What motivates anti-Mormons?

If you spent more than 15 minutes last month trying to convince someone who is not a family member or friend that some aspect of the Mormon faith isn’t true, then I’m labeling you an anti-Mormon. I just throw that out there so you can understand the definition I’m using for the purpose of this post. Why do I exclude those who are trying to convince friends or family that the Mormon faith is false? Because I can see where they might be coming from. Your brother or sister, husband or wife, suddenly is interested in this strange religion and the two handsome young men or two cute girls who are peddling it…sure, I can see why you might spend 15 minutes trying to talk them out of it. You mean well. You’re not an anti-Mormon. I’m talking about the people who spend time online, probably much more than 15 minutes per month, trying to prove that Mormonism is false to an audience that likely includes no one they know personally.

My question is–what motivates you? I really want to know. If you really think that Mormonism is false, is it really the worst thing out there? Is it worse than porn, drugs, or Lady Gaga? Isn’t there something else you could campaign against? Ok, maybe you do think it’s worse than those things. But what proof do you have that it’s worse? You say the Bible tells you so, but how do you know your interpretation of the Bible is correct? Or are you exercising faith that the LDS Church is false?

From my perspective, spending time proving the Mormon faith to be false doesn’t make sense unless you know it’s false, and the only way you could make that claim with any certainty would be to say that God told you directly that it’s false. In that case we would just have to agree to disagree. But if you haven’t received direct communication from God on the matter, then you don’t have any proof the Mormon faith is false. This doesn’t automatically mean the Mormon faith is true, but we’re not talking about whether or not it can be proven true, only whether it can be proven false. If it can’t be proven false, but you’re spending your time working against it, then doesn’t that mean it’s a matter of faith for you? Are you not acting with the hope of things not seen? Or in other words, aren’t you merely showing that you wish the Mormon faith to be false? But why? Why would someone want the Mormon faith to be false? Even though I’m not Hindu, I don’t want it to be false. I don’t go around trying to convince anyone that it is false. I share what I believe, but that doesn’t include pointing out where I think others are mistaken. So why are you motivated to point out the perceived flaws of Mormonism?

Comments

  1. I think that some people have the misguided idea that they are “saving” the Mormons from themselves by trying to prove the Mormon religion false. While I may not agree with this idea, I do understand.

    As members of the LDS church, we do have to be strong, because Satan is working hard to kill our faith. I do believe that I have been told that it was true, but I still question myself from time to time, because I’m human. Satan will use others to prey on those moments of doubt and tell me that it is not true. However, I have also learned that the more people try to tell me that it’s not true, the more I believe that it is because it states in the Bible that we will be persecuted in his name.

  2. I'll answer your honest question. I spend zero time trying to convince anyone what to believe, I generally enjoy critical thinking.

    If the system works for you, so be it. Live and enjoy.

    I suppose many like me were and continue to be victims of fraud and would like to prevent suffering or at least warn others. Some may see friends and loved ones stuck in a cycle of depression or unhappiness tinged with feelings of worthlessness because their worldview does not allow questioning basic worldviews. Many 'anti-Mormons' are silly misinformed haters striving to reduce or undermine the competition(though I think the LDS church brought this on itself calling all other religions abominations). There is also the persistent need of believers to label anyone that is not 'for' them, to be 'against' them, I also admit that is general in-group understanding which swings both ways.

    I think your false dilemma "…and the only way you could make that claim with any certainty would be to say that God told you directly that it’s false…" indicates your inability to address critical thinking. There are many ways to arrive at the conclusion, and few useful ones involve the supernatural. What I cannot prove false is your individual Mormon faith, but the general claims of the complete body and theology can be tested and reasoned and those fall woefully short.

  3. Well I say if you spent more than 15 minutes in the last month trying to convince people whom you are not related to that Mormonism is true, than you are Anti-Christian. Mormonism teaches that all Christian denominations are corrupt and an abomination before God (even showing Evangelical pastors as being employed directly by Satan in earlier temple films) , and that is Anti-Christian. You have definitely been online more than 15 minutes trying to prove Mormonism as true, which states Christianity is false. You're an Anti-Christian!

    Do your missionaries not knock on my door trying to prove Mormonism as true and Christianity as false? That is how you get converts! Who are you to say someone is "anti-mormon" for trying to prove their own religion true over Mormonism, when it's exactly what YOU do on this website? So Anti-Christian of you.

    • I don't see myself as anti-Christian, I see myself as a true Christian trying to help others who have part of the truth gain the complete and uncorrupted truth. It's not Mormonism vs. Christianity, it's what we see as true Christianity vs. partial and/or corrupted Christianity. I guess you could say I'm anti-corrupted/incomplete-Christianity.

  4. FALSE. You have absolutely zero evidence to back up those claims. None. Nada. Zip! Christianity is CHRISTianity, you practice Mormonism. And until you admit it, I will fight you tooth and nail when you call your religion Christianity. We would have to hold the same beliefs to be in the same religion, and we most certainly do not. CHRISTians consider you anti-Christian whether you fancy the notion or not. And until you provide some evidence that Jesus taught Mormonism and that it was "corrupted", you have nothing but your warm fuzzy feelings. You don't even see how blasphemous your claims are…so JESUS himself could not set up his church properly? It crumbled almost immediately, and Joseph Smith had to restore it because Jesus failed? You blaspheme my Savior and claim your prophets have to "fix" the church Jesus established. Are you getting the picture NOW what motivates "anti-Mormons"?

    Hey, I think I am going to start a church. I am going to call it "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". We will call ourselves Mormons, but we will NOT believe in Joseph Smith or his teachings. We will NOT believe in the Book of Mormon either. How would you guys like that? How would you like your name hijacked, without the beliefs? Your corporation, uh…I mean "church's" lawyers would be all over it. Or how about I lump you Utah Mormons in with the RLDS or the FLDS? You guys all follow Joseph Smith right? You're all Mormons right? I'm sure you don't like that idea either, but somehow you can't see how Christians would get offended at your bogus claims and accusations and put us in the same category as you!

    So you can call me anti-Mormon until you are blue in the face if it helps you sleep at night. I will spend 15 minutes to 15 years exposing the lie of Mormonism, to my Mormon family, friends, and strangers alike on the internet or in person. It's my right and duty as a follower of Jesus Christ. It is also your right to believe Mormonism, but if you guys continue to hijack our name and try to deceive others by using it to get in their doors, you will ALWAYS have "anti-Mormons" after you. Deal with it.

    • I am very, very sorry you were so badly hurt by a member of the LDS church.

  5. "FALSE. You have absolutely zero evidence to back up those claims. None. Nada. Zip!"

    Well, except for God telling me.

    "You don’t even see how blasphemous your claims are…"

    They would be absolutely blasphemous if they weren't true, so I can understand how you see them as such since you assume they are not true.

    "JESUS himself could not set up his church properly? It crumbled almost immediately, and Joseph Smith had to restore it because Jesus failed? You blaspheme my Savior and claim your prophets have to “fix” the church Jesus established."

    I never said anything remotely like this. The problems with the ancient Church had nothing to do with Christ, but rather everything to do with men. You are making the assumption that if Christ created a Church, then there is no way that Church would have disappeared. But what basis is there for such an assumption? The Church disappeared because it was rejected by men, and the only way the Church could have remained in the face of rejection would have been if God had forced men to believe in it, which God will not do, since our freedom to choose is essential to his plans for us.

    Although the ancient Church did disappear relatively quickly, many roots or foundations survived, which made possible the restoration in these latter days. Joseph Smith didn't have to restore it because Jesus failed, Jesus himself had to restore it because men failed. Joseph Smith happened to be the vessel through which Christ restored his Church. Joseph didn't fix anything, because there wasn't anything to fix. The Church of Christ didn't exist in 1820. What existed were various religions that claimed to be the true church, but were based on vague memories of what the Church was 1800 years prior, and the small quantity of writings in the New Testament. As Isaiah prophesied:

    Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:

    Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

    Traditional Christianity has drawn near to God with their mouth, but their fear is taught by the precept of men, that is, men interpreting the Bible according to their own preferences, but without the light of truth. Hence it was necessary for God to perform "a marvelous work and a wonder", or restore the Church, because the wisdom of the wise men and the understanding of the prudent men wouldn't be enough.

    "somehow you can’t see how Christians would get offended at your bogus claims and accusations and put us in the same category as you!"

    I can understand why other Christians get offended. That's easy enough. I don't think I've ever stated that I don't think it's reasonable for other Christians to get offended. But of course when we call ourselves Christians we don't think it's a bogus claim, and we're not going to stop doing it just because someone else gets offended at it. If we did stop doing it then it would be reasonable to believe that we're hypocrites since we would be finding shame in what we believe.

    "So you can call me anti-Mormon until you are blue in the face if it helps you sleep at night. I will spend 15 minutes to 15 years exposing the lie of Mormonism, to my Mormon family, friends, and strangers alike on the internet or in person. It’s my right and duty as a follower of Jesus Christ. It is also your right to believe Mormonism, but if you guys continue to hijack our name and try to deceive others by using it to get in their doors, you will ALWAYS have “anti-Mormons” after you. Deal with it."

    I'm not really motivated to call anyone an anti-Mormon, I was merely defining what I mean by the term for the purpose of starting a discussion. I think you are projecting your own emotions onto me, but I'm really not nearly as emotionally engaged as you seem to be. I enjoy reasoned and logical philosophical discussion. I'm not here to call people names, deceive anyone, or demand my rights. I'm just throwing my thoughts out there and enjoying the discussions that come from them. I don't really find any offense in traditional Christians not wanting to call Mormons Christians, but I am concerned that some otherwise open-minded people might say "Wait, Mormons aren't Christians? Well, I'm not even going to look into it then." I want people to decide for themselves whether Mormons are Christians or not by examining what Mormons believe, and this website is an attempt to clarify what Mormons believe, since from our various discussions it is quite obvious that there is some debate on the matter. I guess you could say this website is my way to "deal with it".

  6. So your only argument to prove any of your claims is "Well, except for God telling me"?

    So the answer is NO, you have NO evidence to support these claims about Christianity being corrupted. Thanks, that is all I wanted. If that is your idea of "reasoned and logical philosophical discussion" I can see we have different definitions of that too.

    Your claims are bogus, and that can be proven logically. It's called the historical and biblical record of the Jews and early Christians. You have made the claim that all of these records are corrupted, so the burden of proof lies with you, and you have no evidence of such. You don't even know which parts you think are corrupted!

    I do like the way you continue to point out that I am "emotionally engaged" as if that makes the facts any less true. Especially coming from a Mormon whose whole religion is based on warm feelings to test the truth of something. My passion for Christ and truth has not clouded my ability to think and reason, my train of thought is always Facts=Faith=Feelings. Mormons use Feelings=Faith=so it must be Fact.

  7. "So your only argument to prove any of your claims is 'Well, except for God telling me'?"

    If God told you something, wouldn't you believe it? I am not talking about proving my claims to you or anyone else. That has never been my objective. I am only stating what I know to be true. I am saying that these claims have been proven true to me. You can also prove them to be true to yourself, but the first step is a desire to know if they are true, and you appear to already have your mind made up that they are not.

    We could go into an in-depth discussion on objective evidence regarding whether Christianity has been corrupted, but it's not my purpose to convince you of that. I'm just telling you what the Mormon perspective is and how we see things. If you disagree, that's fine, but when you tell me I'm wrong then you are not merely stating that you have different beliefs, you are making the leap from belief to making a statement of fact, and thus the burden of proof is on you.

    "Your claims are bogus, and that can be proven logically. It’s called the historical and biblical record of the Jews and early Christians."

    I have yet to see anything in the historical or biblical record that can be proven to conflict with LDS theology or doctrine. In order to create such conflict opponents of the Church have to resort to making assumptions and relying on their interpretation of scripture.

    "You have made the claim that all of these records are corrupted, so the burden of proof lies with you, and you have no evidence of such. You don’t even know which parts you think are corrupted!"

    We don't quite say "all of these records" are corrupted. Mormons reverence the Bible as the word of God. We don't trash it. But we do believe there are some things missing, and other parts that have been incorrectly modified, whether intentionally or unintentionally. For a better understanding of which parts we believe have been mistranslated or misunderstood one can read the Joseph Smith Translation. Though incomplete itself, one can at least get something an idea of to what extent Mormons believe the Bible has been incorrectly modified.

    We cannot prove objectively our opinions in this matter, nor is it my or the Church's objective to do so. We say we know the truth of these things because it has been revealed to us by God. But revelation cannot be shared. Revelation is a one-on-one experience with God. If one wants to know whether what is taught in the LDS Church is true or not, one must approach God directly and obtain their own proof.

    "I do like the way you continue to point out that I am “emotionally engaged” as if that makes the facts any less true. "

    I didn't bring that up relative to any factual discussion we may be having, but from statements like "you can call me anti-Mormon until you are blue in the face" you seem to be under the impression that I'm emotionally engaged in this on a level I am not. If we were talking face to face this would be clear, but since we are not and the emotion behind written words can often be misunderstood I want to make sure you and others reading this know that I am not intent on calling anyone names or saying anything until I am blue in the face. To suggest such is to misunderstand my frame of mind and my emotional state in these discussions.

    "My passion for Christ and truth has not clouded my ability to think and reason, my train of thought is always Facts=Faith=Feelings. Mormons use Feelings=Faith=so it must be Fact."

    Fact is, in many cases, a matter of perception. How do you know you have the facts? You claim Mormonism is false, and you cite the Bible as proof. But we have already seen that each of us can interpret the Bible in different ways to justify our own position. One cannot rely on the Bible alone, nor on accompanying historical or archeological records, to prove their point of view. They may find enough "proof" for themselves, but this is not proof enough in an objective sense.

    The strength of the Mormon position is that we do not rely on the Bible and related historical records alone, but we rely on direct communication with God. This does not give us the ability to prove the truth of what we believe to others, but it does give us the strength to remain firm despite what anyone else says. While others may say what they will, they cannot prove to me that I have not experienced what I know I have experienced. They cannot take that knowledge away from me. I have all the facts I need for myself, and anyone else can access those same facts for themselves if they so choose.

  8. What you consider strength I see as your biggest weakness. How do you know it's God you are communicating with, and how? The Bible clearly tells us there are spirits out there that are not to be trusted. The heart is deceitful above all else, who can know it? You are to test all spirits against the word of God, and not all will measure up. And you certainly aren't to just trust your feelings, they can change and be deceitful. God's word and truth should be the measure, and when someone preaches a gospel contrary to it, it should be disregarded. Not prayed about to see if it is "true" relative to your feelings. You might want to make sure you are talking to the right "God". Satan doesn't need you worshiping him to win, he just has to distract you from the truth and then you lose. That is all he cares about, and he can appear as an angel of light. Mormons already believe the first lie Satan told to Adam and Eve, that you could become gods. You guys believe the father of all lies! Don't you see the error in that??

    What motivates Mormon to be anti-Christian?

    "…for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight" (Joseph Smith (on which church to join), Joseph Smith History 1:19).

    "The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171).

    "With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:199)

    "We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense …the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century" (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 6:167)

    "What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God" (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225)

    “The sooner the present generation loses all reverence and respect for modern ‘Christianity,’ with all its powerless forms and solemn mockeries, the sooner they will be prepared to receive the kingdom of God" (Parley P. Pratt, The Key to the Science of Theology, 1978, p.68)

    "A set of wicked Apostates, murderers, and idolaters, who …left to follow the wicked imaginations of their own corrupt hearts, and to build up churches by human authority…" (Orson Pratt (on the Christian church after Jesus left) The Seer, pg.205)

    Should I go on? I have hundreds more all from the mouths of your prophets and members. Not to mention the old temple films that depicted Christian pastors as being in the employment of the devil. Mormons are anti-Christian, so from here on out I will label all Mormons anti-Christian.

    • Well, how do YOU know that it's God that you're praying to?
      I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm just saying it's hard for anyone to really put a finger on our experiences with God.

  9. I am merely using your post and sarcasm to point out how senseless and unproductive it is for Mormons to call people anti-Mormon.

    It reminds me of whiny liberals who call people names who don't hold their point of view. Or say you're racist if you don't like Obama. It's a childish tactic people tend to use when they have no facts to back up their arguments. They resort to name calling to shut the other person up, and make them seem bigoted so no one listens to their arguments, which in reality may be valid. It distracts from the real issue and is meant to keep others close minded to anyone else's point of view. It is FEAR, plain and simple. Fear others will hear another side of a story and just might believe it.

    In this case, it persuades other Mormons to completely ignore anything coming from that person because they are "anti-Mormon" and to shut out their arguments. When in reality the person may have some truth to share to help the Mormon out of the prison that is Mormonism and into the real love, grace, forgiveness, and freedom that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

  10. "How do you know it’s God you are communicating with, and how?"

    I have posts referencing this matter hereand…I thought I had another post but either I can't find it or I'm thinking of responses to comments…anyway, this is related to your request for a new post so I'll get that up momentarily and post it here. Suffice it to say, I know I'm communicating with God and not Satan.

    "You are to test all spirits against the word of God"

    As has been stated previously, while this is good to do, we run into problems if we misinterpret the word of God, for then we are not truly testing spirits against the word of God, but against our interpretation of the word of God, which may be in error.

    "Mormons already believe the first lie Satan told to Adam and Eve, that you could become gods. You guys believe the father of all lies! Don’t you see the error in that?? "

    Not everything Satan says is a pure lie. He mixes truth with lies, as any good con man does. If everything he said were purely the opposite of the truth, it would be pretty easy to resist him. By mixing truth with lies, he draws people in because they are fooled by the bit of truth into thinking the lies are truth also. And likewise when people recognize the lies, they will sometimes assume the truth he spoke was also a lie, and so he traps people coming and going.

    "Should I go on? I have hundreds more all from the mouths of your prophets and members. Not to mention the old temple films that depicted Christian pastors as being in the employment of the devil. Mormons are anti-Christian, so from here on out I will label all Mormons anti-Christian."

    You can label Mormons anti-Christian, but it just makes you look ignorant. Mormons are not anti-Christian, we are anti-error. We see many errors in the teachings of traditional Christianity. We see no errors in pure Christianity. The argument you are using against Mormons is the same argument Catholics could use against Protestants. That is, Catholics could say that Protestants are all anti-Christian, because Protestants see errors in Catholicism, whereas Catholics consider their religion to be pure Christianity.

    "It reminds me of whiny liberals who call people names who don’t hold their point of view."

    I think you misunderstand my intentions. I'm not calling people names, but I am using labels for ease of communication. I don't use the term "anti-Mormon" as an insult, I use it as a descriptive term. Every time I want to say "Somebody who has a particular animus against the LDS Church and who spends their time trying to work against the Church and its members" I could just say that, but geez, that would be really inefficient writing and probably as much of a pain to read as it would be to write. So instead I use the term anti-Mormon and I explain what I mean when I use that term, which makes things easier on all of us, except for those people who misunderstand why I use the word.

    • Alrighty, here's that post I promised.

      • I love how all your comments to her comments seem to be missing from the conversation.. seems as though someone is hiding something here. All Leah seems to want to be seen is her arrogance. Can’t have anything refutiated and can’t be proven wrong now can she?

  11. Oh and as for the Joseph Smith Translation, why would I consult an unfinished work that is so riddled with error that the religion started by Joseph Smith does not even use it?

  12. "Oh and as for the Joseph Smith Translation, why would I consult an unfinished work that is so riddled with error that the religion started by Joseph Smith does not even use it?"

    For a better understanding of which parts Mormons believe have been mistranslated or misunderstood. If you don't want to understand what Mormons believe, that's fine, but it kind of lends credence to the idea that you're more interested in advancing a particular viewpoint than in knowing what the truth is.

    And we do use it extensively. It's part of the scriptures the LDS Church prints and is part of the footnotes/references area on many pages.

  13. As one of Jehovah's Witnesses I am always interested in what others believe and why they believe it, that is how I stumbled upon this site as I feel it's important to get accurate information from the source and not through "anti-religion" web sites. Your question is quite thought provoking and is something I have often wondered about in regard to the "anti-JW" sites out there (which btw, I won't waste my valuable time on).

    As an avid bible student, my ministry work is a huge part of my life. I have learned that being a Christian is to be a follower of Christ, walk in his footsteps and behave in a manner in which Jesus would. What was his opinion of those who did not believe in Christianity at that time? "He felt pity for them because they were skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd" Matt. 9:36.

    He didn't go around bashing them as "anti-Christian" because they didn't believe in his teachings (ok, he did do this with the Pharisees but that is a whole different topic).

    When I meet people with different faiths and beliefs as mine I try to engage them and have an informative and productive conversation and try to understand what makes them tick as far as their belief system goes. I realize that most people will not be interested in entertaining another faith or way of life…..so I just go on my way, I have absolutely no desire to criticize, bash or debate. I must say though, I do find it ironic that in my ministry work some of the most verbally abusive and threatening people are those that call themselves "Christians".

    Getting back to your question, I really think it's a matter of heart condition and moral character. While I do not believe in the Mormon religion (as you don't believe in mine) there is nothing in me that wants to spend time on pointing out all the flaws I see with LDS and debating or arguing over it, I would much rather spend my time sharing what I believe and why I believe it. If we don't agree, then we simply agree to disagree. I truly appreciate the fact that we were all given the gift of free will by our creator and the freedom to choose what religion to practice. Religion bashing is so counter productive and the people who engage in it, in my opinion just love hearing themselves talk and are simply trying to feed their own ego's.

  14. One more thing, I also believe that pride and a lack of humility has a lot to do with the religion bashing.

  15. We've actually had quite a few JWs in our home over the past few years and have found all of them to be respectful and intelligent. My wife has more time/opportunity than I do to talk with them, but she's quite enjoyed her time with them and it has sparked her to research our own beliefs more thoroughly. I wish all religions had similar outreach programs as Mormons and JWs, because I'd love to have more opportunities to learn about other religions in person.

  16. Joshua ~ I have also had many LDS come to my door, I always invite them in and have had wonderful discussions. I also had a neighbor who was LDS and we always talked about our beliefs and got along very well. I agree that the dialog has also inspired me as well to do research into things that had never come up before in my thinking. Even though we have differing beliefs, I have always felt positive after having conversations with those of the LDS faith. I guess that just goes to show….we are lovers, not haters :0)

  17. Perfectly said, Lorraine. I agree 100%. Some of the most abrasive, in your face, hateful and contentious people call themselves "Christians." How wrong they are…

  18. Christians do not claim to be perfect, just forgiven.

    What makes a person a Christian is the belief and faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and His death and resurrection for you, and accepting Him as your Savior and Lord of your life and trusting in Him alone for your salvation.

    Being nice, respectful, cordial and not having pride or humility should come to those who have Jesus in their lives, but we are all human and will fail at these things. No Christian, or human, will ever be perfectly nice all the time and will make mistakes, that is why we need a Savior. Those attributes does not a "Christian" make. If that is the criteria you use for who is a Christian, then their are plenty of nice respectful atheists, Buddhists, and Muslims you can include. We don't call ourselves Christian because of our behavior, that just doesn't make any sense. Love without truth is just irresponsible.

    In my opinion, going online and tooting your own horn about how nice and loving and accepting you are of others, and how people who aren't like you are "haters" does not sound very humble or without pride to me…I'd say it's just the opposite.

    Mormons drew first blood. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, said all Christians and their churches were false and an abomination to God. He threw the first stone, and now Mormons like to turn it around on us who are defending ourselves and call US names?? It is silly. Mormon leaders have told their followers that Christian pastors are in the employment of the devil himself. It's in their temple rituals. They have said there are only 2 churches on this earth: The LDS church and Satan's church. That includes Jehovah's Witnesses, in case you didn't catch that.

    If you are going to start a religion based on others' beliefs being an "abomination to God" you had better be ready for those who will stand up and defend themselves.

  19. Leah ~ I agree with your definition of what it means to be a Christian. I would add to that, it also means walking in his footsteps and imitating him to the best of your ability as an imperfect human, along with studying and meditating on the perfect example he set for us to follow. 1 Peter 2:21.
    I often think of how Jesus conducted himself before his death when he was tortured, beat and humiliated. He showed remarkable dignity, calmness and strength. He was able to do this because he had his father’s holy spirit and he knew he was doing the will of his father. This is the example I try to follow even as an imperfect person.

    As to your comment of “tooting your own horn” I am sorry if that’s the impression I made, I was simply trying to explain that developing “Christ like” qualities can enable a person speak about religion (or any other topic) without getting enraged with anger or showing disrespect, of course this is not of mine or any other persons own ability, this can only be done by the help of God’s holy spirit.

    There have been many occasions where I have been verbally and physically threatened in my ministry (baseball bat with my 4 yr old next to me, water hose, ripping up my bible literature and throwing it in my face, followed by persons screaming at me…the list goes on). I can often see what their anger accomplished for them as their veins bulge out of their necks and no doubt a racing heart beat and spike in blood pressure. What I was trying to articulate in my last post is that none of this has in any way has provoked me to anger or retaliation and when I walk away from these situations I am able to feel at peace. Again, not of any strength of my own but by God’s strength and holy spirit. I have learned the ability to deal peacefully in these situations ONLY by prayer and meditating DAILY on the scriptures and passages such as the “fruitages of the spirit” as found in Galations 5:22,23 – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I personally do believe that as a Christian, my behavior absolutely does matter. What a person is on the inside is shown by how he acts on the outside. If my behavior was not that of a Christian, I would not be identified by others as such.

    Yes, of course we are all imperfect and fail at times but just as exercising your body helps build muscle, exercising faith helps build a strong foundation for moral character, strength and goodness. That doesn’t happen only by going to church once a week, once every 6 months or once a year. It happens by DAILY focusing on spiritual matters. Too many people who call themselves “Christian” don’t do this, therefore the ability to cultivate Christ like qualities, especially in the face of confrontation is severely diminished. This is not to say that I, as well as everyone else does not at times fail in this matter, but the question to ask is, is this something that happens more often than it should and am I working on correcting it?

    Given this, if my faith/religion were under attack I would never cower. No, I absolutely will always defend my faith, but only in a way that is productive. Yelling, criticizing, fault finding and bitter speech accomplishes absolutely nothing. Yes, I am aware that there are religions that hate JW’s, and in a quest to find out why, I’ve learned that for the most part it is because our teachings and beliefs have been twisted, taken out of context and just plain made up by those who want to discredit us. I’ve tried on numerous times to have discussions with people who think they know what I believe better than I do and there is just no reasoning with them, so….on my way I go. Have a wonderful day, I know I will!

    * Please note that my comments are a statement of what I believe and not meant as an attack of what you believe.

  20. What matters in any religious discourse is that what is presented is true.

    Unfortunately, Anti-Mormons employ falsehoods, misdirections, exaggerations, distortions, etc, and then insist that they are representing Mormonism as it is experienced by Latter-day Saints. invariably it is not so.

    Why is it too much to expect any Christian, Mormon or Non-Mormon, to speak the truth and not rely on tissues of lies as those invented by Walter Martin et al?

    However, I suppose that it is to be expected since the enemies of Jesus told lies about him. 'Twas ever thus!

    Mormons are Christians. Saying otherwise does not change the truth. I know what I believe better than any critic of Mormonism knows what is in my heart.

    Those the claim otherwise rely on occult means to determine who and what is in my mind relative to Jesus Christ. Mind reading is evil.

    I love the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible. The Jesus of the Creeds is not the biblical Jesus.

  21. "I love the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible. The Jesus of the Creeds is not the biblical Jesus."

    I love the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the biblical Jesus.

  22. The bottom line is who is Jesus? Is He God Almighty, Where being saved means Eternal life where we will be for sure with Heavenly Father when we die if we believe completely in who He is and what He did by dying on the cross and rising again on the third day. and who has always been God Almighty, even when He walked this earth, to be the perfect sacrifice in our place to save sinners who can never save themselves? (Jesus of the Bible)

    OR

    Is Jesus our older brother who is also the brother of Satan but whose salvation plan was accepted instead of his brother's salvation plan who died on the cross where being saved means it was just to give us a chance to be with Heavenly Father after we die if we ourselves are worthy enough? (Mormon Jesus)

    Joshua, you often say your interpretations of the Bible are different than what I would consider Christianity but there really is no way anyone can really interpret the Bible to say that Jesus is merely our older brother and the brother of Satan who chose good instead of the evil his brother chose.

    You also often say that we need external sources to go along with the Bible but it is the eternal sources that say that Jesus is who the Mormon Church says He is while the Bible still says He is God, while at the same time being a man when He walked this earth who was the perfect sacrifice to atone once and for all that replaced the innocent blemish free animals of the old testament that had to be sacrificed over and over to again and rose again on the third day and who now sits at the right hand of the Father.

  23. Ronnie Bray, show me using the Bible alone, and no Mormon sources or any other sources, that Jesus Christ is merely our older brother and who is the brother of Satan whose salvation plan was accepted over his brother satan's plan.

    Don't just say you believe in the Jesus of the Bible show me why he is who your church says he is again, with just the Bible as your source.

  24. Also, isn't it true that the Book of Mormon also doesn't say Jesus is our brother and the brother of Satan and doesn't the Book of Mormon not say anything about God being a man first before He became God?

    One would think that the most correct book there is, called so by the Mormon Church, that is supposed to give us the fullness of the gospel would not leave out such important information.

  25. Kent- He can't. Giving lip service to the Bible is not the same as actually believing what it says, and we both know the Bible says nothing they could even twist into anything remotely close to Jesus and Satan being brothers.

    As for being "Christian", if I went to an LDS church as a Jesus-loving Bible believing Christian and asked to be a member of their church, I would be denied…why? Because I won't accept Joseph Smith as a true prophet or the LDS church as the only true church on the earth. How "Christian" does that sound? If you guys are "Christians" why can't other Christians join your church? If being a Christian in your definition means to believe in and have faith in Christ as the Savior, why isn't that enough for membership?

    Because you're not Christian, you're Mormon. Christ is not the only requirement. Faith in Christ is not enough. Christ is not the major focus of the religion, no matter how big you make His name in the title. He is merely a spirit brother and a stepping stone in the quest for godhood. You give Him a pat on the back for helping you out, a "thanks bro!" or a "couldn't have done it without you bro!" and then you are on your merry way to being greater than Him on your own planet. You have reduced Him to just yours and Satan's brother, when He created you both!

    You should fall to your knees, beg Him for forgiveness for reducing Him to equal nature as Satan and yourself, and worship Him as Almighty God as He deserves.

  26. Posted by: Kent on December 23, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Ronnie Bray, show me using the Bible alone, and no Mormon sources or any other sources, that Jesus Christ is merely our older brother and who is the brother of Satan whose salvation plan was accepted over his brother satan’s plan.

    Don’t just say you believe in the Jesus of the Bible show me why he is who your church says he is again, with just the Bible as your source.

    ========================================

    Kent: You might enjoy limiting yourself to the Holy Bible, but since Almighty God has not limited himself to the Bible I feel under no compunction to limit myself and reject the word of God when it is in sources other than the Holy Bible. I am not bound by your Procrustean rules.

    Further, if you will show me where I [Ronnie Bray] have made any statement about Jesus Christ that even somewhat resembles your statement about Jesus Christ that you demand I defend.

    You are probably unaware that NO Mormon describes Jesus Christ as the brother of Satan: that is a definition for which Anti-Mormons alone are responsible. I am, therefore, unwilling to submit to your examination and defend what mean-spirited Anti-Mormons say because I do not see Jesus Christ through their eyes.

    Mormons accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, Saviour, and King, and are, therefore, superlatively Christian.

    Have a Joyous and Christ centred Christmas.

  27. The 'fulness' of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, actually, Jesus Christ himself. This is determined by the definition of 'fulness' that refers to Jesus Christ.

    And he [Jesus Christ] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."—Col., 1:18-20

    From this passage we learn that our redemption is obtained through the blood of Jesus; that He is in the image of God; again, that He is "the firstborn of every creature;" also that He is "the first-born from the dead;" and furthermore, that He stands preeminent as the representative of God in the interests of humanity pertaining to this world, or the world which is to come, and that He is the head of the Church, the Grand Medium through which all blessings flow to the human family.

    "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
    Col., 2:8-10.

    "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."—1 Tim. 2:5-6.

    "For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."—Heb., 1: 5- 6.

    "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him: but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." —Heb., 2:8-10.

    Here we have something said of the results accruing to the Redeemer Himself, through His sufferings and death. He stands next to the Father, "and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him." (1 Peter, 3, 22.) Or as He elsewhere says of Himself, "All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth." And again, it is written that He "forever sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool;" and "that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians, 2:10, 11.)

    "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated forevermore."—Heb., 7:26-28.

    There is something peculiar pertaining to the expression here used, "forevermore," which manifestly exhibits an eternal principle. We find the same expression (as elsewhere alluded to) in the Pearl of Great Price.

    To Adam it was said, "Thou shalt do all that thou doest, in the name of the Son. And thou shalt repent, and call upon God, in the name of the Son forevermore." The same principle continued both on the Asiatic and on this continent; and was recognized by all men of God holding the Melchisedec Priesthood, and will be recognized throughout all time until the final consummation of all things, when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, to the glory of God, the Father.

    "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? * * * And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."—Heb., 9:12-14, 22.

    "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God: from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified."—Heb., 10:10-14.

    Or, as the thirteenth and fourteenth verses are rendered in the inspired translation: "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth to reign until his enemies be made his footstool."

    "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. * * * Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you."—1 Peter, 1:2, 18-20.

    "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto, even baptism, doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels, and authorities, and powers, being made subject unto him."—1 Peter, 3:18-22.

    "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth;' but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."—1 John, 1:5-7.

    "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
    —1 John, 2:1, 2.

    "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."—Rev., 1:5.

    "These things, saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God."—Rev., 3:14.

    "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."—Rev., 5:8-10.

    Thus it would seem that the redeemed of the Lord from all nations and peoples are indebted to the Lord Jesus Christ, through His atonement, for the position that they will occupy in the state of exaltation here referred to; and if they are exalted to be kings and priests unto God, it is through the ordinances which He has appointed for the accomplishment of this object, as the wise will understand. As regards the Book mentioned in the above passage, an explanation thereof will be found in the Key to the Revelation of John.—Doc. and Cov., Sec. 67

    "They are like children crying in the market place, 'We have piped and you have not danced.'"

    Mormons accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, Saviour, and King, and are, therefore, superlatively Christian.

    Have a Joyous and Christ centred Christmas.

  28. I asked a missionary at Mormon.org if Jesus and Satan are brothers where one, Jesus's plan of salvation was accepted by God but his brother Satan's plan was rejected so one brother, Jesus, chose good but his brother, Satan, chose evil and they said this is true.

  29. Ronnie Bray, none other than Joshua, the owner of this blog who is a Mormon said that Jesus, Satan, and all of us are the spirit children of god hence, as also shown where a missionary from Mormon.org told me the same thing, Mormons do believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers.

    Below is a thread I pasted from Joshua's own website archives where he confirms what I have been saying.

    Do Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers?

    Reviewed by: Joshua Steimle on September 17th, 2008 Categories: Mormon Beliefs, Satan Comments: 4

    Yes, in a sense. Mormons believe that we all lived with God before we were born on this earth. We believe that we were all “spirit children” of God (don’t ask me how God “begat” our spirits, I have no idea), and that among that population of spirit children was Satan, then known as Lucifer, and Jesus Christ, God’s firstborn spirit child. We believe that God presented a plan for how we could become like him. It involved all of us being born into this life, experiencing mortality and everything that goes along with it, and then returning to live with God again (and do a bunch of other stuff but it’s not relevant at the moment).

    The problem was that we would make mistakes (sins) while here, and if we weren’t pure then we couldn’t return to God and be like him, so there had to be a way to allow us to make these mistakes, and then get cleaned up, so to speak. Enter a Savior, or Jesus Christ. Christ would be born, live a perfect life, and then sacrifice himself to pay for all our sins. Don’t ask me how it works. With some difficulty I can imagine somebody suffering the pain of all our sins, but I don’t get how that gets rid of our sins. That’s one of things I accept as “I guess I’ll understand some day.” However, just because we could be saved didn’t mean everyone would be. Some would choose to reject Christ’s sacrifice, and therefore wouldn’t be able to return to God or become like him.

    Lucifer presented a different plan. His plan was that God would give him, Lucifer, God’s power, and Lucifer would come down on earth and make sure that no one could sin, that nobody would make any mistakes, nobody would suffer, and so there would be no need for a Savior and everyone could return to live with God. I’m not sure how he planned on doing this, but it kind of sounds like socialism.

    God said no, that’s not the plan. Lucifer rebelled against God, and convinced a third of everyone else who was there to rebel as well, and so Lucifer was kicked out of Heaven along with however many billions of people wanted to follow him. Where was he kicked out to? The earth, where we are. And now he and his friends go around as “the devil” and “demons” (which we don’t believe have horns or pointy tails) trying to make us do bad things so that we’ll end up miserable like they are. How do Lucifer/Satan and his buddies do this? I don’t know. The scriptures say that Satan “whispers in our ears”. Maybe when your wife is out of town and you’re driving by the grocery store and in your mind you think “I could sure go for five or six pints of Ben and Jerry’s right now” and then something says “No, you really shouldn’t do that, it’s a bad idea” and then you think “But when am I going to have this chance again?”…well, maybe that’s Satan somehow putting those thoughts of a hedonistic, ice cream-filled lifestyle in your head.

    So yes, we believe that Jesus and Satan/Lucifer were both spirit children of God, as we believe we all are."

  30. Mormonism does teach this. Jesus is Satan's spiritual brother in Mormonism, as are all of our spirits. We are all spirit children of God the Father and Heavenly Mother. I was raised in the Mormon church and was taught this personally. Ronnie is being duplicitous about his religion. If he individually does not want to believe this about Jesus, he doesn't have to, but then he is not believing in all the tenets of his chosen faith. Depending on how many of Mormonism's teachings he denies, he might possibly want to try a different religion.

    How is Kent being mean spirited? Calling someone names who is merely asking questions in a forum that it is encouraged is thought killing. We can attack Mormonism and it's falsehoods without wanting to attack the people. Some of us love truth and would like others to know it, it does not make one anti-Mormon. I am anti-Mormonism! You don't have to listen you can go on believing whatever you want, but don't be duplicitous about it. Own it at least…say "yes that is what I believe" or "I don't believe that part of my religion". Saying NO Mormon believes this is a bold face lie. Mormonism does teach Jesus and Satan are spiritual brothers, as mormon.org confirmed, and it is an extra-biblical teaching.

    Not everyone who says "Lord Lord" or has done wonderful works in His name will be recognized by Jesus. I wish you a Christ centered life and existence, as I pray for all.

  31. Merry Christmas everybody. My prayer is people believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible that they accept the greatest Christmas gift of all the real grace of God that is a free gift that is exactly that, free, and isn't contigent on after all we can do. That is why I am taking the time to do this so close to the Christmas holiday.

    Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again from the dead to save us so that we can know for sure, this moment, if we just believe and trust totally in who He is and what He did 2000 years ago and not in anything we do or will ever do.

    After all, Jesus is the reason for the season.

    Ronnie Bray, the reason why I insist that we only use the Bible as our only source to show that we believe in the Jesus of the Bible is because how can we say we believe in the Jesus of the Bible if we don't believe in who Jesus is who as described in the Bible?

    Most, if not all of the other sources that the Mormon Church uses describe someone different than the Jesus of the Bible so we either believe in the Jesus of the Bible or we believe in the Jesus of the other sources.

  32. Kent, Thank you for your good wishes. One of our Articles of Faith says:

    "We believe in worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our conscience, We also allow all men the same privilege; let them worship who, what, or how they will."

    I will repeat: "The Mormon God and the Mormon Christ are those found within the pages of the Holy Bible, and not those found written extra-biblically in any of the traditional, extra-biblical creeds.

    When non-LDS Christians undertake to poke LDS Christians in their eyes with crude, sharp-pointed sticks but as they do so fail to understand how they appear to Latter-day Saints, then we are correct and justified in determining that they do not do so in a spirit of either Christian fellowship or under the influence of the Spirit of God.

    If your putative 'love' for Latter-day Saints has to be aggressive and demeaning, and so far it has been, then it is time to ask yourself which spirit is motivating your attacks: whether it is the Spirit of God, or whether another animating spirit is moving you to behave in such unacceptable ways that they seem not to be coming out of any position ever held or taught by Jesus Christ or his apostolate. If you cannot reach a sound conclusion that Jesus taught his followers to attack those that he – Jesus – did not hold to be faithful followers of his Way, then perhaps you ought to consider whether he – Jesus – will accept your behaviour as consistent with one of his true, faithful disciples.

    We are aware that Jesus cleared the temple, because, he objected to the nature of the transactions that were being carried out in 'his house,' but there is no place where he counselled or commanded his followers to do the same.

    He did commission his apostles to go into all the world and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every creature, and told them that those that accepted their Christian message would be baptised and saved, and that those that did not accept Christ would not be saved.

    However, even you will agree – it is hoped – that he did not command them to make any kind of war against those that would not follow their counsel. That being so, one questions your motivation to come onto a Mormon site and throw punches, make demands, etc, when so doing is not consonant with anything Jesus taught.

    If I were to follow your example, I could take anything said by ANY Christian, anywhere, and at any time, and insist that what they said or wrote is what you HAVE to believe is normative 'Christian' teaching and belief because a Non-LDS Christian said it or wrote it. Think what a pickle you would be in in such cases.

    For example, Reverend Dr CH Dodds said that the notion of 'Biblical inerrancy' was an extrabiblical teaching because such a notion is not found within the Bible itself. That being so, and Dr Dodds being an outstanding Christian Minister and teacher, you are, perforce, required to accept that 'inerrancy' is NOT a Biblical teaching. How does that sit with you?

    You also have to accept that Mormons believe the Bible more literally than any other Christian group and that they 'Believe it like thunder,' because that is what Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, a Christian minister whose words were listened to by all American Christians in the 19th Century, said. How does that sit with you?

    I could provide dozens of examples of other non-LDS Christians praising the teachings of Mormonism and Mormons and, by your own rules, namely if a Mormon said it, then it MUST be Mormonism, and, therefore, if a Christian [Non-LDS] said it, it MUST be Non-LDS Christianity, and, hence, YOUR kind of Christianity. It is only when we level the playing field thusly, that you ought to be able to see that unless the rules you seek to impose on us Mormon Christians were to be applied to your own belief system, whatever it happens to be, that you ought to see the absolute folly of your claims about Mormons and Mormonism.

    Perhaps, in this light, you will be capable of seeing how your behaviour affects others, and adhere to the counsel Jesus gave that is known as The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would be done by.”

    The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, or ethical code that essentially states:

    “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

    Its negative or prohibitive form, sometimes called The Silver Rule is:

    “One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.”

    An essential element of the Golden Rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people with consideration, not just members of his or her in-group. The Golden Rule has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures, particularly Christians, use to resolve conflicts.

    Even though the Golden Rule certainly is part of the concept of reciprocity, one thing that separates and distinguishes it from the Silver Rule and other similar concepts of reciprocity is that, whereas the Silver Rule simply serves as a prohibition against negative action, the Golden Rule actually serves as a motivation toward positive action. As Dr. Frank Crane explained to ‘slow of heart’ Christians:

    "The Golden Rule is of no use to you whatsoever unless you realise that it's your move!"

    Whether you are able to follow the Golden Rule of Jesus, or not, will depend on how committed you are to following the Master Jesus Christ and follow his injunction to ‘Do the will of the Father in heaven.’

    Two passages in the New Testament quote Jesus of Nazareth espousing the golden rule:

    A: Matthew 7:12 – “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

    B: Luke 6:31 – “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

    A similar passage, a parallel to the Great Commandment, is:

    C: Luke 10:25-28 – “And one day an authority on the law stood up to put Jesus to the test. “ Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”
    “What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you understand it?”
    “He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ (Cf. Deuteronomy 6:5) Moreover, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself ”
    “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do that, and you will live.”

    Latter-day Saints are committed to following the Jesus of the Bible, and will do so regardless of whether Anti-Mormons are comfortable with our efforts to do that to not. We follow the Saviour, his examples, and his teachings, and his commandments, and neither seek nor crave the approval of anyone else but Jesus Christ himself in our endeavours to be his faithful servants and plant our feet in his footsteps, wherever he leads us.

    I wish you a Joyous and Christ-centred Christmas. May the peace that passeth all understanding enter deeply into your heart and soul, and may you be converted to following Jesus in the war Jesus prescribed for his disciples.

  33. Erratum: 'war' read 'way.'

  34. A Non-LDS correspondent wrote a 'soul-searching' letter in response to a 'mean-spirited' blogger, as follows:

    How can Christians be so mean-spirited?

    The following is a Counterpoint:

    By Francie Portnoy

    I was reading the paper Dec. 10 and, as usual, had to see what my favorite columnist, Leonard Pitts Jr., had to say. In his holiday message he chose to focus on a very sad and hurtful human characteristic, which is causing unbelievable harm. He wrote about the cruelty we, as people, bestow on one another because of our mistaken belief that our faith, culture, race or ethnicity holds the one and only truth. His focus was on the Holocaust, one of the most notorious examples of institutionalized/socialized hate, but the dangers of this thinking, or lack of, are fostered in so many other ways.

    A couple weeks ago, a self-described "well-meaning" acquaintance sent me an e-mail that had been circulating throughout the Internet from God-tube called A Letter from Hell. The video very vividly described how anyone who does not accept Jesus as their lord and savior would burn in hell for eternity.

    This woman has known me for many years and knows that I was raised Jewish but now attend a very liberal Quaker Meeting and that, while I see Jesus as a very wise prophet, I do not define him as God. By sending me this video, she was saying that because I find my truths and values from other sources, they are not as good or true as hers. Even worse, that the source of my beliefs and values is so unacceptable that I deserve to suffer for eternity.

    I have never quite understood how any religion that claims to worship and follow the teachings of a man like Jesus could embrace such mean-spirited, violent and self-serving beliefs. All the teachings of Jesus that can be honestly attributed to him talk of inclusion, love, acceptance and charity. Nowhere is he portrayed as a man of vengeance, hatred or exclusion.

    Until all our faiths begin to honestly teach and follow the true values of love, acceptance, charity, forgiveness and inclusion that their leaders espoused, we will never be able to work together. We will never find the commonality needed to honestly strive for a united goal. We will never find peace.

    Maybe it is time to start listening to the message more and stop hating those who hear it from a different messenger.

    The writer lives in Greensboro.

    ==========

    Food for thought in the season of 'Peace on earth and good will to ALL MEN!"

    My opinion is that if we cannot sing that song and mean it, then we are not following Christianity but a vitiated form of the Saviour's message that has lost all force to save the souls it alienates with its rancour.

    As I say, Food for thought.

  35. I asked the Anglican minister of Shadwell, Leeds, in 1991, what Anglicans believed about God. he said that no one knows what they believe. Therefore, using your own reasoning, you do not know what you believe. Do you accept that kind of reasoning as sound?

    Just curious to know whether you use one single standard of truth or two separate and discrete ones.

    "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:18

  36. Ronnie Bray, I am not being demeaning to anyone and I am not attacking and sticking sharp sticks in anyone's eyes but I am being firm in my beliefs.

    I am however challenging what you are being taught.

    I will continue to ask, who is Jesus Christ and how are we saved which gives us eternal life? The bible teaches that being saved is knowing for sure that we will be in the mansions where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are and we get there only by trusting and believing in who Jesus is and what He did by dying on the cross in the place of sinners, every human being who has ever been born, who can never do anything to contribute to His saving work and by His rising again from the dead on the third day.

    Again, Jesus Christ is God, has always been God, and He has always will be God and He was God even when He walked this earth as the only perfect sinless man there ever has been and He has never been a spirit child.

  37. John 1 clearly says Jesus (the Word) is God and this is backed up by Exodus 3 in which God calls Himself I AM and by John 8 where Jesus calls Himself I AM. So Jesus is not a created being so He has never been a spirit child and He created everything because created beings don’t create as they are the creation but not the creator.

    John 1:1-3

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    The same was in the beginning with God.
    All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

    Exodus 3:14

    And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

    John 8:56-59

    56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
    57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
    58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
    59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

    The Jews of the time He walked this earth picked up stones to kill Him and eventually crucified Him because He said He is God.

    Mr. Bray, show me in the Bible where it says Jesus was ever a spirit child.

    I am not going to expect you to defend that He and Satan were spirit brothers if you don't personally believe this even though other Mormons have said this.

  38. @ Kent:

    I am not sure that your definition of salvation is either completely biblical or shared with other Non-LDS Christians. To assist me in understanding perhaps you will agree to answer some questions from me.

    What is your denomination? I would like to learn where you are coming from and who is your interpreter or who are your interpreters of the Bible.

    The branch of Christianity dealing with who God is called theology. Whose theology do you side with? Please set out your arguments and make your explanation from the Holy Bible.

    The branch of Christianity dealing with who Jesus Christ is is called Christology. Whose Christology do you side with? Please set out your arguments and make your explanation from the Holy Bible.

    The branch dealing with salvation is called Soteriology. Whose Soteriology do you side with? Please set out your arguments and make your explanation from the Holy Bible.

    From which parts of the Bible do you take your understanding of the nature and character of God and what, in your theology, is the nature of man's relationship to Deity? Please set out your arguments and make your explanation from the Holy Bible.

    What is the relationship of Jesus to God the Father and which parts of the Bible do you believe sufficiently explain that relationship to the understanding of non-specialist believers?

    How do you maintain Jesus is both the Son of God and at the same time is also God the Father?

    How do you understand the kenotic passage? Does it do violence to the idea that God never changes? If Jesus ‘emptied himself of his glory’ where did his glory go, and why, if Jesus is also the Father, did he plead with the Father [himself, according to you] to restore that glory. If Jesus was/is the Father why would he need to ask himself to do something that only he could do?

    How do you understand the statement: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience through the things which he suffered.” [Hebrews 5:8] To whom did the Son learn to be obedient? Before the Son learned obedience, was he disobedient? Please make your argument from the Bible.

    It might be helpful to you to know that Barnes' Notes on the Bible [NOT LDS] explains it this way:

    “Though he were a Son – Though the Son of God. Though he sustained this exalted rank, and was conscious of it, yet he was willing to learn experimentally what is meant by obedience in the midst of sufferings.”

    Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible [again, NOT LDS] explains it like this:

    “Though he were a Son,…. The Son of God, as the Vulgate Latin version reads; not by creation, nor by adoption, nor by office, but by nature, being the only begotten of the Father, having the same nature and perfections with him:

    “yet learned he obedience; not to his parents, or civil magistrates, though that is true; nor merely to the precepts of the law, which he did; but unto death: through sufferings he became obedient to death, even the death of the cross: and this he learnt; not that he was ignorant of the nature of it; nor was he destitute of an obedient disposition to it; but the meaning is, he had an experience of it, and effected it; and which was voluntary, and done in our room and stead; and is the rule and the measure of our righteousness before God: and this he learned,

    “by the things which he suffered; from men, from devils, and from the justice of God. Christ's sonship did not exempt him from obedience and sufferings; this shows the dignity of Christ's person, that he is the Son of God, not as Mediator, for as such he is a servant; and it would be no wonder that he should learn obedience as a servant; and this shows also the great humility and condescension of Christ in obeying and suffering for us; though so great a person; and likewise the vile nature of sin, and the strictness of divine justice: and we may learn from hence, not to expect to be exempted from sufferings on account of sonship; nor to conclude we are not sons, because we suffer; and that afflictions are instructive, and by them experience is learned.”

    Vincent's Word Studies [NOT LDS] has this to say

    “Though he were a Son (καίπερ ὣν υἱὸς)

    “For were rend. was. His training for the priesthood involved suffering, even though he was a son. Connect with ἔμαθεν learned, not with the preceding clause, which would mean that his position as a son did not exempt him from the obligation to godly fear, which is true as a fact (see Hebrews 5:7), but is not the point of emphasis here.

    “Learned he obedience (ἔμαθεν τὴν ὑπακοήν)

    “Omit ‘he,’ since the subject of ἔμαθεν learned is ὃς who, Hebrews 5:7. Jesus did not have to learn to obey, see John 8:29; but he required the special discipline of a severe human experience as a training for his office as a high priest who could be touched with the feeling of human infirmities. He did not need to be disciplined out of any inclination to disobedience; but, as Alford puts it, "the special course of submission by which he became perfected as our high priest was gone through in time, and was a matter of acquirement and practice." This is no more strange than his growth in wisdom, Luke 2:52. Growth in experience was an essential part of his humanity.

    “By the things which he suffered (ἀφ' ὧν ἔπαθεν)

    “Or from the things, etc. Note the word-play, ἔμαθεν ἔπαθεν. So Croesus, addressing Cyrus, says, τὰ δέ μοι παθήματα, ἐόντα ἀχάριστα, μαθήματα γέγονεν, “my sufferings, though painful, have proved to be lessons" (Hdt. i.:207): so Soph. Trach. 142, μήτ' ἐκμάθοις παθοῦσα "mayst thou not learn by suffering.””

    Do you agree with Vincent that Jesus, whom I presume you believe to be omniscient [all-knowing], didn’t understand what it was to be human before his incarnation?

    John Wesley [NOT LDS], his “Notes:.”

    5:8 Though he were a Son – This is interposed. lest any should be offended at all these instances of human weakness. In the garden, how frequently did he call God his Father! Mt 26:39, and c. And hence it most evidently appears that his being the Son of God did not arise merely from his resurrection. Yet learned he – The word ‘learned,’ premised to the word ‘suffered,’ elegantly shows ‘how willingly he learned.’

    “He learned obedience, when be began to suffer; when he applied himself to drink that cup: obedience in suffering and dying.”

    Do you agree with Wesley that Jesus didn’t understand obedience in principle or in practice before he willingly submitted his will to the will of his father in the garden of Gethsemane?

    Do you believe that the will of the Father was discrete from the will of Jesus, enabling him to say: “Father, if it is possible remove this cup far from me: nevertheless, not MY will but THINE [thy will] be done!”

    How do you understand what Jesus meant when he said, "My father is greater than I."

    How do you understand what Jesus meant when he rebuked the man that called him “Good Master,’ saying, “Why callest thou me good? There is no one good but One.”

    How do you understand what Jesus meant when he confessed to be ignorant of the date of the Parousia saying that only his Father knew when it would take place? If Jesus is the Father, as you assert he is, how then could the Father Jesus know but the Son Jesus not know unless they had completely different minds, for wouldn’t what was in the Father’s mind also be in the Son’s mind because it must, necessarily, be the same, single, and undifferentiated mind?

    Since the Roman Catholic Trinitarian dogma developed in the Fourth Christian Century is not found in the Bible except by special pleading, please explain why you think the word ‘Trinity’ never appears in the Bible but is, nevertheless, held by some Christians to be a biblical teaching.

    Please, also, could you show from the Bible where the canon is or else will be closed.

    Whose version of judgement do you accept as being correct: Paul’s future judgement that is yet to come on the Day of Judgement, or John’s realised judgement that is immediate on acceptance of Jesus as Saviour and not held over, as is Saint Paul’s, to some future day, and why do you opt for the one over the other?

    I do have other questions that I would appreciate your answers to, but I think these are sufficient for the present.

    Have a blessed Christ-mass.

    Your brother in Christ, Ronnie.

  39. Ronnie Bray, I was confirmed and bapitzed in a Lutheran church but I now attend a non denominational church but I haven't really left the Lutherans as I can attend there any time I want to and I would be welcome there. The thing is, it isn't about the church it is about Jesus.

    I try to interpret things the best I can by reading the Bible myself with help from the Holy Spirit so, no, no particular church influences completely me other than both churches, and others as well that I have attended at times, believe that if everything is not about who Jesus is, His death on the cross in our place, and His rising again from the dead on the third day, then it is about nothing.

    You can complicate things all you want but we are supposed to have the faith of a child and, yes, it is that simple.

    I frankly don't have the time to go and answer your questions at this time but I will say again it is all about the gospel (not keeping the law or ordinances) and below is the gospel I have been given that I pass on to others and the gospel is all about Jesus.

    1 Corinthians 15:1-4

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

  40. Kent:

    It's about [according to Jesus Christ], "Doing the will of the Father in heaven." [see Matthew chapter 7] I did not make that up, it is a biblical teaching of Jesus, so, might I safely presume that you accept it as part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

    Latter-day Saints take Jesus at his word and do all they can to obey God. Some Christians have made a vice out of our efforts at obedience and even cynically falsify our motives by saying that we are trying to 'save' ourselves when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Jesus Christ is our Saviour and our Exemplar and if he says "OBEY!" who are we to denounce this command?

    Naturally I am disappointed that you will raise issues with Latter-day Saints regarding our but will not respond to sensible and pertinent questions regarding your own beliefs. I am in no hurry, so you could take your time, if you wish.

    During my military service in the Middle East I attended non-denominational services with some of my fellow Christians in the unit to which I was attached as a specialist. One Sunday I was unable to attend due to necessary military duty and the non-denominational groups held a prayer meeting for my conversion! I have been a much stronger Latter-day Saint ever since, and never fail to thank God for their kind attention.

    I am aware of the appallingly dreadful modernist minimalism that represents the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a shorthand, attenuated, and obviously incomplete version of biblical Christianity. While I can see its attraction for those weak in faith, I fail to see how it satisfies a serious and committed Bible student as being a fair representation of all the teachings of Jesus Christ and his college of apostles. However, to each his own and I wish you well in your version of Christianity, and assume that you wish me well in mine.

    May God prosper you in the coming year.

    Ronnie

  41. And what is the "will of the Father"? Jesus defined it perfectly and simply:

    "And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40

  42. Ronnie-in most of your posts when you are given a tough question that you cannot answer, or when you are called out on giving false information about Mormonism, you go into attacks on Christianity and/or personal attacks. You have done it time and time again, so much so that it might be comical if it wasn't so annoying. At least others are honest about what Mormons believe, but you are duplicitous and then downright nasty when you get backed in a corner, always ending in sarcastic and empty "well wishes." This is a site about what Mormons believe, but all you can do is try and turn it around and "expose" what Christians believe as being false. You should go trolling on Christian websites to attack them there. The topic here is Mormonism and its doctrine.

    Just admit it, you cannot show anywhere from the Bible that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers or that any of us were spirit children, that was the original question in which you declared "No Mormon believes that." That was a complete falsehood.

    And now, here come the personal insults and attacks on Christianity…

    • "You have done it time and time again, so much so that it might be comical if it wasn't so annoying. At least others are honest about what Mormons believe, but you are duplicitous and then downright nasty when you get backed in a corner, always ending in sarcastic and empty "well wishes." "

      …..Can you explain how this isn't a personal attack on your part….? I'm a little bit confused….

  43. "During my military service in the Middle East I attended non-denominational services with some of my fellow Christians in the unit to which I was attached as a specialist. One Sunday I was unable to attend due to necessary military duty and the non-denominational groups held a prayer meeting for my conversion! I have been a much stronger Latter-day Saint ever since, and never fail to thank God for their kind attention."

    So you don't pray for anyone to accept Mormonism? Your missionaries don't go around door to door telling people Christianity is an abomination to God and praying for their conversion? You Mormons just sit there in your churches and don't pray for anyone else to come to your religion? I am always amazed at your hypocrisy.

  44. "How do you understand what Jesus meant when he rebuked the man that called him “Good Master,’ saying, “Why callest thou me good? There is no one good but One.”

    Jesus is again saying he is God. He was making the man understand he and the Father were One, that there was only One who was good so to call him good was acknowledging Jesus as God.

    You read it as Jesus saying not to call him good because that praise should only be given to the Father. Jesus accepted worship and praise in many other instances, so your view does not make any sense.

  45. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

    By this example, Latter-day Saints are heaven bound Christians.

    Thank you for this clarification.

    • I found this just recently and am not angry at anyone and don’t really want to fight with anyone, but I am concerned. Ronnie, I believe you are sincere in your belief, as I am in mine. John 6:40 is a good verse, but the question is: do we believe in the same Jesus? In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul expresses concern regarding those who would preach “another Jesus” and “another Gospel” (verse 4). Galatians 1:8 says: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed”. As far as I can tell (and please correct me if speak incorrectly), the Morman Gospel cannot be found in the Bible.

      Here is an interesting resource that interested me and may interest you. It is produced by people who do not believe in Mormanism but who love Mormans very much. You ask about motivations, this video might give you a better understanding. I would be interested in your thoughts: http://goodnewsforlds.org/video.html

      • If we do not believe in the same Jesus, or the same doctrines regarding the gospel Jesus preached, then how can one find out which interpretation of Christ’s gospel is correct? Some people point to the Bible and claim their interpretation is correct and “another Gospel” is the one being preached by the other guy, and the other guy says “No, I have the real gospel, you’re the one preaching ‘another gospel.'” How can an independent observer know which one is right?

        True, the Book of Mormon is not mentioned by name in the Bible, but the Bible itself says that many things are not mentioned within the Bible:

        “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” – John 21:25

        • Before I begin, I wish to apologize. Some Christians treat others
          (including Mormans, I think) like they are stupid or something.
          Obviously, this is not the case. I believe you, like me, really want to
          know the truth, and I respect that even if I fear for your conclusions.

          I did not mean to say that the Book of Morman is not found in the Bible. I meant to say that the Gospel which the Book of Morman lays down is not found the Bible. And if it is true that the Book of Morman’s Gospel is not the Gospel of the Bible, it must be false. As mentioned earlier, Paul said if anybody preached a Gospel other than the one he did, that person (or angel) should be cursed. From what I can tell
          from the Bible, we are saved when we come to Christ in true repentance and faith in his sacrifice. Our salvation is not earned by tithing, and by keepingthe commandments (which the Bible says is impossible to do), etc. Did Joseph Smith preach the same Gospel as Paul? I don’t think so. Am I wrong? If so, please share.

          In searching for the true Gospel, it is my belief that a person should look to God’s Word, the Bible. I understand that Mormans follow a feeling in the bosom, but aren’t feelings relative. Even Christians exprience burning in the bosom, but it is not in favor of Mormanism. The Bible says to test everything (1 Thess. 5:21). Does the burning of the bossom agree with what the Bible says about the Gospel?

          I’m curious: the answer is probably yes, but have you ever studied Galatians?

          • Yes, I’ve studied Galatians as well as the rest of the Bible. We Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon and the Bible agree completely. We see no discordance between the books, other than where there may be translation errors in the Bible. Where there appears to be disagreement we see that as a misunderstanding on the part of men, not a true disagreement between the two books. We believe the gospel contained in the Book of Mormon is the same gospel contained in the Bible, and vice versa. We believe Joseph Smith and Paul preached the same gospel. I’d be happy to discuss this more if you like.

            I agree our salvation is not earned. The LDS Church preaches no such thing. We believe in salvation by grace. Were it not for Christ we would all be damned, regardless of anything we could do. We do believe someone who doesn’t attempt to keep the commandments has not truly repented nor is exercising faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Another part of LDS doctrine which I believe confuses some people is that in addition to salvation we believe in exaltation, but we often refer to them as being one and the same. But exaltation requires a bit more of a person than salvation.

            Regarding a burning in the bosom, we do not depend on feelings alone to know what is true. If you ask me to look to the word of God or the Bible, I would say that by the Bible I know Mormonism to be true. When I read the Bible it confirms to me that Mormonism is correct. The Bible says to test everything, as you say, and having tested everything I would tell you the results of that test for me is the knowledge that what Mormons believe is true. The problem is that the Bible by itself is subject to interpretation. If it weren’t, then Martin Luther never would have left the Catholic Church, and there wouldn’t today be Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. It is not enough to know the Bible is true–one must know the correct interpretation of the words in the Bible. This correct interpretation can only come from a source external to the Bible, and the best source for that correct interpretation would be the source for the Bible itself, that is, God.

            I know what is true the same way Abraham, Moses, Peter, or Paul knew what was true–because it was revealed to me by God (see Matthew 16:17). The method by which God has revealed the truth to me is less important than the fact that it has happened and that I am able to know that it was God and not some other power, and that is something I know.

          • You are right in saying the Bible can be interpreted in multiple ways, although only one way is correct. Even the Book of Morman can be interpreted in multiple ways. Some Mormans have, like Joseph Smith, believed the having multiple wives is an acceptable if not necessary part of Mormanism. Others disagree.

            I am interested in your view on the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Morman. I have never read the Book of Morman. Could you please quote the Book of Morman in its presentation of the Gospel?

          • My view on the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon is that they both contain the word of God. God spoke to prophets in the Middle East and we got the Bible, and he spoke to prophets in the Americas and we got the Book of Mormon. We believe there are other scriptures that will yet be revealed. I hope there are a lot, and that they’ll come to light in my lifetime. It would be fascinating to learn of God’s dealings with other ancient peoples around the world and get more insight into the gospel by learning what they were taught.

            As far as the presentation of the Book of Mormon regarding the gospel, to answer that I first need to know what you mean by “the Gospel.”

          • The Gospel is the “Good News” about Jesus. It is what the apostles spread all over the world. It is God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. It is God’s message to mankind: that they can be saved from eternal judgement by trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice in true faith and repentance. The Gospel message says we can come to God through Christ, and Christ alone – otherwise we are lost in our sins. That’s what the Gospel is, according to the Bible. What is it in the Book of Morman?

          • It’s the same thing in the Book of Mormon.

          • Does the Book of Morman actually describe that Gospel?
            I do not see how Mormans can have the same Gospel as Christians. According to Mormans, Jesus and God the Father (or in some historical accounts from what I hear, just Jesus; or in other accounts, an angel; or in other accounts, multiple angels) told Smith that the church was corrupt and to get away from it.

            Correct me if I am wrong please, but I do not know that Morman leaders even see Mormans as believing in the same Jesus. I have seen Gordon B. Hinckley quoted as saying: “No I don’t [believe in the traditional Christ]. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak.” (Deseret News, Church News section, Salt Lake City, Utah, week ending June 20, 1998, p. 7).

            Lastly, the Gospel that I talked about has no room for Joseph Smith. Yes, there are prophets, but it seems that any prophet that is exalted to the point that Joseph Smith has been idolized. Brigham Young said that “no man or womanin this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 7, p. 289). The Bible, however, teaches that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the mediator between man and God. If this is true, we should not need a Joseph Smith.

          • “Does the Book of Morman actually describe that Gospel?”

            In my opinion, it does. I recognize other people have a different interpretation.

            “I do not know that Morman leaders even see Mormans as believing in the same Jesus.”

            This could be said for any two Christian churches. Do the Catholics and the Lutherans believe in the same Jesus? Evidently they have disagreements over the Bible and the gospel, or there wouldn’t be two churches.

            It’s easier to discuss specifics, although how fruitful or helpful that might be I can’t say. We might disagree, for example, on whether Jesus and God are the same person or two people with the same mission, but is that a substantial difference? From one perspective yes, it’s quite a big difference, but how does it being one way or the other change one’s daily behavior? Does believing one way or the other cause one to be any more or less charitable, kind, or loving? We may have our disagreements over particulars about Jesus, but I find these to be mostly academic. They’re fun to discuss, but have little application in real life. What unites us, our belief in Jesus Christ and his power to wipe out our sins and make us clean so we can return to God, is far greater than what divides us.

            “Lastly, the Gospel that I talked about has no room for Joseph Smith. Yes, there are prophets, but it seems that any prophet that is exalted to the point that Joseph Smith has been idolized.”

            I hear this a lot, that Joseph Smith is idolized by Mormons. I think this is a misunderstanding. We idolize Joseph Smith no more than we do Peter, James, John, Moses, Isaiah, or Abraham. Joseph Smith was a man. Sure, nobody will enter the celestial kingdom without accepting the gospel Joseph Smith preached, but the same goes for Peter, Moses, and Isaiah. Joseph Smith is not a mediator between man and God any more than any other prophet.

            Joseph Smith’s mission was to bring a more pure form of the gospel to men than what existed on the earth at the time. Such was the mission of every prophet in the Bible. Despite the gospel already existing, each one of them gave specific instruction to the people they were responsible for, and we benefit from having multiple witnesses rather than just one.

          • Different denominations tend to believe in the same Jesus and the same Gospel, but I do not believe the Mormans do. And if the Gospel that the Mormans hold is not true, then it is a false church with differences that are more than academic.
            According to the quote I showed you, it was said that we need Joseph Smith’s permission to enter “the celestial kingdom” – not Jesus’ permission.
            I’m almost done asking questions here, but I’m curious: how do you explain all the changes that the Mormans have made? Polygamy was not just allowed by Morman leaders, it was praised. But, generally, it is not now. Blacks were considered to be black due to their sin, but they aren’t now. Originally, different accounts of Joseph Smith’s visitation were spread. Brigham Young specifically said Jesus did not appear to Joseph Smith. Hundreds or thousands of grammatical errors were cleaned up by later Mormans that Smith had written into his original work. I’m curious: how do you explain that?

          • “Different denominations tend to believe in the same Jesus and the same Gospel, but I do not believe the Mormans do.”

            It’s a matter of perspective, but it’s difficult to speak in generalities. If you want to name off your top 10 characteristics that make Jesus “Jesus” then I can tell you whether Mormons believe the same things or not.

            “According to the quote I showed you, it was said that we need Joseph Smith’s permission to enter “the celestial kingdom” – not Jesus’ permission.”

            The quote doesn’t say Mormons believe we don’t need Jesus’ permission. We believe God and Jesus are the final and ultimate supreme judges. But we believe we will be judged based on the knowledge we’ve been given by God through his prophets. In that sense we will need the “permission” of Peter, James, John, Moses, and yes, Joseph Smith, since we believe he is one of the prophets. Of course the prophets have only told us what God told them, so whether it’s God judging us or the prophets it’s all one and the same.

            “how do you explain all the changes that the Mormans have made?”

            God doesn’t change, but the application of his laws change depending on the ability of his children to follow them. A parent doesn’t allow a 3-year old to cook on a stove, but a parent will allow a 15-year old to cook on a stove. Did the parent change? No, the child did. Plenty of changes were made in the Bible as well. God’s people used to practice animal sacrifice, now they don’t. Jesus and his apostles didn’t teach the word of God to the gentiles (racism?), but then they did. The people of God used to not eat pork, but now Christians do.

            “Polygamy was not just allowed by Morman leaders, it was praised. But, generally, it is not now.”

            The Mormon perspective on polygamy hasn’t changed. It was commanded in the early days of the Church, and so those who participated were following God’s commandment. We are commanded not to practice it now, so those who do practice it are disobeying a commandment. God hasn’t changed, polygamy hasn’t changed, but people have changed and God’s commandments change based on human circumstances. In one place in the Bible God commands “Thou shalt not kill,” while in another place he commands the destruction of men, women, and children. The only sure commandment is that whatever God commands is right.

            “Blacks were considered to be black due to their sin, but they aren’t now.”

            This has never been accepted doctrine in the Church. Joseph Smith never taught any such thing, and he gave the Priesthood to blacks. Brigham Young said some strange things regarding race, and I’m not sure where he was coming from, so I and pretty much all Mormons take those things with a grain of salt. If you want to understand this topic better I recommend this website.

            “Originally, different accounts of Joseph Smith’s visitation were spread.”

            More on this here and here. The bottom line is that the various accounts give by Joseph are different but complimentary rather than contradictory.

            “Brigham Young specifically said Jesus did not appear to Joseph Smith.”

            Sounds like you’ve been reading anti-Mormon literature which takes statements out of context in order to present inaccurate ideas of what people really said. Here’s the full story on what Brigham Young said.

            “Hundreds or thousands of grammatical errors were cleaned up by later Mormans that Smith had written into his original work. I’m curious: how do you explain that?”

            In Joseph Smith’s day grammar and spelling weren’t what they are today. People spelled things pretty much as they pleased. Today we have much stricter rules for what is correct and incorrect and we barely understand how arbitrary much of it is. Add to this that Joseph was speaking and someone else was transcribing (who may or may not have understood exactly what Joseph was saying), the printer interpreting things in his own way, and the fact that Joseph wasn’t writing down exact words given him to God but he was coming up with the best words and phrases he could to express what he was seeing in his head, and it’s easy to understand how there would be many minor corrections needed. If you’ve ever done translation work you know it’s an imperfect science, at best. Do some study of the translation of the Bible and you’ll see how many arguments there were about how things were supposed to be translated and how they went back and forth over a single word. More on this here.

          • The Bible never says we need Peter’s, Paul’s, or any other prophet’s permission to enter heaven. But according to Morman doctrine, we need Joseph Smith’s.

            Your Jesus differs from the Christian Jesus in many ways. Your Jesus is a brother of Satan who was created in the same way we were and who had to attain Godhood. The Christian Jesus was not created but is from eternity. He did not have to attain Godhood but has always been God. He was not a brother of Satan but actually created Satan. The Bible says “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 3:16). Jesus created all that is in heaven and earth – which would include the angels and Satan. (I believe the Gospel to be different, too, but we need not discuss that now).

            The Book of Morman is subject to being edited – but God’s Word, the
            Bible, is not. If Joseph Smith had followed the Bible, he would not have
            engaged in polygamy. Church leaders were instructed in the Bible to be the husband of “one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6).

            As a whole, I disagree with many of your interpretations and answers, but I suppose it is wouldn’t make a difference if I responded to them. I had written something about Joseph Smith’s adulterous affairs, but I don’t think either of us are going to be convinced, so that’s okay. I feel like to combine the Book of Morman with the Bible, you have to do back-flips, twisting and misusing the Word, but I know you see it differently.

          • “The Bible never says we need Peter’s, Paul’s, or any other prophet’s permission to enter heaven. But according to Morman doctrine, we need Joseph Smith’s.”

            Do you believe someone can reject the teachings of Peter, Paul, or any other prophet of the Bible, and still enter into heaven? If you believe we must accept the teachings of the Bible to be saved, then we are in agreement. We believe Joseph Smith is a prophet like Peter or Paul, and as such individuals must accept his teachings to be saved. To reject a prophet who speaks the word of God and Christ is to reject God and Christ themselves. If you don’t believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet, fair enough, but when it is said we must have Joseph Smith’s permission to enter heaven nothing more is being said than what every person who believes we must accept the Bible to enter heaven is saying.

            “Your Jesus differs from the Christian Jesus in many ways. Your Jesus is a brother of Satan who was created in the same way we were and who had to attain Godhood.”

            Yes, this is a real difference in theology. We believe God and Jesus are two separate individuals, that Jesus was the firstborn spirit child of God, and that the rest of us, including Satan, were other spirit children of God, and therefore we were all brothers. Satan rejected God’s plan and rebelled against him, along with 1/3 of God’s spirit children, and so Satan and his followers were kicked out of heaven and became damned for eternity. The other 2/3 of us are the ones who get to be born, have bodies, be tested, and if we prove worthy return to live with our Heavenly Father.

            “The Christian Jesus was not created but is from eternity.”

            Mormons also believe this. We believe we all existed from eternity to eternity without beginning or end. But I have to admit I don’t really understand what this means, nor do I understand exactly how we are all spirit children of God. How did he “create” us if we are his children? How could he have created us if we already existed, as Mormons believe? I don’t know. But it doesn’t keep me up at night since I can’t see how knowing one way or the other changes what I do on a daily basis here on earth.

            “He did not have to attain Godhood but has always been God.”

            In a sense Mormons believe we are all gods, so yes, we are all gods and yet at the same time we’re not quite there yet. And especially when it comes to Christ, since he was acting under the direction of God in the Old Testament prior to being born and is referred to as being God or the Lord or Jehovah and such. It certainly makes for confusing statements.

            “The Bible says “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 3:16).”

            If “all things” were created by Christ, does that mean he created himself? Mormons believe Christ created all things under the direction of God, although we would interpret this scripture as meaning everything in this physical universe, and not necessarily God’s kingdom. We do not believe Christ created us, but rather God created us in that he is the father of our spirits, but he was the father of Christ’s spirit as well, and of course of his body too, which is part of what makes Christ different from the rest of us. Again, a minor point of disagreement that doesn’t keep me up at night.

            “The Book of Morman is subject to being edited – but God’s Word, the Bible, is not.”

            “Today, the most used edition of the King James Bible, and often identified as plainly the King James Version, especially in the United States, closely follows the standard text of 1769, edited by Benjamin Blayney at Oxford.” (see source here)

            Perhaps we have different definitions of what the word “edited” means and you’d like to clarify what yours is?

            “If Joseph Smith had followed the Bible, he would not have engaged in polygamy. Church leaders were instructed in the Bible to be the husband of “one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6).”

            1 Timothy 3:2 states “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” Titus also refers to the office of a bishop. Joseph Smith wasn’t a bishop, he was a prophet. But aside from this how do we know this wasn’t instruction that was specific for Paul’s time and place? That is, how do we know it is a timeless and eternal law of God vs. a practice limited to a certain situation?

            “I feel like to combine the Book of Morman with the Bible, you have to do back-flips, twisting and misusing the Word, but I know you see it differently.”

            Yes, it all comes down to interpretation. We each read the Bible and come to different understandings of the words presented. I respect that reasonable and intelligent people can have differing opinions about what the words in the Bible mean. Since there is no objective means yet given to us of determining the interpretation of those words, it is left to each of us to find our own way using what light and knowledge God chooses to give us and making our own choices about what we want to believe. My intent is not to prove to anyone that my interpretation is correct, but rather to invite everyone to learn more if they so desire. If they do not desire to learn more about what the LDS Church teaches then I do not condemn them and I wish them well.

  46. As long as you believe in Christ alone for your salvation as is the will of the Father, then yes you are. And I know some Mormons are Christian and are saved, but Mormonism is not Christianity and it does not teach you are saved by grace through faith alone.

    I know most Mormons do not truly believe what Jesus said. They add to his words and think it is believing in Jesus, going to the temple, taking the new and everlasting covenant, paying tithing, following the commandments, making yourself worthy, not smoking or drinking coffee and alcohol, and the list goes on…this is not believing on the One He sent, it is believing you can somehow do other things to get yourself to heaven or work out your own salvation, not that the work has already been done for you. Faith is all you need according to Jesus. Not Jesus plus works or Jesus plus temple attendance. Jesus said faith. Period.

  47. >>Jesus said faith. Period.<<

    Is that all he ever said was required of believers?

  48. For salvation, yes that is all.

    John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    The thief on the cross died as soon as he showed faith in Jesus, and joined Jesus in paradise. He didn't do anything else, he didn't have time to be baptized or go to a temple. It was the GIFT of grace through his faith that saved him. Gifts do not come with a price, or else they are not a gift.

    "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" Romans 11:6

    "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." Ephesians 2:8-9

    Jesus gave many other teachings on how we should conduct ourselves and live, but it is not a requirement for salvation. He also made it clear that living righteously would be a fruit of the Spirit, not of ourselves, for we can do nothing good apart from Him. Once we are born again and receive the Holy Spirit, God will do the work inside of us and give us a new heart that wants to follow Him, but we must have faith first. God did it all and does it all for us and I trust that. We are but a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. (James 4:14). It is all about Him. Praise, honor, and all glory be to God.

    As far as your comment that Christians are "weak in faith", you have no idea the depth of faith that Christians have to believe we are saved by God's promise of grace. It is actually easier and takes less faith to do work to make you feel you are doing something.

    Think of it this way: You're drowning, so you struggle and strive to do your best to stay afloat, you kick and swim, and then you reach for God to help you and He reaches out to you and offers help to stay above water after all you can do, because you MUST do something to help yourself, you can't expect God to just do it all! But Christians sink. We just sink and wait for God to save us. We don't think there is anything we can do to save ourselves, it's all God and we wait and trust in Him to save us. We know He not only will save us, He jumps in, pushes us up completely and loses His own life in the process. Takes a LOT of faith if you ask me.

  49. It is a very clever person that knows what most anythings believe, but I believe that unless another person can get inside the heart, mind, and soul of every single person and see what is in there, using a sound judgement that is unfettered and uncluttered with prejudice, then it is not possible to make such sweeping statements as: "I know most Mormons do not truly believe what Jesus said," unless one claims occult knowledge to know what is unknowable.

    On to another statement that opens itself to challenge from Christians:-

    Ephesians 5:21-24

    21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

    Writes Bob Deffinbaugh, a Non-LDS Christian:

    “Several years ago, I was speaking at a missions conference in India. We were riding in a van, on our way to tent where the conference was being held. We noticed several ladies walking beside the road whom we knew to be going to the conference, and so we stopped to give them a ride. The seat of the van were already filled. There was a box on floor that I had been using for a seat. When the ladies entered the van, I started to sit on the floor, so that one of the women could use the box to sit on. A godly older man, who was one of the officers of the mission, strongly resisted my efforts to sit on the floor. He wanted to give up his seat, so that I would not give up mine. I will never forget what he said, “If you sit on the floor, I shall lie on it.”

    “In his mind, I was a guest speaker, and thus I had to be given a place of honor. It was bad enough that I should be sitting on a box, but when I attempted to sit on the floor, that was going too far. He would not hear of it. He must be in a lower position than I, so if I sat on the floor, he would have had to lie down.

    “This man not only knew about submission, he was committed to practice it. I would that every one of us would be as committed to practice submission as my Indian friend. For him, submission was a way of thinking and a way of life. He looked for those occasions where his submissive spirit could work its way out in practice. Our text not only calls for acts of submission, it calls for this same kind of submissive spirit, not just from wives, who submit to their husbands, but from every Christian, as they submit one to another.”

    […]

    Deffinbaugh continues:

    “The difficulty with understanding Paul’s command to wives to “be subject” to their own husbands is that our grasp of the meaning of the word “submit” is too narrow. Generally speaking, we think that the word “submit” is synonymous with the word “obey.” We are inclined to restrict submission to refer only to our response to those who are in authority over us. Very often, this is the case—but not always. Paul’s instruction in verse 21 is directed to every believer. Christians, without exception, are to “be subject to one another,” without any exceptions. Submission, then, must not only work “upward” (in terms of authority), but also downward. And so it is that submission is called for on the part of husbands to their wives (5:22-33), fathers to their children (6:1-4), and masters to their slaves (6:5-9).

    “This text does not require a general submission of all women to all men. It requires the submission of a wife to her own husband.”

    [end of quote]

    Now we have a simple quandary placed in our way, because, we are informed that Jesus said "faith, period", but Saint Paul said wives must also "submit."

    Question:

    Does ‘faith’ also require ‘submission’? If so, are we to ignore Jesus when he said "Faith, period."? If not, do we ignore all that Paul said?

    How is a Christian to resolve this quandary? If Paul is correct, it would seem that Jesus was wrong since he did not extend anything more as being required of a Christian that to ‘believe,’ whereas Paul lays on married women the inescapable obligation to also submit to their husbands.

    I will submit that not all Christians will accept this as a tenable position required of women in the Christian Churches, but they will have different explanations that do not require women to pretend to be 'weaker vessels' when it is evident that most women are patently as strong in faith and mental abilities as any man, Christian or not.

  50. It does not require "occult" practices to know such things, all one has to do is read Mormon doctrine. All of the Mormons in my family and other Mormons I know do not believe they are saved by grace through faith alone, I have never heard a Mormon state this belief, and Mormonism does not teach it to be true. That is why I did not say "all Mormons", I said most. I already stated I am sure there are Mormons who believe in this concept, but they are the silent minority. Unless you want to state that all Mormons deny their own doctrine and believe what they want regardless what is taught in their church, than I would say "most" Mormons is an accurate assessment, at least in my experiences growing up in Mormonism.

    As for your other question, there is no quandary. You have set up a straw man. Paul never stated that a woman must submit to her husband to obtain salvation. That is not a requirement to be saved, so no quandary at all. Jesus is Truth, so when he said "faith period" he meant it, and Paul in no way contradicts this. He supports it in fact, read Romans. Read Galatians and Ephesians while you're at it. On second thought, read the whole New Testament. Over and over again.

    The Bible is our guide, it's our manual for life. There are lots of guidelines given for you to live a good life, but it is clear on what is required for salvation. Once you have the Holy Spirit given to you through faith and rebirth, you will be inclined and desire to follow the guidelines set forth. But it in no way affects/changes/enhances our salvation. That is secure through our faith in Christ.

  51. Pastor Kayser says that homosexuals should be executed. Does that Christian belief exceed what Jesus said that all that was necessary for salvation was 'faith.'?

  52. Atonement Faith Works Obedience Continuing Faithfulness Endurance to the End Lead to Salvation
    By Ronnie Bray

    What did Saint Paul have in mind when he wrote:

    " Why, my beloved, as you 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. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    Do all things without murmurings and disputing: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the middle of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world [Philippians 2:12-14]

    Are these mere empty words without meaning or force for Christian adoption and exercise? Paul says that what is working in us is God. Therefore, if we do not do the works that God commands Christians to do it is because God is not in us. And what are we to say to those that deny God and his works and their place in the lives of the faithful that are willingly obedient to God, whose commandments, according to Jesus Christ, we must keep if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven?

    Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

    It is an old and well worn tirade that is trotted out time after time as if it were relevant that Mormons seek to earn their salvation by works, yet nothing could be further from the truth.

    Mormons are not simpletons, nor are they ignorant of what Jesus and the apostles teach in the Books of the Holy Bible, but they do not fall prey to the minimalist heresy of choosing which passages of the Bible to accept as divinely imposed on believers, at the expense of neglecting all other passages making demands on their obedience to God as if they did not exist.

    Mormons believe in the complete picture as expressed by generations of prophet and apostles that is set out in a core of essential beliefs and practices that establish necessary doctrines and rites and observances for those that would please God and be made partakers of the salvation wrought by the atonement of Jesus Christ and dispensed by the Grace of God to those that do the will of the Father in heaven.

    To do less than this, to believe less than this, is to set at nought the things of God, and those that do so can not hope to please God or be made partakers of the divine nature as joint heirs with Christ of all that the Father has.

    No one can please God without faith. Whoever goes to God must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

    Seeking God requires activity on our part, and that activity is rewarded by the gift of faith and knowledge that God lives.

    For he that cometh to God – In any way – as a worshipper. This is alike required in public worship, in the family, and in secret devotion.

    He that cometh to God – The man who professes that it is his duty to worship God, must, if he act rationally, do it on the conviction that there is such a Being infinite, eternal, unoriginated, and self-existent; the cause of all other being; on whom all being depends; and by whose energy, bounty, and providence, all other beings exist, live, and are supplied with the means of continued existence and life. He must believe, also, that he rewards them that diligently seek him; that he is not indifferent about his own worship; that he requires adoration and religious service from men; and that he blesses, and especially protects and saves, those who in simplicity and uprightness of heart seek and serve him. This requires faith, such a faith as is mentioned above; a faith by which we can please God; and now that we have an abundant revelation, a faith according to that revelation; a faith in God through Christ the great sin-offering, without which a man can no more please him, or be accepted of him, than Cain was. (Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)

    This reward is not referred to our merits, but to the free promise.

    [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:20-25)

    Likewise, Latter-day Saints obey God because God commands, and whoso is not obedient to God’s guidance neither worships him, or believes in his promises.

    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

    Latter-day Saints obey God in whatever God commands. The scriptures give no leave for uninspired man to determine anything contrary to the revealed will of God whether in olden times or in modern days, unless God himself so directs.

    It was not Peter that removed the herem on animals adjudged non-kashrut under the Levitical Code of Purity: it was God that revealed that the herem was removed, signalling also that the Gospel of Christ could be shared with the nations, whereas previously it had been almost exclusively presented to those of beit-yisrael.

    Jesus Christ does not offer salvation to those that do not obey him.

    "[Jesus Christ] being made perfect, became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:9)

    Salvation, then, comes by not only having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but by obeying Christ. To those that do obey Christ, God grants the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. (Acts 5:32)

    The gathering together of several essential principles is granted to the obedient.

    Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

    The foreknowledge of God, our obedience to Jesus Christ, the blessing of what his atonement accomplishes in remitting our sins, and the Grace of God are bound together inseparably, but not to the exclusion of other necessary things, as blessings to those that come to Christ and are perfected in him.

    Peter continues to impress on us the necessity of conforming our lives to the pattern of holiness established by the God of Israel.

    Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy.’ (1 Peter 1:13-16)

    The need for Christians to keep themselves from sinning is emphasised often, and conformity to this rule established beyond dispute. This is not the righteousness that one Christian seeks, in his error seeking to be the master of others to thereby impose on another Christian, but is the righteousness that the Christian imposes on himself as a worthy disciple of Christ.

    Christians prove their worthiness of Christ by obeying him.

    And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)

    Worthiness means deserving, and it is evident from the Scriptures that Christian disciples must make themselves deserving of Christ and his blessings and salvation by their conduct.

    He that taketh not his cross – i.e. He who is not ready, after my example, to suffer death in the cause of my religion, is not worthy of me [and] does not deserve to be called my disciple. (Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)

    Peter says that our obedience to the truth purifies our souls, meaning that by our obedience to Christ we are made partakers of the fruits of his atonement and are thereby rendered sinless or pure.

    Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (I Pet. 1:22)

    By these few verses, and there are many more to which appeal is properly made, we see that there are several factors that bring about the salvation of the sols of me, and who can say that one is of greater importance than another when God has caused them all to be shown to us?

    When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he taught us that it was as found in Deuteronomy 6:5.

    And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

    He then proceeded to teach us that the second greatest commandment was that in Leviticus 19:18.

    Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

    Moreover, the next thing he said was, There is none other commandment greater than these are. (Mark 12:31)

    The intention of Jesus teaching us in this manner is to suggest that those that love God with their whole beings, show also regard and have affection for their neighbours with the same degree of affinity with which they esteem themselves. Can we justifiably suppose that those that profess with their lips to be Christians, but nonetheless neglect to obey the second Great Commandment are obeying the will of God according to Jesus? If we cannot, then what are we to make of them? What, if anything, do they make of themselves?

    We might be justified in supposing that they have formed a novel and distinct religion from Christianity that neither honours or obeys the commandments that Jesus was particular to deliver to the saints, that emphasised the principle that obedience to his teachings was nothing more than obedience to the will of God, and that obedience thereto was the essential link or key to their redemption, because God has willed it so to be.

    The novel form of the fullness of ancient Christianity I have termed ‘minimalism,’ for obvious reasons. Minimalism has, in effect, lopped off a branch here and a branch there of the original tree of Christianity that originated with Jesus and his apostles, having determined that they were not essential to the core message of redemption through Jesus Christ.

    Fanatical paring by minimalists has been so hard that little of the richness of New Testament Christianity is left, and so the expression of their Christianity is become a trunk devoid of roots, branches and leaves, that is chillingly stark when compared to the splendour of the Church whose record is written on the pages of the New Testament.

    In minimalism, Jesus Christ stands front and centre, but God the Father has been subsumed into the Christological caricature of the biblical Godhead so as to be almost non-existent.

    In the Godhead expressed variously throughout the Bible, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost stand together, firm and well defined as Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, overlapping in their separate functions to form a unity of the kind that Jesus prayed his disciples would reach in fellowship and community, being separate persons coming together after the pattern of the Godhead being one in purpose, mission, and doctrine.

    Neither pray I for these alone but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21-22)

    There is a mutual unity of the Father and the Son, who are one in power and purpose, and in understanding and affection; which union, though it infinitely transcends any kind of union among men, or that can be conceived of by men, is here established by Jesus Christ the ideal of the saints’ union one with another, and of their union with the divine persons, which must be understood not as equality with the divinities, but as a similarity. There is no source of scepticism so fruitful as internecine quarrels and sectarian divisions.

    Paul distinguishes three essential characteristics of Christian unity as ‘one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.’

    I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 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. (Ephesians 4:1-6)

    Minimalism breaks of little parts of biblical theology and deals with them as if they were the whole. The dissatisfaction that separation and elevation of individual points leads to need hardly be elucidated here, except to say that it leads inexorably to an imbalance in the principles of revealed religion and thus obscures the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Elevating the Grace of God at the expense of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, as if the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was only incidental to God’s plan of salvation, is a case in point. Ignoring Christ’s insistence on obedience in favour of elevating faith as the means of salvation likewise harms the equivalence that discrete principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ have in the Church of Jesus Christ as fundamental doctrines by which believers are brought to wholeness through redemption, cleansing, purifying, forgiveness, and perfection, bundled as a whole and suffused by the infinite love of God for his creatures, each characteristic, individually and jointly, manifesting the Grace of God.

    Distinctive principles of the gospel may be likened to the parts of the body that Paul used to teach an important lesson to warring church members.

    For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

    Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:14-21)

    This lesson is one that single doctrine minimalists must take to heart if they are to recreate the beatific vision of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its many essential doctrinal parts as taught and believed by the first Christian Church, the togetherness of which, and not the elevation of one point over and at the expense of the others, illustrates the beautiful simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ that alone provides for the salvation of our souls.

    Copyright © 2011 – Ronnie Bray
    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

  53. "We don’t think there is anything we can do to save ourselves, it’s all God and we wait and trust in Him to save us."

    If that is so, what are we intended to believe when we are commanded to, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." [Philippians 2:12]?

    Barnes' Notes on the Bible comments:

    This important command was first addressed to Christians, but there is no reason why the same command should not be regarded as addressed to all – for it is equally applicable to all. The duty of doing this is enjoined here; the reason for making the effort, or the encouragement for the effort, is stated in the next verse. In regard to the command here, it is natural to inquire why it is a duty; and what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it? On the first of these inquiries, it may be observed that it is a duty to make a personal effort to secure salvation, or to work out our salvation:

    (1) Because God commands it. There is no command more frequently repeated in the Scriptures, than the command to make to ourselves a new heart; to strive to enter in at the strait gate; to break off from sin, and to repent.

    (2) it is a duty because it is our own personal interest that is at stake. No one else has, or can have, as much interest in our salvation as we have. It is every person's duty to be as happy as possible here, and to be prepared for eternal happiness in the future world. No person has a right either to throw away his life or his soul. He has no more right to do the one than the other; and if it is a person's duty to endeavor to save his life when in danger of drowning, it is no less his duty to endeavor to save his soul when in danger of hell.

    Barnes was not only a Christian, but he was a Christian of some standing whose words are widely accepted in most of the Christian world. How is it that some few Christians, such as Leah, stand opposed to what this great Christian commentator says about what Christians are required to do after they come to faith? Isn't this typical of minimalist cults that are out of step with Christianity at large? Does anyone wonder why Christians are sometimes confused by opposing messages?

    Reverend Dr. Barnes continues:

    (3) our earthly friends cannot save us. No effort of theirs can deliver us from eternal death without our own exertion. Great as may be their solicitude for us, and much as they may do, there is a point where their efforts must stop – and that point is always short of our salvation, unless we are roused to seek salvation. They may pray, and weep, and plead, but they cannot save us. There is a work to be done on our own hearts which they cannot do.

    (4) it is a duty, because the salvation of the soul will not take care of itself without an effort on our part. There is no more reason to suppose this than that health and life will take care of themselves without our own exertion. And yet many live as if they supposed that somehow all would yet be well; that the matter of salvation need not give them any concern, for that things will so arrange themselves that they will be saved. Why should they suppose this anymore in regard to religion than in regard to anything else?

    (5) it is a duty, because there is no reason to expect the divine interposition without our own effort. No such interposition is promised to any man, and why should he expect it? In the case of all who have been saved, they have made an effort – and why should we expect that God will favor us more than he did them? "God helps them who help themselves;" and what reason has any man to suppose that he will interfere in his case and save him, if he will put forth no effort to "work out his own salvation?" In regard to the other inquiry – What does the command imply; or what is necessary to be done in order to comply with it? We may observe, that it does not mean:

    (a) that we are to attempt to deserve salvation on the ground of merit. That is out of the question; for what can man do that shall be an equivalent for eternal happiness in heaven? Nor,

    (b) does it mean that we are to endeavor to make atonement for past sins. That would be equally impossible, and it is, besides, unnecessary. That work has been done by the great Redeemer. But it means:

    (i) that we are to make an honest effort to be saved in the way which God has appointed;

    (ii) that we are to break off from our sins by true repentance;

    (iii) that we are to believe in the Saviour, and honestly to put our trust in him;

    (iv) that we are to give up all that we have to God; […]

    Clarke's Commentary on the Bible has this to say:

    "Work out your own salvation – Go on, walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing, till your salvation be completed: till, filled with love to God and man, ye walk unblamably in all his testimonies, having your fruit unto holiness, and your end everlasting life.

    With fear and trembling – Considering the difficulty of the work, and the danger of miscarriage. If you do not watch, pray and continually depend on God, your enemies will surprise you, and your light and life will become extinct; and then consider what an awful account you must give to Him whose Spirit ye have grieved, and of whose glory ye have come short. "

    Vincent's Bible Word Studies, holds:

    There is a saving work which God only can do for you; but there is also a work which you must do for yourselves. The work of your salvation is not completed in God's work in you. God's work must be carried out by yourselves. "Whatever rest is provided by Christianity for the children of God, it is certainly never contemplated that it should supersede personal effort. And any rest which ministers to indifference is immoral and unreal – it makes parasites and not men. Just because God worketh in him, as the evidence and triumph of it, the true child of God works out his own salvation – works it out having really received it – not as a light thing, a superfluous labor, but with fear and trembling as a reasonable and indispensable service" (Drummond, "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," p. 335).

    'fear and trembling' – Not slavish terror, but wholesome, serious caution. "This fear is self-distrust; it is tenderness of conscience; it is vigilance against temptation; it is the fear which inspiration opposes to high-mindedness in the admonition 'be not highminded but fear.' It is taking heed lest we fall; it is a constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of the heart, and of the insidiousness and power of inward corruption. It is the caution and circumspection which timidly shrinks from whatever would offend and dishonor God and the Savior. And these the child of God will feel and exercise the more he rises above the enfeebling, disheartening, distressing influence of the fear which hath torment. Well might Solomon say of such fear, 'happy is the man that feareth alway'" (Wardlaw "On Proverbs," xxviii., 14)

    People's New Testament has:

    Work out your own salvation. While Christ is our Savior, and the author of our salvation, we must accept him and work together with him. Hence the Holy Spirit says, Save yourselves (Ac 2:40) and work out your own salvation. Unless we do our part Christ cannot save us.

    With fear and trembling. With constant anxiety not to fail.

    Wesley's Notes

    2:12 Wherefore – Having proposed Christ's example, he exhorts them to secure the salvation which Christ has purchased. As ye have always – Hitherto. Obeyed – Both God, and me his minister. Now in my absence – When ye have not me to instruct, assist, and direct you. Work out your own salvation – Herein let every man aim at his own things. With fear and trembling – With the utmost care and diligence.

    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

    2:12-18 We must be diligent in the use of all the means which lead to our salvation, persevering therein to the end. With great care, lest, with all our advantages, we should come short. Work out your salvation, for it is God who worketh in you. This encourages us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain: we must still depend on the grace of God. The working of God's grace in us, is to quicken and engage our endeavours. God's good-will to us, is the cause of his good work in us. Do your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness; give no just occasion of offence. The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers will enlighten others, and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the light-house warns mariners to avoid rocks, and directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine. The gospel is the word of life, it makes known to us eternal life through Jesus Christ. Running, denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward; labouring, denotes constancy, and close application. It is the will of God that believers should be much in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them.

    Here is the difficulty under which minimalist Christians [not ALL Christians] labour. They rely on a single proof-text whilst ignoring the many things that Jesus and his ministers have said, so that they do not walk in Christ but limp off to the side of the road that Christ commands his true disciples to follow and often fall by the wayside, having selected a text that they then explain in ways that lead them further and further away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    It is sad, but unless they are willing to hear the truth they will remain lost inside a delusion that faintly imitates Christianity in some small way, but that is as far from Christ's teachings as Dick Whittington's fabulous cat is divorced from reality.

    As I have written elsewhere, this lesson is one that single doctrine minimalists must take to heart if they are to recreate the beatific vision of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its many essential doctrinal parts as taught and believed by the first Christian Church, the togetherness of which, and not the elevation of one point over and at the expense of the others, illustrates the beautiful simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ that alone provides for the salvation of our souls.

  54. The next verse: Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

    If you would continue reading, you would know it is God's Spirit within the Christian that gives him strength to do all of the above, as I already stated. And yes, he must be sure through faith that he has received it.

    Sorry I couldn't read through all of it, I wish you could use some "minimalism" with your posts and keep them to main points only. I think your points get bogged down in those page long posts…I would like some time to read my bible!

  55. "Pastor Kayser says that homosexuals should be executed. Does that Christian belief exceed what Jesus said that all that was necessary for salvation was ‘faith.’?"

    This comes from the misunderstanding that we are still under the Old Covenant and does not recognize the purpose of the law or Jesus' sacrifice. The law states the penalty for sin is death. When you break the Sabbath, which you do every week because it is on Saturday not Sunday, you are supposed to be executed as well. The law was given to show the impossibility of being perfect and holy as God is, and Jesus was given as payment. That pastor does not represent "Christian belief", he does not understand his bible, grace, or the New Covenant.

    You can keep throwing out random cases and situations trying to stump me, but I understand my Bible and Jesus. None of these things are "quandary's" or problems with the Bible or Jesus. They are problems with humans.

  56. Not to mention that we are Gentiles. Read Paul's words on if gentiles are under the same laws and ordinances as the Jews, we are not. Unless you are Jewish, you aren't under the Old Covenant either.

  57. I am not trying to 'stump' anyone. How would quoting what other, NON-LDS, Christians say on a variety of issues be considered attempts to stump anyone?

    What it does do, is show that for the Non-LDS Christian world there are some serious issues that are not unanimously resolved. That, lack of uniform resolution and agreement, lies at the root of multi-denominationalism.

    It also provides the impulse for seriously committed Christians to set their own houses in order.

    If someone is stumped by learning what their fellow-Christians believe, teach, preach, and practice, that condition can hardly be laid at someone else's door.

  58. How can anyone be sure that what is today called the Sabbath in the Middle east is the exact seventh day from the original Genesis Sabbath?

    Is it not the case that the Old Israelite Sabbath was changed by Christians that met together on the Lords Day according to the NT?

    Isn't one day in seven as a Sabbath acceptable to the Lord?

  59. There is more to Israel than those of the tribe of Judah. Would you care to have this explained in detail?

  60. No thanks, I already explained to you in a different post that I call the them "Jews" because it is what we refer to them as today and it is easier than explaining in full detail which tribe or Northern/Southern kingdom they originated from. They have been called "Jews" since somewhere in the 6th century B.C. so I think everyone knows who I am referring too without writing page long posts about it.

  61. The only thing the Christian world has to have in common is their belief in the nature of God and in faith in Christ for salvation.

    We have liberty in Christ to hold personal beliefs about how and where to worship and in minor doctrinal beliefs. We do not have to all sit in a pew with our white shirts on praying exactly the same way for our beliefs to be correct. The Christians in Africa may have different ideas about certain things in the Bible than we Christians in America do, and that is just fine! We all have brains and opinions about how to pray, if we should give money to our church's, etc. But we are united by the MAIN CORE BELIEF that Jesus is God and we are saved by His sacrifice through the gift of grace by faith alone. That is what unites us. We have a very diverse God who created many different people in all shapes, colors, and sizes with different languages and cultures. We are a body of believers and are not bound by an institution that tells us what to believe about everything. Freedom in Christ.

    What makes you think uniformity is what God requires in ALL things? That is why there are different denominations…some think it is important to be baptized, others don't. Some like traditional hymns, others like contemporary music. Some allow women to hold leadership positions, others don't. These things have NO bearing whatsoever on our salvation! We all agree on how you are saved and who our God is, and that is the only thing that matters. Mormons try to portray the Christian world in disarray with quarreling and fighting among one another, and it's just not true. We respect each others right to have preferences, we have that freedom. And we see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. The truth shall set you free.

    What about the Mormon denominations? How about the FLDS or the RLDS or the many other Mormon off shoot denominations?? Are they all Mormon, or do you think the Utah Mormons are the only true Mormons? Emma Smith called them Brighamites, and the Community of Christ has been run by the blood lineage of Joseph Smith and they claim to be the true Mormons. Joseph Smith prophesied that his son JS3 would take over as prophet, and he did at that church. Hmmm…maybe you are in the wrong Mormon denomination? Sounds like you guys are not all in agreement about polygamy, who the true prophet is, and other things as well. Not to mention the members who hold their own beliefs regardless of Mormon doctrine, like you not believing Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers which your religion clearly teaches. Using your logic, this proves you guys have problems and can't be the "one true church."

  62. "What makes you think uniformity is what God requires in ALL things? That is why there are different denominations…some think it is important to be baptized, others don't."

    That's a fair question. The answer is found in the Bible.

    Ephesians chapter four – 1I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    7But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

    8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

    9(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    17This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20But ye have not so learned Christ; 21If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

    25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27Neither give place to the devil. 28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

    There's the answer, but the more than three-thousand Protestant denominations show that they are not in conformity with the word of God.

    One Lord, one faith, and one baptism all requirements for the 'unity of the faith' that the Christian world not only has failed to make real, but which from it daily travels further away.

    What are you doing to put your own house in order? That also is a fair question, if you think the scriptural ideal ought to be achieved. Perhaps you do not accept this part of the scripture as achievable, and that God asks too much of 'humans.'

  63. Just a thought. Perhaps you have overlooked, or do not take notice of, 1 Corinthians 1:10

    Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    That is what makes me think uniformity is what God requires in ALL things. Am I wrong? Is Paul wrong? Is God wrong?

    What does Jesus say about Unity of Christians?

    "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; THAT THEY MAY ALL BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" [John 17:20-21]

    Jesus prayed to the Father that those that would believe in him

  64. The baptism the Bible is speaking of is of the Spirit. To be born again. That is required and comes with faith. The baptism I was speaking about was water baptism, which is not a requirement of salvation.

    I find it interesting that you would quote a verse which confirms there is only one God. Your church does not teach there is only one God. So your religion is not in line with God's word.

  65. Just a thought. Perhaps you have overlooked, or do not take notice of, 1 Corinthians 1:10

    Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    That is what makes me think uniformity is what God requires in ALL things. Am I wrong? Is Paul wrong? Is God wrong?

    What does Jesus say about Unity of Christians?

    "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; THAT THEY MAY ALL BE ONE; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" [John 17:20-21]

    Jesus prayed to the Father that those that would believe in him WOULD ALL BE ONE. Note how that resounds with Paul's later requirement of 'ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM,' etc.

    Why would a reasonable person reading the words of Jesus and Paul be foolish to think that each meant what they said and considered the disunity in Christianity to be anathema to God and Jesus?

    While it is easy to excuse the monumental disunity on grounds that we are all human beings, we cannot continue to use that as an excuse if we are truly converted to Christ and have become NEW creatures, with the OLD creatures having become subsumed completely to the will of the Father, a condition Jesus said is essential for entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

    Perhaps you will say that those that are not unified into one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, &c, are not truly converted, and are not true Christians?

    It is certain the the New Testaments do not expect us to tolerate the disunity that you so calmly brush aside as itf it were a thing of naught. Surely, if God requires Christian unity, then it ought to be pursued through the ministry that God set in place in the Church until that unity is achieved, including prophets and apostles?

    I do not find any Bible passage that tells Christians to relinquish those offices that God has set in the Church for the specific purposes listed by Paul in Ephesians chapter 4.

    How then is it justified? If those offices are required for Unity and they are no longer there, can unity ever be achieved?

    Is oecumenism [Christian Unity] desired or desirable since oecumenists are not the most and do not represent the most?

    In its continuing absence, are we fated by malignant powers to continue to suffer the curse of warring denominationalism and sectarianism?

    You will admit these are serious issues for Christians.

  66. We are not divided! We agree on what is important! I don't know how I can state it more plainly to you. We agree on who God is, who Jesus is, and what is required for the salvation of our souls! We are ONE IN CHRIST. We do have the same mind on what matters, little traditions and preferences are different among cultures and do not change the fact that we are a body of believers in Christ, UNITED. They do not affect salvation. I could meet a member of the body of Christ from anywhere in the world and we would be on the same page about our Lord and our salvation.

    You just don't get it, and you never will. Your religion has taught you there is division and confusion among Christians and it just isn't true. You have never regularly attended a Christian church much less many different denominations of them so you just aren't going to ever understand it. You are not one of us, you don't share the same beliefs, so it is foreign to you.

  67. Paul also says not to let anyone judge you for celebrating certain holy days, or eating certain foods, or any other personal preferences. Do what you do for the glory of the Lord no matter what it is and it is acceptable. These passages show that we have freedom in Christ to celebrate what we want, eat what we want, and these things don't matter in regards to our salvation!

    You have to read the whole Bible in it's context! The message of the New Testament is cohesive when read in context. You cannot just cherry pick verses to back up your beliefs. None of this is contradictory nor does it discount what one apostle said over another, if read it in context you will understand it.

  68. Those passages are in Romans 14 and he touches on it again in Colossians 2.

  69. I regret having to respond in this tone, but your last post is so outrageous in falsehoods that I must do so.

    Jesus said:

    “Blessed are ye, when women shall REVILE you, and persecute you, and shall SAY ALL MANNER OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY, for my sake.” [Matthew 5:11 AV]

    All Christians DO NOT agree on who God is, nor on who Jesus is. that is simply not true. Compare, for example, the Eastern orthodox doctrine of God and Christ with the Western Church's doctrine of God and Christ. They are NOT the same.

    You keep making fatuous statements about what my Church has 'taught me, when you are in no position to make such a judgement.

    You do not know the source of my information about the Christian world at large, but it is not what I have 'been taught.' I am not a passive player in which information is poured into my head as if it were a pie being filled with gravy by another person or persons. You make more assumptions than anyone it has ever been my lot to converse with. ALL of them are mean-spirited and WRONG!

    You make claims that you fail to substantiate. These are just a few of them:

    1. Your religion has taught you there is division and confusion among Christians
    2. and it just isn’t true.
    3. You have never regularly attended a Christian church
    4. much less many different denominations of them
    5. so you just aren’t going to ever understand it.
    6. You are not one of us,
    7. you don’t share the same beliefs,
    8. so it is foreign to you.

    Your are not only WRONG about your points 1 – 8, but you are wrong at the top of your voice.

    You do not know me, my history, my background, my acquaintance with Non-LDS Christians, my academic qualification, my personal interests, my fields of study, my connections with other faiths and Christian denominations, and therefore you are jumping to conclusions for which you have neither yod nor tiddle of evidence. It is all guesswork and it is all wrong.

    CHRISTIANS are NOT all ONE IN CHRIST, because, if you were, you would not fight amongst yourselves, but you do fight among yourselves. If you are unaware of interdenominational fighting between discrete and non-agreeing Christian cults sects and groups, then the fault lies in your ignorance of the real world of Christians and not in anything I have to say about the actual reality of Christendom throughout its troubled history and in today's world where one Christian group militates against others and each thinks they are right and all others wrong.

    I doubt the wisdom of my attempting to open your eyes so you can see beyond your prejudices,. but that is the kind of attitude that does so much damage to epople that are considering the Christian message. When they see the fighting and wars of words and unkindness from so-called Christians towards other Christians with whom they disagree so much that they resort to intemperate hatred and seek each others' destruction, they are turned away from Christ and his teachings.

    It seems to me from the evidence you continue to place on this page that you are caught up in that ungodly warfare. It is not pleasing to Jesus.

    If you will read your Bible with more thought than how to smash Mormon and destroy their sacred faith, you would find the real Jesus that tells Christians to love one another. That's the Mormon Jesus, and that's the Jesus of the Bible. I do not know the non-biblical Jesus that sends his warriors abroad with swords and poison to crush every Christian idea that is not consonant with your own interpretation of the Christian teaching.

    Some responses to your false allegations:

    1. Your religion has taught you there is division and confusion among Christians.

    This is not true. I am an academically trained and authenticated Christian scholar, Bible Scholar, Ecclesiastical Scholar, Ecclesiastical Historian, Author, Tutor, Lecturer, etc, etc, etc, and have lived long enough in the real world to discover for myself many things that I dare say you will never know or understand. However, the historical record is sufficiently complete to confound your alternate view of Christian History, faith, belief, practice, and Atrocities.

    2. and it just isn’t true.

    Well, I say it is and I can prove it. Your problem with learning such things is that it would require you to read many pages and many, many books of solid, reliable, factual, and attested information that demonstrates beyond any doubt that it is not only true, but that it gets worse with each passing year.

    3. You have never regularly attended a Christian church

    This is an outright LIE!

    I was christened in the Anglican Church, and attended a Wesleyan Methodist Church for above ten years. I have also regularly attended other Church services of various denominations when I was a Health Care Professional and would accompany patients of various denominations to their weekly services. Further details of my attendance and interactions with other Christian denominations appear below. I trust you will not tire before you read them, for everything I write here in response to your outrageous lies is essential to your education.

    4. much less many different denominations of them

    Certain avocations I have followed have required my attendance at many kinds of Christian Churches, including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican Catholic, Low Anglican, Methodist of various flavours, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Non-Denominational Churches, and a host of house churches, neighbourhood groups, Christian Student Movement groups, University Inter-Faith groups, Jewish Synagogues Orthodox, Liberal, and Reform. These represent but a part of the involvement I have had, and continue to have, with various denominations and their ministers. I have also attended Non-LDS Christian services with close friends within the denomination, spoken at Non-LDS Christian funerals, and recommended Ordinands for the Anglican ministry to the director of Ordinands in the Harrogate Diocese. I also served for many years as the Secretary of the Kirklees Inter Faith Fellowship, in which capacity I arranged a programme of visits to various Christian and Non-Christian meeting places where the tenets of each faith and denomination were presented by a minister or teacher of that faith or denomination. Many of my fellow Graduates from University continued to become ministers [one, a Rabbi] of various denominations, and they knew there were differences and spoke openly about them. Why then is it a secret to you? I would suggest that your ‘Christian world’ is of the same dimensions as a goldfish bowl and that all you see within that confining remit is taken by you to be all there is. You are wrong to a calamitous degree.

    5. so you just aren’t going to ever understand it.

    I believe that one of us doesn't understand it, but it isn't me. I will match my academic and Christian credentials against yours any day. When all you know of Mormonism is gleaned from anti-Mormon books written by practiced liars it is no wonder that you are full of misinformation. But why the obvious hatred? From which teaching of Jesus did you get that? In which Bible passages does Jesus teach you to make false and uninspired false charges against me? Even your occult source of information has failed you by painting for you to regurgitate a picture of me that is less real than a mirage. Abandon your false sources and come to the truth.

    6. You are not one of us,

    If by 'us' you mean those motivated by hatred, prejudice, and an inner ungodly anger, then you are right. I am not one of them. Jesus had choice words to say to those that are your kind of 'us.' He called them hypocrites, and said some other harsh things about their conduct and their religiosity that you will read for yourself when you get that far into the Bible.

    I am one of Christ's people. You are right to suggest that I have nothing to do with the Adversary!

    7. you don’t share the same beliefs,

    I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Saviour, Redeemer, and that by the shedding of his precious and innocent blood he became the Saviour of all those that believe in him and are willing to obey him.

    If you don't believe that, then you are right, you do not belong to those of us that know Jesus and follow him. Why would I want to be if it meant I had to behave as you behave here and shoot one false charge after another at someone you do not know and do not see except through your hate-coloured glasses? Why would anyone want to be a part of THAT? That's not what Jesus requires of Christians.

    8. so it is foreign to you.

    Your gospel of hate is foreign to me, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is my meat and drink. I follow Christ as Christ directs and not as some Catholic Council ordered finds politically convenient. You follow Konstantin and I’ll follow Jesus.

    All things considered, I doubt that you have sufficient Godly Christian grace in you to apologise for your falsehoods you invented about me and ask my forgiveness for these false charges. Nonetheless, as Jesus commands ALL Christians, I freely forgive you and pray that God will open your eyes to know Him and his Son Jesus Christ, and that, hopefully, you will come to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life as Jesus Christ directs us to. Walter R Martin, et al, are false guides, and so are all that stand in his ignoble and demonic traditions. From such, turn away!

  70. By the way, we are not anti Mormon, which is the title of this comment thread, but we are anti Mormonism. We care about Mormons that is why we want them to get off of the path to outer darkness.

  71. Kent, I do not know who you mean by 'we.' Perhaps you are not anti-Mormon but you only have to read the other posts to learn that whilst you may not be anti-Mormon, you cannot speak for anyone else.

    If I were to tear down your religion and say you were children of Satan, would I be an anti-Lutheran? Perhaps you should speak for yourself unless there is a gang of you working this page?

    I have been dealing with Anti-Mormon for so many years that I believe I am well placed to know an anti-Mormon when I meet one. One of the biggest lies told by Anti-Mormons is that they actually love us! Then, after professing this 'love' they turn ugly and demeaning and castigate us for things we do not believe, teach, or practice. I have hundreds of examples of this 'love,' but must say that if you were to love your children the way some of these hostile anti-Mormons love Mormons, your children would flee your presence.

    Often, I am accused by the ignorant of making up things about the savagery employed by certain Anti-Mormons, but I have references for each case I cite. I invite you to read for yourself a work I commenced as a dissertation at University.

    The first two chapters can be read here.
    http://yorkshiretales.com/allaboutmormonism/page_

    I can e-mail the complete text [circa 180,000 words] to you if you will contact me at:

    QUILL@YorkshireTales.com

    Further information about Anti-Mormons at http://yorkshiretales.com/allaboutmormonism – a site that is continually updated.

    You say that I am on the path to outer darkness. You fail to say why.

    I believe that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God the Father and that he is our Lord, Saviour, and King and that he paid for our sins through the shedding of his innocent blood on the cross of Calvary and that he was literally and physically resurrected after three days and that he ascended to the right hand of God from where he will return to rule personally on the earth and to judge the quick and the dead.

    And you say that because I believe these Bible teachings about Jesus Christ and his Father-God I am on the road to outer darkness.

    You are obviously more mixed up about the Way of Life and Salvation than you thought.

    Do you have to murder a Mormon to be considered an Anti-Mormon according to your religion, or is there a continuum from being polite to Mormons and murdering them? Where, exactly, is your boundary set?

    Those that set themselves up to sit in God's Seat of Judgement were rightly excoriated by Saint Paul. My question is, why do you follow the bad example of those that usurp God's Seat of Judgement and determine who is and who is not a Christian, and who is and who is not heaven-bound? Do you recall that Satan sought to assume God's glory by his vain ambition and was thrust out of heaven for doing exactly what you are doing?

    Are you unable to see the sheer conceit you display by your determinations? You are unlike any Christian I have ever known, even Non-LDS Christians that do not accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called by some, 'Mormonism.'

    We have an Article of Faith to which I draw your attention:

    Article 11.

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    Is your Christian Faith broad enough to allow others to peaceably enjoy their own Christian faith, or is disagreeing with your particular faith an offence that you must correct?

    The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

    We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

    We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

    We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

    We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

    We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

    We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    If this offends you, then God and Christ offend you. Jesus said, "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." [Matthew 11.6]

    Some that think they walk in the footsteps of Christ still no not understand Christ, nor have his mind in them. "And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them." [Mark 10.13]

    You cannot beat a man or a donkey with a stick and then try to tell them that it is done to save them. Both are likely not to believe you.

    Jesus didn't poke people in the eye with a sharp pointed stick and then assay to teach them his Gospel. He first dealt lovingly and entreatingly with them so that they were ready to hear his message of love. He demonstrated his love for them. he knew that first he had to warm the epople before they were ready to be warmed by his message.

    I call you and your mean friend Anti-Mormons because you come out swinging your fists and pretend you are coming in peace and love to save our souls. I invite you to re-read ALL the posts on this page and see if you can discover what I mean.

    If you are sincere about getting Mormons off what you call the path to outer darkness, then you need to qualify yourself to be able to do it first.

    Standing at the side of the road shouting 'You are going the wrong way!" lacks the essential comp0nent of the way-pointing faculty, which is, in short:

    1. Convincing the traveller by cogent evidence that their road does not lead to the destination they seek, and,

    2. Showing them the evidence for and proof of the road you think is the right road to the destination they seek.

    That neither you nor your little friend engage in anything so reasonable shows the character and motivation of Anti-Mormons. Calling people names, and making remarks about a person that are wildly inaccurate has no part of any Christian discourse, but does betray the presence of an Anti-Christ by every evil word and false allegation, demeaning and mean-spirited remark, and false claim.

    A man is known by the company he keeps. If you are part of a 'we,' then you are advised to choose your others with more care and guard against including those motivated by evil hateful spirits in your 'we.'

    If you care for Mormons, as you allege, then why be afraid to let it show through the kind og love the Bible calls Christlike? If it is of any other hue, then you will, perhaps, understand how it comes across and why speaking words with your mouth but wielding the hammer of hatred with your hands and pen will not permit you to be believed by any but the pathologically gullible.

    If this is unclear, I will be pleased to clarify it for you.

    What qualifications do you have for a Ministry to Mormons? Is it something God laid on you, or did you need a hobby? I'd like to know what engines move you to do what you are attempting to do here.

  72. Take a deep breath, wow.

    When I asked Joshua in a different post if he had ever attended a Christian church, you answered and said you had attended one once during your military service, and they prayed for your conversion when you did not show up again. I did not lie, I made a statement based on information you yourself gave. So I would say there was a miscommunication on your part.

    As for my other statements, I was raised LDS. These are not assumptions, I attended the Mormon church for 20 years. THAT is where I got my information on LDS belief, straight from the horse's mouth, thank you very much. I have also stated if your beliefs stray from those which are taught by your church that is fine, you have that right, just don't claim they aren't Mormon doctrine when they are.

    "Calling people names, and making remarks about a person that are wildly inaccurate has no part of any Christian discourse, but does betray the presence of an Anti-Christ by every evil word and false allegation, demeaning and mean-spirited remark, and false claim."

    Kind of like what you just did through your post? As for you continuing to call me "anti-Mormon", are you not engaging in the same judgments you just condemned me for?? My mother and most of my family are Mormons and I love them very much whether you believe it or not I don't give a single care. They know how I feel about their beliefs but also still know I love them and they know I am not "anti-Mormon" I am anti-Mormonism.

  73. "I believe that one of us doesn’t understand it, but it isn’t me. I will match my academic and Christian credentials against yours any day. When all you know of Mormonism is gleaned from anti-Mormon books written by practiced liars it is no wonder that you are full of misinformation."

    Again, I WAS RAISED MORMON! If I wanted to take your approach, I would now start fuming and spouting off about all the outrageous lies you are telling about me! You go on and on about people being Christlike and acting like Christ, and if you just read through your above post, ask yourself which evil spirit is guiding YOU.

    This is why I have refused to speak to you in other posts, and I will do so again now. You are the biggest hypocrite I have ever had a conversation with, you have so much pride and blindness it pours from your excessive ramblings. I do not need forgiveness for taking the information you provided about yourself and believing it. Good day, sir.

  74. Leah – you readily admitted that you were Anti-Mormon, so why take issue with the opposite position now? You ought to remember what you wrote! You failed to respond to the lies you told and which I pointed out to you as falsehoods. Strange that you do not cite your mother as a source of Mormon information. many Anti-Mormons claim to have been Mormons as if that gives them the right to lie about their former faith. Jim Robertson of Concerned Christians even claimed to have been a Mormon Bishop! Edward [Ed] J Decker claimed to have been a Mormon for 'twenty years' and still tells lies about his experiences and belief when he was LDS. In your fanciful stories I see more of Martinism than Mormonism.

    Perhaps you will answer and in a Christian spirit confess your perfidy on the following false charges you laid at my feet. Perhaps …………………………….

    ====================

    I regret having to respond in this tone, but your last post is so outrageous in falsehoods that I must do so.

    Jesus said:

    “Blessed are ye, when women shall REVILE you, and persecute you, and shall SAY ALL MANNER OF EVIL AGAINST YOU FALSELY, for my sake.” [Matthew 5:11 AV]

    All Christians DO NOT agree on who God is, nor on who Jesus is. that is simply not true. Compare, for example, the Eastern orthodox doctrine of God and Christ with the Western Church’s doctrine of God and Christ. They are NOT the same.

    You keep making fatuous statements about what my Church has ‘taught me, when you are in no position to make such a judgement.

    You do not know the source of my information about the Christian world at large, but it is not what I have ‘been taught.’ I am not a passive player in which information is poured into my head as if it were a pie being filled with gravy by another person or persons. You make more assumptions than anyone it has ever been my lot to converse with. ALL of them are mean-spirited and WRONG!

    You make claims that you fail to substantiate. These are just a few of them:

    1. Your religion has taught you there is division and confusion among Christians

    2. and it just isn’t true.

    3. You have never regularly attended a Christian church

    4. much less many different denominations of them

    5. so you just aren’t going to ever understand it.

    6. You are not one of us,

    7. you don’t share the same beliefs,

    8. so it is foreign to you.

    Your are not only WRONG about your points 1 – 8, but you are wrong at the top of your voice.

    You do not know me, my history, my background, my acquaintance with Non-LDS Christians, my academic qualification, my personal interests, my fields of study, my connections with other faiths and Christian denominations, and therefore you are jumping to conclusions for which you have neither yod nor tiddle of evidence. It is all guesswork and it is all wrong.

    CHRISTIANS are NOT all ONE IN CHRIST, because, if you were, you would not fight amongst yourselves, but you do fight among yourselves. If you are unaware of interdenominational fighting between discrete and non-agreeing Christian cults sects and groups, then the fault lies in your ignorance of the real world of Christians and not in anything I have to say about the actual reality of Christendom throughout its troubled history and in today’s world where one Christian group militates against others and each thinks they are right and all others wrong.

    I doubt the wisdom of my attempting to open your eyes so you can see beyond your prejudices,. but that is the kind of attitude that does so much damage to epople that are considering the Christian message. When they see the fighting and wars of words and unkindness from so-called Christians towards other Christians with whom they disagree so much that they resort to intemperate hatred and seek each others’ destruction, they are turned away from Christ and his teachings.

    It seems to me from the evidence you continue to place on this page that you are caught up in that ungodly warfare. It is not pleasing to Jesus.

    If you will read your Bible with more thought than how to smash Mormon and destroy their sacred faith, you would find the real Jesus that tells Christians to love one another. That’s the Mormon Jesus, and that’s the Jesus of the Bible. I do not know the non-biblical Jesus that sends his warriors abroad with swords and poison to crush every Christian idea that is not consonant with your own interpretation of the Christian teaching.

    Some responses to your false allegations:

    1. Your religion has taught you there is division and confusion among Christians.

    This is not true. I am an academically trained and authenticated Christian scholar, Bible Scholar, Ecclesiastical Scholar, Ecclesiastical Historian, Author, Tutor, Lecturer, etc, etc, etc, and have lived long enough in the real world to discover for myself many things that I dare say you will never know or understand. However, the historical record is sufficiently complete to confound your alternate view of Christian History, faith, belief, practice, and Atrocities.

    2. and it just isn’t true.

    Well, I say it is and I can prove it. Your problem with learning such things is that it would require you to read many pages and many, many books of solid, reliable, factual, and attested information that demonstrates beyond any doubt that it is not only true, but that it gets worse with each passing year. Your inability to read more than a page of notes is noted. That's lack of intellectual rigour!

    3. You have never regularly attended a Christian church

    This is an outright LIE!

    I was christened in the Anglican Church, and attended a Wesleyan Methodist Church for above ten years. I have also regularly attended other Church services of various denominations when I was a Health Care Professional and would accompany patients of various denominations to their weekly services. Further details of my attendance and interactions with other Christian denominations appear below. I trust you will not tire before you read them, for everything I write here in response to your outrageous lies is essential to your education.

    4. much less many different denominations of them

    Certain avocations I have followed have required my attendance at many kinds of Christian Churches, including Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican Catholic, Low Anglican, Methodist of various flavours, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Non-Denominational Churches, and a host of house churches, neighbourhood groups, Christian Student Movement groups, University Inter-Faith groups, Jewish Synagogues Orthodox, Liberal, and Reform. These represent but a part of the involvement I have had, and continue to have, with various denominations and their ministers. I have also attended Non-LDS Christian services with close friends within the denomination, spoken at Non-LDS Christian funerals, and recommended Ordinands for the Anglican ministry to the director of Ordinands in the Harrogate Diocese. I also served for many years as the Secretary of the Kirklees Inter Faith Fellowship, in which capacity I arranged a programme of visits to various Christian and Non-Christian meeting places where the tenets of each faith and denomination were presented by a minister or teacher of that faith or denomination. Many of my fellow Graduates from University continued to become ministers [one, a Rabbi] of various denominations, and they knew there were differences and spoke openly about them. Why then is it a secret to you? I would suggest that your ‘Christian world’ is of the same dimensions as a goldfish bowl and that all you see within that confining remit is taken by you to be all there is. You are wrong to a calamitous degree.

    5. so you just aren’t going to ever understand it.

    I believe that one of us doesn’t understand it, but it isn’t me. I will match my academic and Christian credentials against yours any day. When all you know of Mormonism is gleaned from anti-Mormon books written by practiced liars it is no wonder that you are full of misinformation. But why the obvious hatred? From which teaching of Jesus did you get that? In which Bible passages does Jesus teach you to make false and uninspired false charges against me? Even your occult source of information has failed you by painting for you to regurgitate a picture of me that is less real than a mirage. Abandon your false sources and come to the truth.

    6. You are not one of us,

    If by ‘us’ you mean those motivated by hatred, prejudice, and an inner ungodly anger, then you are right. I am not one of them. Jesus had choice words to say to those that are your kind of ‘us.’ He called them hypocrites, and said some other harsh things about their conduct and their religiosity that you will read for yourself when you get that far into the Bible.

    I am one of Christ’s people. You are right to suggest that I have nothing to do with the Adversary!

    7. you don’t share the same beliefs,

    I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Saviour, Redeemer, and that by the shedding of his precious and innocent blood he became the Saviour of all those that believe in him and are willing to obey him.

    If you don’t believe that, then you are right, you do not belong to those of us that know Jesus and follow him. Why would I want to be if it meant I had to behave as you behave here and shoot one false charge after another at someone you do not know and do not see except through your hate-coloured glasses? Why would anyone want to be a part of THAT? That’s not what Jesus requires of Christians.

    8. so it is foreign to you.

    Your gospel of hate is foreign to me, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is my meat and drink. I follow Christ as Christ directs and not as some Catholic Council ordered finds politically convenient. You follow Konstantin and I’ll follow Jesus.

    All things considered, I doubt that you have sufficient Godly Christian grace in you to apologise for your falsehoods you invented about me and ask my forgiveness for these false charges. Nonetheless, as Jesus commands ALL Christians, I freely forgive you and pray that God will open your eyes to know Him and his Son Jesus Christ, and that, hopefully, you will come to follow the Way, the Truth, and the Life as Jesus Christ directs us to. Walter R Martin, et al, are false guides, and so are all that stand in his ignoble and demonic traditions. From such, turn away!

    As for my 'once' having attended a non-denominational group, I did, once, the once lasted for 12 months and I attended weekly at the American Academy in Larnaca, Cyprus, for services conducted by Rev and Mrs Hurd, the English Dean of the Academy and his Greek wife. I missed one service when I was on military duty during the Cyprus war and that is when the non-denom prayed for me to be converted to something – they never did say what – and they never challenged my Christianity to my face.

    If it hadn't been for one of my fellow Christians, an Anglican by the name of Ashworth, I would have been none the wiser to this day. This was in 1955.

    Like most Anti-Mormons you are quick to make a man an offender for a word [Isaiah 29:21] without seeking clarification. Little wonder that you run and hide when I ask pertinent questions and show you how very far from the truth you are in making your false allegations. It speaks volumes to your character that you abandon all discourse in search of light and truth and resort to wily ad hominems.

    I wish you well, but wish you truth with even more vigour.

  75. Ronnie, the crux of the matter about why I believe Mormons are heading down the path to outer darkness is the belief that they can become gods and be worshipped by spirit children and that we have two choices. We either trust and believe completely in who Jesus is and what He alone did on the cross and by His rising again from the dead on the third day or we trust in following the law (ordinances) completely without ever faltering, which is impossible to do completely in our lifetimes, and that we only have this lifetime to do so.

    Romans 10:1-4

    1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 FOR CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES.

    Hebrews 9:27

    27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment

    Mark 12:25

    25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven

    Notice above from Mark 12 how it doesn’t say that people will be gods in the resurrection but that they will be like the angels in heaven who worship God because people, just like angels, are created beings who will also worship God but who are never, ever to be worshipped.

    There are several places in the Bible where someone fell down to worship an angel but the angel told the person who was worshipping them not to worship them but to worship God.

    Revelation 19:9-10

    9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    Revelation 22:8-9

    8 Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

    9 Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

    So it is being disobediant and people have not truly repented until they acknowledge to themselves and God that He is Lord and they never will be Lord and to think that anyone could even become a god and be worshipped by anyone such as one’s spirit children as even if there was such a thing as spirit children, they would have to worship God only and no one else in any dispenstation as the Bible doesn’t say it was just for the old testament time of the exodus as this is clear even in the book of Revelation.

    Exodus 34:14

    14 for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

    So the work we are to do is believe in who Heavenaly Father sent and our own good works follow from this belief.

    John 6:28-29

    28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

    29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

  76. Ronnie, so it is all about Jesus Christ and what He did and it is not at all about what we do.

    However, that doesn't give us a license to sin as if we continue to live sinful lifestyles that is evidence that someone truly doesn't believe in their hearts in Jesus and what He alone did to save us.

    Again, saved means we will for sure be in the mansions where God is and it doesn't just mean that we will live in the afterlife with a chance to make it to those mansions but if we don't make it we will at least be in a lower level of heaven better than anything here on earth and certainly better than outer darkness.

    Yes, it is that simple as we are to have the faith of a child and we can know now, not later, today is the day of salvation! So accept His grace and it is not after all we can do but because of what He did.

  77. Kent – I thank you for the best explanation I have ever seen as to why a person is opposed to Mormonism. I understand your concerns, but I feel that you have overlooked some Bible passages that allow us to reach different conclusions.

    After I have completed my early morning duties, I will answer using these other passages that, hopefully, will allow you to see the Latter-day Saint perspective, particularly about the Christian doctrine of theosis or deification that was taught and believed by early Christians.

    Most of what you write is shared by non-LDS and by LDS Christians. That does not mean there are no differences, because they are. However, on most of the issues you raise there is very little, if any, difference between your Christian beliefs and mine, as I shall attempt to explain when I return from the dog park and have attended to my wife's needs.

    Kent, I believe you are sincere in your beliefs, and thank you again for the eirenic spirit in which your write. It is both refreshing and welcomed.

    Ronnie

  78. In case I didn't explain what I was trying to say well, the gospel that I was given and the one that I pass on is all about what Jesus did so the choice is not believing in Jesus and following laws and ordinances it is believing in Jesus alone

    The gospel I was given is in 1 Corinthians15, notice it says nothing about following laws and ordinances.

    Corinthians 15:1-4

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

  79. Also, as I have said before, when we are confessing Jesus Christ with our mouths and believing in our hearts that He died for our sins and rose again on the third day, who are we confessing? That if you are not confessing the true Jesus of the Bible, then I believe you are on the path towards outer darkness.

    Because although I know Mormons don't like to hear this, the Jesus of the LDS Church is different than the Jesus of the Bible.

    Jesus Christ was not a spirit child who somehow became god but He has always been God, He is God now, He will always be God, and He was God even when He walked this earth as the perfect innocent sinless man who was the perfect sacrifice to take away all of our sins.

    And Ronnie if you read this, yes there are a lot of Mormons who believe that Jesus and Satan were spirit brothers who both presented their plans of salvati0n to God but Jesus' plan of salvation was accepted but Satan's plan was rejected and he ended up rebelling and taking one third of the spirit children went with him who became the demons who now do his dirty work so to speak.

    In fact Joshua, the owner of this blog, has an article on this blog under the section of "Mormon Beliefs" titled, "Do Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers?" Where he says that Jesus and Satan were spirit brothers. I tried to post the link but I wasn't able to do so but go to the right side of the blog page and go to Mormon Beliefs and read the article.

    But if that is the Jesus people are calling upon that is not the true Jesus of the Bible.

  80. Kent III 4 Jan 2012

    Kent:

    Ronnie, the crux of the matter about why I believe Mormons are heading down the path to outer darkness is the belief that they can become gods and be worshipped by spirit children and that we have two choices. We either trust and believe completely in who Jesus is and what He alone did on the cross and by His rising again from the dead on the third day or we trust in following the law (ordinances) completely without ever faltering, which is impossible to do completely in our lifetimes, and that we only have this lifetime to do so.

    ====================================================

    Ronnie:

    Kent, I see your point here, but I disagree for one exceptional reason: Jesus pointed us towards faith in him AND obedience to the will of his Father. Therefore, I would say that faith is the beginning of Christian discipleship and Obedience to the mind and will of God is part and parcel of what is required of a Christian Disciple. For Jesus, faith was always necessarily followed by proper actions. I will agree that the execution of specific acts as required by Jesus and his Father are not the cause or ground of our salvation, but since Jesus and God requires them, failure to conform our lives to them results in disobedience to God and Christ, and that is not the Way of salvation. I will supply a few examples from the Scriptures.

    In his discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus laid down what is surely a hard and fast rule when he said, “Except a man be born again of the water and of the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” [John 3:5]

    This sentence is part of a longer discourse in which Jesus explains to Nicodemus that there are requirements to be met that extend beyond faith in him is a person will enter the kingdom of God, which is a term equivalent with salvation.

    3 Jesus answered [Nicodemus] and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

    5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

    16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa; and there he tarried with them, and baptised.

    Not all Christians agree on the meaning of being born again of the water and the spirit. Some will readily acknowledge that it refers to baptism by immersion for the remission of sins followed by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost or Spirit that the Father. We are right to suppose that Jesus intended believers to be baptised, and, according to John, Jesus baptised some, although this action is contradicted at John 4:2].

    All Christian scholars agree that entrance into the Church of Jesus Christ in biblical times and for a long time afterwards was by baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Jesus told Nicodemus that unless this tite was observed ‘no man’ could ‘enter the kingdom of God.’ That satisfies us thjat it is an essential rite of entry into the Church of Jesus Christ.

    Saint Paul reinforces the teaching of Jesus regarding baptism in Romans 6:4 where he insists:” Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

    The water baptism by total immersion is likened to interment in the tomb just as Jesus was interred. And the rising from the waters of baptism is likened to the ‘newness of life’ of being ‘born again’ after the way Jesus arose from the tomb at his resurrection to a new condition, that of incorruptibility in that he would never again suffer mortal death. The same applying to Christian Disciples that follow the example of Jesus and are baptised in the likeness of his burial and are brought out of the waters into a new life in Christ, having thereby, ‘put on Christ,’ and being made partakers of mystical union with Christ in this essential rite of baptism, that Jesus called being ‘born again of the water.’

    However, Jesus spoke of being born again of the water AND of the Spirit, and the spiritual regeneration must follow baptism, or else Jesus’ conditions of being born of the water AND of the spirit, clearly two related regenerations, are not satisfied.

    Whilst the ordinance of baptism is not effective because of the water, it being a symbol of the grave, Jesus indicated that the cleansing power was through the blood that he would shed as an act of universal redemption to all those that would believe in him as the Messiah, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28], yet this was obtained by obedience to the commandment Jesus gave to be born again of the water. Indeed, the scriptures testify that submission to baptism at the hands of Christ’s ministers was the prerequisite to their becoming members of the Church of Jesus Christ.

    “And [John the Baptiser] came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” [Luke 3:3]

    Peter also taught the essential nature of water baptism as the act of faith that followed the receipt of active, compelling faith in Jesus Christ. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” [Acts 2:38].

    That the rebirth of water and then rebirth bestowed by the Holy Spirit followed baptism is evident from the following in Acts 8:

    13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptised, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

    14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”

    The question about whether baptism by immersion for the remission of sins is essential or not, did not arise for some years in early Christianity, as did the question as to the proper manner of baptism, whether anointing, immersion, sprinkling, etc, were proper and acceptable. Suffice it to say that baptism by complete immersion for the remission of since was the door by which the earliest Christians came to Christ, and where it was doubted that the authorised ordinance had not been administered, the candidates were baptised by those that had the authority to perform the necessary rite, as evidenced by the actions of the Apostles.

    1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptised? And they said, Unto John's baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptised with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve [Acts 19].

    With the words of Dean Stanley we can lay to rest the discussion about the central, essential nature of baptism and its mode:

    “The historical practice of the Christian church may well be summed up in the words of: "There can be no question that the original form of baptism-the very meaning of the word-was complete immersion in the deep baptismal waters; and that for at least four centuries, any other form was either unknown, or regarded, unless in the case of dangerous illness, as an exceptional, almost monstrous case.” (History of Eastern Church, 28).

    ================================

    K: Romans 10:1-4

    1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 FOR CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES.

    ================

    R: This does not apply to Latter-day Saint, because although many anti-Mormons accuse Latter-day Saints of trying to earn their salvation, the truth is that every Latter-day saint knows that salvation is the gift of God and not something that anyone can merit by their own actions. It it were otherwise, then there would be no need of a Saviour.

    I must remark how odd it is that anti-Mormons can find plenty of statements made by Latter-day Saints urging them to be good and to perform good works as sanctioned by Jesus Christ and his apostles, but seem unable or incompetent to find any statements regarding the fact that out faith is in Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer, and not in ourselves or our own activities. This kind of disparity is irritating because by its consistent appearance we get the feeling that the larger part of our witness to the centrality of Jesus Christ to our faith and salvation is deliberately overlooked by those that seek to harm our reputations. You may wonder why we find this behaviour verging on the non-Christian respect for truth and honesty, but we do. I add what some Mormon leaders have said about Jesus Christ. It took me ten seconds to find these, yet some that boast they have been ‘researching’ Mormonism for thirty years or more cannot locate them!

    "Love is what inspired our Heavenly Father to create our spirits; it is what led our Savior to the Garden of Gethsemane to make Himself a ransom for our sins. Love is the grand motive of the plan of salvation; it is the source of happiness, the ever-renewing spring of healing, the precious fountain of hope. As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit." [Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "You Are My Hands," Ensign, May 2010, 70, 75]

    "At times we may rationalize that the Lord will understand our disobedience because our special circumstances make adherence to His laws difficult, embarrassing, or even painful. However, faithful obedience, regardless of the apparent size of the task, will bring the Lord's guidance, assistance, and peace." [Bruce A. Carlson, "When the Lord Commands," Ensign, May 2010, 39]

    "Baptism is a requirement, but why? Why is it necessary to be baptized in this way and by one holding particular authority? I do not know. But what I do know is that the remission of sins is made possible only by the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and that He has prescribed that condition, again and again. His sacrifice paid the price for my sins, and He has prescribed the conditions upon which I can be saved by His payment. That is reason enough for me." [Dallin H. Oaks, "Why Do We Do Missionary Work?" New Era, Sept. 2009, 3]

    "The Lord's work and glory truly is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). Many around us need spiritual help. As we offer a saving hand to less-active members, to part-member families, and to those not of our faith, we invite all to 'come unto Christ.' " [Koichi Aoyagi, "Helping Hands, Saving Hands," Ensign, May 2010, 36]

    "Turn to the Lord. Exercise all of the faith you have in Him. Let Him share your burden. Allow His grace to lighten your load." [Donald L. Hallstrom, "Turn to the Lord," Ensign, May 2010, 80]

    "In the most difficult circumstances of life, there is often only one source of peace. The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, extends His grace with the invitation, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28)."[Donald L. Hallstrom, "Turn to the Lord," Ensign, May 2010, 78]

    "I want to give you my testimony. I know that God our Eternal Father lives, that He is the great Governor of the universe, and that we are His children, and that somehow He hears and answers the prayers of His children. I want you to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that He left His royal home on high and came down among men—hated and abused of men—and that He went about doing good [see Acts 10:38]. He was crucified out of the hatred of the people; He rose the third day—'the firstfruits of them that slept' (1 Corinthians 15:20). I want you to know that the Father and the Son appeared to the boy Joseph Smith and ushered in this marvelous dispensation—the greatest dispensation in the history of the entire world." [Gordon B. Hinckley, "Inspirational Thoughts," Ensign, Feb. 2007, 4]

    "The Lord's work and glory truly is 'to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). Many around us need spiritual help. As we offer a saving hand to less-active members, to part-member families, and to those not of our faith, we invite all to 'come unto Christ.' " [Koichi Aoyagi, "Helping Hands, Saving Hands," Ensign, May 2010, 36]

    "To fathers and mothers, to grandfathers and grandmothers, and to those without children of their own who lovingly nurture children and youth, my counsel is to speak more frequently about Jesus Christ. In His holy name is great spiritual power. 'There [is] no other name given nor any other way. . . whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ' (Mosiah 3:17)." [Neil L. Andersen, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus," Ensign, May 2010, 109]

    “Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone.” [Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Your Happily Ever After,” Ensign, May 2010, 126]

    "Most people in trouble end up crying, 'What was I thinking?' Well, whatever they were thinking, they weren't thinking of Christ. Yet, as members of His Church, we pledge every Sunday of our lives to take upon ourselves His name and promise to 'always remember him' (D&C 20:77). So let us work a little harder at remembering Him." [Jeffrey R. Holland, "Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul," Ensign, May 2010, 46]

    “The more we know of Jesus, the more we will love Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will trust Him. The more we know of Jesus, the more we will want to be like Him and to be with Him by becoming the manner of men and women that He wishes us to be (see 3 Ne. 27:27), while living now ‘after the manner of happiness’ (2 Ne. 5:27).” [Neal A. Maxwell, "Plow in Hope," Liahona, July 2001, 7]

    Wikipedia: Mormons, view faith in Jesus Christ and the atonement as the central tenet of their religion.[2] LDS theology includes the Christian doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints]

    If I might speak for myself, Kent, I will say that I was baptised a member of the Church on 16 December 1950 and have immersed myself in the Church’s doctrine, history, and development since that time. I know Mormons worship God the father in the name of Jesus Christ, and there is not, and never has been a Mormon that thinks that he or she can get into heaven by their own exertions. As you have written, Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements of the Mosaic law, which was a ‘;schoolmaster’ to bring us to Christ. But neither Jesus not his apostles taught that Christians must abandon every Law of God, but only those found in the Levitical Code. The difference between the Mosaic Law and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that Moses’ looked forward to the coming of Messiah, and Christianity acknowledged his arrival and now remembers and serves him.

    Yet, Christianity is not a licence to sin. I recognise that you said the same thing at the beginning of your answer, and Mormons agree. Accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour includes a personal commitment to obey him in whatever ways he requires. That is why we take his commandment, ‘Ye must be born again, of the water and of the Spirit,’ as a direct commandment. We do not know all the whys and wherefores of what Jesus requires of us, but we willingly obey him.

    We remember that Jesus said, “Not everyone that says to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those that DO the will of my Father in heaven.” [Matt. 7] Latter-day saints take the words of Jesus seriously. Doubtless some minimalist Christians that seek to shave down the cost of discipleship disagree, and they are free to do so, but we follow our consciences as we believe God requires us to obey him to the best of our abilities. In many ways we agree with Bonhoeffer, a person of whom I think you will have heard.

    “The Cost of Discipleship” is a wonderful book written by Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that is considered a classic of Christian thought. The book is centred around the Sermon on the Mount, in which Bonhoeffer spells out what he believes it means to follow Christ. It was first published in 1937, when the rise of the Nazi regime was underway in Germany and against this background that Bonhoeffer's theology of costly discipleship developed, which ultimately led to his death. One of the most quoted parts of the book deals with the distinction which Bonhoeffer makes between "cheap" and "costly" grace. But what is "cheap" grace? In Bonhoeffer's words:

    "[C]heap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."

    Or, even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: "Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness." The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship. In contrast to this is costly grace:

    "[C]ostly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." "

    Bonhoeffer argues that as Christianity spread, the Church became more "secularised", accommodating the demands of obedience to Jesus to the requirements of society. In this way, "the world was Christianised, and grace became its common property." But the hazard of this was that the gospel was cheapened, and obedience to the living Christ was gradually lost beneath formula and ritual, so that in the end, grace could literally be sold for monetary gain.

    Whilst not following Bonhoeffer in every detail, Mormonism is consonant with his understanding that discipleship was a personal commitment to live for Christ and to die for him if necessary, but above all to render obedience to his will and to the will of his Father. Yet, know this, that above all the talk of obedience, there is no sense in Mormonism that anything we can do would merit our forgiveness or our salvation. For these we are entirely dependent on God and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

    I will cut off at this point, because this is already a long reply. As I have frequently observed, small but important misunderstanding often require long and more detailed rebuttals so that the full measure of Mormonism can be seen. I will resume comment on the remainder in due time.

  81. Kent: I will add that in most cases where Paul speak of the Law as being done with, he refers to the Mosaic Law that Jews still continue to observe. The question of whether Christians from Jewish or Gentile backgrounds were subject to the demands of the Levitical Code in addition to the requirements of the Gospel of Jesus Christ rocked the early Christian Church and was often a very sore point, occasioning much furore and strife.

    I agree that Paul wrote that the Mosaic Law was no longer a requirement, but that did not do away with, for instance, the Decalogue, and Christians that fail to observe these ten mitzvoth are not pleasing God. Disciples do not steal, commit adultery, lie, etc. I bleieve you agree with this understanding.

    Ronnie

  82. Ronnie-When I stated I was an anti-Mormon, if you would READ IT IN CONTEXT which you have much trouble doing, I said it to stop all the name calling and thought killing insults that usually get thrown at me when I speak out about Mormonism. I said it to get it out of the way, hoping we could actually have a discussion and dialogue instead of just throwing about insults.

    Mormon church history will prove that they teach the Christian world is in disagreement, confusion, and they "fight among themselves". You stated it yourself, and I was taught it personally through the story of Joseph Smith and his belief that it was the state of Christianity. That is not a lie. I have NEVER fought with another Christian about doctrine. EVER. So where is all the confusion and fighting? I have never experienced it. I have only experienced love and acceptance from my Christian brothers and sisters, and I have attended several different denominations in several different states. We have had different discussions and different opinions on an array of topics and never have we "fought" over them, we respect one another's individuality and perspective. Even on this blog when I come across other Christians I have never met before such as Kent, we are in perfect agreement about what matters: JESUS. No fighting.

    I have tried to have many discussions on here only to have you twist every word I say. I have no desire to express my thoughts when a person twists them completely, than proceeds to say I am of the devil, an anti-Mormon, unChristlike, etc, etc. Who would? You also feel you are the sole authority on who is of Christ, what behaviors are Christlike, what pleases Jesus, and you alone determine who these people are. Again, I have no desire to continue on with someone who is so convinced of his own superiority he can only look down his nose and judge others. You say I have no ability to read through your ramblings insinuating I "lack intellectual fervor" implying I am of lesser intelligence than you. You have stated that you "doubt (I) have sufficient Godly Christian grace" insinuating I do not know God or have His grace. From all of the "Christlike love" pouring out of you I should be running back to the LDS church by now. But I have been insulted to no end just on this site alone when I came looking for an answer to a question. I have been called by you and other Mormons on this blog stupid, of Satan, unChristlike, of evil spirits, dumb, lacking " intellectual fervor,"etc. You did not say you just disagree with my opinion or doctrine, I was actually insulted with personal ad hominem attacks. You tell half truths about things, then wait til someone repeats them, then you pounce and call them outrageous liars. Tell me, does this please Jesus? Since you claim to be His spokesperson please tell me if your conduct is what is Christlike so I can emulate YOU. "You hypocrite!"-Jesus

    Now if I determine I will not converse with you anymore (as I have said I wouldn't do before on other posts, but you came trolling again and I caved) according to you it is because "I can't answer your questions." I have answered your questions, you just don't like the answer and deny them. When I told you I was a Mormon before and that's where I got my info, you discredit that as well! That can't be true! I must be mistaken, I must be taking things wrong, I must be lying! WHY ON EARTH WOULD I KEEP TALKING TO YOU WHEN YOU DISCREDIT MY ANSWERS AS NOT TRUE? Then you twist the things I say and insult me on top of it. Sorry if I fail to see any benefit to that.

    I have had many discussions with Joshua on here, and he has always been polite and respectful and I have continued to speak to him because of his demeanor. He gives his views and debates with me without personal insults or telling me I am one of Satan's minions or not Christlike. This is not the case with you Ronnie, so it's you. And I am done with you. I said, good day!

  83. Kent:

    The following is a partial response to your objection to theosis/deification. it amply demonstrates that it was once a central doctrine of Christianity, and, indeed, Christianity proper has not yet thrown it out altogether, especially in the eastern Churches.

    ===========

    Theosis or Deification
    The Christian Doctrine of Salvation

    What does the Eastern Orthodox Church mean when it speaks of "deification" or "divinisation" (from the Greek for: ‘to make divine’)?

    A Protestant, explains:

    "In keeping with monotheism, the Eastern Orthodox do not teach that men literally become "gods" (which would be polytheism). Rather, as did many of the church fathers, they teach that men are "deified" in the sense that the Holy Spirit dwells within Christian believers and transforms them into the image of God in Christ, eventually endowing them in the resurrection with immortality and God’s perfect moral character" [ Robert M. Bowman, Jr, "Ye Are Gods? Orthodox and Heretical Views on the Deification Of Man" Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1987 (18).]

    Historically, the word was employed both in pre-Christian Greek antiquity, and also in pagan quarters existing contemporaneously with the early Christian Church.

    "The use was daring. Non-Christians employed it to speak of pagan gods deifying creatures. The philosophers Iamblichus and Proclus, the poet Callimachus and the dreaded Julian the Apostate had used it in that way. It was not first a Christian word nor always employed by only Christians after they made it central. From within his deep contemplative life and from previous Church Tertullian the Theologian picked it up, cleaned it up and filled it up with Christian sense. He and his fellow theologians took it captive and used it to speak about Christian realities." [Norris, F.W., "Deification: Consensual and Cogent". Scottish Journal of Theology, 49, No. 4, 1996]

    Therefore, Church Fathers were observant to contrast their views with pagans that used similar language. For example, Athanasius testifies to theosis on innumerable occasions in his writings.

    "We are as God by imitation, not by nature"; [Athanasius, Orat 3.20.] and "Albeit we cannot become like God in essence, yet by progress in virtue imitate God.” [Athanasius, Ad Afros 7]

    Jaroslav Pelikan, Church historian, Sterling Professor Emeritus of History at Yale University and recent convert to Orthodoxy, explains:

    "All of this Christian language about a humanity made divine was a part of a total Cappadocian system in which the Classical religion of deified men and women and of anthropomorphic gods and goddesses was described as ‘the superstition of polytheism’ and as the error of those mere mortals who had ‘turned aside the honour of God to themselves.’ Therefore, the Cappadocians insisted that it was as essential for theosis as it was for the incarnation itself not to be viewed as analogous to Classical theories about the promotion of human beings to divine rank, and in that sense not to be defined by natural theology at all; on such errors they pronounced their ‘Anathema!’" . [Pelikan, Jaroslav, Christianity and Classical Culture. Yale University Press, 1993, p. 318.]

    It must be remembered that it was in the Christian East where Synods assembled (fifth through seventh centuries) to establish orthodox doctrine about the full humanity of Christ; insisting on a true human nature, soul and will. When one carefully sifts through the Eastern spiritual tradition, much more balance than is often supposed between the Cross and the Resurrection is found to exist. To be certain, Orthodoxy is absolutely clear that our salvation is secured for us on Calvary, as Fr. Georges Florovsky, eminent priest, theologian and scholar rightly notes:

    "Salvation is completed on Golgotha, not on Tabor, and the Cross of Jesus was foretold even on Tabor (Cf. Luke 9:31).” Indeed, "the Tabor light which surrounds the risen Christ in His glorious victory over death, ie, in His saving resurrection, is the light which enters the world by way of the cross, and no other way". [Allen, Joseph J. (ed.), Orthodox Synthesis: The Unity of Theological Thought. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1981, p. 162.]

    The liturgical books used in Orthodox worship are replete with references to the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary. Most Western Christians are accustomed to catechisms, and while they do not play as great a role in Orthodoxy, they nonetheless exist, and easily provide corroboration of this. For example, in A New Style Catechism on the Eastern Orthodox Faith for Adults, after quoting 1 John 2:2—‘He is the expiation of our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world’—it states:

    "The Sacrifice of Christ is offered because of His love for mankind. He replaced the penalties of man, and by His Sacrifice reconciled man with God. Man’s finite mind cannot comprehend the ‘economy’ of this God-saving deed, which remains a mystery of the ages in that the highest penalty was imposed on the Innocent One instead of the guilty." [Mastrantonis, George, A New-Style Catechism on the Eastern Orthodox Faith for Adults. The OLOGOS Mission, 1969, p. 90.]

    Orthodoxy, in discussions of redemption, employs many other salvific metaphors besides theosis, and in doing so follows an eclectic approach that was operative in the early Church. Evangelical Professor and scholar Daniel Clendenin offers some much needed corrective to the distorted picture given by some Evangelical commentators:

    "Theosis and other biblical metaphors for the work of Christ need not be understood as contradicting one another. There is no reason that they cannot be seen as complementary. The East emphasises the crucial idea of mystical union and divine transformation, while the West tends to stress the believer’s juridical standing before a holy God. Both conceptions, and others beside, find biblical support and deserve full theological expression." [Clendenin, Daniel, Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective. Baker Books, 1994, p. 159]

    Christian themes of theosis and justification not only are not mutually exclusive, but in fact flow one from the other.

    Historical Treatment?

    Despite the fact that "Deification, as God’s greatest gift to man and the ultimate goal of human existence, had always been a prime consideration in the teachings of the Church Fathers on salvation," [Mantzaridis, Georgios I., The Deification of Man. SVS Press, 1984, p. 12] one could read some Evangelical theologians and commentators and remain unaware that the theme of theosis is interwoven throughout the Patristic writings. St. Irenæus, who was the spiritual grandson of the Apostle John, explicitly stated this as early as the second century. In his famous work Against Heresies, he writes in the preface of the fifth discourse that:

    "If the Word is made man, it is that men might become gods.” [Adv. Haer V (pref), in Clendenin, p. 127]

    It is not difficult to understand why Protestant statements relative to theosis are not addressed in the context of the Church Fathers: this "long development" includes Saints that many Evangelicals hold up as pillars of the Faith. Many will, in fact, attempt to demonstrate that the Fathers were doctrinally synonymous with their own teachings on any number of subjects, and Anti-Mormon ministries are no exception, devoting sections (Patres and Verbatim) that include selected quotes from the Fathers that relate to a particular issue’s theme. But, it is woefully inadequate to merely cut and paste statements made by the Fathers, as if to suggest that these Fathers had the same phronema, or mindset. As Georges Florovsky pointed out:

    "The Church always stresses the identity of her faith throughout the ages. This identity and permanence, from Apostolic times, is indeed the most conspicuous token and sign of right faith. In the famous phrase of Vincent of Lérins, in ipsa item catholica ecclesia magnopere curandum est ud id teneamus quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est. However, ‘antiquity’ by itself is not yet an adequate proof of the true faith. Archaic formulas can be utterly misleading. Vincent himself was aware of that…The true tradition is only the tradition of truth, traditio veritatis. And this ‘true tradition,’ according to St. Irenaeus, is grounded in, and guaranteed by, that charisma veritatis certum, which has been deposited from the very beginning in the Church and preserved in the uninterrupted succession of Apostolic ministry: qui cum episcopatus successione charisma veritatis certum acceperunt. [Adv. Haereses IV.40.2]

    Thus, ‘tradition’ in the Church is not merely the continuity of human memory; the permanence of rites and habits. Ultimately, ‘tradition’ is the continuity of divine assistance, the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. The Church is not bound by ‘the letter.’ She is constantly moved forth by ‘the Spirit.’ The same Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, which ‘spake through the Prophets,’ which guided the Apostles, which illumined the Evangelists, is still abiding in the Church, and guides her into the fuller understanding of the divine truth, from glory to glory." [Florovsky, Georges, "Following the Holy Fathers: Father Georges Florovsky and the Patristic Mindset".]. Anti-Mormon’s use of the Fathers amounts to little more than a "sola Patera" exercise, for when the Fathers are stripped from their traditional, ecclesial context, they can, it is claimed, be made to say anything.

    Some Evangelicals bring heavy indictments against Eastern Orthodoxy for its adoption of theosis, not realising that it is not an adopted doctrine, but the continuation of the early Church’s central belief in the nature of salvation. One who has read the Fathers in context wonders why they do not level the same charges against the many Fathers that are quoted approvingly by Evangelicals and Anti-Mormons.

    For example, Athanasius could hardly escape blame, since theosis figured prominently in his soteriology. [Athanasius, Ad Serap 1.24; De decret 14; Vita Ant 74; Orat 1.38-39; Orat 3.38-39.] In his masterpiece On the Incarnation of the Word of God (54:3), he wrote the classic statement for theosis:

    "He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God." [Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word of God (54:3).]

    In fact, theosis was used by him in his defense of the full deity of Christ against the Arians:

    "The Word could never have divinized us if He were merely divine by participation and were not Himself the essential Godhead, the Father’s veritable image." [Athanasius, Contra Arianos 2.24-6; 2.29f, (in Kelly, J.N.D. Early Christian Doctrines (Rev. Ed.), Harper & Row, 1978, p. 243).]

    He argues in like manner against the Tropici sect concerning the Holy Spirit’s divinity, stating that

    "If, by a partakability of the Spirit we shall become partakers of the divine nature, it would be madness then afterwards to call the Spirit an originated entity, and not of God; for on account of this also those who are in him are made divine. But then if he makes man divine, it is not dubious to say his nature is of God." [Athanasius, Ad Serap 1.24.]

    Others have realised the profound implications of all of this:

    "It should not be argued that anyone who speaks of ‘deification’ necessarily holds to a heretical view of man. Such a sweeping judgement would condemn many of the early church’s greatest theologians (e.g. Athanasius, Augustine), as well as one of the three main branches of historic orthodox Christianity in existence today." . [Bowman, Ye Are Gods?…]

    Bowman’s statement truly cuts to the heart of the matter. There is no logical reason why charges of pagan perversion should be levelled against Christians that hold tenaciously to the Christian doctrine of theosis or divinisation as the correct term for salvation, for it is the unadulterated the teaching of the the New Testament and the Holy Fathers. It is a glaring inconsistency to label theosis as apostate yet ignore the history of the theological formulation of the very doctrines one is attacking. From a scholarly perspective, it is baffling how Christianity could be doctrinally studied outside of Patristic context.

    Moreover, it is this essential unity with the earliest Christian doctrines that provides the basis for understanding how proper salvic doctrine flows from a right understanding of who Christ is as God and Man. Pelikan, commenting on the importance of Ephesus and Chalcedon, observes:

    "A false understanding of the relation between the divine and human in Christ deprived human nature of the hope of salvation, for salvation could have come only through a distinct human hypostasis." [Pelikan, Jaroslav, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700), University of Chicago Press, 1974, p. 46.]

    It is no accident that theosis was discussed by the Fathers within the context of the early christological and pneumatological heresies that culminated in the Œcumenical Synods that convened to address them. Theosis formed an essential part of Nicene theology; St. Gregory of Nyssa likewise did with regard to later christological issues:

    "The God who was manifested mingled himself with the nature that was doomed to death, in order that by communion with the divinity human nature may be deified together with him." [Coniaris, Anthony, These Are the Sacraments. Light & Life Publishing, 1981, p. 126.]

    Vladimir Lossky, one of the premier Orthodox theologians of the twentieth century, sums up this all-important point:

    "The Fathers of the ‘Christological centuries’, though they formulated a dogma of Christ the God-Man, never lost sight of the question concerning our union with God. The usual arguments they bring up against unorthodox doctrines refer particularly to the fullness of our union, our deification, which becomes impossible if one separates the two natures of Christ, as Nestorius did, or if one only ascribes to Him one divine nature, like the Monophysites, or if one curtails one part of human nature, like Appolinarius, or if one sees in Him a single divine will and operation, like the Monothelites. ‘What is not assumed, cannot be deified’ – this is the argument to which the Fathers continually return." [Lossky, Vladimir, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. SVS Press, 1976, p. 154-155.]

    Many Evangelicals accept the dogmatic definitions of these Œcumenical Synods that set forth orthodox doctrine on the Person of Christ – definitions which Harnack and others have denounced as eclipsing the "Biblical" Christ. As Pelikan notes,

    "There are many writers, and not only sceptical writers, but Christian theologians—including, indeed, the most important school of German theology in recent times—who hold that the great controversies of the early Church about the Trinity and the Incarnation were…about subtleties introduced by Greek philosophy into the Christian religion." [Pelikan, Christianity, p. 21.]

    The burden of proof is upon Anti-Mormons to demonstrate how oft-cited Fathers like Athanasius, Basil the Great, and Augustine—all of whom accepted theosis and utilised Greek philosophical elements in their theology—can evade his own thesis that these elements "come into direct conflict with apostolic warnings against mixing pagan and Christian thought (Col. 2:8)."

    Actually, Evangelical Calvinist tradition is not entirely immune from this charge, for,

    "Indirectly, through the works of Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius and others Neoplatonism exerted great influence not only on medieval Christianity but on all Christians who ever since, consciously or not, have been indebted to these thinkers." [O’Meara, Dominic J. (ed.), Neoplatonism and Christian Thought. International Society for Neoplatonic Studies; SUNY Press, Albany, 1982, intro-x.]

    And yet Anti-Mormon Devangelicals insist that any presence of Hellenic concepts within Latter-day Saint theology renders the Godhead a "paganized deity," evidently unaware that this accusation would impugn Augustine, who used some of Plotinus’ ideas about three hypostases in his own trinitarian theology, and others besides, as J.P. Farrell notes:

    "As in Neoplatonism, where the being, will and activity of the One were ‘wholly indistinguishable,’ so it is in Saint Augustine when he considers what the definition of simplicity implies for the attributes. The essence and attributes of God are identified: ‘The Godhead,’ he writes, ‘is absolutely simple essence, and therefore to be is then the same as to be wise.’ But Saint Augustine carries the logic beyond this to insist also on the identity of the attributes amongst themselves." [Farrell, Joseph P. (Tr.), Saint Photios: The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit. Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1987, p. 26-27.]

    “Emil Brunner considers that the most perilous of all Greek concepts is that of the absolute ‘simplicity’ of God, derived from Neo-Platonism by way of Pseudo-Dionysius. Strictly speaking, this concept not only forbids all anthropomorphism in the idea of God (such as is common in the Old Testament) but all distinguishable attributes whatsoever. It tends, we may say, to replace the God Paul preached to the Athenians with the Unknown God they had ‘ignorantly worshipped’ before hearing the Gospel at all." [ Horton, Walter M., Christian Theology: An Ecumenical Approach. New York, Harper, 1955, p. 94.]

    It would seem that the hapless pursuit of a "pure" Christianity that only acknowledges its Hebraic roots must be taken into consideration here. This, of course, is historically untenable on a number of counts. First, it is clear from the New Testament that Judaism also posed a threat to some of the emerging church communities—just as St. Paul warned the nascent church community at Collosae about the potential dangers of Greek philosophy (Col. 2:8), so too did he warn the Galatians about slipping back into Judaic practices (Gal. 3).

    The very core dogmas of Christianity concerning the nature of God were formulated amidst a Hellenic culture in light of previous monotheistic beliefs inherited from Judaism, as Pelikan explains:

    "The congruence of Cappadocian trinitarianism, this ‘chief dogma,’ with Cappadocian apologetics, was summarized in their repeated claim that the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity was located ‘between the two conceptions’ of Hellenism and Judaism, by ‘invalidating both ways of thinking, while accepting useful components of each.’ Gregory of Nyssa put this claim boldly: ‘The Jewish dogma is destroyed by the acceptance of the Logos and by belief in the Spirit, while the polytheistic error of the Greek school is made to vanish by the unity of the [divine] nature abrogating this imagination of plurality.’ In sum, therefore, ‘Of the Jewish conception, let the unity of the nature stand; and of the Hellenic, only the distinction as to the hypostases, the remedy against a profane view being thus applied, as required, on either side.’" [Lossky, Mystical…, p. 50.]

    Lossky also notes that

    "It required the superhuman efforts of an Athanasius of Alexandria, of a Basil, of a Gregory of Nazianzen and of many others, to purify the concepts of Hellenistic thought, to break down the watertight bulkheads by the introduction of a Christian apophaticism which transformed rational speculation into a contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity." [Pelikan, Christianity…, p. 244-245.]

    The twin experiences of Judaism and Hellenism in the history of Orthodoxy are masterfully counterbalanced by Lossky:

    "Christianity at once fulfils and scandalises. But whatever may be the attitude of the ‘Greeks’ and the ‘Jews’ who deny Christ, in the Church—that is to say in the body of this Word which reclaims all things, makes anew, purifies and puts every truth in its proper place—there should be no difference between Greek and Jew. Two dangers appear here: the first is that the theologian may be a ‘Greek’ in the Church, that he may allow himself to be dominated by his forms of expression to the point of intellectualising revelation, and to lose at once the biblical sense of the concrete and this existential character of the encounter with God which is concealed in the apparent anthropomorphism of Israel.

    “To this danger, which goes from the Scholastics to the intellectuals of the nineteenth century, corresponds in our age an inverse danger: that of a somewhat ‘structured’ biblicism which wishes to oppose the Hebrew tradition to ‘Greek philosophy,’ and attempts to remake theory in purely Semitic categories. But theology must be of universal expression. It is not by accident that God has placed the Fathers of the Church in a Greek setting; the demands for lucidity in philosophy and profundity in gnosis have forced them to purify and to sanctify the language of the philosophers and of the mystics, to give the Christian message, which includes but goes beyond Israel, all its universal reach." [Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction. SVS Press, 1978, p. 30-31]

    Theosis Used in the Western Church

    Although theosis is often presented by Anti-Mormons as either a pagan or a strictly Eastern Christian phenomenon, it must not be overlooked that the doctrine is found in several Western Church Fathers, as well as in isolated strands of Western Christian thought throughout the ages. [Clendenin, p. 124]

    Hilary of Poitiers, known as the "Athanasius of the West" and the most respected Latin theologian of the mid-fourth century, writes in his work On the Trinity that

    "the assumption of our nature was no advancement for God, but His willingness to lower Himself is our promotion, for He did not resign His divinity but conferred divinity on man." He further writes that our Lord came to earth for the purpose "that man might become God." [Rakestraw, Robert V., "Becoming Like God: An Evangelical Doctrine of Theosis". Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, n11-12.]

    Jerome testifies

    "That we are gods is not so by nature, but by grace. ‘But to as many as receive Him he gave power of becoming sons of God." [Homilies of St. Jerome. Washington DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964, p. 106-107.]

    The second century Latin theologian Tertullian provides an interesting case, for although arguing against any synthesis of Christianity and philosophy, asking "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" nonetheless has no problem with a concept of theosis!

    "Truth, however maintains the unity of God in such a way as to insist that whatever belongs to God Himself belongs to Him alone. For so will it belong to Himself if it belong to Him alone; and therefore it will be impossible that another god should be admitted, when it is permitted to no other being to possess anything of God. Well, then, you say, we ourselves at that rate possess nothing of God. But indeed we do, and shall continue to do—only it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves. For we shall be even gods, if we, shall deserve to be among those of whom He declared, ‘I have said, Ye are gods,’ and ‘God standeth in the congregation of the gods.’ But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods." [Tetullian, Against Hermogenes, cap. v.]

    A significant Patristic witness the Anti-Mormon conception of theosis as an exclusively Hellenized view of salvation is the fourth century "lyre of the Holy Spirit," Ephrem the Syrian. As Sebastian Brock points out:

    "It has sometimes been said that the divinization, or theosis, of humanity is something that crept into Christianity, especially Eastern Christianity, under Hellenic influence. It is clear, however, that St. Ephraim, whom Theodoret described as ‘unacquainted with the language of the Greeks,’ and whose thought patterns are essentially semitic and biblical in character, is nonetheless an important witness to this teaching. Moreover in this context it should be recalled that, since the term ‘son of’ implies ‘belonging to the category of,’ the title ‘children of God’ to which Christians attain at baptism would suggest to the Semitic mind that they had, potentially, the characteristics of divine beings, in other words, immortality. Once again the theological content of St. Ephraim’s poetry is remarkably similar to his Greek contemporaries—only the mode of expression is different. Just as St. Athanasius expressed this mystery epigrammatically (‘God became man so that man might become God’), so too, in his own way, does St. Ephraim: ‘He gave us Divinity, we gave Him humanity’" (Hymn on Faith V.17). Similarly, St. Ephrem writes in his Genesis commentary that, had Adam and Eve not disobeyed God’s command, "they would have acquired divinity in humanity." And from the hymn "On Virginity": "Divinity flew down and descended to raise and draw up humanity. The Son has made beautiful the servant’s deformity, and he has become a god, just as he desired." [Brock, Sebastian (Tr.), Saint Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns on Paradise. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1990, p. 73-74.]

    Augustine has historically enjoyed broad respect within Protestantism. And, while his views of grace and predestination are most familiar to Protestants, he is nonetheless an important witness to theosis (see Note-E), as Gerald Bonner explains:

    "There is, however, in Augustine’s spirituality another element, perceived as a consequence of Christ’s taking human nature upon himself; for it is in Christ and through Christ, and only in and through Christ, that man becomes a partaker of God’s nature: ‘He who was God was made man to make gods those who were men’ (Augustine, serm. 192.1, 1). These words, which parallel the more-often-quoted words of St Athanasius in his De Incarnatione, show that Augustine did not shrink from using the language of deification, often said to be peculiar to the Greek Fathers." [Bonner, Gerald, God’s Decree & Man’s Destiny: Studies in the Thought of Augustine of Hippo. Variorum Reprints, London, 1987, p. 157.]

    In fact, as GWH Lampe points out,

    "Augustine repeats more often, perhaps, than any of the Greek theologians, the theme of the ‘interchange of places.’ ‘The Word,’ he says, became what we are that we might attain what we are not. For we are not God; but we can see God with the mind and interior eye of the heart’… ‘God hates you as you are, in order to make you what you are not yet. You will be what he is;’ but Augustine hastens to add that this means that we shall be God’s image in the sense in which a man’s reflection in a mirror is his image inasmuch as it is like him, not in the sense in which a man’s son is his image inasmuch as he is actually what his father is ‘according to substance.’" [Cunliffe-Jones, Hubert (ed.), A History of Christian Doctrine. Fortress Press, 1978, p. 153-154.].

    Bonner stresses that

    "[T]he notion of deification is to be found in Augustine, not as something added to his system as an afterthought, but as an integral whole. In itself, the notion of deification is no more than what is implied by the New Testament term  – sonship by adoption – by grace, that is to say, and not by nature. It is, indeed, the consequence of human flesh being assumed by the divinity in the Incarnation: that flesh has been taken into heaven by the ascended Christ, and if men participate in Him through membership of the Church, the Body of Christ, they too may hope, after death, to enjoy the divinisation effected by His flesh-taking. So Augustine writes, in the last chapter of the last book of The City of God: ‘We ourselves shall become that seventh day [i.e. the eternal Sabbath], when we have been replenished and restored by His blessing and sanctification. There we shall have leisure to be still, and we shall see that He is God, whereas we wished to be that ourselves when we fell away from Him, after listening to the seducer saying: You will be like gods. Then we abandoned the true God, by whose creative help we should have become gods, but by participating in Him, not by deserting Him." [Bonner, p. 291-292.]

    CS Lewis, the popular author of numerous apologetic, theological and fictional works, provides a good example of a contemporary Western writer—much beloved of Evangelicals—who makes use of the idea of theosis. In his Mere Christianity, basically he recites the famous Athanasian theosis statement into more modern language:

    "He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has – by what I call ‘good infection.’ Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else" [Lewis, Clive Staples, Mere Christianity. Macmillan Publishing Co., 1952, p. 153.]

    He spells this out more succinctly a little later in the book:

    "The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him – for we can prevent Him, if we choose – He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.” [ibid., p. 174-175].

    Finally, Lewis talks about God

    "turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity" [ibid., p. 164.] .

    With Evangelicals such as Daniel Clendenin and Robert Bowman, the attitude taken by many scholars within this tradition to theosis is quite different than that of Jones. Robert Rakestraw of Bethel Theological Seminary testifies that:

    "I am convinced that we may receive considerable benefit from a judicious understanding and appropriation of the doctrine," and calls attention to the eminently Scriptural witness to theosis: "The most significant benefit is that the concept as a whole, if not the specific terminology, is biblical. Pauline teaching supports much that is emphasised by theosis theologians. In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul writes that Christians, ‘who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit’ (2 Cor. 3:17-18). The Christian who experiences this transformation develops a remarkable God-given assurance that she is actually thinking the thoughts of God, doing the works of God, and, at times, even speaking the words of God. These energies and ministries of God in the Christian yielded to her Lord are the natural outcome of the life of God in the soul." Rakestraw goes on to discuss theosis in several other Scriptural contexts as well (1 Cor. 2:13, 16; 1 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 4:11; Col. 1:15, 28, 2:9-10, 3:3-4; Gal. 2:20, 4:19, 1 John 4:16, etc.). [Rakestraw, p. 1-3; 14-17.]

    So while theosis has historically been a much more prominent Eastern Christian theme, is has been voiced by Western Christians since ancient times. In addition to the individuals sampled above, theosis has been a part of Anabaptist spirituality; ["Anabaptism and Eastern Orthodoxy: Some Unexpected Similarities" in Journal of Ecumenical Studies 31 (1994) p. 67-91.] it formed a part of Wesley’s views on sanctification; [McCormick, K. Steve, "Theosis in Chrysostom and Wesley: An Eastern Paradigm on Faith and Love"] and it has also been found to exist in Martin Luther’s writings.

    Theosis has recently been experiencing a ‘rediscovery’ of sorts by many within the Protestant tradition, who find it to be a neglected yet significant means of understanding the salvation we have in Christ. Norris correctly notes that

    "Because significant Western theologians confess this deep sense of sharing in the divine nature and others like John Calvin and Bernard of Clairvaux speak of the beautific vision and mystical union with God, deification should be viewed by Protestants not as an oddity of Orthodox theology but as an ecumenical consensus, a catholic teaching of the Church, best preserved and developed by the Orthodox." [Norris, FW, p. 422.]

    Justification vs. Theosis?

    Some Anti-Mormon Evangelicals make attempts to contrast theosis with themes of justification by faith, atonement, etc., insisting that they are mutually incompatible. The first point that could be made is that nowhere in early Christian history (East or West) do we find anyone arguing against the teaching of theosis. Secondly, the notion that redemption should be rigidly interpreted in one particular way is itself foreign to early Christian thought:

    "The seven ecumenical councils avoided defining salvation through any [one model] alone. No universal Christian consensus demands that one view of salvation includes or excludes all others." [ibid., p. 412]

    JND Kelly further explains:

    "Scholars have often despaired of discovering any single unifying thought in the Patristic teaching about the redemption. These various theories, however, despite appearances, should not be regarded as in fact mutually incompatible. They were all of them attempts to elucidate the same great truth from different angles; their superficial divergences are often due to the different Biblical images from which they started, and there is no logical reason why, carefully stated, they should not be regarded as complimentary" . [Kelly, JND, p. 376]

    And this is precisely what we find in Orthodoxy:

    "While insisting in this way upon the unity of Christ’s saving economy, the Orthodox Church has never formally endorsed any particular theory of atonement. The Greek Fathers, following the New Testament, employ a rich variety of images to describe what the Savior has done for us. These models are not mutually exclusive; on the contrary, each needs to be balanced by the others. Five models stand out in particular: teacher, sacrifice, ransom, victory and participation." [(Ware), Kallistos, How Are We Saved? The Understanding of Salvation in the Orthodox Tradition. Light & Life Publishing, 1996, p. 48-49]

    In fact, the entire cleavage of justification and sanctification into two different themes—the former said to occur instantly, and the latter being a life-long process—is of relatively recent origin in the history of the Church. It was only in the first era of the Reformation, as the eminent Protestant scholar Allister McGrath points out, that

    "A deliberate and systematic distinction is made between the concept of justification itself (understood as the extrinsic divine pronouncement of man’s new status) and the concept of sanctification or regeneration (understood as the intrinsic process by which God renews the justified sinner)."

    He goes on to explain that:

    "The significance of the Protestant distinction between iustificatio and regeneratio is that a fundamental discontinuity has been introduced into the western theological tradition where none had existed before…The Reformation understanding of the nature of justification – as opposed to its mode – must therefore be regarded as a genuine theological novum.” [McGrath, Alister E., Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification-Vol. 1. Cambridge University Press, 1986, p. 182, 184, 186-187]

    Interestingly enough, this unjustifiable cleavage has never been a part of Orthodoxy. After discussing the subject of theosis, Bishop Kallistos (Ware) explains:

    "By this time it will be abundantly clear that, when we Orthodox speak about salvation, we do not have in view any sharp differentiation between justification and sanctification. Indeed, Orthodox usually have little to say about justification as a distinct topic. I note, for example, that in my own book The Orthodox Church, written thirty years ago, the word ‘justification’ does not appear in the index, although this was not a deliberate omission. Orthodoxy links sanctification and justification together, just as St. Paul does in 1 Cor. 6:11: ‘You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.’ The references to justification in the opening chapters of Romans (for example 3:20, 24, 28), we understand in the light of Romans 6:4-10, which describe our radical incorporation through baptism into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. We Orthodox, then, ‘see justification’ and ‘sanctification’ as one divine action…one continuous process,’ to use the words of the Common Statement issued by the Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue in North America." [(Ware), …Saved?, p. 66-67]

    Even St. Augustine, despite the proto-Protestant conception of him held by many within the Calvinist tradition, had this view.

    McGrath notes that it is

    "the Augustinian understanding of justification as both event and process, embracing the beginning, continuation, and perfection of the Christian life, and thereby subsuming regeneration under justification/í [McGrath, Alister, Forerunners of the Reformation? Harvard Theological Review 75:2 (1982), p. 225]

    More specifically, St. Augustine integrated theosis within his concept of justification, as Lampe explains:

    "Augustine makes much use of the idea of deification which he equates with sonship towards God. Justification implies deification, because by justifying men God makes them his sons; if we have been made sons of God (Jn. 1:12) we have also been made gods, not through a natural begetting but through the grace of adoption."

    In Augustine’s own words,

    "God wishes to make you a god, not by nature like him whom he begat, but by his gift and adoption. For as he through humanity became partaker of your mortality, so through exaltation he makes you partaker of his immortality" (serm. 166.4). [Cunliffe-Jones, p. 153-154]

    And similarly:

    "It is clear that He (i.e. God) calls men gods through their being deified by His grace and not born of His substance. For He justifies, who is just of Himself and not of another; and He deifies, who is God of Himself and not by participation in another. Now He who justifies, Himself deifies, because by justifying He makes sons of God. For to them gave He power to become the sons of God. If we are made sons of God, we are also made gods; but this is by grace of adoption, and not by generation (Ennar. In Ps. 49, 2).” [Bonner, p. 512]

    Perhaps one might expect that Martin Luther—who led the "justification by faith" battle cry in the sixteenth century—would have pointed out the apostate nature of theosis in the Fathers and in what he called "the Greek Church." His writings indicate a familiarity—albeit a superficial one—with the Greek patristic tradition. Yet we find no such censures; in fact, theosis imagery is testified to in his very writings! This has been known for some time. As Marc Lienhard pointed out nearly twenty years ago:

    "One is not able to exclude entirely the idea that the theme of divinization was present to a certain extent in the mind of Luther. The contrary would have been astonishing when one remembers how familiar he was with the patristic writings." [Bielfeldt, Dennis, Deification as a Motif in Luther’s Dictata super psalterium. Sixteenth Century Journal, 28/2, 1997, p. 405]

    Indeed, "For Luther deification is the movement between the communicatio idiomatum and the beatum commercium. This leads straight into the heart of the concept of justification by faith. This faith has to be understood as taking part in the life of Christ and through Christ in the life of God. Luther designates this movement as deiformitas, in which the believer becomes identical ‘in shape’ with God justifying her or him in Christ. Herewith is underlined that deification and justification assume, amplify, and deepen each other." [Zwanepol, Klaas. "Luther and Theosis". Luther Digest, Vol. 5 (1997), p. 179]

    In his commentary on Galatians 3:9, Luther unequivocally states that "The one who has faith is a completely divine man, a son of God, the inheritor of the universe. He is the victor over the world, sin, death, and the devil" [51]. It is in Luther’s Dictata super Psalterium that a group of Finnish scholars have focused much attention recently, finding within it strong deification imagery. Spearheading this new scholarship is Simo Peura’s groundbreaking Mehr als ein Mensch?, which traces the theme of deification in Luther between the time period 1513 – 1519. Taking a critical look at this effort, Beilfeldt [see Note-G] summarizes some of the findings in the Dictata. In the scholion on Psalm 117 (118):12, Luther writes concerning the Christian: "On account of faith in Christ who dwells in him, he is God, the son of God and infinite (est deus, dei filius et infinitus), for God already is in him." And "In the commentary on Psalm 84 (85) Luther speaks of a ‘mystical incarnation of Christ’ in the ‘new people of faith’" and that "he uses an image strongly associated with deification. The righteousness of Christ looking down from heaven actually elevates believers by ‘making them heavenly’ (coelestus): ‘Therefore Christ came to the earth so that we might be elevated to heaven.’" In a final sample, Beinfeldt explains that "If Luther were interested in deification at all, it can hardly be imagined that he would miss the opportunity provided by verse 6 of Psalm 81 (82) (‘Dii estis, et filii Excelsi omnes’). In the interlinear gloss he distinguishes between ‘being gods’ and ‘being sons of God’: ‘I say to you who are good: You are gods because you are born of God from the Holy Spirit, not through nature: and you are all sons through the adoption of the most high God the Father.’ To be a god is thus to be born from the Holy Spirit, the spirit which makes one just before God. Luther adds in the marginal gloss that here the speaker ‘passes from the deceitful body to the true one;’ he moves from his own goodness to that of God’s. The imagery of the scholion is even stronger: ‘…you are of God and are not men…gods and sons of the most high are recalled by him to his own condition (statum).’ To be deified is to be called back from human sinfulness to God’s own state. Through the birth of the Holy Spirit in the believer, God adopts the person, and brings them up to his own state".

    Indeed, there have been recent fruitful discussions between Lutheran and Orthodox scholars on the subject of salvation that reach the exact opposite of Jones’ conclusion in SBP that theosis is incompatible with justification. The Rt. Rev. Michael C.D. McDaniel testifies that "the Lutheran emphasis on justification in light of the Orthodox emphasis on deification has revealed that, while Lutherans speak of ‘faith’ and Orthodox speak of theosis, both understand the Christian’s hope as ‘belonging to God.’ The Lutheran concern to specify the means of salvation and the Orthodox concern for its meaning are two insights into the one unspeakably wonderful reality that God, by grace alone, for the sake of Christ alone, has forgiven our sins and given us everlasting salvation". Echoing these sentiments, Paul Hinlicky testifies that "As a Lutheran, I want to say that the Orthodox doctrine of theosis is simply true, that justification by faith theologically presupposes it in the same way that Paul the Apostle reasoned by analogy from the resurrection of the dead to the justification of the sinner." He further explains that "The Lutheran doctrine of justification offers an Eastern answer to a Western question: Jesus Christ, in his person the divine Son of God, is our righteousness. He is the one who in obedience to his Father personally assumed the sin and death of humanity and triumphed over these enemies on behalf of helpless sinners, bestowing on then his own Spirit, so that, by the ecstasy of faith, they become liberated children of God in a renewed creation".

    Dialogue between the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Russian Orthodox Church concluded that "the traditional Lutheran doctrine of justification contains the idea of the deification of man. Justification and deification are based on the real presence of Christ in the word of God, the sacraments and in worship." "When justification and sanctification are properly modulated," Henry Edwards explains, "neither excluding justification by faith alone nor the fruits of that faith, a coherent message results which can be translated into the Orthodox term theosis…The Lutheran catechisms, the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, and the Formula of Concord all contain statements compatible with theosis."

    Essentially, Orthodoxy’s understanding of salvation fails Jones’ criterion of orthodoxy for the following reasons: (1) salvation is not exclusively explained in the juridical/forensic language inherent to Calvinism; (2) it is tacitly assumed that theosis can in no wise exist alongside such legal categories, and (3) the misunderstanding that Orthodox only understand salvation in terms of theosis. As for point (1), it is first worth pointing out that "a case cannot be made for the patristic provenance of the Protestant concepts of imputed righteousness or forensic justification." Nevertheless, juridical language—although not used nearly as much as in Western traditions—can be found in Orthodox writers. Vladimir Lossky, for example, states that "The very idea of redemption assumes a plainly legal aspect: it is the atonement of the slave, the debt paid for those who remained in prison because they could not discharge it. Legal also is the theme of the mediator who reunited man to God through the cross."

    Conversely, participation imagery is not entirely foreign to Calvin, as Clendenin explains: "the West has a well-developed concept of the Pauline idea of union with Christ. In the opening pages of book 3 of his Institutes Calvin, for example, before he raises the issue of justification by faith, speaks of believers’ being engrafted into or bonded with Christ through the ‘secret energy of the Holy Spirit’."

    The work of scholars within Evangelicalism and other Protestant traditions amply demonstrates the falsity of point (2). As Clark Pinnock correctly notes, "The key thing is that salvation involves transformation. It is not cheap grace, based on bare assent to propositions, or merely a change of status. Romans 5 with its doctrine of justification is followed by Romans 6 with its promise of union. It is not just a matter of balancing two ideas; it is a matter of never conceiving of the former without its goal in the latter. For the justified person is baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If there is no newness of life, if there is no union with Christ, if there is no coming out from under the dominion of sin, there is no salvation" [60]. Concerning (3), we saw the reluctance in Orthodoxy to formally endorse any one model or metaphor for our salvation – which of course would include theosis.

    In fact, in a reversal of (3), Orthodox Karmiris "warns about overemphasizing theosis," as does Stanilaoe. According to Clendenin, "We can say, then, that in addition to theosis Eastern theologians affirm any number of biblical metaphors for salvation, including juridical ones. They acknowledge that the work of Christ cannot be reduced to any single metaphor. Thus, while legal metaphors are truly Pauline and should be affirmed, they should not be allowed to dominate, but should be ‘relocated’ among the host of other biblical images."

    Thomas Torrance provides in conclusion an interesting Protestant perspective on the fundamental unity of Christ’s saving work and the appropriation of that work to us: "It becomes clear, therefore, that what we require to recover is an understanding of justification which really lets Christ occupy the centre, so that everything is interpreted by reference to who He was and is. After all, it was not the death of Jesus that constituted atonement, but Jesus Christ the Son of God offering Himself in sacrifice for us. Everything depends on who He was, for the significance of His acts in life and death depends on the nature of His Person. It was He who died for us, He who made atonement through His one self-offering in life and death. Hence we must allow the Person of Christ to determine for us the nature of His saving work, rather than the other way around. The detachment of atonement from incarnation is undoubtedly revealed by history to be one of the most harmful mistakes of Evangelical Churches. Nowhere is this better seen, perhaps, than in a theologian as good and great as James Denney who, in spite of the help offered by James Orr and H.R. Mackintosh, was unable to see the essential interconnection between atonement and incarnation, and so was, on his own frank admission, unable to make anything very much of St. Paul’s doctrine of union with Christ. This has certainly been one of the most persistent difficulties in Scottish theology.

    In Calvin’s Catechism we read: ‘Since the whole affiance of our salvation rests in the obedience which He has rendered to God, His Father, in order that it might be imputed to us as if it were ours, we must possess Him: for His blessings are not ours, unless He gives Himself to us first.’ It is only through union with Christ that we partake of His benefits, justification, sanctification, etc. That is why in the Institutes Calvin first offered an account of our regeneration in Christ before speaking of justification, in order to show that renewal through union with Christ belongs to the inner content of justification; justification is not merely a judicial or forensic event but the impartation to us of Christ’s own divine-human righteousness which we receive through union with Him.

    Apart from Christ’s incarnational union with us and or union with Christ on that ontological basis, justification degenerates into only an empty moral relation. That was also the distinctive teaching of the Scots Confession. But it was otherwise with the Westminster Confession, which reversed the order of things: we are first justified through a judicial act, then through an infusion of grace we live the sanctified life, and grow into union with Christ.

    The effects of this have been extremely damaging in the history of thought. Not only did it lead to the legalizing, or (as in James Denney’s case) a moralizing of the Gospel, but gave rise to an ‘evangelical’ approach to the saving work of Christ in which atonement was divorced from incarnation, substitution from representation, and the sacraments were detached from union with Christ; sooner or later within this approach where the ontological ground for the benefits of Christ had disappeared, justification became emptied of its objective content and began to be re-interpreted along subjective lines."

    Due to the acceptance of points (1-3) outlined above, in SBP it is put forth that Orthodoxy’s emphasis on union with Christ via theosis, "omits or minimizes a justifying Cross." In fact, Jones goes so far as to say that "Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice, the hallmark of Christian faith, plays no central role." Of course, we shall see in this section that the truth of the matter is otherwise—that "the cross [has] the very deepest expiatory significance—that "man’s life in its totality, and indeed the life of the entire world and the whole of creation, finds its source and fulfillment, its content and purpose in the cross of Christ."

    Another reason that Jones is led to these conclusions is because theosis is often discussed within the context of the Incarnation. But this very same conception is found in the Fathers of the Church, as Panagiotes Chrestou notes: "According to Patristic thought, the Incarnation of the Divine Word granted theosis to mankind"

    This idea is found even in St. Augustine, as Bonner explains: "Augustine’s view of deification is conditioned by his understanding of what the Incarnation has done. By the union of the two natures of God and man in himself, Christ brought about an elevation of the humanity which he assumed, and by being made members of Christ, who was a partaker of our human nature, men may be made partakers of the divine nature (ep. 140.4, 10)."

    While Jones will only consider the Cross as having salvific importance, this is a marked departure from early Christian understanding. "The Fathers," as Stanilaoe explains, "do not make the death of Christ into a saving event independent of the resurrection and incarnation." St. Athanasius, for example, notes that "The Savior granted both benefits by the Incarnation: on the one hand, he abolished death from our midst and, on the other hand, he renewed us." However, "Both Athanasius and Gregory of Nyssa, while viewing man’s restoration as essentially the effect of the incarnation, were able to find a logical place for the Lord’s death conceived as a sacrifice"

    In the minds of the Fathers, "the emphasis on the incarnation was not intended to exclude the saving value of Christ’s death. The emphasis was simply the offshoot of the special interest which the theologians concerned had in the restoration in which, however conceived, the redemption culminates."

    And commenting on the Orthodox, Rakestraw similarly notes that "Orthodox churches also work more with the incarnation than with the crucifixion of Christ as the basis of man’s divinisation. This is not to say that Christ’s atonement is minimised in the work of redemption, but that the intention of the Father in creating humanity in the first place, and of joining humanity to divinity in the incarnation, is so that human beings might assume Godlikeness, and be imagers of God in his divine life, character and actions."

    The soteriological dimension of the Incarnation, so far from confusing the fruits of the Cross or fostering neglect of it, rather deepens and illuminates its meaning, as Emilianos Timiadis explains:

    “Death would be impossible without presupposing the reality of the incarnation. All of the events of Christ’s earthly life are inseparable. The benefits of salvation are expounded in the life of our Saviour taken as a whole. All of our sufferings were laid on him who could not suffer, and he destroyed them. ‘He destroyed death by death and all human weakness by his human actions.”

    This is the way to understand the representative character of Christ’s death and sacrifice and the possibility of man’s salvation in Christ. Christ was born for us, lived on earth for us, died for us, and rose for us and for the confirmation of our resurrection. Christ’s death was due not to his weakness but to the fact that he died for man’s salvation.

    While Athanasius speaks of the incarnation and insists that ‘God became man that we might become gods,’ he says at the same time that ‘Christ offered the sacrifice on behalf of all, delivering his own shrine to death in of all, that he might set all free from the liability of the original transgression,’ and he speaks of Christ’s sacrifice offered for the redemption of our sins and for men’s deliverance from corruption.

    For Athanasius, Christ’s death retains a place of importance in the plan of salvation. Immortality came to men through death. Christ paid our debt for us. In Athanasius we meet with the synthesis of the two ideas of immortality or reconstitution of our nature and the idea of expiation of our death."

    "Of course," notes Chrestou, "death is the summit of the work of economy because it marks the extreme point of the Incarnation. In this course, the death of the God-man (not an ordinary death, but a death on the cross which is the most miserable death for man) is the lowest point of God’s kenosis [emptying] and is, consequently, the ultimate point of the Incarnation. It is precisely at this point that ‘economy was fulfilled’ or, in other words, that the salvific work done on man’s behalf was accomplished."

    In a similar vein, Father Georges Florovsky notes that: "The Incarnation is the quickening of man, as it were, the resurrection of human nature. But the climax of the Gospel is the Cross, the death of the Incarnate. Life has been revealed in full through death." Elaborating further, he explains that "the climax of this life was its death. And the Lord plainly bore witness to the hour of death: ‘For this cause came I unto this hour’ [John 12:27]. The redeeming death is the ultimate purpose of the Incarnation."

    Orthodox soteriology, then, "with its characteristic breadth, includes the whole work of economy" It is the understanding of Orthodoxy, according to Bishop Kallistos, that "we are saved through the total work of Christ, not just by one particular event in his life. The cross is central, but it can only be understood in the light of what goes before – of Christ’s taking up into himself of our entire human nature at his birth – and likewise in the light of what comes afterwards, the resurrection, ascension and second coming. Any theology of salvation that concentrates narrowly on the cross, at the expense of the resurrection, is bound to seem unbalanced to Orthodoxy."

    It should be noted that some Evangelicals have a better sense of this unity. So despite St. Paul’s determination "not to know anything…except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2), he also stated emphatically that "if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!" (1 Cor. 15:17).

    Jones writes that in Orthodoxy "discussions of substitutionary atonement and propitiation are virtually absent from their published explanations of salvation." Of course, the reader is meant to interpret this statement as a virtual denial of these themes, but a more informed understanding would instead reveal that Orthodoxy possesses a much broader conception of salvation than that found in traditional Western Christian thought. Moreover, there is an imminently Biblical reason for this "virtual absence."

    Jones should also consider that ransom language is used throughout the liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church. If, on the other hand, it is a catechism that he has in mind, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow’s has this to say about the term propitiation: "An expression which is close in meaning to the present term [satisfaction], but which is more complete and is authentically Biblical, and gives a basis for the Orthodox understanding of the work of Redemption, is the word ‘propitiation’ (tr. from the Greek –ilasmos-), which we read about in the First Epistle of John: ‘Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins’" (1 John 4:10).

    In fact, references to justification, atonement and propitiation in contemporary Orthodox writings are far more numerous than most apparently realize. Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Isaiah states unequivocally that "Christ remitted our sins. He paid for them, in other words, when He died on the Cross. Christ our lord redeemed us by paying for our sins with His blood and His death on the Cross. It was this act which abrogated the old covenant and put into effect the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:16-18).

    Christ our God made reparation for our sins by giving His very life." According to Anthony Coniaris, "Man will never know who he is until he meets Jesus at the Cross. It is here that man comes to realise his true identity: that he is loved by God, that he belongs to God, that he is worth to God as much as the blood of His only Son."

    Timiadis exclaims that "the fact of the redemption, that Christ gave ‘his life as ransom for many’ (Matt. 20:28), is at the center of the church’s faith"

    Fr. Georges Florovsky writes that "In the blood of Jesus is revealed the new and living way, the way into that eternal Sabbath, when God rests from His mighty deeds"

    And Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, states that: "For being God, he became man, and being man, he became a slave; and being a slave, he became dead and not only dead, but dead on a cross. From this deepest degradation of God flows the eternal exaltation of man. According to the scriptures, man’s sins and the sins of the whole world are forgiven and pardoned by the sacrifice of Christ, by the offering of His life-His body and His blood, which is ‘the blood of God’ (Acts 20:28)—upon the cross. This is the ‘redemption,’ the ‘ransom,’ the ‘expiation,’ the ‘propitiation’ spoken about in the scriptures which had to be made so that man could be ‘at one’ with God. Christ ‘paid the price’ which was necessary to be paid for the world to be pardoned and cleansed of all iniquities and sins (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23)"

    Of course there is much, much more that has been written and is still being written on this important subject.

    Latter-day Saints will always worship God the father of Jesus Christ the Son, and if they also receive glory they will pass it on to God the Father who is now and always the sole object of their worship.

    I don't know where you picked up the charivaria about our spirit children worshipping us, I have never been taught, read, or concluded any such thing, but, just in case they do, it will be redirected towards its proper object.

    Ronnie

  84. Leah, you are correct, we have no disagreement on what really matters, Jesus.

    As I have said, I have been confirmed and baptized as a Lutheran but I now attend a non denominational church and while the non denominational church has differing views than the Lutherans on matters such as infant baptism, the true blood and body being present during communion, and some end times scenarios, there is absolutely no disagreement on who Jesus Christ is and what He did to save us by dying on the cross and rising again from the dead on the third day at all so there is no conflict with me attending the non denom. church.

    A assistant pastor at the Lutheran church I used to attend put it best when he and I were discussing end times when he said, "whoever was wrong when we get up there can tell the people who were correct, oh, you were right."

    I have attended, at times, several churches and I, like Leah has said, found no conflicts in their core beliefs.

  85. Ronnie, unless I missed it, you completely ignored a major point about why I believe Mormons are heading down the path to outer darkness that Mormons believe they can progress to become gods and have their spirit children worship them.

    When, 1. believers will be as the angels of heaven in the afterlife, but not gods, who are created beings who worship God but are never to be worshipped. As shown by angels telling believers not to worship them as they are fellow servants but to instead worship God. 2. that the Bible says everyone is to worhip no other god as God is a jealous God 3. that people have not truly repented if they don't admit to themselves that Jesus is Lord and that they will never be Lord and they are being disobediant if they believe they can be what He has always been and will always be, God.

    Again, who is Jesus?

    Was He always God Almighty, even when He walked this earth as a man, is He God Almighty, and will He always be God Almighty who was the only perfect man to ever walk this earth who was the perfect blameless sacrifice that took away all of our sins?

    OR

    Was he a spirit child who is merely our older brother and yes, also the spirit brother of Satan, whose salvation plan was accepted over his brother Satan's plan, who somehow became god?

  86. You didn't miss it, Kent. it was posted several hours ago but is a lengthy document and still awaits the moderators approval. Your patience will be rewarded. You might consider what it means to be a joint heir with Christ and what it means that we will share his glory if we suffer with him. These are Bible teachings that are usually ignored or passed lightly over by most Christians. To Latter-day Saints these passages are pregnant with celestial fire.

  87. Ronnie said, "I agree that Paul wrote that the Mosaic Law was no longer a requirement, but that did not do away with, for instance, the Decalogue, and Christians that fail to observe these ten mitzvoth are not pleasing God. Disciples do not steal, commit adultery, lie, etc. I bleieve you agree with this understanding."

    Romans 10 doesn't specify just that the Mosaic Law was no longer a requirement but that the law was no longer a requirement.

    Yes, disciples are not to steal, commit adultery, lie, etc, but can anyone say they do so 100 percent of the time? As all people, if they are being honest, cannot say they never ever, for example, lie, even small so called white lies.

    Ronnie, can you say you never, ever sin? I know I can't. If you can't say you never sin, then you are not keeping the commandments

    Remember 1 John 1:8 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

    So, again, we either rely totally on what Jesus did on the cross by His dying on the cross and rising again on the third day or we rely on keeping the commandments our whole lives without faltering which is impossible.

    Interesting that a while back I applied for a job and at the interview the interviewer seemed surprised that I answered yes on a personality test given to me that asked if I had ever lied or stolen. I told him, for example, that I would be lying if I said I have never lied.

    I did not get the job but I have no way of knowing if my answers on that test had anything to do with it or not but I found out from people who work for that company that you are not supposed to say yes that you have lied or stolen.

    In discusssing issues with Mormons you folks tend to write very lengthy virtual novels in your respones and then wonder why we seem to ignore your points but it is very difficult to go line by line to see if the points you are making are in context or not.

    On another site I go to one man in particular gets irritated when I ask the same questions because he says he has already answered them but how do I know he has answered them as I frankly don't have time to go and test everything to see if the context is correct or not?

    On another note, Mormons tend to dismiss things ex Mormons say as they are viewed as apostates but they are the very people they should be listening to as they know more about what goes on in your church then people like I do.

    I know Mormons don't like to be compared to Jehovah's Witnesses but I find the same thing applies to their treatment of anything said by ex witnesses. They are considered apostates and what they say is not taken into account.

  88. Beautifully stated Kent. For those of us who "lack intellectual rigour" it is helpful for points to be clear and concise. :) Being precise is a must, I have 5 kids and can't read all day. Ronnie has his own website, so I don't know why he feels the need to write a book on here too.

    I would also like to add that Jesus raised the bar on the law to show men that it is not just outward appearances and actions that matter, it is what is in a man's heart that he will be judged. He said if you have even looked at a woman with lust, you have broken the law and committed adultery with her in your heart! And if you are guilty of breaking one law, you are guilty of breaking the whole law. For he who said do not adultery also said do not commit murder. (James 2:11)

    The law was given to convict! To show men they were sinners and could NOT abide by the law. To show them their need for Jesus and lead them to Him.

    Some people are able to admit their sins against God, others cannot bring themselves to humility and do it. Pride is the greatest sin of all, and until one falls broken and humble admitting their sinful state before the Lord they really have no need for a Savior.

  89. .
    Kent:

    I did write: " … in most cases where Paul speak of the Law as being done with, he refers to the Mosaic Law that Jews still continue to observe."

    I note that you agree that the Decalogue is a requirement for Christians. Whether they manage to observe it 100% 100% of the time is quite another matter. Mormons hold the same view as you do on this issue. God has placed the law of repentance for just such occasions. I do not see this issue as being one that separates Mormon Christians from Non-Mormon Christians in the main.

    I am unsure as to why you have suddenly introduced Jehovah's Witnesses into the discussion. It is clearly a non-sequitur. I don't mind being compared to a JW, although you will have to argue cogently and robustly to maintain any doctrinal similarity. I don't mind being compared to Methodists, Evangelicals, or any other denomination, but strictly with the proviso that the one finding similarities does so with complete honesty and is not merely plucking at straws in the hopes of stopping them selves from drowning.

    Leaving your JWs to one side, let me make my position clear about information from ex-Mormons. See if you can find agreement with me as to principles of truth and honesty.

    Ed Decker is an ex-Mormon. If he writes something that is true about Mormon belief and practice, then I have no issue. If, however, he deliberately tells lies, and I can prove that he does, then I have a right to take issue with him, and I do.

    Let me attempt to put you in my place and check your reaction. I have friends that are Lutherans. If one of them was to tell me that some of their Lutheran friends believe that Jesus was not the son of Mary but was a mythological character along the same lines as the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian or other godmen, who are all presently accepted as myths rather than historical figures, and they believed this because they have delved deeply into this question and uncovered evidence that the Jesus character is based upon much older myths and heroes, would you embrace their testimonies of this because they were Lutherans, or would you feel justified in challenging their perceptions?

    Ed Decker, an ex-Mormon, wrote a book with a man called Hunt – "The God-Makers." You might have read it, or perhaps seen the video made from the Book. There is hardly a page in the book that does not contain at least one error regarding Mormon belief.

    Decker and Hunt claim that Mormonism is directly connected with:

     occult bondage
     occult power
     Hindu concepts
     the LDS/Hindu connection…occultism
     right on target with the Hindu/Buddhist occultism
     the New Age movement

    And that Mormons have begun to work closely with the Unification church, headed by Korean Messiah Sun Myung Moon

     secular humanism…makes man the center and measure of all things. So does Mormonism …
     as in nature (witchcraft) religions, so in Mormonism
     Smith was a classical humanist atheist

    All the foregoing statements are designed to steer the reader away from the essential Christian foundation of the Mormonism and towards other putative origins.

    This destruction of the true foundation of Mormonism is vital to the task of creating a false reality of in the mind of the uninformed reader. One author who does this despite knowing that it is patently false is former Latter-day Saint minister J Edward Decker.

    Decker, now the director of an anti-Mormon ministry, claims to have been a Mormon for "almost twenty years.” If that is true, then he knows that the interpretation he applies to his twenty years of membership in the Latter-day Saint Church is based, not on his experience, but upon special pleading laced with distortion by his bitter anti-Mormon spirit.

    There is no other way he could honestly represent his twenty years of membership as years dedicated to occultism and Satanic bondage.

    Another ex-Mormon is Thelma Geer.

    Thelma ‘Granny’ Geer

    In Jesus and his Father is reposed all the trust of members of the Latter-day Saint Church. Although it is often stated otherwise, Joseph Smith is not worshipped.

    Thelma "Granny" Geer, an anti-Mormon publisher and speaker, states that for years during her membership of the Mormon Church she "sung hymns to Joseph Smith."

    There are two hymns known to the writer which allude directly to Joseph Smith, "Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning,” and "Praise to the Man Who Communed With Jehovah."

    In neither hymn does he replace the object of Latter-day Saint worship, Almighty God, the Eternal Father. There are some other hymns which refer to prophets, but in each case they are seen as blessings from God, sent by Him to guide his children in his behalf, and to shed God's light for them in a darkened world. "We thank thee, O, God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days," is a typical example.

    Thelma Geer is either genuinely mistaken in what she was actually doing all those years, or else she is deliberately lying about her own experience to cause mischief for Mormons. Whichever it is, she is not telling the truth.

    I could provide you with many more examples, but note your objection to long posts. That is a pity because short misconceptions can take very long explanations to set right. Perhaps we ought not to be in such a hurry to get instantaneous short answers to difficulties that have been imposed on the Latter-day saints over almost two centuries and which are still used as arguments against them. If you can tell the truth about Mormonism as it is understood and experienced by Mormons, then that is fair enough.

    It is the awful misconceptions, decontextualisations, exaggerations, and downright distortions to which we object, and who would not object to such treatment?

    In an age that takes a certain pride in its tolerance and respect, it is something of a tragedy that this unashamedly apologetic work is necessary. Succeeding generations of Latter-day Saints have explained themselves, their doctrine, practice, teaching, and history to armies of hostile critics. Have they listened? There is no evidence that they have.

    The shelves of Christian bookshops groan under a welter of anti-Mormon materials. The purpose of these materials is to strike at the foundation of the Restored Gospel. The ultimate aim is the discomfiture and destruction of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Apart from this objective being unattainable, it is darkly grim in its essence. That a Christian ministry should be engaged in no better pursuit than destructive attacks on another Christian group is an extreme tragedy.

    The Church grows from strength to strength. Much of this growth it owes to the very forces that seek to weaken it. Persecution to convince the persecuted that they are right in their belief system. It serves to entrench the harried in their positions with greater determination. Disagreeing with a particular religious belief is not persecution, or all would be persecuted. Persecution is any activity that is intended to cause harm to another. The harm intended may be to a reputation. This is in order that it becomes difficult to take the maligned reputation seriously, or to reduce the person so travestied to a joke which makes it unlikely that his or her claims will be taken seriously enough to be even listened to.

    Persecution does not address itself to scientific description. Rather it distorts science – usually history – to present an image which, it is claimed with gravamen, represents the reality of the subject.

    I note that someone says I have a website. The truth is that I have around thirty websites. The one to which I will draw your attention is:
    http://yorkshiretales.com/allaboutmormonism

    This site deals solely and specifically with LIES told about Mormons. Some of the liars are ex-Mormon, and some are not.

    One ex-Mormon liar is Jim Robertson of Concerned Christians here in Mesa AZ, who frequently claimed he had been ' Mormon Bishop." He never was. When he was discovered in this egregious and ungodly untruth he changed his story to say he had been 'a Branch Ingredient,' when in fact he had never been a Bishop OR a Branch President.

    Now, Kent, if you insist that Jim Robertson is a truthful witness that I MUST believe because he has been a Mormon – which he has, but he was not taught to Lie like Satan as a Mormon! – then I refute your reasoning, because I now he lies, and, furthermore, his acolytes also lie as he hides and will not answer why he found it profitable to lie about the offices he held during his time as a Latter-day Saint. There are poisoned wells out there that will deceive the very elect if they rest on their own judgement.

    What I write is not a novel, and not even novel length. Perhaps a few thousand words, but why do you object to that? If you are serious ought you not to know what we believe and why we refute unjust allegations and made up stories, and if it takes some lengthy responses ought you not to be grateful that some of us are intent on giving you a fair deal and not dismissing your questions with contempt, as you indicated one fellow had done?

    I am trying hard to show you what is true and what is false in anti-Mormon allegations. Am I wrong in that? Should I simply dismiss you as a crank, or do I take you seriously and engage you in reasonable dialogue? You tell me.

    Remember, it is not perception that counts with God, but only TRUTH. Not what SEEMS to be, but only WHAT IS! Not how something can be distorted and bent, but how it is KNOWN to God.

    I am not afraid of the truth about my sacred faith, nor am I afraid or timid to express my faith in Jesus Christ. But I'll not submit to lies even though they come from the mouth of Satan himself. My commitment is to God Almighty and to his Son Jesus Christ, who is my Lord and Saviour, and to none other, no matter what may be said to the contrary, or by whom it is said.

    A fellow by the name of Brian Rendell, an ex-Mormon, told me that Mormons cannot tell the truth about Mormonism, non-Mormons do not know the truth about Mormonism [he excludes you!], and only ex-Mormons could tell the truth about Mormonism. Later, he finally admitted that he had not been 'fully truthful' in what he had caused to be published in an anti-Mormon book.

  90. Leah, what is you view on Mormons believing that they can become gods and have spirit children worship them?

    I believe they have not truly repented and acknowledged to God and themselves that He is God and they are not god and never will be and because of this they are being disobedient by establishing their own rightesouness by even saying they can become gods.

    So they have not submtted to God's righteousness because when we truly confess the Lord Jesus and trust only in who He is and what He did on the cross by dying in our place and rising again on the third day and not trust in who we are and what we do we put on His righteousness and that is the righteouness God sees and because of this we are assured we can enter the mansions where God is.

    Romans 10:1-4

    1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 FOR THEY BEING IGNORANT OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND SEEKING TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS HAVE NOT SUBMITTED TO THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. 4 For christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

    Also, Leah, what do you think about Mormons being worshipped by spirit children? The Bible says we are to only worship God because if there was such a thing as spirit children, they would have to worship God and no one else.

    Exodus 34:14

    14 for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

  91. Did any of you sin yesterday? I know I did sin yesterday but thank God He forgave me 2000 years ago on the cross and while I am going to try to do better today, chances are I will falter again today. Below is an article by Pastor Mark Cares about the futility of keeping the commandments and how the commandments are to show us we are unable to keep them and that is why we need a savior. This article is from his blog, Mark Cares Web blog. Pastor Cares is not anti Mormon though but I would say he, like a lot of us, wants Mormons to follow the true Jesus of the Bible.

    http://markcares.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/the-fut

    "This Sunday, throughout the LDS Church, 1 Nephi 1-7 from the Book of Mormon will be studied in the adult Sunday School, or Gospel Doctrines class. Probably the most quoted passage from this section of the Book of Mormon is this part of 1 Nephi 3:7: “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” Mormons have quoted it in many different settings and situations to urge people that they could do what was commanded of them. After all, according to this verse, the Lord would never give a commandment to you unless he gave you a way to follow it. And usually, at least with the Mormons who have explained it to me, the way the Lord has given to follow it is by giving you inner strength or ability to keep the commandment. Therefore, if you aren’t keeping the commandment, it’s because you are not using what God has already given you.

    Apply that now to one of the most famous commands in the Bible, Matthew 5:48. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This is commanding nothing less than perfection – right now! Although many Mormons over the years have tried to explain this as a command to become perfect, that is not what Jesus said. He said “be” – not “become”. Neither does the Joseph Smith translation say “become”. It reads: “Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect.” Therefore, according to 1 Nephi 3:7, God has given people a way to be perfect, not sometime in the distant future, but right now. And if a person isn’t perfect right now, it’s because they are not using the way God has already given them.

    And that’s serious because as James 2:10 says: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” “He is guilty of all”. Think of how a defendant in a courtroom feels when the judge says, “guilty on all counts”. Talk about being devastated.

    As strange as it may first seem, that is one of the main reasons God has given us commandments. He has given them to devastate us. He has given them to show us just how sinful we are. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) The commandments are like X-rays that penetrate our spiritual being. We might think we are spiritual healthy but those X-rays tell a different story as they reveal tumors of greed, and lust, and envy, and bitterness, and worry, and the list goes on and on.

    And one of the things the commandments convince us of is that we don’t have the ability to keep them. No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop sinning. It’s almost like the arcade game, whack a mole. We put all our effort into whacking down one sin, only to have a different sin pop in a different place. I use all my efforts to stop worrying only to have pride pop up over there. I focus on always treating my spouse in a loving way only to find myself trampling over my co-worker. As the Bible says, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:12)

    As I said, this is what God wants us to see as we consider his commandments. He wants us to see our utter inability of keeping them. He wants us to literally despair of thinking we can keep them. He wants us to despair of ourselves so that we are eager, no, desperate for help. The help he has given us in the person of Jesus. What we couldn’t do, Jesus did for us. He did it all. He did it completely. Yes, there is a way that we can be perfect right now. And that is by being covered with Christ’s perfection. “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

    If you haven’t yet done so, take a serious look at yourself in light of God’s commandments. Take them at face value. Don’t water them down. Don’t change “be perfect” to “become perfect”. Don’t call sinful words just mistakes or slips of the tongue. See how serious Jesus considers lustful, greedy, angry thoughts. See your tumors of sin. See that. And despair. Despair of yourself. Trust totally and completely in what Jesus has already done for you. That’s the only way that you will ever be able to stand in God’s presence"

  92. Kent:

    So, your point is that since no one can avoid sinning, it is futile to even attempt to obey God's commandments.

    That runs counter to everything Jesus said about Christian discipleship.

    "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." [1 Sam. 15:22]

    By what rationale do you and your pastor advocate disobedience to the will of God as a proper way to worship God?

    Can a Christian disobey God on the grounds of futility of ever obeying his divine will 100% of the time?

    In 1 Samuel 15, Samuel did not reject sacrifices as worthless; he did not say that God took no pleasure in burnt-offerings and slain-offerings, but simply compared sacrifice with obedience to the command of God, and pronounced the latter of greater worth than the former.

    "It was as much as to say that the sum and substance of divine worship consisted in obedience, with which it should always begin, and that sacrifices were, so to speak, simple appendices, the force and worth of which were not so great as of obedience to the precepts of God" [John Calvin].

    But it necessarily follows that sacrifices without obedience to the commandments of God are utterly worthless; in fact, are displeasing to God, as Psalm 50:8., Isaiah 1:11., Isaiah 66:3, Jeremiah 6:20, and all the prophets, distinctly affirm.

    There was no necessity, however, to carry out this truth any further. To tear off the cloak of hypocrisy, with which Saul hoped to cover his disobedience, it was quite enough to affirm that God's first demand was obedience, and that observing His word was better than sacrifice; because, as the Berleb Bible puts it,

    "in sacrifices a man offers only the strange flesh of irrational animals, whereas in obedience he offers his own will, which is rational or spiritual worship"

    John Wesley says of this passage:

    "Because obedience to God is a moral duty, constantly and indispensably necessary; but sacrifice is but a ceremonial institution, sometimes unnecessary, as it was in the wilderness: and sometimes sinful, when it is offered by a polluted hand, or in an irregular manner. Therefore thy gross disobedience to God's express command, is not to be compensated with sacrifice."

    Since these undoubted Christians confirm the Bible as containing the will of God in that those that claim with their mouths to worship God but fail to obey him are not truly believers, and lack essential salvic faith because of their disobedience, it would appear that you, by urging us to disobedience under the pretext that if we are obedient to the will of God then we are seeking to be saved through merit, you introduce an heresy into Christianity that is equivalent to creating a gospel that refuses to believe Jesus when he says that only the obedient will be saved, and making it seem as if Jesus, or someone, teaches that trying to please God by obedience is a doctrine of devils.

    While it is clear from the Bible – except at one notable point – that even we that are born-again will still continue to fail to meet God's will perfectly, there is no place in the Bible that says because you cannot please God perfectly you ought not even to attempt to do so.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood you and your pastor. I hope so.

    I will leave you to ponder the explanation of 1 Sam, 15:22 given my the great Matthew Henry, a Non-LDS Christian. Perhaps, if you feel you can, you will explain to me why you so fundamentally disagree with his comments on the essentiality of obedience to God, because, being frail human beings, we cannot be perfect in obedience, so therefore you urge us to ignore any word of God that insists we are obedient to God as a sign that we believe in him, believe him, love him, worship him, adore him, praise him, and rest our hope of salvation in him.

  93. .

    1 John 2:3-4

    "2 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

  94. Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:

    "And hereby we do know that we know him,…. Either the Father, with whom Christ is an advocate; not as the God of nature, and by the light of it, nor as the lawgiver and Judge of the whole earth, and by the law of Moses; but as the God of all grace, as a God pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin, as the Father of Christ, and as in him by the Gospel; and this not in a mere notional and speculative way, but with love and affection; not with fear and trembling, as devils know him, nor in theory, as formal professors and hypocrites, but with a knowledge, joined with hearty love of him, and cheerful obedience to him: or else Christ, the advocate and propitiation for sin; and him also, not with a mere notional knowledge of his person and offices, which carnal men and devils themselves have of him, but with that which is spiritual, special, and saving, being from the Spirit and grace of God; and regards Christ as a Saviour, as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, and an advocate with God the Father; and by which he is approved as such, to the rejection of all other saviours, sacrifices, and advocates; and is trusted, confided, and believed in as such, and affectionately loved, and that above all others, in sincerity and truth; and is readily obeyed in his word and ordinances; for where there is true knowledge of Christ, there is faith in him; and where there is faith in him, there is love to him, for faith works by love; and where there is love to him, there will be an observance of his commands; and this is here made the evidence of the true knowledge of him: for it follows,

    "if we keep his commandments; not the commandments of men, for the keeping of them arises from ignorance of God, and is a proof of it; nor the commandments of the ceremonial law, which are abolished, particularly circumcision, which is opposed to the keeping of the commandments of God, 1 Corinthians 7:19; but either those of the moral law, and which are more particularly the commandments of God the Father; the observance of which, though it cannot be with perfection, yet being in faith, and from love to God, and with a view to his glory, is an evidence of the true knowledge of him and of his will: or else those commandments, which are more especially the commandments of Christ Jesus; such as the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper, which are peculiar to the Gospel dispensation; and which being kept as they were delivered by Christ, and in his name and strength, and to his glory, without depending on them for life and salvation, is an argument and proof of the right knowledge of him; and particularly his new commandment of loving one another may be chiefly designed, that being what the apostle has greatly in view throughout this epistle; now let it be observed, that keeping of the commands of God, or Christ, is not the knowledge of either of them itself, for much may be done in an external way, yet neither God nor Christ be spiritually and savingly known; nor is it the cause of such knowledge, for that is owing to the Spirit and grace of God; but is an effect or consequence of spiritual knowledge, and so an evidence of it; hereby is not the knowledge itself, but the knowledge of that knowledge, that is, that it is true and genuine."

    [End of Gill's passage]

  95. People's New Testament

    2:3 And by this we do know that we know him. The evidences that we have a saving knowledge of Christ is loyal obedience to his commandments.

    [end quote]

  96. Scofield Reference Notes

    [2] commandments

    John uses "commandments"

    (1) in the general sense of the divine will, however revealed, "his word" (1Jno 2:5); and

    (2) especially of the law of Christ Gal 6:2 2Jn 1:5. See, also, Jn 15:10-12.

    [end quote]

  97. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

    3. hereby-Greek, "in this." "It is herein," and herein only, that we know (present tense) that we have knowledge of (perfect tense, once-for-all obtained and continuing knowledge of) Him" (1Jo 2:4, 13, 14). Tokens whereby to discern grace are frequently given in this Epistle. The Gnostics, by the Spirit's prescient forewarning, are refuted, who boasted of knowledge, but set aside obedience. "Know Him," namely, as "the righteous" (1Jo 2:1, 29); our "Advocate and Intercessor."

    keep-John's favorite word, instead of "do," literally, "watch," "guard," and "keep safe" as a precious thing; observing so as to keep. So Christ Himself. Not faultless conformity, but hearty acceptance of, and willing subjection to, God's whole revealed will, is meant.

    commandments-injunctions of faith, love, and obedience.

    John never uses "the law" to express the rule of Christian obedience: he uses it as the Mosaic law.

    [end quote]

  98. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

    1 John 2:3-11

    What knowledge of Christ can that be, which sees not that he is most worthy of our entire obedience?

    And a disobedient life shows there is neither religion nor honesty in the professor.

    The love of God is perfected in him that keeps his commandments. God's grace in him attains its true mark, and produces its sovereign effect as far as may be in this world, and this is man's regeneration; though never absolutely perfect here.

    Yet this observing Christ's commands, has holiness and excellency which, if universal, would make the earth resemble heaven itself.

    The command to love one another had been in force from the beginning of the world; but it might be called a new command as given to Christians.

    It was new in them, as their situation was new in respect of its motives, rules, and obligations. And those who walk in hatred and enmity to believers, remain in a dark state.

    Christian love teaches us to value our brother's soul, and to dread every thing hurtful to his purity and peace.

    Where spiritual darkness dwells, in mind, the judgment, and the conscience will be darkened, and will mistake the way to heavenly life.

    These things demand serious self-examination; and earnest prayer, that God would show us what we are, and whither we are going.

    [end quote]

  99. Dear Mormons,

    You run these advertisements non stop on the radio, T.V. and at the top of every youtube page. I'm guessing to show that your just like all americans and other human Beings. Well guess what? You Are, Congratulations! You also spent more money than any group on Proposition 8 in the state of California. To revoke two people of the same sex uniting their life's legally. So I guess what I'm saying is I'm as Anti Mormon as you are Anti – Gay. The irony in being so Anti – Gay, is that you sure wanna shove yourself down everyones throat pretty bad.

    Sincerely,

    Jackie Lee James – the guy with only one wife.

  100. Jackie – you are not 'THE guy with only one wife' You are 'A guy with only one wife.'

    You are welcome to come and count my wife[s] any time you like.

    Ronnie – ANOTHER guy with only one wife.

    Have a good day,

  101. Also, to be fair the LDS Church is not trying to shove anything down anyone's throat, they're trying to keep something from being rammed down their throat.

    However, this is an issue where I disagree with my church, as do some other Mormons. I don't believe the government should have anything to do with marriage. I'm against laws regarding marriage licensing, civil unions, etc. I think when it comes to the law and the state, marriage should be a private contract between individuals like any other contract. Getting married should be as easy as writing down on a piece of paper "Person A and Person B agree they are now married" and signing it. If a couple wants to add a religious ceremony to that, then they're welcome to. This way anyone could get married to anyone, or anything, in any quantity, and it while certainly people would consider each others' marriages as illegitimate, this doesn't harm anyone.

    The other side of this is that the state wouldn't mandate any benefits for spouses. People would be able to specify benefits to be conferred on a spouse as part of their contract, but the state would not come in and say that companies have to provide benefits to spouses. If a company wanted to say "We will provide health benefits to an employee and one other adult, plus all dependents" that would be fine, but the state wouldn't mandate this. There would also be no tax benefits for couples vs anyone else–everyone would file individually. Actually, in my ideal world there would be no taxes so this point is moot, but that's another matter.

    And of course the state wouldn't mandate that churches perform marriages for anyone. Churches should be able to set their own rules, thus one church might perform marriages only for straight couples, and another church might perform marriages only for gay couples, and another church might perform marriages for both, but that should be the right of the church to decide and should not have anything to do with the law or government.

    This way everyone would be on equal footing before the law while not being forced to do anything against their conscience in the private realm, and we could get rid of this matter altogether.

  102. It is a losing battle. No one can prove or disprove his/her own religion or others. He/she may think he/she can. If it was that easy, there won't be so many religions. We only like to see what we like to see. It is like speaking English to a non-English speaker. Even we are satisfied with our own answer, others will only perceive it as rubbish.

  103. I think anti-mormonism motivation falls into two camps.

    1. Just as much as they claim that religion is based on fear of not knowing, they too as well experience such accusations as they try to prove what is wrong to get to what is right. Perhaps fear they don't know and provide a self belief they won't be damned for not believing. Plausible.

    2. Really, and genuinely want to make sure the truly believe logically before committed to believing. This is not outlandish as we all make conclusions in different ways.

    I am firmly in the #2 camp myself. Before I say what drives my perspective and approach I want to say to Josh that while I do not agree with much of your perspective I have a HUGE amount of respect for your forum, venue, approach, enthusiasm and respect your opinions.

    I have studied quite a bit of various cultures and religions over the years and recently became interested after a coincidental trip to Palmyra, for another reason, and took half of the day to explore the sites with an open mind. I was astonished by how much I knew of other cultures and religions and despite having Mormon friends (that are fantastic people that I have enormous respect for the genuinely good people they are that I probably am not) how little I was aware of BOM, history, etc. I was blown away. Such tall claims, so close to home, I just had to dig in.

    After doing a great deal of factual research, looking for reason to believe, I could not find a reason to conclude it is true nor false. Same as any other religion really and comes down to how YOU weigh facts, what they mean to you, and what your criteria for acceptance is.

    So I respect each individual's decision but for me, I cannot grasp on to anything that passes the scrutiny to anything other than JS was a scammer, lore has become religion, and while facts are recorded, they are debatable to any degree to by anyone who wants to believe one thing or the other.

    For me, I am not so sure why any god who wants us to believe as if our ever after dependended on it would make it so difficult, silent, ponderous to see some tangibility in his existence rather than a feeling or blindly believing. I also do not know why if so merciful than why would he base much of this on fear. Ultimately if he is so humble why are all ceremonies and activities about worshipping HIM? You would think that if he was so humble it would NOT be about him to spend our days on activities for others benefit.

    If I was a CEO of a company and mandated that each employee must spend most of their time praising me repeatedly, doing things in my name, or else, I think there would be a revolt. How man people would work there, how long would this company survive, how relevant would it really be? Just doesn't make sense unless you are to gain power to convince people to do as you want them to do which is apparently not what god is claimed, but is unfortunately described via how members should behave. It is the ultimate contridiction that tells me that it is more man made than devine.

    Again, just my opinion and respect everyone elses. I have no motivation to prove anyone wrong just good discussion for me too to consider another viewpoint realizing I have more to discover and am likely wrong….

  104. Tom,

    I see nothing in your post that gives any indication that you are 'Anti-Mormon.'

    Neither disbelief in another's belief system nor failure to grasp a believer's personal perspective or reasons for accepting what you cannot accept makes you hostile to Mormonism.

    Anti-Mormonism is, in fact, religion of its own with even more imponderables than nay form of Christianity or non-Christian faith.

    A system of belief that requires open hostility to another set of beliefs and negative actions against them, including but not limited to, constant barrages of criticisms, is a belief system that escapes the usual religious moral and ethical definitions.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings.

    Ronnie

  105. Erratum:

    nay = any :(

  106. Ahhh I see. Thanks Ronnie.

    I guess I am of the opinion then that anyone that is anti-Mormon must in some way feel threatened by it not being false. I think they have internal issues somewhere to believe that what others believe affect them if their position is that it is not true and holds no merit. I don't get it I guess but look forward to understanding why…thanks

  107. The only thing that bothers me that I will point out (Leah) is that Christians had to kill and torture many innocents that did not believe (inquisitions) to gain conversions and build the religion.

    Arguably, and factually, without this persecution it would not be so widely accepted. Conversely, I think we ALL agree the LDS has no record of persecution to persuade and grow their base. Not justifying one or another but I do get the feeling that you think your religion is most correct because of its widespread scale. Remembr how it got there…

  108. First off, the Crusades were the Roman Catholics. If you want to lump the spread of Christianity being due to the Catholic Crusades, Mormonism will fall under the same indictment since they consider themselves "Christians" as well. Christianity continues to grow at a rapid pace today without Crusades, so that argument fails. I also do not think my religion is "most correct" because of the numbers, I usually use that argument in rebuttal to Mormons validating their own beliefs with sharing the numbers or growth rate of their religion. I use it to show the growth rate or numbers of adherents does not make it the truth, because otherwise they would have to concede that mainstream Christianity or Islam were more "true" than they were.

    Secondly, you might want to do a little more research on the origins of Mormonism. Start with 1857massacre.com and then tell me the Mormons never persecuted anyone. It was America's first September 11th, and they massacred around 120 Christians (men, women, and children) in cold blood. Also study the history of the Mormons in Utah under Brigham Young, he murdered his own Mormon brothers when they disobeyed him! He was a tyrant, look up Blood Atonement. The U.S. Government had to send in 2500 troops to take him out of power. I feel you are completely uneducated on Mormon history to make any such statements, you can read much of this stuff right from Mormon Church history records. Mormonism at its start looks completely different from what it has become today.

    Lastly, I will add #3 to your list of why people would speak out against a religion. They were raised in the religion and a member of it for many years. Then they grew up, got a library card and a mind of their own, and realized they were lied to, told half truths, deceived, and manipulated into believing a history to keep them a believing member. They come out of that religion, many times leaving relationships, family, jobs, etc behind all just trying to find the truth and do the right thing. They then see the others left behind, still believing the lies and manipulations and they desperately want them to see the light and the truth and come out of the bondage. They then get called "of the devil," "evil," "anti-Mormon," and all the while they are just trying to help release them from their chains. It's kind of like a drug addict that gets clean, and then becomes a counselor to other drug addicts to show them the light at the end of the tunnel. Make sense? Hopefully that helps you understand others motives besides just what you understood them to be.

  109. Leah, you have your facts only partially correct. Not sure if this is selective reasoning or more needed research on your part.

    Christianity persecutions we're not limited to the roman catholic church and you seem to make the distinction that, oh, THAT had nothing to do with MY religion. This was just one example and it was brutal throughout time. I am not blaming YOU so do not take offense but I do point this out that the religion would not be so large otherwise.

    As for LDS, yes there was a moment of bloodshed, but whatever you cite the reason to be it was not widespread, continuous, nor to convert masses. There was more to it. I am not justifying, I am not Mormon, but you too easily equate the millions suffering at the hands of the catholic church for pure conversion and intolerance to 120 for not that same reason of the LDS. You are quite reaching and should just embrace the imperfect legacy of your historical religion as well.

    I think you are confusing some other sect with brainwashing and inability to get out. I am not aware that LDS has forced or made it hard for anyone to leae against their will. Perhaps you are referring to FLDS or something? I can say the same for Christianity, there is a great deal of guilt and brainwashing going on in there. Everyone else is wrong.

    I must say that I am in neither camp and am neutral. My experience with both, in TODAY's society is that while Catholics are full of forgiveness they are intolerant and look down on everyone else. I do not get the same feeling from LDS. Rather they might feel others are misguided, pity perhaps, want to help in their own way, but I never ever feel WRONG and evil for not believing the same thing.

    Regardless of what you believe, and I am not sure why you feel so threatened by them (you are obviously very insecure about something), other religions could learn a great deal about how they treat others. I think Josh's website, where you are so very welcome to espouse your opinion freely is a testament to this.

  110. Oh and just to add, the inquisitions were Catholics too. They actually killed thousands of Christians, they killed anyone who would not swear allegiance to the Pope. The Catholic church has killed more Christians than anyone in history. So sorry, Jesus is the cause of the spread of true Biblical Christianity, not the inquisitions.

  111. I want to add that I do not defend JS and BY in any way. I think they were both scammers, lacked high morals, and have no validity in any way. So I do not condone anything they have done nor do I believe in any of their doctrines. I am just stating my thoughts from the standpoint if one were to assume both your religion and theirs were true as a courtesy.

    I am entitled to my beliefs, you are yours, and they are with theirs. I do not need to convince anyone or tell them they are wrong. But it does bother me when someone tells someone else what to believe and how awful things are. What is it that YOU have to gain? What if you found out that your religion was wrong? You would not be able to undue or take back your words over a lifetime relived. It is sort of insane to act so certain….

  112. Are you reall serious? You really think the Christian churches have been so clean and just spread so organically? You must really believe that Jonah really got swallowed by a whale and a burning bush was really the man in the literal sense.

    I saw a lightening bolt hit a tree two years ago that caught on fire, not for a moment did I think it was god. Then again, I know what lightening is. I guess back then everything needed explanation and without knowledge devine intervention theory explained it all. It is sad to see that you still carry this perspective after we have learned to split the atom….

  113. "I must say that I am in neither camp and am neutral."

    BAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You sir, are anything but neutral. I really find it humorous that you have stated several times how neutral you are, but have bashed Christianity on numerous occasions, and even made it clear you think the Bible is a joke. Go ahead, it doesn't hurt me or my feelings and you have every right to your opinion, I can take it and I won't even cry about being "persecuted" as it is famous to do so on this site. But you need to be honest, you are NOT neutral.

    "I am entitled to my beliefs, you are yours, and they are with theirs."

    Of course, we all are. I don't know where you are, but I am in America and we all have freedom of religion and that is awesome! Can I not have the opinion that Mormonism is false and tell people? I also have the freedom to believe what I want, and freedom of speech to share it. I am not physically harming people, I am not murdering people, and I am not stopping them from going to church and worshiping as they want, so what's the problem?? I am merely speaking my mind against their doctrines, and for anyone to suggest I shouldn't is now being intolerant of MY beliefs.

    As for the Crusades/Inquisition, no that wasn't spread by my "religion." I am a follower of Yeshua, and he by NO means ever taught violence, murder, or forceful conversion. Yes there have been those who have perverted His teachings and have done bad things in history, so what? Does that make Jesus and his true followers at fault? No. So if people did those things in His name, they were not true followers of His. You keep defending the LDS people to me as if I have ever said they were terrible, immoral people. I have said no such thing, I think most if them are great. My Mom and tons of my family are Mormon and I love them! With any group of people, there are nice people and evil people, none are perfect, so what's your point? I disagree with their doctrine and who they say Yeshua is, it's not personal. In the same way you obviously have problems with my beliefs, are you attacking me personally? I am sure you would say you are not. (Though I would point out you have said I am insane and have alluded to me being not so intelligent by saying you can't believe I fall for the Bible and it makes you sad. But again, go ahead, I am not stopping you.)

    When I added #3, that IS my reason. I was raised in the church, and since you aren't Mormon, how can you make any such statements about what goes on there?? Guilt, shame, and fear are used on every level, first from your parents and family members, then to your leadership. I was scared to leave the church, it actually made me sick to my stomach when I started reading the truth about church history. I was scared of what my mom would say and do, if my family members would still talk to me…then your bishop will tell you how your life will fall apart if you leave, and when you try to have your name removed from the records they tell you how you forfeit all blessings you've received. You have no idea, have you ever even spoken to an ex-Mormon?? From your one sided defense, I would think not. Is there murder and bloodshed for it? No, I have never said there was, but you compared it to the FLDS and they don't murder people for leaving either. They just employ the same tactics of fear and rejection. Luckily my mom has accepted my decision, but there are plenty of Mormons who have lost spouses, jobs, etc from leaving. As for that going on in other religions, I'm sure it does. It is definitely not exclusive to LDS or FLDS. That goes back to my comment above, people are imperfect and you always have good and bad everywhere. That proves nothing except we are all sinners and need a Savior.

  114. "[W]hat does the average Protestant know of Protestant atrocities in the centuries succeeding the Reformation? Nothing, unless [s]he makes a special study of the subject . . . Yet they are perfectly well known to every scholar ."

    It would be laughable if it were not such a serious matter to find those that call themselves Christians distancing themselves from the History of their own faith. Anyone that finds only Roman Catholics guilty of persecuting Christians has not done their homework, but is running solely on blindness, elective ignorance, and foundational prejudice.

    The Protestants that appear to be posited as never having persecuted anyone have rap sheets written in blood and fire over many centuries. A few historical facts should rest0re the balance to 'fair and balanced' from its present position of 'I-am-Anti-Any-sectarian-thing-that-is-not-me!'

    Anabaptists, the precursors of modern Baptists, were persecuted by Catholics, Lutherans, Protestants, and Calvinists alike. The Anabaptists' main crimes were to call for social reform, to favour adult baptism over infant baptism, and to embrace pacifism – they would not kill, condone capital punishment or serve in armies. They also allegedly advocated ancient Antinomian views. Their leaders died in various ways.

    Thomas Münzer was burned at the stake in 1525. Feliz Manz drowned in 1526 (drowning was a favourite way of executing Anabaptists because of their views on baptism). Michael Sattler had his tongue cut out, was mutilated by red-hot pincers, and was burned alive in 1527 for a range of beliefs, none of which would now merit a criminal prosecution.

    So much for Christian Protestant religious murders formed in the image of their Roman precursor.

    What is the precursor to religious murder? It is, pure and simply, hate speech. Indulging in hate speech because it is 'my right!' does not diminish the guilt of those that promote it and direct it against specific Christian denominations.

    Christians employing anti-Christian hate-speech, as evidenced on these pages, turns many people that are genuine seekers off from Christianity.

    Thus, those that engage in hate-speech in their efforts to promote Christianity have the opposite effect from that they set out as their Christian purpose. You can stamp your little feet and make a fisted salute at humanity and civil conventions as you pour out hate-speech, but at least be sufficiently honest to realise that you do the cause of Jesus and his followers violence by so doing. These Christians belong to the Church of Ferrovius, not to the Church of Jesus and his apostles.

    When the whole town of Münster went over to the Anabaptists in the 1530s Catholics and Protestants JOINED THEIR UNHOLY FORCES to retake the city.

    The Anabaptist leaders were publicly tortured to death with red-hot pincers and their bodies hung in cages outside a church, where they remained for some years.

    The range of offences that were considered heretical was flexible and ever expanding. It was still a crime to read the bible or cite inappropriate passages from it.

    In England the persecution of heretics was less popular than elsewhere in Europe, but not unknown. A group of refugees, probably Cathars, who denied the necessity for baptism, matrimony and the Mass, fled from the continent to England under Henry II to escape persecution.

    In 1166, at Oxford, they were tried by an ecclesiastical court with the King himself presiding, and were found guilty of heresy. Since no statute or precedent existed for sentencing, they were seared on the forehead with hot irons, whipped through the streets, stripped to the waist, and sent into the countryside to die of exposure in the winter snow. No-one would offer them food or shelter. To have done so would have been to disobey the word of God (2 John 10) and to abet heresy, and would therefore have been sinful and unchristian.

    Espousing unorthodox views, however trivial, could result in death. In 1528 Patrick Hamilton was burned at St Andrews for holding heretical opinions, notably a denial of the freedom of the will.

    In 1546 Anne Askew was burned at Smithfield because of her beliefs about the Eucharist.

    In 1592 Henry Barrow and John Greenwood, who preached congregationalism, were hanged at Tyburn for "obstinately refusing to come to church".

    Their real crime seems to have been to advocate the separation of Church and State.

    Unitarians were executed in 1612 in London and Lichfield, and one in 1651 in Dumfries.

    William Prynne, a Puritan lawyer, published criticisms of Archbishop Laud. For this had his ears hacked off by the public hangman in 1633. Along with others he was charged again and tried by the Star Chamber in 1637. The others charged had their ears cropped, and as it was discovered that Prynne still had stumps left on the side of his head, these were severed too. He was also branded on the cheeks, and then imprisoned for life along with the others.

    After Thomas Hobbes published his book Leviathan in 1651 the English bishops wanted to have him killed. They used their influence in the House of Lords to sponsor a motion to have him burned as a heretic soon after the Restoration . The philosopher feared for his life when, in October 1666, Parliament talked about reviving the old statues De haeretico comburendo of 1401. But these laws had fallen into desuetude. Nothing came of the bishops' fulminations and Hobbes escaped prosecution. Leviathan was merely condemned by Parliament, and Hobbes was ordered to stop writing controversial books.. The old statutes were repealed the following year.

    Because of secular laws the Churches now have more difficulty in persecuting heretics, BUT PERSECUTION IS STILL PART OF EVANGELICAL FUNDAMENTALIST BIGOTED CHRISTIAN THOUGHT.

    It is little wonder that both Catholic and Protestant Christians continue to engage in persecuting, harrying, and tormenting Christians that are Spirit-led and directed in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, rather than by the fiendish teachings of their own bloody versions of Christianity.

    In the first Christian century, there was no heresy for the simple reason that there was no orthodoxy. The 'heresies' referred to in old translations of the New Testament are merely differences of opinion. Small Christian communities believed what they wanted to, and worshipped as they chose, there were no central authorities, no set rituals, no agreed canon of scripture, no Church hierarchy, and no established body of doctrine. In line with the toleration practised throughout the empire each group of Christians was free to believe whatever it wanted. The natural consequence of this state of affairs was that ideas and practices in different communities diverged.

    Towards the end of the second century, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, saw the dangers of numerous opinions developing. He attempted to establish an orthodox body of teaching. He wrote a five volume work against heresies, and it was he who compiled a cannon of the New Testament. He also claimed that there was only one proper Church, outside of which there could be no salvation. Other Christians were heretics and should be expelled, and if possible destroyed. The first Christian Emperor agreed. Gibbon summarises the edict which announced the destruction of various heretics:

    “After a preamble filled with passion and reproach, Constantine absolutely prohibits the assemblies of the heretics and confiscates their public property to the use either of the revenue or of the catholic church. The sects against whom the Imperial severity was directed appear to have been the adherents of Paul of Samosata; the Montanists of Phrygia, who maintained an enthusiastic succession of prophesy; the Novatians, who sternly rejected the temporal efficacy of repentance; the Marcionites and Valentinians, under whose leading banners the various Gnostics of Asia and Egypt had insensibly rallied; and perhaps the Manichæans who had recently imported from Persia a more artful composition of oriental and Christian theology.

    “The design of extirpating the name, or at least of restraining the progress, of these odious heretics was prosecuted with vigour and effect. Some of the penal regulations were copied from the edicts of Diocletian; and this method of conversion was applauded by the same bishops who had felt the hand of oppression and had pleaded for the rights of humanity"

    Further laws against heresy appeared in 380 AD under the Christian Emperor Theodosius I, who laid down the new rule:

    “We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom we adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of our own initiative, which we shall assume in accordance with divine judgement.”

    St Augustine (AD 354-430) taught that error has no rights. He cited biblical texts, notably Luke 14:16-23, to justify the use of compulsion. Had not Christ himself blinded St Paul in order to make him see the true light. According to Augustine, coercion using "great violence" was justified. He made a distinction between unbelievers who persecuted because of cruelty as against Christians who persecuted because of love. A war to preserve or restore the unity of the Church was a just war, a bellum Deo auctore, a war waged by God himself. He also found a way to avoid churchmen getting blood on their hands: dissension against the Church amounted to dissension against the state, so anyone condemned by the Church should be punished by the state. Centuries in the future such ideas would culminate in the activities of the Inquisition, which also required the secular authority to execute its judgements of blood.

    Augustine is often recognised explicitly as the father of the Inquisition, since he was responsible for adopting Roman methods of torture for the purposes of the Church in order to ensure uniformity. Already, in AD 385, the first recorded executions for heresy had been carried out under Emperor Maximus at the request of Spanish bishops.

    Priscillian, Bishop of Ávila, had been charged with witchcraft, though his real crime seems to have been agreeing with Gnostic opinions. Along with his companions he was tried and tortured. They confessed, and were executed. The Church now had precedents for both witch-hunting and for persecuting heretics, with a moral unpinning provided by St Augustine.

    The Christian Emperor Justinian issued severe laws against heretics in AD 527 and 528. Henceforth those who dissented from the authorised line were debarred from public office, forbidden to practice certain professions, prohibited from holding meetings, and denied the civil rights of a Roman Citizen.

    For them, said Justinian "to exist is sufficient" – for the time being. In the middle of the fifth century Pope Leo the Great commended the Emperor for torturing and executing heretics on behalf of the Church.

    In theory heresy was the denial of some essential Christian doctrine, publicly and obstinately. In practice any deviation from the currently orthodox line could be judged heretical. By the fifth century there were over a hundred active statutes in the Empire concerning heresy. From St Augustine onward for well over a thousand years virtually all Christian theologians agreed that heretics should be persecuted, and most agreed that they should be killed.

    Heresy was explicitly identified as akin to leprosy. It was a disease that threatened to destroy a healthy body of believers if they strayed from the Church's view of religious orthodoxy, just as leprosy was a disease that threatened the healthy bodies of individuals if they strayed from the Church's view of sexual orthodoxy.

    Diseases like this had to be eradicated at all costs. St Thomas Aquinas thought it virtuous to burn heretics, and favoured the option of burning them alive. From around the turn of the millennium executing heretics became ever more common, and the grounds for doing so ever more unlikely. A group of Christians at Goslar in Germany who declined to kill chickens were executed for heresy in 1051.

    A long series of popes supported the extirpation of those who disagreed with the current papal line. Arnold of Brescia, a pupil of Abelard, shared his master's critical views of the Church, and also embraced the republican ideals of ancient Rome. He held that papal authority was a usurpation, and that the wealth and power of the Church was unchristian. He led a movement to re-establish a Roman republic and return the clergy to apostolic poverty. He was hanged and then burned as a heretic in 1155 by the pope, Adrian IV.

    The Waldensians, or Vaudois, followers of Peter Waldo of Lyon provided the next major target. They gave their money to the poor and preached the Christian gospel. Waldo attracted the hatred of the clergy when he commissioned a translation of the bible into Occitan, the language of what is now southern France. The heresies of the Waldensians were numerous.

    Having read the bible for themselves they denied the temporal authority of priests and objected to papal corruption. They rejected numerous accretions, including the Mass, prayers for the dead, indulgences, confessions, penances, church music, the reciting of prayers in Latin, the adoration of saints, the adoration of the sacrament, killing, and the swearing of oaths. They also allowed women to preach.

    They were excommunicated as heretics in 1184 at the Council of Verona, and persecuted with zeal for centuries.

    150 were burned at Grenoble in a single day in 1393. Survivors fled to remote valleys in the Alps. Pope Innocent VIII organised a crusade against them in an unsuccessful attempt to extirpate them. They were still being persecuted centuries later. In Piedmont in the middle of the seventeenth century further attempts were made to extirpate them. Anyone in Villaro who declined to go to a Roman Catholic mass was liable to be crucified upside down, but there was some variation in the manner of killing in other towns. Some were maimed and left to die of starvation, some had strips of flesh cut off their bodies until they bled to death, some were stoned, some impaled alive upon stakes or hooks. Some were dragged along the ground until there flesh was scraped away. One at least was literally minced.

    Daniel Rambaut had his toes and fingers cut off in sections: one joint being amputated each day in an attempt to make him recant and accept the Roman faith. Some had their mouths stuffed with gun-powder which was then ignited.

    Paolo Garnier of Roras was castrated, then skinned alive.

    Children were killed in various ways before the eyes of their parents. Those few who escaped to the mountains were mostly killed by exposure, starvation or disease .

    The term heresy covered ever more and more areas of belief. Paschal II, who occupied the papal throne between 1099 and 1118, claimed (quoting a forged document) that anyone who disagreed with the apostolic see was a heretic.

    In 1199, Pope Innocent III declared heresy to be high treason against God, having already called for the execution of those who persisted in their heresies after being excommunicated.

    He also said that those who interpret literally Jesus' statements about limiting their statements to a straight Yes or No were heretics worthy of death – confirming that those who refused to swear in court should be executed.

    In 1229 Pope Gregory IX declared that it is the duty of every Catholic to persecute heretics. He preached a crusade against the Stedingers, a Germanic people living near the River Weser, whose heresy amounted to no more than rejecting the temporal authority of the Archbishop of Bremen. An army of forty thousand was raised under the bishops of Ratzebourg, Lubeck, Osnabrück, Munster and Minden. Of the eleven thousand or so Stedingers able to bear arms, most were slaughtered on the field of battle. The rest were killed later, many of them being drowned in the Weser along with women, children and old men. The whole population was exterminated.

    Following the apostolic commands of Pope Innocent IV, the Archbishop of Narbonne consigned two hundred heretics to the flames in 1243.

    All manner of activities constituted heresy. It was heretical to eat meat on Friday, to read the bible, to know Greek, to criticise a cleric, to refuse to pay Church taxes, or to deny that money lending was sinful. St Augustine's idea that error has no rights, became a favourite of persecutors, and the great saint was often cited as authority for oppression of all sorts.

    Under Pope John XXII and later fourteenth century popes Franciscan spirituals were burned at the stake for such behaviour as claiming that Christ and the apostles had not owned property, preaching absolute poverty, wearing traditional hoods and habits and refusing to lay up stores of food.

    The Apostlicals, a sect founded in 1300, tried to live like the apostles. The luckier ones were burned at the stake like the sect's founder, but others suffered worse fates. Dulcino of Novara, the successor to the founder, was publicly torn to pieces with hooks, as was his wife.

    Christian persecution surfaced in the Roman Church because it apostatised from Christianity and became a political entity. When that apostasy was recognised by the Reformers, they brought the persecution of heretics into the reformation Churches with them instead of abandoning Christian murder as a tool of religious growth.

    Protestants have reigned with blood and horror on the earth just as their Roman precursors did. Even today, Anti-Mormons would burn Mormons at the stake had they the opportunity to do so. Instead, they have to be content [although few are!] with trolling Mormon sites and venting their considerable spleens against the innocent, and are extremely inventive in finding their little ways of doing so.

    It has been said that their own inadequacies and fears are the root of this religious-sociological manifestation of hatred, especially by such scholars as Brian Wilson. Christians of all hues, including Protestants, have had a hand in the persecution of Jews for millennia. Since it is now seen for what it is, Anti_Semitism has yielded to Anti-Mormonism as an easy or soft alternative for those whose personalities apparently include a double helping of a hate-gene.

    Whilst commiserating with those so afflicted, is it too much to expect that they at least be open and honest about their hatred, and to stick to the facts rather than the manipulated histories and syllogisms that they tirelessly employ against Mormons, even decades after such petty matters have been explained with sufficient cogency for any reasonable person to see that such attacks are founded upon shifting sands, concerning which Jesus has somewhat to say. [Matthew 7]

    Some quotations by Non-Mormon Christian scholars:

    Historically nothing is more incorrect than the assertion that the Reformation was a movement in favour of intellectual freedom. The exact contary is the truth. For themselves, it is true, Lutherans and Calvinists claimed liberty of conscience . . . but to grant it to others never occurred to them so long as they were the stronger side. The complete extirpation of the Catholic Church, and in fact of everything that stood in their way, was regarded by the reformers as something entirely natural.

    (Grisar, VI, 268-269; Dollinger: Kirche und Kirchen, 1861, 68)

    If any one still harbors the traditional prejudice that the early Protestants were more liberal, he must be undeceived. Save for a few splendid sayings of Luther, confined to the early years when he was powerless, there is hardly anything to be found among the leading reformers in favor of freedom of conscience. As soon as they had the power to persecute they did. (Preserved Smith)

    At Zurich, Zwingli's State-Church grew up much as Luther's did . . . Oecolampadius at Basle and Zwingli's successor, Bullinger, were strong compulsionists. Calvin's name is even more closely bound up with the idea of religious absolutism, while the task of handing down to posterity his harsh doctrine of religious compulsion was undertaken by Beza in his notorious work, On the Duty of Civil Magistrates to Punish Heretics. The annals of the Established Church of England were likewise at the outset written in blood. (Grisar, VI, 278)

    The Double Standard of Protestant "Inquisition Polemics" (John Stoddard)

    Religious persecution usually continues till one of two causes rises to repress it. One is the sceptical notion that all religions are equally good or equally worthless; the other is an enlightened spirit of tolerance, exercised towards all varieties of sincere opinion . . . inspired by the conviction that it is useless to endeavor to compel belief in any form of religion whatsoever. Unhappily this enlightened, tolerant spirit is of slow growth, and never has been conspicuous in history, but if it be asserted that very few Catholics in the past have been inspired by it, the same thing can be said of Protestants.

    This fact is forgotten by Protestants. They read blood-curdling stories of the Inquisition and of atrocities committed by Catholics, but what does the average Protestant know of Protestant atrocities in the centuries succeeding the Reformation? Nothing, unless he makes a special study of the subject . . . Yet they are perfectly well known to every scholar . . . If I do not enumerate here the persecutions carried on by Catholics in the past, it is because it is not necessary in this book to do so. This volume is addressed especially to Protestants, and Catholic persecutions are to them sufficiently well known . . .

    Now granting for the sake of argument, that all that is usually said of Catholic persecutions is true, the fact remains that Protestants, as such, have no right to denounce them, as if such deeds were characteristic of Catholics only. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones . . .

    It is unquestionable . . . that the champions of Protestantism – Luther, Calvin, Beza, Knox, Cranmer and Ridley — advocated the right of the civil authorities to punish the 'crime' of heresy . . . Rousseau says truly:

    The Reformation was intolerant from its cradle, and its authors were universal persecutors . . .

    Auguste Comte also writes:

    The intolerance of Protestantism was certainly not less tyrannical than that with which Catholicism is so much reproached. (Philosophie Positive, IV, 51)

    What makes, however, Protestant persecutions specially revolting is the fact that they were absolutely inconsistent with the primary doctrine of Protestantism — the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief! Nothing can be more illogical than at one moment to assert that one may interpret the Bible to suit himself, and at the next to torture and kill him for having done so!

    Nor should we ever forget that . . . the Protestants were the aggressors, the Catholics were the defenders. The Protestants were attempting to destroy the old, established Christian Church, which had existed 1500 years, and to replace it by something new, untried and revolutionary. The Catholics were upholding a Faith, hallowed by centuries of pious associations and sublime achievements; the Protestants, on the contrary, were fighting for a creed . . . which already was beginning to disintegrate into hostile sects, each of which, if it gained the upper hand, commenced to persecute the rest! . . . All religious persecution is bad; but in this case, of the two parties guilty of it, the Catholics certainly had the more defensible motives for their conduct.

    At all events, the argument that the persecutions for heresy, perpetrated by the Catholics, constitute a reason why one should not enter the Catholic Church, has not a particle more force than a similar argument would have against one's entering the Protestant Church. In both there have been those deserving of blame in this respect, and what applies to one applies also to the other. (Professor Stoddard, 204-205, 209-210)

    One of the many tragi-comic ironies of the Protestant Revolution is the fact that even persecuted Protestants failed to see the light:

    Often the resistance to tyranny and the demand for religious freedom are combined, as in the Puritan revolution in England; and the victors, having achieved supremacy, then set up a new tyranny and a fresh intolerance.

    (Harkness, 222)

    Multitudes of Non-Conformists fled from Ireland and England to America; . . . What is amazing is the fact that, after such experiences, those fugitives did not learn the lesson of toleration, and did not grant to those who differed . . . freedom . . . When they found themselves in a position to persecute, they tried to outdo what they had endured . . . Among those whom they attacked was . . . the Society of Friends, otherwise known as Quakers.

    (Stoddard, 207)

    In Massachusetts, for successive convictions, a Quaker would suffer the loss of one ear and then the other, the boring of the tongue with a hot iron, and sometimes eventually death. In Boston three Quaker men and one woman were hanged. Baptist Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts in 1635 and founded tolerant Rhode Island (Stoddard, 208). To his credit, he remained tolerant, an exception to the rule, as was William Penn, who was persecuted by Protestants in England and founded the tolerant colony of Pennsylvania. Quakerism (Penn's faith) has an honorable record of tolerance since, — like its predecessor Anabaptism –, it is one of the most subjective and individualistic of Protestant sects, and eschews association with the "world" (governments, the military, etc.), whence lies the power necessary to persecute. Thus, Quakers were in the forefront of the abolition movement in America in the first half of the 19th century.

    Dissensions plagued Protestantism from the start, even though one would think that a religion stressing individualism and conscience would be free from such shortcomings and would promote mutual respect.

    The myth of Protestant magnanimity and peaceful coexistence (especially in its infancy) dies an unequivocal death once all the facts are brought out.

    What I would expect from a true Christian is Biblical sanction to lie, persecute, and harry other Christians for no better reason that doctrinal differences. If some enlightened Anti-Mormon can convince me with unadulterated and undistorted Biblical evidence, then I might become one of them myself.

    Chapters, verses, commentaries, please.

    Otherwise, otherwise!

  115. .

    "What makes Protestant persecutions specially revolting is the fact that they are absolutely inconsistent with the primary doctrine of Protestantism — the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief!

    "Nothing can be more illogical than at one moment to assert that one may interpret the Bible to suit himself, and at the next to torture and kill him for having done so!"

    .

  116. Ronnie – I was actually debatung replying or not replying to Leah's comments. Not sure how productive it would be. But basically you summarized what i was thinking of saying (thank you).

    "It would be laughable if it were not such a serious matter to find those that call themselves Christians distancing themselves from the History of their own faith. Anyone that finds only Roman Catholics guilty of persecuting Christians has not done their homework, but is running solely on blindness, elective ignorance, and foundational prejudice."

    Leah – I contrary to your accusations, i am not biased at all. I take no position to believe one faith over another. My only argument is fact, acceptance of others because the world would be a much better place if we accept rather than try to convince and homogenize. My position that you mistake for being biased is that LDS seem to do this very well (not withstanding that they do try to convert via missionary etc but are accepting of others) whereas Catholoc and Christians for the most part (and historically) cannot seem to accept even for conversation that anyone's point of view is equal even if they consider it not valid. I am not siding with LDS just pointing out that this site is evidence that they can host and discuss without the contempt that you seem to demonstrate in your responses. They disagree just as much but is clear they do so in a different fashion. That is all really.

  117. I never stated people professing to be Christian have never committed atrocities. I stated those who kill in Yeshua's name are not truly following Him or His teachings. I only addressed the inquisitions because that was the example given by you Tom, and those were led by the Catholics. You called it my "religion" that did those things, and that is inherently false. Jesus started Christianity and He did not advocate that behavior. If I call myself a Mormon but then go around murdering people in Joseph Smith's name, would that make it what Mormonism teaches? Would other Mormons say I was following Smith's teachings and was a true Mormon? I think not. If you want to take my comments out of context and say I said "no Protestants have ever done anything wrong," you are putting words in my mouth and applying your own meaning because I never said any such thing.

    Mormon missionaries go door to door telling people that Christianity has become corrupt, all Christian professors are corrupt, that it is an abomination before God, and that the Mormon church is the only true church on earth! Where I come from, those are fighting words, and Paul told us to contend for the faith. Your subjective experiences and your opinions about Mormons are just that…opinions. I have freedom to speak out against any religion I choose, and again, you are intolerant of my belief that Mormonism is false when you try to silence me. You also say I have "contempt," would you please enlighten me as to how you know my thoughts and feelings from a few words on a computer?? I am outspoken, but I have no contempt.

    I also find it very interesting the way you defend Mormonism and bash Christians, do you not realize Mormons think themselves Christians as well? You also call them "LDS" all the time, something non-Mormons usually do not do…they call them Mormons, but you always call them LDS or say "the LDS church." Odd. Are you sure you aren't Mormon Tom?? I have many relationships with Mormons, ex-Mormons, and non Mormons and you Tom, speak like a Mormon.

  118. Leah- I am agnostic and subscribe to no religion. Your accusations that I may actually be a Mormon and be misrepresenting myself does not offend me since you have lost any credibility you might have had. Advice, relax, be more open minded and accepting of others and they will certainly afford you the same courtesy. The upside, you may actually learn something and appreciate others as much as you appreciate yourself. It is truly one of life's rewards to lose the baggage….peace.

  119. "Anyone that finds only Roman Catholics guilty of persecuting Christians has not done their homework"

    Again, where did I say this?? Please quote me. You asked about the inquisition/Crusades and I said it was Catholics. You framed the question, I didn't. How did you draw that conclusion from what I said? Do you like to take what people say out of context and then twist them and apply your own meaning? I see now why you get along with Ronnie so well.

    You should be more open minded and accepting of my beliefs, you have been completely intolerant of my beliefs. Why is it those who are always advising others to be "open minded" are not open to the other opinions themselves? Why did you call ME out by name Tom? You came on this site defending Mormons and Mormonism, became Ronnie's lapdog, and called me out questioning ME on a site questioning Mormonism, but you're a neutral agnostic? Right. If there is any credibility in question, it was yours the moment you claimed to not be biased then immediately took sides. I have made my motives clear, what exactly were yours? You don't know if you believe in a god or not, you've "researched" Mormonism but can't find it to be true or false, then you come on Mormon sites to defend Mormons and bash Christians…what type of "agnostic" is that? What is it that YOU have to gain?

    "Advice, relax, be more open minded and accepting of others and they will certainly afford you the same courtesy. The upside, you may actually learn something and appreciate others as much as you appreciate yourself. It is truly one of life’s rewards to lose the baggage"

    Ok, here you start with the personal attacks. You are oozing neutrality and credibility. I have not silenced anyone, everyone is free to speak and share their opinions on here, have I stopped anyone? Am I not allowed to disagree and share my own beliefs? Come on Tom, be more open minded. Such intolerance! Maybe you could learn something and appreciate others opinions. As for the advice, I think I'll take advice from people who are not so wishy-washy and can make up their minds about important matters.

    I am unsubscribing to all follow up comments, so continue on with your "unbiased" views, I will not be responding. It is truly one of life’s rewards to lose the baggage….peace!

  120. Mormons are stupid. They believe lies. LDS is a big money-making scam. Read it and weep idiots!

  121. So if anyone actually reads this, you can tell that all this bashing back and forth is a major waste of time. The Book of Mormon is true, as is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know this to be true and it is something that any true christian will believe if given the chance. Members of the Church must teach with the Spirit, which requires humility from both parties. If a person isn't willing to read a book and pray then there heart is too hardened for logic or more importantly the Spirit, for they in their pride assume to already have the answers.

    Speaking of Anti-Mormons, I know that the most needed quality for a person to be Christlike is humility, and I have not once after all of the self-proclaimed "christians" that have "anti-ed" me seen a speck of humility in them.

  122. certainly like your website however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand I will surely come again again.

  123. I know there are people who have real reasons to have negative feelings about the church. Maybe they were raised my Mormons and decided to leave creating a huge void between them and their parents. Maybe they were kicked out for reasons they think unfair.

    But as for me. I am a christian. And I want to say that I take the time to talk to Mormons because I love them. I have a great deal of respect for the amount of work they put in to their faith and it pains me to think that it’s all in vain. This religion is a denial of the true Jesus Christ, not a revelation.

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