude.

    If you’re doing good deeds to earn your way into heaven, that’s a sin (Isaiah 64:6).

    Did you get a chance to look at that website I gave you?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  39. Jay says:

    Bill,
    I agree our salvation (going to heaven) is a gift that we cannot earn. I do good works because I love God and want to obey Him. I know people that claim to be saved that don’t like reading the bible, they work/play on the Sabbath, yell at their kids, but are kind good people. I have yet to personally meet a person that claims to be saved that is some kind of shining example to the world.

    I think everyone is a hypocrite, you and me included. You have admitted to as much in previous posts. Does that mean you are not truly saved? If it takes not being a hypocrite to be a Christian then I don’t think there is anyone that can claim to be a true Christian.

    I can show you many verses that show good works are not only needed but required for salvation. However, good works will never be sufficient to “earn” our way into heaven, we need grace. So where does that leave us? I can “prove” my point and you can “prove” yours, we are both using the bible. If your argument was any stronger than mine I would accept it, but it is not any more valid. To add to the problem your original post (see above) misrepresents LDS doctrine, takes LDS scripture out of context, and relies on a strict interpretation of biblical teachings that I think very few Christians, LDS or otherwise, would agree with. When all these inconsistencies are taken together it weakens your credibility from the start.

    I know you mean well and I’m glad that you have a belief in Christ. I do not condemn you for believing that you are right and others that think differently are wrong. I think it is human nature to want to be right and if you are right it follows that everyone else must be wrong.

    Christ is what matters. He should be the focus of our lives. Are we following the teachings that Jesus left us to the best that we understand them? If so, I think that is great and I could not hope for more. I respect what you believe and how you feel. I also admire that you are willing to put your beliefs to the test and share them with others. I know this is not always an easy thing to do.

  40. billphillips says:

    Jay,

    Hypocrite in the sense I meant is saying that I’m a Christian, and not really being a Christian. Christians are to grow in holiness. They don’t go on living with their girlfriend, etc. True Christians blow it and commit a sin on occasion, which would make them a hypocrite in a different sense of the word.

    So speaking in that sense, someone who claims to be a sinner who admits to having broken all 10 of the Ten Commandments, and deserves to go to hell, but has been saved by the blood of Jesus, and is growing in holiness isn’t a hypocrite, but I see what you mean.

    I would love to see your verses proving salvation is determined by works rather than salvation being a gift, which naturally results in us doing good works.

    Little did I know that quoting Brigham Young would discredit me in Mormon circles. I’m still curious what Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Smith Vol I, p. 135 says about this topic, which I learned about after I wrote the post, and I don’t have access to.

    Concerning the Bible verses in my post (Matt 5:22-23, 1 John 3:15), it is saying that hatred, and anger are sins, and it shows how serious sin is to God. This is well-accepted among evangelical Christians.

    The problem with pretty much everyone on earth is that we think we’re good people, and if God judges us by the intentions of our heart, we’ll go to heaven. Jesus said no one is good (Luke 18:19), and if we are judged by the intentions of our heart, we’re in serious trouble (Jeremiah 17:9). We all need a Savior, and I truly hope you’re right– that God’s standard for our understanding isn’t too stringent, and we can all get to heaven. I just don’t think that is what the Bible says.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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