Do Mormons Believe No One Can Enter Heaven Without Joseph Smith’s Consent?

This question is sparked in response to a statement from Church President Brigham Young, who said “that no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are—I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent.”

It therefore seem fair enough for any Christian to question whether Mormons worship Jesus Christ or Joseph Smith. After all, didn’t Christ say “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”?

But with only slightly closer examination it becomes clear that there is no contradiction between the Bible and Brigham Young’s statement. In fact, they support one another.

As Stephen R. Gibson has pointed out, in every period of time throughout history when there have been prophets or apostles of God upon the earth, rejecting the words of those prophets and apostles has been the same as rejecting God or Christ. As Christ himself stated “He that receiveth you receiveth me” (Matt. 10:40), which means the converse “He that receiveth [not] you receiveth [not] me” is just as true.

If one lived in the time of Moses and rejected the message Moses delivered, he would also be rejecting God. Moses is the passport to heaven for the people who lived in that time, as well as for us, at least in a sense, since we also have his words and are responsible for our obedience or lack thereof to them. Likewise if one rejects Joseph Smith’s teachings, he is rejecting Christ, since Joseph Smith is merely communicating Christ’s teachings to the world.

If that doesn’t do it for you, consider this analogy. Imagine a city surrounded by a wall, with only a single gate granting entrance into the city. We could say that no one comes into that city except by that gate, right? Then let’s suppose a guard is placed by the gate, and no one can enter the gate without first obtaining permission from the guard. Does this invalidate the statement that no one enters the city except through that gate? Of course not, the gate is still the only way into the city, and having a guard at the gate doesn’t change this. The gate is Christ, the guard is Joseph Smith, Moses, Peter, or whichever prophet or apostle is Christ’s authorized representative, depending on time and place.

Comments

  1. Those that are more than passingly familiar with Brigham Young's style of oratory will recognise his frequent use of hyperbole. Young did not believe, and neither do Latter-day Saints, that without presenting a signed certificate from the hand of the Prophet Joseph Smith to the guardians at the gate of the kingdom of heaven, no one will enter. His description is a poetic device such as is common to preachers who are passionate about their subjects.

    When Isaiah wrote that the faithful would 'mount up on wings of eagles,' he was not implying that unless candidates for heaven could produce feathery growths between their shoulder blades they would not get in, he was using poetic imagery, and so was Brigham Young when he made the statement in the OP.

    It is unfortunate, but also a fact of life, that some will seize on a statement and insist it can only be interpreted according to the light within themselves. However, religious faith does not work like that.

    Those that make such insistence are those that Isaiah cautioned us about. These are they 'that make a man an offender for a word.'

    Jesus said, "He that receives you [the commissioned apostles], also receives me [Jesus], and he that receives me [Jesus], also receives Him that sent me [Almighty God]."

    God expects the faithful that are influenced by the Holy Spirit sent from his presence to accept others of his servants according to time and place. He says that those that reject Jesus will not gain entrance to that place where God dwells, and the same applies to those that are sent by God and Jesus Christ to be ministers and messengers of the words of life, acceptance of which enables the faithful believer to enter the kingdom of heaven.

    It may be that some religiose souls with not accept the words of God delivered by Jesus or in turn by his apostles and messengers. However, God makes the rules, and those that would be saved will accept and abide by them. Otherwise, otherwise!

    • All Mormons are going to Hell to be with Joe Smith where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth

  2. Both the original article and Ronnie Brays comments hit the spot. Great stuff.

  3. According to Mormon doctrine, I will go to outer darkness with Satan for eternity since I have rejected Joseph Smith and the LDS church. I will never get to live with God according to your doctrine unless I accept Joseph Smith and go through the temple to receive the "new and everlasting covenant" (along with a list of other things I must do just to GET into the temple).

    Even though I love and worship Jesus as my Savior and have been born again as He said you must be.

    I think that says what you guys believe clearly. It's not Jesus you want people to accept, it's Joseph Smith and your church people have to accept to be allowed to live with God. You guys have taken the simple, beautiful gift of grace (the good news to all who accept it) and preached another gospel that makes people accept a man and an institution in order to live with God.

    • Oh Leah, that could not be further from the truth. If you do, as you indicate above (and which I sincerely believe you do), worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and love Him with all your heart, we will guide and bless you (and by you I mean more “us” in general) with the truth of what we are to do to find the straight and narrow path. You may not have yet had an experience with reading The Book of Mormon, thinking about it, and asking God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ if it is in fact true. Or perhaps you did and did not receive an answer at this time or didn’t recognize it as such. What I do know is this: our God, Jesus Christ, is loving, merciful, and full of grace towards those who follow him. But, it couldn’t be further from the truth that those who reject this beautiful message will be cast off to outer darkness. In fact, Joseph Smith said of the “telestial” kingdom (the lowest kingdom of God reserved for murderers and others with similar sins) “that if we saw it we would die to get there” because it is so beautiful. Outer darkness is reserved for those evil angels who followed Lucifer at the beggining of the world and those who, during this life, come to know of Jesus’ Divinity with such surety they cannot deny it and yet they will choose to “crucify him anew” or completely reject Him (i.e. The Antichrist will be in this category). Leah, keep following and loving Christ! He will show us the way. I invite you to humbly read The Book of Mormon and ask God himself if it is true. I know, as Simon Peter did, not through “flesh and blood” but from the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, and the only Begotten of the Father. I know, in that same way, that both the Book of Mormon AND the Bible are true. But, just like so many in Jesus’ time, sometimes we must reject this world in order to accept Him. It may be difficult to accept the answer when friends and family members call it crazy, but if you pray and ask with real intent if the Book of Mormon is true, you will receive an answer. It is then up to us, like the young wealthy man who asked the Savior “Lord, what must I do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”. The Lord responded, “Go, sell all that thou hath and give it unto the poor, and come follow me.” He went away so sorrowful but had he made the better choice he would likely have been one of the Apostles of the Lord! We must all ask ourselves if we are willing to make sacrifices of all things to the Lord and “never be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”! Our Lord has so much love for you Leah. He would never send a humble follower, a humble disciple, to an unimaginable hell due to not knowing what to do…but we must all take care not to reject Him when he reveals the truth unto us! He will hold us accountable for what we know, not what he don’t.

  4. Leah, do you believe you can go to heaven if you reject the teachings of Abraham, Moses, Peter, James, or John? If you reject the Bible do you really believe in Christ? All we are saying is that Joseph Smith is Christ's representative, and to reject him is to reject Christ. Either way, we aren't saying someone would go to outer darkness for rejecting Joseph Smith, or Jesus Christ for that matter.

    • No Joe Smith is not a representative of Jesus Christ. I reject Joe and all his diabolical teachings. People who reject Jesus Christ end up in Hell, with all the Mormons

  5. I don't reject the Bible or Jesus, I believe in them, so no worries.

    According to your religion though, I have rejected Mormonism so I am an apostate and will go to outer darkness for it. Is this not true?

    And is it not true that unless a person accepts Joseph Smith's teachings (not Moses or Peter or John's) which say you must go to the temple and be sealed, you cannot live with God? Let's be honest in what you really want people to accept, and it's not Jesus' sacrifice that gets you to heaven with God in Mormonism. It is a belief in the teachings of Joseph Smith, his temples and ordinances that allow you to live with God. Sure, you throw a belief in Jesus in as well, but that will NOT get you to live with God, now will it? Please answer honestly, not that I don't already know the answer, but others should be made aware what really is required by Mormons to get to spend eternity with God.

  6. "According to your religion though, I have rejected Mormonism so I am an apostate and will go to outer darkness for it. Is this not true? "

    No, this is not true, although the misunderstanding is logical. Here is an excerpt from a Church manual, presented in the form of a true/false question and answer:

    True or False: Hell is a place of never-ending suffering where sinners go. Most of mankind will be there forever because of their wickedness.

    False. Hell, or spirit prison, is a place for people who have rejected the gospel and people who have died without a knowledge of the gospel. The gospel is preached to them there, and those who accept the gospel and repent of their sins will be released and allowed to enter paradise until the Resurrection and Judgment (see D&C 138:29–34). Most of those who do not accept the gospel there will have to suffer for their own sins but will eventually be resurrected and go to a kingdom of glory (see D&C 76:81–85, 98–106).

    If your question is whether Mormons believe that those who reject the gospel will go to hell, the answer is yes, they will, but not forever. Hell, or spirit prison, is a temporary place, and I suspect it's worse for some people than for others, not because the conditions are made worse for some than for others, but because those who have lived lives that were worse than others will probably be a bit more concerned about the welfare of their souls than others, and those who have lived lives of wickedness will be going through some withdrawals, I suspect.

    But outer darkness as a permanent and final dwelling place is something else, as stated in another Church manual:

    Outer darkness is where Satan and those who have followed him will live. These people will be those who chose to live with Satan. They will not be forgiven. These people will live forever in darkness, sorrow, and suffering with Satan and the spirits who followed him.

    One does not "accidentally" choose to follow Satan and live with him. The vast majority of us are not even capable of making such a choice in this life, because we lack the knowledge to do so. Therefore unless you're prepared to consciously make such a choice in the next life after having learned much more, you can rest assured it will never happen.

    "And is it not true that unless a person accepts Joseph Smith’s teachings (not Moses or Peter or John’s) which say you must go to the temple and be sealed, you cannot live with God?"

    If you remove the part "(not Moses or Peter or John’s)" then the sentence is true, albeit incomplete. Mormons believe we have to accept the teachings of each and every prophet in order to live with God, including Moses, Peter, and John. Where the sentence is incomplete is that we don't believe people have to accept Joseph Smith, go to the temple, be sealed, etc. in this life. Most will not have the opportunity in this life, but whether in this life or the next every single person will receive the opportunity.

    "Let’s be honest in what you really want people to accept, and it’s not Jesus’ sacrifice that gets you to heaven with God in Mormonism."

    This sentence is completely false. Mormons do not believe there is any way to heaven other than Christ's sacrifice. We believe that without Christ not a single person could ever return to God.

    "It is a belief in the teachings of Joseph Smith, his temples and ordinances that allow you to live with God. Sure, you throw a belief in Jesus in as well, but that will NOT get you to live with God, now will it?"

    Mormons believe that belief and acceptance of Jesus will get you to live with God. But if one rejects God's servants, then that person is rejecting God and Christ, and therefore they do not believe in nor accept Christ, as the Bible states. Joseph Smith's teachings and Christ's teachings are one and the same, and likewise the teachings of any other prophet. One cannot accept Moses and reject Peter, one cannot accept Matthew and reject Luke, one cannot accept Joseph Smith and reject John, and one cannot reject any prophet and still claim to accept Christ, because their words are the same. This is the Mormon perspective.

    You can reasonably say you believe Joseph Smith is not an authorized servant of God, an impostor, and that all his teachings are false and not the teachings of Christ. But unless you do not know much about LDS doctrine you cannot reasonably claim that Mormons believe they can be saved through anything but Christ's sacrifice. The idea runs counter to everything the Church teaches. It would be more reasonable to argue that the goal of Ben & Jerry's is to get people to not eat ice cream.

  7. "But if one rejects God’s servants, then that person is rejecting God and Christ, and therefore they do not believe in nor accept Christ, as the Bible states"

    You are playing word games now instead of coming out and saying it. In other words, you have to believe Joseph Smith in order to believe God. Since I reject Smith, I reject Jesus and unless I accept JS as a prophet I will be rejecting God and will not get to live with Him right? Just be straight forward.

    Do I have to be sealed in the temple to live with God? The answer in Mormonism is YES! Not only do you have to accept Lt. General Smith as a prophet, you have to be sealed in the temple. (D&C 132) Why can't you just come out and say it? This is your doctrine.

    I can absolutely accept Jesus without accepting Joseph Smith!

    Fact: Jesus NEVER taught that you have to be sealed in a temple with the "new and everlasting covenant" to live with God. Never. Ever. That was Joseph Smith.

    If you believe you need to follow Jesus, He never said you have to go to a temple and do Masonic ceremonies to live with God. Jesus and Lt. General Smith did NOT teach the same thing, no matter how much your bosom burned about it. And you can not prove that they did without your "God told me so" argument, which fails miserably when other people have had "God" tell them differently from what He "told" you.

  8. "You are playing word games now instead of coming out and saying it. In other words, you have to believe Joseph Smith in order to believe God. Since I reject Smith, I reject Jesus and unless I accept JS as a prophet I will be rejecting God and will not get to live with Him right? Just be straight forward."

    I think that's pretty much what I said…with the exception that it's not limited to this life. It's also dicey when discussing what counts as "acceptance" or "rejection". Are you rejecting Joseph Smith's teachings right now? To some that might be an obvious "yes," and you might think the answer is "yes" yourself, but I'm not so sure. One can't reject what one doesn't understand, and the more we converse the more convinced I am that you do not understand Mormon doctrine, and therefore may not be in a position to truly reject it. Whatever the case, this is where the "judge not" commandment comes into effect–only God can judge what you've accepted/rejected, and it's not my business to judge such matters.

    "Do I have to be sealed in the temple to live with God? The answer in Mormonism is YES! Not only do you have to accept Lt. General Smith as a prophet, you have to be sealed in the temple. (D&C 132) Why can’t you just come out and say it? This is your doctrine."

    I did say it, again, with that one exception that it doesn't have to happen in this life.

    "I can absolutely accept Jesus without accepting Joseph Smith! "

    I agree with that, because many people don't know about Joseph Smith, but for those who do know, they cannot both accept Christ and reject Joseph Smith at the same time any more than they can accept Christ but reject Moses.

    "Fact: Jesus NEVER taught that you have to be sealed in a temple with the “new and everlasting covenant” to live with God. Never. Ever. That was Joseph Smith. "

    I realize the Bible doesn't spell out the doctrine of eternal marriage, although Mormons interpret certain scriptures as touching on the matter, but how do you know Jesus never taught such a thing? Does the Bible contain all the words Christ ever spoke?

    "If you believe you need to follow Jesus, He never said you have to go to a temple and do Masonic ceremonies to live with God. Jesus and Lt. General Smith did NOT teach the same thing, no matter how much your bosom burned about it."

    I agree about the Masonic part, but you have presented no proof that Jesus never taught about the temple. What evidence do you have to support such a statement other than that it's not in the Bible? Reading the Bible and claiming that anything not contained in it never happened is like reading a month's worth of the New York Times and then claiming that if something wasn't contained in what you read that it never happened in New York City.

    "And you can not prove that they did without your “God told me so” argument, which fails miserably when other people have had “God” tell them differently from what He “told” you."

    It works fine for those who are sincerely seeking the truth.

  9. Using that logic, you cannot disprove anything! I can't prove there isn't a Santa Claus either, he could be hiding somewhere…but evidence suggests he is not real!

    Jesus not only didn't say anything about eternal marriage in the Bible, He also didn't say anything about it in the Book of Mormon. It's not in the Apocrypha or any other ancient writings on or about Jesus. Evidence suggests He never taught it. I can't prove He didn't teach that there are unicorns either. Does that mean there is a possibility that Jesus taught there are unicorns?? You can't prove He didn't! Maybe you have to believe in unicorns to live with God! Completely irrational. That is your silliest argument yet.

    Also, the Bible was not just a newspaper reporting on a certain area of a city…it is the Holy word of God, the apostles who wrote in the New Testament were first hand witnesses of the resurrection. They were Jesus' disciples. I would hardly think their writings as unimportant as any old report of the day in Jesus' area. So I do not agree with that analogy.

  10. "It works fine for those who are sincerely seeking the truth."

    It also works fine for those burying their heads in the sand, convinced of their own discernment of what is truth without fact.

  11. "Using that logic, you cannot disprove anything!"

    That may be so, but it is the only position one can arrive at if one wants to say they are being logical in the face of a lack of evidence, that is, the position of saying "I don't know." It would be silly of me to claim that what I believe is true because there is no evidence against it, but that is not what I am saying. You, however, are declaring something to be false because there is a lack of evidence proving it to be true. I won't call this type of reasoning silly, but I will call it illogical.

    "Jesus not only didn’t say anything about eternal marriage in the Bible, He also didn’t say anything about it in the Book of Mormon. It’s not in the Apocrypha or any other ancient writings on or about Jesus. Evidence suggests He never taught it."

    I would say evidence suggests the Bible contains precious little of what Jesus said. I suspect we have less than 1% of what he taught, and the Bible itself seems to state the same. "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

    "Also, the Bible was not just a newspaper reporting on a certain area of a city…it is the Holy word of God, the apostles who wrote in the New Testament were first hand witnesses of the resurrection. They were Jesus’ disciples. I would hardly think their writings as unimportant as any old report of the day in Jesus’ area. So I do not agree with that analogy."

    The analogy was not making a statement about the importance of the Bible, but rather its comprehensiveness as a historical document. It is simply unreasonable to believe that a few hundred pages, a bit of which is repetitive, could possibly cover more than a tiny portion of what Jesus taught or did in three years. What evidence is there to prove that the Bible is more than a tiny, tiny portion of what Jesus and the apostles taught? What I am saying is that if you read the New York Times for a month, you would have no more idea of what has gone on in New York City for the past 100 years than we might have an idea of what Jesus taught by reading the Bible.

  12. "I did say it, again, with that one exception that it doesn’t have to happen in this life"

    So Jesus is not enough. In Mormonism, you have to go through a to-do list of things to live with God (baptism, temple rites, etc), whether you do it in this life or the next. Jesus is not enough. His sacrifice was not enough to get us to live with God, there are things us humans can and must do to get us to God is what you are saying, or what Joseph Smith said correct? Anyone who doesn't accept Joseph Smith's laws and ordinances (in this life or the next) will not live with God right?

  13. Jesus is enough. The problem is that some call themselves disciples of Jesus that are unwilling to submit to the discipline of Jesus.

    One of the major heresies of modern times is that of minimalism, which is a form of Christian belief that removed Jesus from all historical context and elevates him to the position of an ikon in which he is released from all and any or his own teachings that require any action of the believer except declarations of simple faith and confession.

    Such as these have stripped Jesus of all other demands he made on their obedience to follow what he taught them directly, which teachings he said were not his own, but the teachings of 'him that sent me.'

    Such followers do not follow Jesus' direct instructions. They thwart his purposes by negating his own divine commandments, and can be seen attacking Christians that seek to follow Jesus directions and commandments.

    Latter-day Saints believe Jesus when he said: "Except a man [or woman] be born again of the water and of the spirit he [or she] cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Like the majority of Christians since the time of Jesus' mortal ministry, Latter-day Saints accept that this refers to the rite of water baptism for the remission of sins and the receiving by the individual of the promised gift of the Holy Ghost. Both these are to follow an individual's coming to Christ in faith, believing that he is the Saviour and Redeemer.

    The Latter-day Saint position is founded directly on the words of Jesus Christ and his apostles that taught the centrality and essential nature of,

    1] the cleansing power of the Atonement of Christ to cleanse and righteous the repentant believer

    2] Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as messiah and Saviou

    3] Works that demonstrate faith in Christ

    4] Obedience to the commandments and teachings of Almighty God and his Christ

    5] Continuing Faithfulness

    6] and, Endurance to the End Lead to Salvation in God's kingdom.

    It is a calumny to suggest that Latter-day Saints believe they can do anything to merit salvation, or 'earn' salvation. The works God and Jesus require are not, according to the Holy Bible, optional. being a Christian is not the same as fine dining where one picks and chooses from a menu of options: it is a "travel the road with Jesus daily and be prepared to die for him if needed' faith."

    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?

    Jesus couldn't have said it plainer when he said:

    "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 [or woman] 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 – a NON-LDS Christian Commentary)

    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)

    What, think ye, is left for those that do NOT OBEY Christ??

    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 souls of men, 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.

    This novel form extracted from out 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. One Christian theologian has called this unfortunate trend, "The Death of God the Father."

    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 from the whole 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 as taught by Jesus Christ himself and by his authorised servants.

    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 taught here by Saint Paul is one that single doctrine [eg: sola fide] 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, 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.

    The only Christian is a Full-Jesus Christians, and not a Pick-and-Choosy Christian.

    Anyone that does not accept God's laws and ordinances do not accept Jesus Christ and, therefore, will not live with God. Right? Right!

    Conclusion: Jesus IS enough, but you have to have the whole Jesus, not the Fillet of Jesus, not the Jesus-Patty, not the Jesus-Burger, or the Fat-free-Jesus, but the 100% Jesus including all his commandments, for anyone that caccepts an inferior form of Jesus doesn't get the whole Saviour, and rejects Jesus proper. Who says so? None other but Jesus says so.

    Choose ye this day whomever ye will believe. As for me and my house, we choose the Jesus of the Holy Bible 100% and not the watered down version promulgated by minimalist theologians and their acolytes.

    Jesus gets the final word:

    "IF you love me – keep my commandments!" [John 14:15]

  14. Some Non-Latter-day Saints commentaries on John 14:15 – "If ye love me keep my commandments." These amply demonstrate that Mormon [Latter-day Saint Christians] do not stand alone in the wider Christian world in determining to follow Jesus Christ:

    Barnes' Notes on the Bible

    If ye love me – Do not show your love by grief at my departure merely; or by profession, but by obedience.

    Keep my commandments – This is the only proper evidence of love to Jesus, for mere profession is no proof of love; but that love for him which leads us to do all his will, to love each other, to deny ourselves, to take up our cross, and to follow him through evil report and through good report, is true attachment. The evidence which we have that a child loves its parents is when that child is willing, without hesitation, gainsaying, or complaining, to do all that the parent requires him to do. So the disciples of Christ are required to show that they are attached to him supremely by yielding to all his requirements, and by patiently doing his will in the face of ridicule and opposition, 1 John 5:2-3.

    Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

    If ye love me, keep my commandments – Do not be afflicted at the thought of my being separated from you: the most solid proof ye can give of your attachment to and affection for me is to keep my commandments. This I shall receive as a greater proof of your affection than your tears.

    Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

    If ye love me,…. Not that Christ doubted of the love of his disciples to him; but he argues from it to their observance of his precepts, seeing ye do love me; as all do who are born again, who have had any spiritual sight of him, of his glory, suitableness, and fulness; who believe in him, and have received from him; who have had his love shed abroad in their hearts, having enjoyed communion with him, and know the relation he stands in to them; these love him above all others, and all of him, and that belong to him, unfeignedly, and in the sincerity of their souls, as did the disciples; and since they professed to love, and did love him, as they ought to do, he exhorts them, saying,

    keep my commandments: Christ is Lord over his people, as he is the Creator and Redeemer of them, and as he is an head and husband to them, and as such he has a right to issue out his commands, and enjoin a regard unto them; and these are peculiarly "his", as distinct from, though not in opposition to, or to the exclusion of, his Father's commands; such as the new commandment of loving one another, and the ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's supper, which are to be observed and kept as Christ has ordered them, constantly, in faith, and with a view to his glory.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Keep (τηρήσατε)

    The best tests read τηρήσετε, ye will keep. Lay up in your hearts and preserve by careful watching. See on reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

    My commandments (τὰς ἐντολὰς τὰς ἐμὰς)

    Literally, the commandments which are mine. See on John 10:27.

    Geneva Study Bible

    {6} If ye love me, keep my commandments.

    (6) He loves Christ rightly who obeys his commandment: and because obedience to Christ is accompanied with an infinite type and amount of miseries, although he is absent in body, yet he comforts his own with the present power of the Holy Spirit, whom the world despises, because it does not know him.

    People's New Testament

    14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. Keeping the commandments will be the result if we love him. The Revised Version gives the true idea: If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments. Obedience is the fruit of love.

    Wesley's Notes

    14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments – Immediately after faith he exhorts to love and good works.

    Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

    15-17. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, &c.-This connection seems designed to teach that the proper temple for the indwelling Spirit of Jesus is a heart filled with that love to Him which lives actively for Him, and so this was the fitting preparation for the promised gift.

    he shall give you another Comforter-a word used only by John; in his Gospel with reference to the Holy Spirit, in his First Epistle (1Jo 2:1), with reference to Christ Himself. Its proper sense is an "advocate," "patron," "helper." In this sense it is plainly meant of Christ (1Jo 2:1), and in this sense it comprehends all the comfort as well as aid of the Spirit's work. The Spirit is here promised as One who would supply Christ's own place in His absence.

    that he may abide with you for ever-never go away, as Jesus was going to do in the body.

    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

    14:12-17 Whatever we ask in Christ's name, that shall be for our good, and suitable to our state, he shall give it to us. To ask in Christ's name, is to plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. The gift of the Spirit is a fruit of Christ's mediation, bought by his merit, and received by his intercession. The word used here, signifies an advocate, counsellor, monitor, and comforter. He would abide with the disciples to the end of time; his gifts and graces would encourage their hearts. The expressions used here and elsewhere, plainly denote a person, and the office itself includes all the Divine perfections. The gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed upon the disciples of Christ, and not on the world. This is the favour God bears to his chosen. As the source of holiness and happiness, the Holy Spirit will abide with every believer for ever.

    ===

  15. And what were Jesus' commandments Ronnie? What were the commandments Jesus said He wanted us to keep?

  16. Jesus' commandments may be had by a careful study of scriptures.

    The Commandments of Jesus Christ

    A.W. Tozer: "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience."

    The following is a partial list of commands that form the basis of Christian life as a follower and disciple submitted to the discipline of Christ. Most were spoken directly by Christ; others were taught as requirements by apostles and epistolarians.

     Be born again of the water [baptism] and the [Holy] Spirit. (John 3: 1-7)

     Exercise compassion and direct and indirect service to others, regardless of their faith, nationality, or ethnicity. (Luke 10:25-37)

     Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you (Matt. 5:44).

     Take care of the poor, hungry, naked, imprisoned, sick, homeless, etc. (Matthew 25: 25:32-34)

     Go the extra mile in selfless service: if a man smite thee on one cheek, turn to him the other also (Matt. 5:30-40).

     Avenge not yourselves: rather give place unto wrath: and suffer yourselves to be defrauded (Leviticus 19:18; Rom. 12:18, 19).

     If a man take away thy goods, ask them not again (Luke 6:29, 30).

     Agree with your adversary quickly, submitting even to wrong for the sake of peace (Matt. 5:25; 1 Cor. 6:7).

     Labour not to be rich: be ready to every good work, give to those who ask; relieve the afflicted (1 Tim. 6:8; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:16; James 1:27).

     Recompense to no man evil for evil: overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:17).

     Bless them that curse you; let no cursing come out of your mouth (Matt. 5:44; Rom. 12:14).

     Render not evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise, blessing (1 Pet. 3:9).

     Pray for them that despitefully use you and afflict you (Matt. 5:44).

     Grudge not: judge not: complain not: condemn not (James 5:9; Matt. 7:1).

     Put away anger, wrath, bitterness, and all evil speaking (Eph. 4:31; 1 Pet. 2:1).

     Confess your faults one to another (James 5:16).

     Be not conformed to this world: love not the world (Rom. 12:2; 1 John 2:15).

     Deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts. If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off (Titus 2:13; Matt. 5:30).

     Servants, be faithful, even to bad masters (Eph. 6:5-8).

     Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate (Rom. 12:16).

     In case of sin (known or heard of) speak not of it to others, but tell the offending brother of the matter between thee and him alone, with a view to recovery (Matt. 18:15; Gal. 6:1).

     Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart (Matt. 22:37).

     Pray always; pray with brevity and simplicity; pray secretly (Luke 18:1; Matt. 6:7).

     In everything give thanks to God and recognise Him in all your ways (Eph. 5:20; Prov. 3:6); Doctrine & Covenants .

     As you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them (Matt. 7:12).

     Take Christ for an example and follow in his steps (1 Pet. 2:21).

     Let Christ dwell in your heart by faith (Eph. 3:17).

     Esteem Christ more highly than all earthly things; yea, than your own life (Luke 14:26).

     Confess Christ freely before men (Luke 12:8).

     Beware lest the cares of life or the allurements of pleasure weaken his hold on your heart (Matt. 24:44).

     Love thy neighbor as thyself (Matt. 22:39).

     Exercise lordship over no one (Matt. 23:11).

     Seek not your own welfare only, nor bear your own burdens merely, but have regard to those of others (Phil. 2:4; Gal. 6:2).

     Let your light shine before men: hold forth the word of life. Do good to all men as ye have opportunity (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:16; Gal. 6:10).

     Be blameless and harmless, as the sons of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15).

     Be gentle, meek, kind-hearted, compassionate, merciful, forgiving (2 Tim. 2:24; Titus 2:2; Eph. 4:32).

     Be sober, grave, sincere, temperate (Phil. 4:5; 1 Pet. 1:13; 5:8).

     Speak the truth every man with his neighbor: put away all lying (Eph. 4:25).

     Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men (Col. 3:23).

     Be watchful, vigilant, brave, joyful, courteous, and strong (1 Cor. 16:13; Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:6-10).

     Be clothed with humility; be patient toward all (Col. 3:12; Rom. 12:12).

     Follow peace with all men (Heb. 12:14).

     Sympathize in the joys and sorrows of others (Rom. 12:15).

     Follow after whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseful (Phil. 4:8).

     Refrain from adultery, fornication, uncleanness, drunkenness, covetousness, wrath, strife, sedition, hatred, emulation, boasting, vainglory, envy, jesting, and foolish talking (Eph. 5:3,4).

     Whatever you do, consider the effect of your action on the honor of God's name among men. Do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31; 3:17).

     Reckon yourselves dead to all manner of sin. Henceforth live not to yourselves, but to him who died for you, and rose again (Rom. 6-11; 2 Cor. 5:15).

     Be zealous of good works, always abounding in the work of the Lord, wearying not in well doing (Titus 2:14; Gal. 6:9).

     Speak evil of no man (Titus 3:2).

     Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly (Col. 3:16).

     Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt (Col. 3:8; 4:6).

     Obey rules; submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake (Titus 3:1).

     Be holy in all manner of conversation (1 Pet. 1:15, 16).

     Give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully (1 Tim. 5:14).

     Strive for perfection. (Matt. 5:48)

     Be obedient: Exod. 19:5 – "if you obey My voice …, you shall be My possession" Exod. 24:7 – "All that the Lord has spoken we will do; we will be obedient" Deut. 6:4 – "Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one" Deut. 11:13 – "if you listen obediently to My commandments" I Sam. 15:22 – "to obey is better than sacrifice" Ps. 81:11 – "My people did not listen to My voice; Israel did not obey Me" Greek hupakouo – "to listen under, to obey;" opposite is parakouo – "to listen around, beside, disobedience" (cf. Rom. 5:19). Rom. 1:5 – "obedience of faith among the Gentiles" Rom. 16:26 – "obedience of faith" II Cor. 10:5 -"taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" II Thess. 1:8 – "those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus" Heb. 5:9 – "He became to all who obey Him the source of salvation" I Pet. 1:2 – "that you may obey Jesus Christ" I Pet. 1:14 – "As obedient children…be holy" I Pet. 1:22 – "you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls" Greek peitho and peitharcheo – "to persuade, convince;" opposite is apeitheo – "unconvinced, disobedient" (cf. Eph. 2:2; 5:6) Acts 5:29 – "we must obey God rather than men" Acts 5:32 – "the Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him" Rom. 2:8 – "do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness" Gal. 5:7 – "who hindered you from obeying the truth?"

    Many say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (Rev. 3:17), while being confused about causality, saying, “My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deut. 8:17). It is much today as in ancient Israel when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6; Judg. 21:25). In our time, “every man walketh in his own way, and after … the likeness of the world” (D&C 1:16), which might be called everyman ethical relativism, and we are swamped by it in our time.

    The Hebrew perspective of obedience was:

    1. Emphasis on hearing God rather than seeing God

    2. This Developed into

    a. Historical remembrance of having heard God

    b. Futuristic expectation of seeing God (Isa. 60:4,5)

    3. Prophetic rebuke for failure to hear, listen, or obey

    The Christian perspective of obedience was:

    1. Radically new meaning of "obedience" in New Covenant of the Gospel of Christ Jesus.

    2. Relational context of obedience becomes ontological

    3. The Word to be heard and obeyed is a Person (John 1:1,14)

    4. Receptivity of Christ is the "obedience of faith" (Rom. 1:5; 16:26)

    5. Indwelling presence of Spirit of Christ is…

    a. "law written in our hearts" – Heb. 8:10; 10:16; Jere. 31:33

    b. basis of revelation – Phil. 3:15

    c. dynamic for expressing what God wants to do in us

    6. The Christian individual is responsible…

    a. to listen in order to discern what Christ wants to do

    b. to be convinced and persuaded that what he has heard from Christ is what God wants to be and do

    The obedience of Jesus Christ

    Heb. 5:8 – "He learned obedience from the things which He suffered"

    Phil. 2:8 – "He humbled Himself becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross"

    Rom. 5:19 – "through the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous"

    Jesus lived by the obedience of faith

    1. listened to God through trials, hardships, suffering

    2. continued to listen to God unto death on a cross

    3. such listening to God unto death allowed Him to take our death and invest His life in us.

    Obedience in the Christian life.

    Listening

    1. We "listen under" the direction of God's Spirit

    2. "My sheep hear My voice" – Jn. 10:27

    3. We are persuaded/convinced we have heard what He wants to do

    Receptivity

    1. "Obedience of faith" – Rom. 1:5; 16:26

    2. Our receptivity of His activity

    3. He is the dynamic of His own demands

    Liberty

    1. Christians are free to obey: willing slaves to God not slaves to sin.

    2. We are most free when we obey. Free to be man in God’s image as God intended the faithful to be.

    Rom 6:17 But thanks be to God that you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted…

    1 Pet 4:17 What will become of those who do not obey the Gospel of God?

    Terms Of Endearment

    Romans 2:13 For it is not those who hear the law that are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

    Psalm 25:10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of the covenant.

    John 8:32 "If you obey my teaching you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

    John 15:10 "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love."

    Do You Qualify?

    Deuteronomy 11:26-27 "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse–the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today."

    Exodus 19:5 "Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of the nations you will be my treasured possession."

    Numbers 24:7 "…Because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land…" (Read context in Numbers 14.)

    Hebrews 4:6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.

    1 John 3:21-22 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.

    Love Meter…

    Matt 28:20 "…Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you."

    1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commands us.

    John 14:23-24 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching… He who does not love me will not obey my teaching."

    1 John 2:4-5 The man who claims to know God but does not obey his laws is not only a liar but lives in self-delusion. But the more a man obeys God's laws the more truly and fully does he show his love for him. Obedience is the test of whether we live in God or not.

    Obedience is Not Religious Game-Playing – it is a matter of the circumcised heart!

    Proverbs 21:3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

    1 Samuel 15:13-14 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord's instructions." But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is the lowing of cattle that I hear?" [See what God ordered in 1 Sam 15:2-3.]

    Here, Saul discovers that man does not live by live mutton sandwiches, alone, "but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God."

    1 Samuel 15:22-23. "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry."

    Matthew Henry: "Obedience was the law of innocency, but sacrifice supposes sin come into the world and is but a feeble attempt to take away that which obedience would have prevented. It is much easier to bring a bullock or lamb to be burnt upon the altar than to bring every high thought into obedience to God and the will subject to his will."

    The Obedience of Messiah

    Psalm 40:6-8 Sacrifice and meal offering Thou hast not desired; my ears Thou hast opened; burnt offering and sin offering Thou hast not required. Then I said, "Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me; I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart."

    Isaiah 50:5-6 "The Lord God has opened my ear; and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back. I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard."

    Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered…

    Hebrews 5:8 Son though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering, and once perfected became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

    Philippians 2:8…Plainly seen as a human being, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, to the point of death, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal.

    Galatians 1:4 In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father.

    Lip Service Only Is No Service At All

    Luke 6:46 "And what is the point of calling me 'Lord, Lord', without doing what I tell you to do."

    Luke 6:46-49 "Why do you keep calling me, "Lord, Lord"–and never do what I tell you?.. But, he who hears and does not act is like a man who built his house on the soil without foundations. As soon as the rivers burst upon it, the house collapsed and fell with a great crash."

    Luke 11:28 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."

    One More Thing…

    Matthew 19:16-22…Now a man came up and asked him, "Master, what good must I do to obtain eternal life?" "Good?" said Jesus. "Why do you ask me about that. One alone is good. But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments… If you wish to go the whole way, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and then you will have riches in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he went away with a heavy heart, for he was a man of great wealth.

    How often do we seek the counsel of God only to receive a response which confronts us with the mandate to change and submit to the Lord. When we try to justify ourselves, and God's will is made plain, frustrating our self-righteousness, do we turn away to avoid God's voice? We say we love God… but do we resent it when he gives a clear directive?

    Revelation 3:1-2.."I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up!.."

    Matthew 7:21 "It is not those who say unto me, 'Lord, Lord,' who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven."

    1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    Obedience To The Gospel of Jesus Christ…

    1 Cor 15:1-4 Now, my brothers, I want to remind you of the Gospel… that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures said he would, that he was buried and rose again on the third day, again, as the Scriptures foretold.

    1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God.

    2 Thessalonians 1:8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

    Rom 6:17-18 You were once slaves of sin, but thank God you submitted without reservation to the creed you were taught. You may have been freed from the slavery of sin, but only to become "slaves" of righteousness.

    Rev 12:11 They have triumphed over [the accuser] by the blood of the lamb and by the witness of their martyrdom, because even in the face of death they would not cling to life.

    Gal 5:4 But if you do look to the law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace.

    Obedience Training

    Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.

    1 Peter 1:14 Do not behave in the way you liked to before you learned the truth; make a habit of obedience.

    1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have, by obeying the truth, made your souls clean enough for a genuine love, see that you do love each other.

    2 John 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in his love.

    1 Corinthians 2:16…We, however, have the mind of Christ.

    The Reward Of Disobedience

    2 Thes 3:14 If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him.

    Romans 2:8 …for those who are governed by selfish ambition, who refuse obedience to the truth and take the wrong for their guide, there will be the fury of retribution.

    Deuteronomy 30:17-18 "If your heart turns away and you are not obedient… I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed."

    In 1 Kings 13 a prophet of God had been given strict instructions not to eat or drink until returning to his home in Judah. Having been first deceived and then prophesied to by a "certain old prophet", he was mauled and killed by a lion as his punishment for disobeying the "command of the Lord". Clearly, he had known the will of God; but choosing to hearken to man resulted in his doom.

    Breaking Out Into Obedience

    Proverbs 19:16 He who obeys instructions guards his life, but he who is contemptuous of [God's] ways will die.

    Hebrews 3:15 …"If you hear God's voice today, do not be stubborn…"

    Hebrews 4:11 We must therefore do everything we can to reach this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of disobedience and be lost.

    Romans 6:12 That is why you must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions.

    2 Corinthians 10:5-6 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

    The Miracle Of Obedience

    2 Corinthians 9:13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ…

    H.A. Ironside: "Where God has wrought the miracle of regeneration in the soul of a man, he [the man] finds within himself a love springing up for the will of God. He delights to walk in obedience to His Word, and thus he has corroborative evidence that he is a child of God."

    1 John 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.

    Oswald Chambers: "The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience."

    John 7:17 "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

    Revelation 22:7 "Listen!" says Jesus. "I am coming soon. Happy are those who obey the prophetic words in this book!"

    1 Pet 1:2 whom God the Father knew and chose long ago to be made holy by His Spirit, that they might obey Jesus Christ and be cleansed by his blood, may you know more and more of God's grace and peace.

    John 14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

    A.W. Tozer: "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience."

  17. Where does Jesus say you have to go to the temple and be sealed? Or the doctrine of plural marriage? I don't see those commandments.

    Fail.

  18. Those come from modern-day revelation, of course.

  19. But Jesus answered and said,

    “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4, see also Deut. 8:3]

    "The Lord led thee [said Moses to Israel, at the close of their journeyings] these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or no. And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only,"

    Jews that do not believe Jesus is the mashiach do not accept his teachings as found in the Greek scriptures. Minimalist Christians pick and choose what they will and what they will not believe.

    That person that thinks he or she follows Jesus Christ but limits his divine word to particular books of the Bible whilst denying it in others are on a path that leads to nowhere.

    Similarly, that person that, for whatever reason, believes that the divine voice is been limited to the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, either taking them in whole or in part, denies the power of God to speak and reveal his will to men in all ages.

    It was the dead-to-the-Spirit Pharisees that sought the death of Jesus because he taught things that were not in their stultified and lifeless traditions. That same spirit is alive in the world today and it typifies brilliantly those that honour God with their lips but deny him the power to speak where, when, to whom, and what he will speak. Typically, God-limiters are found in the milling ranks of Minimalists.

    Why such a weak position should be claimed as correct is beyond understanding. If, and when, God speaks, the faithful will hear and obey. The self-sufficient will be heedless and ignore the very voice of Almighty God. Their theology is unbiblical, non-Jesusian, and quite as dead and profitable as Jacob Marley. The Living God, the Holy One of Israel, can and does speak, and the sheep that hear his voice heed, follow, and obey.

    The notion that the canon closed with the writing of John’s Gospel is unbiblical, and the God that cannot speak is not the God of the Holy Bible. He is a creation of minimalist, restrictivist, revisionists whose faith in God and Jesus is insufficient to believe that God can and does speak today. One can only feel sorrow for those whose faith demands that Almighty God be relegated to a lesser place in today’s world. They are like ancient Israelites that honoured dead prophets by making their tombs places of pilgrimage, but who stoned to death the living prophets sent from God to steer them towards Him, and that finally conspired against the very Son of God Jesus Christ.

    You will understand why Latter-day Saints reject such heresies. The Jesus of the Bible is the Mormon Jesus, and we do our best to follow in his footsteps. We have found to our cost that it is not possible to please God without offending the Devil. However, if the demons gnash their teeth and rail angrily at us for our faithful adherence to Jesus Christ and his revealed will, then we consider it a privilege to suffer these attacks for his sake, and count it but a small price to pay for our following our Saviour and Redeemer that paid the supreme price for us all.

    We believe all that God has revealed, all he does not reveal, and we believe he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God. When God does speak – and he does! – then, we hang on his every word.

    To some, this seems like foolishness, and to others, it is a stumbling block, but to Latter-day Saints of God it is the way to the Way.

  20. Erratum: in place of: 'all he does not reveal' – read: "all he does NOW reveal"

    Apologies if anyone was misled. :(

  21. "It was the dead-to-the-Spirit Pharisees that sought the death of Jesus because he taught things that were not in their stultified and lifeless traditions"

    Would these traditions have included a 10% required tithe, temple rituals, and keeping the Sabbath day holy? Hmmm…I think it is really funny when Mormons compare others to the Pharisees. Mormons have one of the most legalistic religions, you even have to dress a certain way and pray a certain way (head bowed arms crossed) none of which was required by Jesus! You resemble the Pharisees in so many ways but are blinded to it. You have instituted so many legal requirements for people to be able to live with God, but other religions are the Pharisees?? Right.

    If I have to hear one more Mormon speak of how they are persecuted and have to suffer attacks on this blog, I am going to throw up. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT PERSECUTION IS. Your life is not under the risk of death or punishment for your beliefs, only some discussions online which you refer to as "demons gnashing their teeth and railing angrily". Give me a break! You guys love to act like you are persecuted because you believe it makes your beliefs valid. False. Jim Jones was "persecuted", were his teachings true? Scientology, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other groups get the same "persecution", are they all right and true? Sometimes people "suffer attacks" because they are false. If you want to use the number of people who are persecuted to show validity here's one for you: There have been millions, yes MILLIONS of Christians who have lost their lives for Jesus. How many Mormons have? 50? 100? I'd even stretch really far and say 1,000 maybe?

    Fail. Again.

    I have never said believers shouldn't try to follow Jesus and be obedient to Him, or that you shouldn't try to follow His commandments. I said I don't believe you have to `accept Joseph Smith, nor is going into a temple and doing Masonic rituals (adapted into Mormon rituals) one of Jesus' commandments. If you can prove it was, then do it. If not, I think you have to say it was "modern day revelation" as Joshua has stated and agree that one would have to accept Joseph Smith and his teachings to believe it to be true.

    "No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith… He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity and calling, as God does in Heaven" – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol.14, p.203

    [There is] "no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith" -Joseph Fielding Smith, in Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

    "If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation" -Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.670

    "If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God" -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

    "…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are" -Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289

    In contrast:

    "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." -Jesus

  22. LDS HYMN "PRAISE TO THE MAN"

    Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!

    Jesus annointed that Prophet and Seer.

    Blessed to open the last dispensation,

    Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

    Chorus

    Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!

    Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.

    Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;

    Death cannot conquer the hero again.

    Praise to his mem'ry, he died as a martyr;

    Honored and blest be his ever great name!

    Long shall his blood, which was shed by assasins,

    Plead unto heav'n while the earth lauds his fame.

    Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.

    Ever and ever the keys he will hold.

    Faithful and true he will enter his kingdom,

    Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

    Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;

    Earth must atone for the blood of that man.

    Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.

    Millions shall know 'Brother Joseph' again.

    Now there's a lot of stuff in this song that sounds really bad and is just plain wrong. I am sure you can justify it and talk it away like it's no big deal, but when a Christian reads these lyrics, it is appalling to say the least. You are singing praises to a man (hence the title) and songs are a form of worship. I would say anyone looking in would think you guys hold Lt General Smith at least equal to Jesus.

  23. LOL – " you even have to dress a certain way and pray a certain way (head bowed arms crossed) none "

    Absolutely untrue. You are indebted to your imagination for your facts.

  24. Oh, dear, there you go again!

    It is thanks to Granny Geer that this hymn which does not worship Joseph Smith, a man chosen and called by God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ, gets such attention.

    I have sung this many times but it is a recognition of a man that suffered for his beliefs, and did end up murdered for them. It gives nothing to Joseph that belongs to God, although clever folks can infer that it does. However, it does not.

    As for what I might or might not have suffered, you are not in a position to know. So, please withhold judgement. Mormons do not have the persecution complex they are sometimes charged with having, but it is not paranoia to recognise that there are enemies that attack us and distort our teachings and histories for unprincipled reasons.

    Jim Jones was not a Mormon, so whatever he did or didn't do is no business of ours. Personally, I cannot stand Kool-Ade.

    We speak of that which we know, and we know that Mormons have been murdered, and some recently, for their faith. In the past, Latter-day Saints have suffered worse things than death at the hands of putative christians. I am surprised to find you support their actions.

    Anger is an unfitting emotion for a true Christian. That's in the Bible. Twisting truth is also an unchristian action. It is sad, well, unfortunate, that some that claim to be Christians fail to show it in their mean spirited attacks on other Christians. But, as Jesus said, it's all part of life to suffer unjustly for standing up for me.

    Jesus said,

    "By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another." "Love they neighbour as thyself, even if he is a Muslim, Samaritan, Pharisee, or Mormon."

  25. Who said I am angry or twisting any truth? You now question my Christianity? You are now judging me, something you asked me not to do to you. Please do not wag your finger at me and presume to tell me what is Christian and what isn't. I think there is a Bible verse about taking the plank out of your own eye first…

    Speaking of twisting truth, where and when did I condone the killing or persecution of anyone? Tsk, tsk Ronnie. You know, twisting the truth is an unChristian action.

    As for anger, not that I am angry in the least, but righteous anger is definitely fitting for a "true Christian", not that you are the judge of who is a true Christian. Jesus cracked a whip and threw over tables when He was righteously angry. Did Jesus commit sin by being angry or was He unChristian? Hardly.

    "Absolutely untrue. You are indebted to your imagination for your facts."

    Did you know that lying is also an unChristian action since we are on our high horses? I was raised LDS, and we were taught in Primary that the proper way to pray was heads bowed, arms crossed. I have attended LDS churches in different states, and they ALL pray this way, adults and children. Girls are to wear dresses, boys a shirt and tie. It is that way in all LDS churches in the United States. Are you going to tell me now that Bishops come to church in jeans?? You know, a true Christian wouldn't be twisting truth or lying.

    *(Since Ronnie likes to twist my words and make me out to be angry and unChristian, I will now state that all comments accusing Ronnie of lying, twisting truth, etc are all sarcastic responses meant to show Ronnie how judgmental he is.)

  26. Joshua-could you please give an explanation for the quotes I gave above from the LDS prophets about Joseph Smith? They seem at face value to not vaguely say one must accept all the prophets to accept God, but rather that consent of JS is needed to live with God. I know you always have a completely different perspective than I have so I'd like to hear it. Thanks!

  27. “No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith… He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity and calling, as God does in Heaven” – Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol.14, p.203

    This is already explained in the original post, but again, Joseph Smith can be seen as a guard at the gate, the gate being Christ himself. God and Christ operate within their sphere, which is everything, and Joseph Smith operates within his sphere, which is whatever God and Christ have delegated to him. This quote is not saying that Joseph Smith reigns as a supreme being as God does, but that Joseph Smith is supreme within his sphere as God is supreme within his sphere. I would assume God's sphere is quite different than Joseph's at this point in time.

    [There is] “no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith” -Joseph Fielding Smith, in Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

    There is also no salvation without accepting Moses. Same thing.

    “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation” -Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.670

    This question is adequately answered by Gramps here.

    “If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

    Again, you could replace "Joseph Smith" with Moses, Peter, or Paul. One cannot reject the words of God's servants and still claim to accept God.

    “…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are” -Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289

    Already addressed in the original post.

    In contrast:

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” -Jesus

    There is no conflict between the statements you quoted and this scripture, as already explained in the original post. Any perceived conflict is based on a misinterpretation of the statements you quoted.

    Do you believe a person reject what Paul wrote in the Bible, call him a false prophet or false apostle, and still accept Christ? If not, then we agree. Just as we will be held responsible for the words of Christ delivered to us through Paul, we will be responsible for the words of Christ delivered to us through Joseph Smith. That is all these statements are saying.

  28. Do you have any quotes from Mormon prophets saying the same things about Moses or Peter or Paul? If there are many quotes from your prophets saying the same things about other prophets, then that would be completely understandable.

    If not, where did you get the explanation that they would say the same things about Moses, Peter, or Paul? This would just be your conjecture or assumptions on the matter and no more if there are no quotes from them saying as much.

  29. .
    Jesus said Follow the Prophet

    Jesus said "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." [Matthew 10:40]

    Jesus said, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.” [Matthew 10”41]

    Conversely the intention is, "He that receiveth Not you receiveth NOT me, and he that receiveth NOT me receiveth NOT him that sent me."

    The Bible recognises the nature of hostile opponents to God and Christ.

    "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers." [Acts 7:52]

    Jesus warned Christians that they would be attacked for teaching the truth.

    "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." [Matthew 5:11]

    Through the mouth of Isaiah the Prophet, Jesus said,

    "The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant." [Isaiah 24:5]

    That is the same that Jesus said when he spoke to young Joseph Smith about apostate Christianity. Joseph reported:

    "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that:

    "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." [JSH]

    That is exactly what Saint Paul said.

    "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." [2 Timothy 3:5]

    Many Bible Commentators, that are wiser than the profusion of minimalists, comment on this statement as follows:

    Barnes' Notes on the Bible

    Having a form of godliness – That is, they profess religion, or are in connection with [a Christian] church. This shows that the apostle referred to some great corruption in the church; and there can be little doubt that he had his eye on the same great apostasy to which he refers in 2 Thessalonians 2: and 1 Timothy 4: All these things to which he refers here have been practised and tolerated in that apostate church, while no body of men, at any time, have been more zealous in maintaining "a form of godliness;" that is, in keeping up the forms of religion.

    But denying the power thereof – Opposing the real power of religion; not allowing it to exert any influence in their lives. It imposes no restraint on their passions and carnal propensities, but in all respects, except in the form of religion, they live as if they had None. This has been common in the world. The most regular and bigoted adherence to the forms of religion furnishes no evidence in itself that there is any true piety at heart, or that true religion has any actual control over the soul. It is much easier for people to observe the forms of religion than it is to bring the heart under its controlling influence.

    From such turn away – Have no contact with them as if they were Christians; show no countenance to their religion; do not associate with them; compare 2 John 1:10-11; see the notes at 2 Corinthians 6:17.

    Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

    Having a form of godliness – The original word μορφωσις signifies a draught, sketch, or summary, and will apply well to those who have all their religion in their creed, confession of faith, catechism, bodies of divinity, etc., while destitute of the life of God in their souls; and are not only destitute of this life, but deny that such life or power is here to be experienced or known. They have religion in their creed, but none in their hearts. And perhaps to their summary they add a decent round of religious observances. From such turn away – not only do not imitate them, but have no kind of fellowship with them; they are a dangerous people, and but seldom suspected, because their outside is fair.

    Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

    Having a form of godliness,…. Either a mere external show of religion, pretending great piety and holiness, being outwardly righteous before men, having the mask and visor of godliness; or else a plan of doctrine, a form of sound words, a scheme of truths, which men may have without partaking of the grace of God; and which, with respect to the doctrine of the Trinity, the church of Rome has; or else the Scriptures of truth, which the members of that church have, and profess to hold to, maintain and preserve; and which contains doctrines according to godliness, and tend to a godly life and godly edification:

    but denying the power thereof; though in words they profess religion and godliness, the fear of God, and the pure worship of him, yet in works they deny all; and though they may have a set of notions in their heads, yet they feel nothing of the power of them on their hearts; and are strangers to experimental religion, and powerful godliness: or though they profess the Scriptures to be the word of God, yet they deny the use, the power, and efficacy of them; they deny the use of them to the laity, and affirm that they are not a sufficient rule of faith and practice, without their unwritten traditions; and that they are not able to make men wise, or give them a true knowledge of what is to be believed and done, without them; and that the sense of them is not to be understood by private men, but depends upon the infallible judgement of the church or pope:

    from such turn away; have no fellowship with them, depart from their communion, withdraw from them, and come out from among them: this passage sufficiently justifies the reformed churches in their separation from the church of Rome.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    A form (μόρφωσιν)

    Only here and Romans 2:20. Μορφὴ Form (for the want of any other rendering) is the expression or embodiment of the essential and permanent being of that which is expressed Μόρφωσις, lit. forming or shaping. Yet the meaning differs in different passages. In Romans 2:20, μόρφωσις is the truthful embodiment of knowledge and truth as contained in the law of God. Here, the mere outward semblance, as distinguished from the essential reality.

    The power (τὴν δύναμιν)

    The practical virtue. Comp. 1 Corinthians 4:20. It is impossible to overlook the influence of Romans 1:29-31 in shaping this catalogue.

    Turn away (ἀποτρέπου)

    N.T.o. Comp. παραιτοῦ avoid, 2 Timothy 2:23; ἐκτρεπόμενος turning away, 1 Timothy 6:20; and ἐκκλίνετε turn away, Romans 16:17.

    Geneva Study Bible

    Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: {2} from such turn away.

    (2) We must not tarry with those men who resist the truth not from simple ignorance, but from a perverse mind, (which thing appears by their fruits which he graphically displays here); rather, we must turn away from them.

    People's New Testament

    3:5 Having a form of godliness. This implies that the persons described professed to be religious, worshipers of God in outward form. A godless church is described.

    But denying the power thereof. Rejecting its power. Their lives are not moulded by it.

    From such turn away. This implies that some of this formal, godless religion had begun to show itself even at that time.

    Wesley's Notes

    3:5 Having a form – An appearance of godliness, but not regarding, nay, even denying and blaspheming, the inward power and reality of it. Is not this eminently fulfilled at this day?
    Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

    5. form-outward semblance.

    godliness-piety.

    denying-rather as Greek, "having denied," that is, renounced.

    the power-the living, regenerating, sanctifying influence of it.

    turn away-implying that some of such characters, forerunners of the last days, were already in the Church.

    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

    3:1-9 Even in gospel times there would be perilous times; on account of persecution from without, still more on account of corruptions within. Men love to gratify their own lusts, more than to please God and do their duty. When every man is eager for what he can get, and anxious to keep what he has, this makes men dangerous to one another. When men do not fear God, they will not regard man. When children are disobedient to their parents, that makes the times perilous. Men are unholy and without the fear of God, because unthankful for the mercies of God. We abuse God's gifts, if we make them the food and fuel of our lusts. Times are perilous also, when parents are without natural affection to children. And when men have no rule over their own spirits, but despise that which is good and to be honoured. God is to be loved above all; but a carnal mind, full of enmity against him, prefers any thing before him, especially carnal pleasure. A form of godliness is very different from the power; from such as are found to be hypocrites, real Christians must withdraw. Such persons have been found within the outward church, in every place, and at all times. There ever have been artful men, who, by pretences and flatteries, creep into the favour and confidence of those who are too easy of belief, ignorant, and fanciful. All must be ever learning to know the Lord; but these follow every new notion, yet never seek the truth as it is in Jesus. Like the Egyptian magicians, these were men of corrupt minds, prejudiced against the truth, and found to be quite without faith. Yet though the spirit of error may be let loose for a time, Satan can deceive the nations and the churches no further, and no longer, than God will permit.

    Latter-day Saints cannot say they have not been warned that some would come up against them in the same mould or form as those that opposed Christ and his disciples in the early Christian Church. The scriptures tell of what was happening and of what would happen in the future to those that stood under the banner of Jesus Christ and would not back down before the onslaught of apostates. Why do these Antis attack Joseph Smith for delivering the exact same message that Paul delivered? Why this double-mindedness and confusion?

    This is the equivalent of worshipping dead prophets but killing living ones, of which activity Jesus condemns.

    Lastly, I will speak to the pathetic attempt at justification posited by Anti-Mormons for their constant attacks on Mormons and Mormonism. When their hostility is remarked, they will resort to the example of Jesus when he whipped the moneychangers in the temple, and take this as their licence to scourge Latter-day Saint Christians.

    Their approach to this is profoundly pathological, and here is why.

    Jesus objected to the presence of dishonest money-changers and sacrifice-sellers in the Temple precinct.

    "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. " [Matthew 21:12-13]

    It is imperative to note that Jesus called the Temple "My House." Jesus objected to the dishonest purposes that certain traders had carried on within its precincts. Who but Jesus had the authority to object to what was done in "MY HOUSE"?

    We do not question the authority or the actions of Jesus. But where is the authority Jesus transmitted to his apostles and disciples to do the same? How curious that Anti-Christians will cunningly fashion a 'Bible Call" from an event in which Jesus acted alone, but did not give authority to others to imitate, but the same Antis refuse to conform their lives to direct commands that Jesus issued to those that would be his disciples.

    Minimalists have trashed Christianity and made it fit their weak faith, by transforming a discipline in which Jesus said the faithful must take up their crosses daily and follow him, even if it resulted in their deaths, into a system of a simple, undemanding mental acceptance of Jesus as Lord, but which then stolidly refuses to plant their footsteps in the footsteps of Jesus and render obedience to his commandments, which, according to Jesus, are the will of God.

    This kind of Christianity, if indeed it can be so regarded, is reminiscent of the baker that goes to make a cake.

    The recipe calls for eight ounces of flour but he finds he has only three ounces, and so proceeds with that. It calls for six eggs but he only has one and that is addled so he leaves out the eggs. It calls for six ounces of butter but he has none and uses six ounces of beef lard instead. it calls for mixed fruit but he has none and uses grated apple instead. He leaves out the salt, spices, etc, because his cupboard is bare. Her mixes the lot using water because he has run out of milk. He puts it in the oven. the recipe calls for three hours slow baking at 300 degrees, but he is in a hurry and so sets his oven at 500 degrees and takes the cake out after one hour.

    Having let the cake cool he cuts a slice and when he bites into it he cries, "My goodness! That’s the worst cake I have ever tasted! I will not use that recipe again!"

    Jesus Christ did not intend that any should follow the minimalist path, because he knows that anything less than does not, can not, lead a person to him. Jesus said:

    "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH." [Mark 12:30. New American Standard Bible (©1995) Emphasis in original]

    Jesus says that there is no easy way to be his disciple, no cheap way, but only the costly way of obeying everything he requires of a person. Minimalists are shocked by Jesus. In their rush to distance themselves from Jesus' demands on them, Minimalists shave and pare the Gospel of Jesus Christ into something that can be accomplished whilst sat drowsing in an armchair. That is not what Jesus says.

    John Gill in his magnum opus, 'The Exposition of the Entire Bible,' informs those that have ears to hear, as follows:

    "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God,"

    Which is to be understood of the one God, Father, Son, and Spirit; for all the three divine persons are to be equally loved, being possessed of the same perfections and excellencies, and having done the same works, and having bestowed like benefits and favours upon men: and though there is now no principle of love to God in men; but, on the contrary, men are enemies to God in their minds, which appears by their wicked works; yet this commandment is still in force, and the obligation to it is the same; the fall of man, the corruption of nature, and the impotency, and even aversion in man to observe this command, do not make it null and void: and in regeneration, when God puts his laws into the heart, and writes them in the mind; love is produced in such persons, to God the Father, who has begotten them again, according to his abundant mercy; and to Christ, who has saved them from their sins; and to the blessed Spirit, who has quickened and comforted them: and this love is in some measure exercised as it should be, and as here directed,

    "with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind;"

    that is, with all the powers and faculties of the soul; or with the affections, as under the influence and guidance of the more noble faculties of the soul, the mind, the understanding, judgement, and will: it is added here, which is not in Matthew,

    "and with all thy strength"

    which answers to the phrase in Deuteronomy 6:5, "with all thy might"; that is, with the greatest vehemency of affection, in the strongest expressions of it, and with all the strength of grace a man has.

    This passage follows the former in Deuteronomy 6:5 and is what is only cited in Matthew 22:37;

    Those that seek a Royal easy Road to God will not find it in True Christianity. The true Christian obeys God and Jesus and those sent by them to direct their feet towards full salvation.

    If, by some chance, anyone happens to maintain their minimalist position in the light of everything that God and Jesus have said, then we can only wish them 'good luck.' We are not commissioned to beat them with sticks, call them silly names, or point out their faults. If they will leave us alone, then we will have little to say to them except to wish them God's blessings, and leave them to plot their own courses.

    But, if they will become offended and angry to the point of open hostility, as some do, then we have a divine commission to set their wrong views right and to point out where they have departed from truth. It has been said:

    "These Mormons are vicious. If you attack them, they will defend themselves!"

    But, let us return to Paul’s warnings to Timothy, and consider the whole of the third chapter of his letter.

    “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

    6 “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

    10 “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” [2 Timothy 3. NIV]

    Latter-day Saints believe that Paul was inspired to predict the universal apostasy, here and in other places, and that other apostles and epistolarians also predicted a time when distortion would replace truth, when God’s covenant through Christ Jesus would be broken, and when false teachings would characterise the Christian world. Naturally, no one takes comfort from recognising that these developments took place over the course of the march of Christendom, and often in alarming ways. That it did so to such an extent that the true Gospel of Christ was not to be found in any one of the several thousand Christian denominations that grew out of factions, fractions, sectarianism, schism, and break-offs from earlier, monolithic, centralised religious organisations is a tragedy.

    But that it did become so is not the determination of anyone except Almighty God and his only begotten Son Jesus Christ. When they say it is so, then you can trust them that it is so. And, when it became so, then they decided the time would come when a restoration of all things would become necessary. This had already been foretold by the Apostle.

    “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

    Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” [Acts 3:19-21]

    Jesus Christ ushered in the Restitution, or Restoration, of all things by appearing to Joseph Smith and setting in motion the train of events that resulted in the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    However, it is necessary also to sound a note of caution. Some hostile to the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ have unwisely concluded that Mormons are down on all Christians except those that belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is simply not true. Mormons, and I include myself in this, do not ‘go after’ non-LDS Christians. They will engage them in discourse, if invited, and will discuss issues of theology, Christology, bible matters, and so forth, but without any pejorative intent.

    Among my circle of close friends are many ministers of other denominations and faiths. These include a Brahmin Priest, a Jewish Rabbi, Two Muslim Imams, Baha’i, and ministers of such denominations as,

    The Salvation Army [UK]
    The United Methodist Church
    The Reformed Church
    The Anglican Church [High],
    The Anglican Church [Low], and
    A Roman Catholic non-ordained theologian.

    I also have close friends that are Roman Catholic, Jewish [Orthodox and Reform], Pentecostal, Quaker, JW, Muslim,. Sikh, Hindu, Atheist, Buddhist, Jain, and so on.

    Although we are aware of each other’s faith positions, we do not go to war, because each of the faiths and denominations mentions have at their core respect and love for others. We have some long and interesting discussions about various aspects of our relative positions, and build bridges of understanding: an activity that is not understood at all by those whose faith description is not connected with what they stand FOR, but by what they stand AGAINST.

    Although this might offend those that feel justified in venting their uncontrollable indignation, since it was Jesus Christ that said it, they will, perhaps at least on this occasion, control themselves and conform their behaviour to that prescribed by Jesus for consumption by his antsy apostles.

    “And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.” [Mark 9:38-40]

    Why will some, supposing they follow Jesus, seek zealously and feverishly to scourge and overturn tables, which Jesus did not command them to do, but then turn around and forbid doctrine that Jesus did command, and also go after other Christians to destroy them when Jesus directly commanded in words that a child can grasp to leave others alone when they were acting in his holy name?

    Do they find in their disobedience a strange form of obedience acceptable to Christ and God? We are left to wonder.

    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.

    There are two versions of “Mormonism.” The first is that religious belief as understood, practised and experienced by millions of Christians who exercise their Christianity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. Their religious experience is satisfying, uplifting, and inspiring. Mormonism provides Latter-day Saints with a God-centred model of human existence; a Father in Heaven who purposefully directs the broad sweep of human history; a Christ-centred system of universal salvation; an optimistic view of human nature coupled with a divine destiny for all humankind that includes the possibility of exaltation to Godhood. It is a practical, world-accepting, work-a-day religion that affirms a world-rejecting apocalyptic end of human history, in which God will finally usher in his kingdom to signal the end of this present age.

    The second 'Mormonism' is a dark fiction: a series of images created by hostile forces that bears no resemblance to the Mormonism experienced by Latter-day Saints. These are generated to misinform and mislead and are images of hate whose creators endeavour to appear as Christian ministers but who are ministers of fear.

    Our concern is the second Mormonism – the invented one – and with those who construct its powerful negative imagery. Our research provides opportunity for comparison between the two models, the false and the true, and readers are invited to make up their minds from the evidence. We view historical facts, contemporary witnesses, and a mountain of documentary evidence. The nature and motivation of hostile ministries are considered, as are reasons for hostile, dishonest, and ludicrous presence within the context of Christianity.

    Christians cope with the confusing demands of the human condition with their frail and all too human faculties. Little wonder, therefore, that some fall short of the example set by the Master.

    Christianity is an historical religion founded upon certain events; the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is general agreement across the wide range of Christian opinion what those events are, yet wide divergence how they are interpreted. The definition of orthodoxy places some shades of opinion within the pale of heterodoxy, and "heretics" are fair game for predators. While the history of such persecution makes austere reading, the final chapter of religious persecution by Christian against Christian remains, as yet, unwritten.

    Following the American pattern, British persecuting ministries are multiplying and gaining popularity among certain classes of Christian, though their numbers are small, and their impact must not be exaggerated. The lengths to which some go in efforts to sound convincing that they are engaged in a righteous Christian battle with a deadly Satanic enemy is exposed.

    It is probable that since mediaeval times no group of Christians has attracted more negative attention from fellow believers in Jesus than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hostile publications refer to the church as the 'Mormon Church’. Its followers as 'Mormons,' and its teachings as 'Mormonism'. These names were originally applied pejoratively, as was the appellation 'Christian', and since no elegant noun has been coined to replace 'Mormonism' the term is employed in this work to avoid awkwardness. The members of the church are called 'Saints', the word used in the Bible to describe members of the community of the faithful.

    Persecution of Latter-day Saints began before the church had been formally organised. Initially attention was focused on the production and nature of the Book of Mormon. Once the church had been organised, the character of the Prophet Joseph Smith was attacked also. Some time later leading men in the church came under the same antagonistic scrutiny.

    The church grew rapidly in the face of confidant predictions that it would quickly die a natural death. Mormons formed a distinctive socio-religious community that was attacked by a burgeoning army of religious and political enemies. The subsequent sufferings endured by the Saints serves as a caution to any that think persecution can wear an innocent face. Sarcastic articles and letters in newspapers gave way to more serious accusations as barrackers and hecklers turned to more serious forms of molestation. Beatings, tarring and feathering, horsewhipping, stock driven off, stolen, or killed, property and crops burned, indiscriminate plunder, rape and murder were the stock-in-trade of the malevolent and depraved who railed against the Restored Gospel, frequently led and egged-on by Christian ministers.

    Mormons define persecution as the 'pursuit of a perceived enemy with intent to injure.’ Some will be shocked at the tactics and devices employed by persecutors who pull no punches and do not spare the sensibilities of their targets. Evidence is freely available of the callous vigour with which the persecutors unmercifully harry their victims.

    Many of the contributions appear as far-fetched but harmless stories such as were part of the folklore of bygone days, whose modern counterparts are so-called urban myths. These unlikely tales are recounted in ways that the worst possible construction is forced from them. Innuendo cleverly to leads the reader to conclusions for which evidence is lacking. Such tactics are not in keeping with behaviour expected by those of the Christian profession. Those who believe in a moral God, are, according to God himself, required to be moral themselves.

    Being moral is not always easy, but with practice, it is possible to improve and become more Christlike.

    <

  30. "Being moral is not always easy, but with practice, it is possible to improve…" says the Pharisee.

    Do you think because you post loooooooooong drawn out responses it makes you knowledgeable or right? I think thou dost protest too much, and I don't even know what you are going on about anymore. I just see how you got miffed that you couldn't show any proof Jesus said you have to be sealed in a temple to live with God, and you still can't. Then you started with the personal attacks on my Christianity.

    Fail.

    Joshua just in case it got lost in the book Ronnie wrote, I still would like to know if you have quotes from your prophets speaking of Peter, Paul, or Moses in the same manner that they speak of Joseph Smith, or if that answer was just your conjecture.

  31. "Mormon Belief in Obedience To God's Will as Demanded by Jesus in Matthew 7"

    One can believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and feel no personal loyalty to Him at all – indeed, pay no attention whatever to His commandments and His will for one's life. One can believe intellectually in the efficacy of prayer and never do any praying. [Catherine Marshall, Spiritual Portrait]

    The true follower of Christ will not ask, "If I embrace this truth, what will it cost me?" Rather he will say, "This is truth. God help me to walk in it, let come what may!" [A. W. Tozer, The Works of A. W. Tozer]

    It is a great deal easier to do that which God gives us to do, no matter how hard it is, than to face the responsibilities of not doing it. [B J Miller]

    God's commands are designed to guide you to life's very best. You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him. [Henry Blackaby]

    We are prepared to serve the Lord only by sacrifice. We are fit for the work of God only when we have wept over it, prayed about it, and then we are enabled by Him to tackle the job that needs to be done. May God give to us hearts that bleed, eyes that are wide open to see, minds that are clear to interpret God's purposes, wills that are obedient, and a determination that is utterly unflinching as we set about the tasks He would have us do. [Alan Redpath]

    [The natural life] knows that if the spiritual life gets hold of it, all its self-centeredness and self-will are going to be killed and it is ready to fight tooth and nail to avoid that. [C. S. Lewis, Into The Wardrobe]

    I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible. [Saint Teresa of Avila]

    The cross is laid on every Christian. It begins with the call to abandon the attachments of this world. It is that dying of the old man which is the result of his encounter with Christ. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with His death… we give over our lives to death. Since this happens at the beginning of the Christian life, the cross can never be merely a tragic ending to an otherwise happy religious life. When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther's, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time… death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at His call. That is why the rich young man was so loath to follow Jesus, for the cost of his following was the death of his will. In fact, every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and His call are necessarily our death and our life. [Dietrich Bonhoeffer]

    "The man that believes will obey; failure to obey is convincing proof that there is no true faith present. To attempt the impossible God must give faith or there will be none, and He gives faith to the obedient heart only." [A. W. Tozer, The Works of A. W. Tozer]

    So many times we say that we can't serve God because we aren't whatever is needed. We're not talented enough or smart enough or whatever. But if you are in covenant with Jesus Christ, He is responsible for covering your weaknesses, for being your strength. He will give you His abilities for your disabilities! [Kay Arthur, Precept Ministries International]

    So many times we say that we can't serve God because we aren't whatever is needed. We're not talented enough or smart enough or whatever. But if you are in covenant with Jesus Christ, He is responsible for covering your weaknesses, for being your strength. He will give you His abilities for your disabilities! [Kay Arthur, Precept Ministries International]

    Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world. It is not an idea in the air but feet on the ground going God's way. It is not an exotic to be kept under glass, but a hardy plant to bear twelve months of fruits in all kinds of weather. Fidelity to duty is its root and branch. Nothing we can say to the Lord, no calling Him by great or dear names, can take the place of the plain doing of His will. We may cry out about the beauty of eating bread with Him in His kingdom, but it is wasted breath and a rootless hope unless we plow and plant in His kingdom here and now. To remember Him at His table and to forget Him at ours, is to have invested in bad securities. There is no substitute for plain, every-day goodness. [Maltbie Davenport (Mattie D) Babcock, Short Biography]

    Rest in this-it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call, or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you… The sound of "gentle stillness" after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God. [Jim Elliot, Brief Biography]

    Throughout his ministry the apostle Paul was criticized, opposed, and attacked. He wrestled with his weaknesses. He struggled with fragile relationships. He was often weary, tired, and discouraged. Kay Arthur knows there are times when you can identify with Paul's experience. You feel overwhelmed by conflicts without and fears within. You yearn to experience the God of wisdom and power., You, like Paul, want deeply to be a person whose sole passion is to please God. In this study based on 2 Corinthians, Kay examines the anatomy of a heart for God. What it looks like, What it feels like and how you can strengthen your relationship with God. Despite the deep physical, emotional, and spiritual pain of life, Paul could rest in the God of all comfort and strength. He could walk in obedience to his calling. He could fight the good fight, finish his race, and keep the faith. And now, through this compelling, insightful and moving Bible study, so can you. [Lord, Give Me A Heart For You, By Kay Arthur]

    If we want the Word of God to have authority in our life, there is only one way – OBEY ITt.

    If we want the Holy Spirit to have authority in our life, there is only one way – OBEY HIM.

    If we always obey impulses of fear or doubt or resentment, what will have authority over our minds?

    FEAR, DOUBT, and RESENTMENT! [Tom Marshall]

    It is true that He does sometimes require of us things that to others seem hard. But when the will is once surrendered, the revolutionized life plans become just the plans that are most pleasant, and the things that to others seem hard, are just the things that are easiest and most delightful. Do not let Satan deceive you into being afraid of God's plans for your life. [(Reuben Archer) R. A. Torrey, Biography and Works]

    The great paradox of faith is that we find our perfect freedom only when become slaves – slaves to God… [Alister McGrath, Biography]

    It is indeed praiseworthy for a believer to consecrate his life to the Lord, but he must never do so lightly or thoughtlessly. Before committing your life in service to God today, count the cost, for No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).

    [Woodrow Kroll, The Bible Minute]

    Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt. Send me where Thou wilt. Work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever. [Betty Scott Stam, Biography]

    Here lies the tremendous mystery – that God should be all-powerful, yet refuse to coerce. He summons us to cooperation. We are honoured in being given the opportunity to participate in his good deeds. Remember how He asked for help in performing his miracles : Fill the waterpots, stretch out your hand, distribute the loaves. … I really don't think … you are in a bargaining position with God. He is the Master. He is the Commanding Officer. It is not for you to have input. It is simply for you to accept the orders as the orders are given. [Elisabeth Elliot, Elisabeth Elliot's Website]

    God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. [John Henry Newman]

    If thou wilt bend thyself to obedience, and to a virtuous and godly life, thou shalt ever have him a strong rock, whereupon thou mayst boldly build a castle and tower of defence. He will be unto thee a mighty pillar, bearing up heaven and earth, whereto thou mayst lean and not be deceived, wherein thou mayst trust and not be disappointed. [Robert Cawdray]

    =====

    Latter-day Saint theology is in direct harmony with all these non-LDS ministers. Obedience is the first law of heaven, and a perso0n that refuses to obey God is a person that refuses God.

    <

  32. I'm not sure if there is any quote from an LDS authority that would satisfy you, although it may exist. Nonetheless, the idea that Mormons see Joseph Smith as anything more than a prophet, or very different than Moses, Peter, or Paul, is much more a matter of conjecture than the Mormon belief that he is merely a prophet.

    Perhaps the best way to understand how Mormons view Joseph Smith is to understand the Mormon perspective on prophets in general, and the concept of dispensations of the gospel. For a summary, read Dispensations of the Gospel by Courtney J. Lassetter from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992).

    Joseph Smith is certainly a great prophet, but greater than others? Mormons don't really get into that much. Was Moses greater than Paul? Was Peter greater than Abraham? Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest prophet up to that point, but Mormons don't speculate too much on this matter nor spend much time prioritizing prophets. They're all great. They're all different in that they have their own particular missions. But each leader or group of leaders of a dispensation has authority over the people of that dispensation, under the direction of God and Christ. As Christ said to his apostles "That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Luke 22:30. Does this not mean that no one from the twelve tribes of Israel can enter heaven without first getting approval from the twelve apostles? If this is not what Christ meant, then why did he say these words? If only Christ judges, and the judgment of anyone else is meaningless, then why did Christ say the apostles would have a role in judging?

    And let's go back to the quote I already gave above, which says “If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” -Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

    President Joseph Fielding Smith is says "no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God." "That testimony" is the testimony of Joseph Smith. Why can't someone reject it and enter the kingdom of God? They can't "If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…" Mormons believe Moses, Peter, and Paul were prophets, and that they told the truth, therefore Mormons believe that no man can reject the testimonies of those prophets and still enter the kingdom of God. I'm not sure how to make the matter any clearer than this. Nevertheless, I'll go on and try.

    The closest thing that might be a quote to satisfy you comes from Brigham Young, in a letter to Mary Ann Young (16 Oct 1840, LDS Church Archives), when he spoke of Joseph Smith as “our Moses that the Lord has given us”.

    To further establish what the Mormon perspective of Joseph Smith is, here are some more quotes:

    President Gordon B. Hinckley said “We do not worship [Joseph Smith] the Prophet. We worship God our Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ. But we acknowledge the Prophet; we proclaim him; we respect him; we reverence him as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth the ancient truths of the divine gospel, together with the priesthood through which the authority of God is exercised in the affairs of His Church and for the blessing of His people” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Joseph Smith Jr.—Prophet of God, Mighty Servant,” Ensign, Dec 2005, 2–6). See Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?.

    From Apostle Henry B. Eyring "The Prophet Joseph is an example and a teacher of enduring well in faith. I do not worship him, but I thank and love him as the Lord's prophet of the Restoration. He has helped me pray with the intent to obey. I am better able to feast in the word and the love of God. Because of him I feel the Holy Ghost more often in the moments when I try to build the faith of a person in the Lord's kingdom. And because of what I know of the Prophet Joseph and the scriptures which were revealed through him, I more often feel the love of God for His children and of His for me when I reach down to lift someone up." – Henry B. Eyring, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, An Enduring Testimony of the Mission of the Prophet Joseph," Ensign, Nov. 2003, 92.

    Elder Penrose said "I bear testimony to you that I know this Church is the Church of Jesus Christ; that it has been built up by the power of God; that God Almighty has revealed it; that Jesus Christ, His Son, has manifested Himself, and that this Church is His Church, because He has built it up, and He guides and directs and controls it, through His servants who stand at the head of the Church. They are but men. We do not worship any man. We do not worship Joseph Smith, as some people imagine; but we look upon him as a very great Prophet, and we have reasons for this." – Elder Charles W. Penrose, The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star, Volume 54, p. 462

    Though less authoritative, below are links to articles and other informational resources that should make clear how Mormons regard Joseph Smith, and that while we reverence him as a prophet, we do not worship him, nor consider him to be equal to God or Jesus Christ:

    Is Joseph Smith Greater than Jesus Christ?

    Joseph Smith/Status in LDS belief

    Parallel Prophets: Paul and Joseph Smith

    Aside from this, a quick Google search for "do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?" will pull up countless responses from LDS faithful stating that they see Joseph Smith as a modern-day Moses, Peter, or Paul, and not a being to worship. If the LDS Church is teaching members to worship Joseph Smith or put him on a pedestal, it seems the message has not gotten through.

    If after reading these quotes and sources you still think we see Joseph Smith as being more than just a prophet, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on how Mormons regard Joseph Smith.

  33. What does that have to do with anything? Again, the topic is do you have to have JS's consent to enter heaven, Mormons say you must accept JS to accept God, meaning you have to accept all the ordinances JS "revealed" in order to live with God. Jesus never said if you want to live with God, you must be sealed in the temple. Joseph Smith said it. And now instead of rambling on and on, you are posting loooooong drawn out articles which still show no proof Jesus said anything of the sort. At least Joshua is honest and said it came from modern day revelation from Joseph Smith.

    Fail. AGAIN!

    Just stop dude, leave it alone. Jesus never said it. And if Joseph Smith's teaching don't line up with Jesus', then I do not have to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Too easy.

  34. Thanks Joshua, but no this answer isn't quite what I meant, let me try to lay it out more plainly…

    There are many quotes from Mormon prophets saying things that could be perceived as JS's consent is needed to get into heaven. You answered (in a nutshell), they only meant you must receive God's prophets/messengers to receive God, just like you must accept Peter, Paul, or Moses' teachings. Correct?

    If that is the case, are there quotes, from your prophets, in the same manner about Peter, Paul, or Moses suggesting you will need to receive them to receive God? Where are the quotes from any of your prophets that could be misconstrued as Moses worship, or Paul worship? Are there songs dedicated to praising these other prophets? If not, why do your prophets say such things just about JS and sing songs just about JS? Why isn't equal time given to other prophets if they hold them all in the same esteem? Is there a picture on the wall of your church of Moses, or is it of Joseph Smith?

    If there isn't, I would have to conclude that your answer was just conjecture. Unless your prophets have said the same things about other biblical prophets, you have no idea if that is what they meant or not. It's conjecture only. I have done an internet search and can only find quotes in regard to Joseph Smith, or using Paul to prove Joseph Smith as true, or stating they don't worship Joseph Smith. Nothing that stands alone speaking of other prophets with the same regards. JS always seems to be the focus.

  35. Our Church has a picture of Christ. Any statement by anyone that Latter-day Saints worship Joseph Smith is both wrong and mischievous. Anti-Mormons are adept at misconstruction . That is where the fault lies.

    Early Christians were accused of engaging in orgiastic and cannibalistic feasts. That was pagan misconception. Anti-Mormons stand in the same time-worn tradition.

  36. There is a picture of Joseph Smith too. I was Mormon Ronnie, so you can be dishonest if you choose, but I will tell you there is a picture of JS hanging somewhere in your church. Out of the LDS churches I have been into in 4 different states, they all had at least one hanging.

    I am not an anti-Mormon as all Mormons like to call anyone who find fault with their doctrine, because it goes along with the persecution complex. I was a Mormon, my family is Mormon including my mother whom I love dearly. I am anti-Mormonism. I am not against any people, just institutions who imprison them. I found this blog site while doing research on a topic my mom and I discussed, and now I just find it interesting reads. I can call you anti-Christian to show how ridiculous you sound, calling names of people who don't agree with you. You have said many negative things about Christians, so I will refer to you as anti-Christian if you want to keep calling me anti-Mormon. Then we will both be on a 2nd grade level.

    As for all of your obedience talk, is that what you are going to say when you stand before God? I was obedient to you God! I followed your commandments God! I was a good Mormon God! I…I…I!

    Let's see…have you ever looked on a woman with lust(adultery according to Jesus)? Ever told a lie? Ever been angry with someone (murder according to Jesus)? Ever took anything that didn't belong to you? For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

    I will say, God I am a sinner. I broke your law. But I put my faith and trust in Jesus, your Son. I believed on the One you sent and trusted He would save me as promised, and now stand broken and humble before You. All the glory and honor be to Jesus, there is nothing I did or could do. He did it all and when He said on the cross "It is finished" I believed Him.

    If you want to take that as me saying I can do what I want, sin it up, and not try to follow Him then you are making assumptions, and adding your conjecture because I have said NOTHING of the sort. I only know when good comes out of me it is from the Spirit within me, and not of myself. Jesus gets the praise for that too. He saved us while we were still sinners! (Romans 5:8)

  37. Come and see for yourself. I do no speak to your experience; I speak to mine.

    Posted by: Leah on November 30, 2011 at 9:22 am

    And what were Jesus’ commandments Ronnie? What were the commandments Jesus said He wanted us to keep?

    You will find Jesus' commandments on the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants, and wherever God chooses to put them. We do not bind God's mouth closed, but welcome his continuing revelation and guidance. That is what makes us Christians. As for what I will say to God, that is not your concern, unless you believe that you stand in God's place.

    You enjoy a good blazing argument in your mind, but please do not put words into my mouth that I have not said. That is a controlling and not Christian behaviour.

    Resorting to personal attacks that are the whole fruit of your imagination seems rather pathetic. Nonetheless, I pray that God will eventually bless you to enjoy a spirit of peace and love.

    Ronnie

  38. When Joshua said it came from Joseph Smith, he intended you to understand that it came from Jesus Christ 'through' the Prophet Joseph Smith. Failure to grasp that will lead you to believe that only what Jesus actually said in the New Testament monographs is trustworthy since ordinary men said and wrote the rest.

    How can you be sure that Jesus said what he is reported as saying in the Gospels? Jesus spoke in Aramaic but the Gospels were written in Koine. What does that tell you?

  39. JS "translated" the BOM from a language that nobody has ever seen or heard of, from looking through a rock with his face in a hat, and put it into a language not even used in his area at that time. What does that tell you?

  40. "That is a controlling and not Christian behaviour. Resorting to personal attacks that are the whole fruit of your imagination seems rather pathetic. Nonetheless, I pray that God will eventually bless you to enjoy a spirit of peace and love."

    I love the condescending, judgmental tone telling me what is Christian again as if you are the authority, followed by personal insults that you just accused me of. Then you end it off with an empty condescending prayer as if that makes you Christlike. You hypocrite! (Before you call me not Christian for that, it's a quote from Jesus).

    Jesus said the most important commandments he wanted us to follow were to love God, and love one another. When you point your finger at others and repeatedly tell them how unChristian they are, it's not really loving them now is it?

    There is really nothing left we have to say to one another, so have a nice life.

  41. The language, initially, was Hebrew. No other language is ever posited. Reformed Egyptian is not a language but a character set.

  42. A thought occurred to me. You're right Leah, that Mormons do not view Joseph Smith just like Moses, Peter, or Paul. Not exactly. Mormons see Joseph Smith in perhaps the same way the children of Israel who were led out of Egypt saw Moses, or how the ancient members of the Church might have seen Peter or Paul.

    The words given to the Israelites were meant for their day. The words given to the Church of 60 AD were meant for their time. Some of those words are timeless and apply just as well to us today as to the people of God back then. Others, such as instructions about animal sacrifice, the uncleanness of women after giving birth, etc. were specific to the people of that time, place, and situation. But Joseph Smith spoke to us for our day. Thomas Monson speaks to us today. These are the leaders God has given us today, and were every Bible in the world to be destroyed and wiped from the memory of every living person, it wouldn't matter because we have living prophets who tell us what God wants us to know today. So of course there is a lot of attention paid to modern-day prophets, and of course there is a lot of attention paid to Joseph Smith, who was the first prophet of this dispensation or era of time.

    This isn't to say we don't pay quite a bit of attention to the others, we certainly do, and of course we focus more attention on Jesus Christ than on anyone or anything else, but I don't think it's unusual that we should pay as much attention as we do to Joseph Smith and his history. I can see how some, not familiar with the Church, might get the impression we pay too much attention to Joseph Smith, but I think attending our Church for a few Sundays or reading a few of our magazines or the Book of Mormon itself would clarify for most where we stand. It seems to me most people who say we focus too much attention on Joseph Smith are merely trying to latch onto anything they can to discredit the Church. When all you've got is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail.

  43. That explanation makes much more sense Joshua. That reasoning I can respect, especially since I attended LDS church regularly until age 20 (then still occasionally after that for at least another 7 years) and I know I have seen the video on Joseph in the woods WAY more than I have seen anything on Moses parting the Red Sea or the like. It also serves your purpose better than trying to argue that Smith is not regarded more important to Mormons, because anyone who walks into an LDS church would see through that within the first hour of sacrament meeting. I am not saying you worship him, I am agreeing with the explanation that he is more relevant to you today so there is a larger focus on him.

    Since finding your blog and having some of these conversations, my husband and I have decided to attend your church on a Sunday. The goal would be to attend at least 3 times to get a more accurate view of what an investigator would see in their first few meetings. I have not been in one for about 7-8 years, and not since becoming a born again Christian, and My husband has never attended a Mormon church. After taking my own experiences there and comparing them to what others have said about it here, I need to see if my perceptions and memories are objective. People have said on here that there is no dress code, you can wear what you want, that the focus is Jesus, and Mormons believe in the Bible (despite attempts to make it seem unreliable). With that in mind, we are going to wear what we always wear to church (jeans and t-shirt for my husband and jeans and a nice blouse or sweater for me) and will take a tally of how many times the Book of Mormon is referenced as opposed to the Bible, and a tally of how many times Joseph Smith is mentioned as opposed to Jesus. I need to include a fast and testimony meeting, to see how many include Jesus in their testimony as well. In my experiences it is always "I know this church is true and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet" so it's important to see if my memory serves me correctly. Maybe I do have a hammer. I am also in a different state and have never attended in this location (we are military and get around), so I will not know any of the people attending which is a good thing. I will try to leave the hammer at home. :)

    I am curious Joshua, have you ever attended a non-denominational Christian church? I never attended another church other than the Mormon church until age 30, it was not encouraged in my home. We live in America where we have certain religious freedoms that others do not have, so this freedom should not be discouraged! See how others worship. See if Jesus is the focus.

    If you have attended a church other than the Mormon church, what were your perceptions of it? Just curious. None of my family has ever attended a different church or else I would just ask them. (I do have one brother and one cousin who did, but they accepted Jesus as their Savior and left the LDS church so I can't ask them)

  44. I attended 'non-denominational' church services during my time as a soldier in the Middle East. It was 'non-denominational' to the extent that when I was unable to attend due to military duty, the rest of the 'non-denominational' congregation held a prayer meeting for my 'conversion.'

    LOL

  45. Christian Persecutions

    They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy: and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.

    Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), Leviathan

    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 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.

    The Knights Templar were accused of heresy in the early fourteenth century. The charges are generally acknowledged to have been trumped up by King Philip of France, and inspired by his desire to seize their wealth. A Church Council was summoned to consider the question, but despite extensive torture, there was not enough evidence to proceed against the Templars, let alone to condemn them. When King Philip turned up with an army. The pope, Clement V, a puppet of the French monarchy, forced the unwilling Council to reconsider, and the Order was dissolved . Clement had already permitted individual Templars throughout Western Christendom to be tortured and burned as heretics to appease the king. Under torture they had confirmed that they rendered feudal homage to the Devil. This idea was largely responsible for the belief that there existed organised groups of people who worshipped Satan much as Christians worshipped God. And this idea in turn was largely responsible for making witches into malignant agents of the Devil.

    Before the Templar trials they had been harmless outsiders skilled in folk-medicine and weather forecasting. Now they were heretics who deliberately parodied Christian practices and made pacts with the Devil.

    We have seen the consequences of this – the widespread persecution of supposed witches over several centuries.

    Cecco d'Ascoli, an Italian scientist, was burned at the stake in 1327 for having calculated the date of Jesus' birth using the stars. But there were more significant heresies than astrology.

    Movements to reform the Church, based on the teachings of John Wycliffe (England), Jan Hus (Bohemia) and Gerard Groot (Netherlands) were all condemned as heretical, though their popularity guaranteed their survival, and in time these teachings would trigger the Reformation.

    Heresy still covered everything from refusing to take oaths to refusal to pay church tithes. Any deviation from Church norms was enough to merit death: vegetarianism, the rejection of infant baptism, even holding the (previously orthodox) view that people should be given both bread and wine at Mass.

    In 1482, under Pope Sixtus IV, 2000 heretics were burned in the tiny state of Andalusia alone.

    Pope Leo X condemned Martin Luther in 1520 for daring to say that burning heretics was against the will of God. Evidently he thought it presumptuous for an ordinary human being to claim to know God's will. Perhaps he was right, because Luther, the founder of Protestantism, changed his mind in 1531 and started advocating the death penalty for heretics and blasphemers. He thought it should be a capital offence to deny the resurrection of the dead, or the reality of heaven and Hell.

    Translating the bible into vernacular languages, or helping with the printing of such a bible was heresy according to the Roman Church.

    Generally, in Europe, women were buried alive for this offence. Men were burned alive.

    One printer in Paris was burned on a pyre of his own books.

    In the sixteenth century William Tyndale translated the bible into English. In danger of arrest and in fear for his life he fled the country. He was arrested in the Netherlands, and in 1536 was executed for heresy for agreeing with the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith.

    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.

    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.

    A Protestant writing master from Toledo was burned at the stake in 1676 for having decorated a room with the full text of the ten commandments when the Roman Church had traditionally omitted the part of the second commandment – the one that forbids the worship of images.

    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.

    John Wycliffe, the proto-Protestant rector of Lutterworth in Leicester, was the most eminent scholar at Oxford, giving him a measure of protection during his lifetime, especially since there was then still no official statute in England covering the offence of heresy.

    On the other side of Europe, Jan Hus, the Rector of Prague University, was heavily influenced by Wycliffe's ideas, and refused to surrender his books when ordered to do by the Pope. Supported by King Wenceslas he denounced the practice of granting indulgences. His preaching spread Wycliffe's ideas far and wide. Then, travelling under a safe conduct from the emperor Sigismund, he was arrested and tried by the Church Council of Constance. The Council disregarded his safe conduct on the grounds that a Church Council did not need to keep faith with a heretic. Hus was burned on 6th July 1415, making him a Czech national hero. Hussite ideas spread rapidly from Bohemia to Austria, Silesia, Saxony, Brandenburg, Bavaria and Hungary. Attempts at reconciliation with the Roman Church failed, and the Reformation loomed a step closer.

    Back in England the Church had no way to deal with Wycliffe or his followers, who were called Lollards. The Archbishop of Canterbury, William Courtney, and his bishops filled in the omission by forging an Act of Parliament to deal with heresy. But Parliament spotted the imposture and the House of Commons petitioned the King in 1383 to annul this bogus statute "never assented to nor granted by the Commons."

    Genuine mild statutes were passed three years later, but the Church was still not happy. Prelates insisted on the death penalty, and a series of statutes, called de haeretico comburendo, were passed in 1401, under King Henry IV, introducing the death penalty for heresy.

    However, they failed to define the offence, so heresy would continue to be whatever the Church said it was. Once convicted, the heretic was handed over to the sheriff, who had no option but to execute the Church's judgement. Unrepentant heretics were to be publicly burned to death, as they were on the continent. The statutes came too late to catch John Wycliffe himself, but they caught many of his followers.

    Lollards continued to be condemned to the stake up until the 1530s. Others were caught too. Around 1520 the diocese of Lincoln alone was convicting over 100 people a year for the crime of "not thinking catholickly" .

    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.

    From that time on, no-one in England need live in fear of burning for heresy.

    In Ireland the heresy law was repealed in 1696, and in most of Continental Europe much later.

    A schoolmaster was hanged in Spain in 1826 for heresy. His heresy had been to substitute the words 'Praise be to God' in place of 'Ave Maria' in school prayers.

    Because of secular laws the Churches now have more difficulty in persecuting heretics, BUT PERSECUTION IS STILL PART OF MAINSTREAM, CHRISTIAN THOUGHT. The oath taken by Roman Catholic bishops at their consecration includes the following undertaking "with all my power I will persecute and make war upon heretics".

    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.

  46. The central place of Jesus Christ in Mormonism:

    1. The Church of

  47. Leah, how did your visit to the Morman church go?

  48. Theresa: We haven't been able to make it due to my babysitter falling through, and the LDS church does not provide a nursery during their sacrament meetings! I have one year old twins, so childcare is absolutely necessary if I am to listen to anything. Once I can arrange for childcare and my husbands work schedule allows we will go.

    Hopefully within the next 2 weeks I can get a sitter and make it, otherwise I just go to my own church because they provide child care…but I will report here immediately after I go, trust me on that :)

  49. Ok I was able to go to the Mormon church this past week. My husband had never attended a Mormon church so he took notes, and I will give you the few statements he found to be very interesting, revealing, and things he noticed were different. I give these from his perspective because he had never been to a Mormon church before, so his opinion is more unbiased than mine:

    1. Speaker, a Sister, tells children that no matter how boring church becomes or if there are things they don't like about church, just "STICK WITH IT" (very emphatically). She repeated this several times, just "stay with the church" and it would pay off. Not believe in Jesus, or strengthen your faith through searching the scriptures, just blindly stick with "the church." Great emphasis throughout her talk on "the church" or people who have done so much for them who are in "the church."

    2. Next speaker, a Brother and the first speakers husband, says in a talk about revelation: quote "Some Evangelicals say we are not Christian. I wish they would have been here last week to count how many times Jesus' name was said in our service." My husband and I then elbowed each other with a giggle and said "THEY KNOW WHY WE ARE HERE!!" but it really wasn't funny that they think the amount of times they say Jesus' name makes them Christian. It also goes to show they know what other Christians say about them and they consciously make an effort to say Jesus' name more in an effort to sound Christian.

    3. Same Brother still speaking about Evangelical Christians, "I saw a license plate cover that read 'United Church of Christ, God is still speaking' and I thought to myself, well I know that but I didn't know YOU knew that or thought that" followed by chuckles from himself and others. My husband was pretty offended at the mocking tone the speaker had about Christians and obviously no knowledge of what we really believe.

    4. Same Brother mentions several times about being "temple worthy" and how when he picked counselors for one of his callings, he didn't want to consider a certain brethren because he had "problems at home" and wasn't "temple worthy." My husband felt great importance must be placed on people's own worthiness and righteousness.

    5. The bread given at sacrament had leaven in it, and water was served. The whole reason leaven is not suppose to be in the bread is because leaven represents sin. Jesus was sinless, thus the requirement for unleavened bread. To have bread with leaven served to represent Christ's body is to make a mockery of the sacrament. Also with water being served, the wine or grape juice represents the blood from Christ's body, and water does not. This is what Jesus used at the Passover meal, and it was astonishing to my husband that they would carelessly serve water and leavened bread like it had no real importance or meaning. Also seeing teenage boys laughing and talking while they were suppose to be holders of a holy Priesthood made it seem even more of a mockery to my husband.

    6. There were 2 people who bore their testimony, and the 2 speakers who bore theirs at the end of their talks. Each did say they had a testimony of "the Savior" or that "Jesus was the Savior," but it was always followed or preceded by their testimony of Thomas Monson being the living prophet or Joseph Smith being a true prophet, and then the church being true of course. There was never any speaking about Jesus alone or testifying of Jesus without mentioning JS or Monson. It reminded my husband of how the Muslims have their statement where they say "we believe in Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

    As for my experience, it was just how I remembered…no biblical or BOM message just people talking about their own personal experiences and bearing their testimonies. They only read the scriptures during Sunday school, and sacrament meeting is for the emotional appeals from personal testimonies or experiences. It was extremely boring (just as I remembered) because you just sit and sing, no real worship. You stay seated and sing quietly with no real emotion which is strange coming from people who thrive on emotionalism. When it was time for prayer every one assumed position and folded their arms in unity. My husband said "whoa" when he saw this, (not that it isn't ok to fold your arms for prayer, but EVERYONE did it at the exact same time and bowed heads in unison!) It looks contrived to people who have never been and are used to people praying however they see fit. It was also very hard to concentrate with kids and babies crying, talking, and playing through the whole thing. They really need to keep the nursery open during sacrament services, but seeing that I learned absolutely nothing biblical or otherwise in the meeting it probably doesn't matter. Next time we will try to stay for Sunday school and see if we get to crack open any scripture in there.

  50. Well, kudos to you for going!

    But here's a question for thought, how would your perspective on what you saw at this meeting change if you knew this was the true church, rather than assuming it's not true? When we see things through the eyes of belief, we see things differently than when we look at them through eyes of doubt.

    Just like you, I don't approve of some of the things you described, but whereas you might see this as evidence the LDS Church isn't true, I merely see this as evidence that Church members aren't perfect.

  51. Oh I don't see them as evidence of it not being true at all, you could probably go into some Christian churches and find the same types of things or other things you don't like and maybe some things that aren't biblical.

    The point is I don't see any denomination as being "the one true church," it's believers that make up Christ's church. And when you claim that your establishment is the "one true church" it opens its practices and members up to scrutiny. I believe anyone who has accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior is a member of His true church, no matter what denomination they are found in.

  52. Fair enough.

    One note, I've noticed that since I have small children, the same ones that are making noise during the sacrament meeting, I don't have time to listen to much of anything because I'm picking up cheerios and toys and trying to keep them from making noise and so I can't get bored :)

  53. I was more or less going for my own research and perspective since I hadn't been back after accepting Jesus as my Savior. And it hasn't changed :) I tried to be unbiased, but it's impossible to completely be. There was only one lady who welcomed us with a smile too, and we were in jeans wondering around looking lost, but she was the only one who acknowledged us. Bless her dear heart!

    Could you put in a word about the nursery thing? It really was hard to concentrate as you understand. And don't get me wrong, I love kids and have 1 year old twins, but when you go somewhere to learn something it helps if you can hear it. Don't you have some kind of pull there? lol

  54. Get on the Mormon horn and put out a memo or something Joshua :)

  55. I totally get where you're coming from on the noisy kids, and man, some wards are really out of control. I don't remember if you've ever mentioned where you are, but if you go out to the wards on the west side of the Salt Lake or Utah valleys then whew, you're in for it. They're building so many homes out there that young families can afford that they can't split wards and build church buildings fast enough so you end up with wards with 800 members, 300 of which are young kids, all packed into a building that is too small, and it's absolute chaos sometimes. My wife and I didn't have kids at the time so we ended up thinking it was great entertainment, and I kind of think God was laughing too, especially during the primary program when the one kid took off his shirt and was whipping it around and the primary teachers couldn't get to him to put it back on because the kids were packed on the stand too tightly. But I can see how this would be quite the distraction to most people, especially someone visiting to learn more about the Church.

    On the other hand, I think it can be a good thing for kids to be in there because I'm surprised how early they start picking up on stuff. We have a two-year old boy and we use the time in sacrament meeting to teach him what it's about and how to be reverent and we can tell that some of it is sinking in. Sometimes he's an angel, other times he's quite the opposite, but we see progress being made all the time.

    The other challenge is that if someone were running a nursery during sacrament meeting, then they wouldn't be in the meeting to take the sacrament, which is the primary reason we have church meetings at all.

    However, several years ago I visiting a meeting in Provo, Utah, and went to an older church building and they had "crying rooms" in the back. These were rooms with benches just like the rest of the sacrament meeting room, but they were enclosed and had windows and piped in sound. That way parents could go to those rooms, still see and hear the meeting, but since they were in the back in those rooms no one else was seeing or hearing their kids. Seemed pretty handy, but I've never seen those in any other church building.

  56. Haha! That did crack me up…crying rooms are great, my church has a speaker system (an upgraded baby monitor basically) in the nursery so we can hear the message, and on days that we have the Lord's supper they bring us some so we can partake. Wouldn't be to hard to do at your church either…We also do a rotation each week of who is in there, and its only for under age 3. Just some ideas…I am on the east coast, but my cousin attends in Arizona and she said it was the same there, where it's sometimes so noisy she can't hear anything!

    I'm telling you, get them on the nursery band wagon for at least the babies, you can still teach 3 year olds, who are then at a more appropriate age to actually process the information. My 1 year old twins would not have a CLUE what was going on nor would they learn anything. My mom did the same thing, forcing the little ones to sit there and "learn" to be reverent, but it causes more strife than anything if you understand the developmental stages of babies. (I majored in Early Childhood Development for a year in college, and trust me you are fooling yourself if you think babies can "learn" to be still at age 1) :) But I did get to make some faces at the little boy in the pew in front of me, which he gladly imitated! That was the highlight of my visit.

  57. Oh and I can't believe I forgot this one last point from my husband's notes that I should have included in #4 along with worthiness:

    The speaker also mentioned "living the gospel" several times, and my husband was confused and I had to tell him when they say "live the gospel" it means all the laws and ordinances of Mormonism. To Christians, the simplicity of the gospel is this: That Jesus Christ the Son of God died for our sins, was buried, and was resurrected so that all that believe in him may have eternal life. (1 Cor 15 1-5 and John 3:16)

    Saying we should be "living the gospel" doesn't make much sense to other Christians. "The Gospel" actually means "good news" and giving someone a list of commandments, temple rituals, laws and ordinances they must follow to be "worthy" is not very good news to most…it's the good news of Christ's sacrifice to save us! It's not only good news, but the best news ever given to man.

  58. Two things you are incorrect about:

    One of your quotes: "Moses is the passport to heaven for the people who lived in that time" is incorrect. The Bible clearly states those that are dead rest until the return of Christ. The Bible is one of the four Mormon books and is considered infallible by LDS, which I agree.

    [1 Thessalonians 4:16]

    [Dan 12:2]

    Job 7:21

    1 Samuel 28

    Acts 24:15

    Daniel 12:2

    Rev 20:13

    Two: Gordon Hinkley stated " All believers in Christ are brothers in Christ". Are you contradicting the word of one of your prophets?

    Lastly: David Whitmer who served as one of Three Witnesses who testified that they had seen the Golden Plates from which the Book of Mormon is said to have been transcribed said, quote:

    " I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons, of Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ".

    Jesus Christ himself said, "I am the way", not Joseph Smith, who by the way, never said he was the way. Many Mormons agree with me on this issue. You obviously do not.

    • So, if one travels to a foreign country do they get there by way of a passport or an airplane or a travel agent or an airport? This is devolving into a bit of a ridiculous conversation. To say that Joseph Smith or any other prophet is like a passport isn't saying that they take the place of Christ. Christ, of course, is the essential part, but that doesn't mean that no one else is involved.

  59. On that we agree Joshua. I have the utmost respect for LDS and though I am not Mormon, I am one of the strongest of their defenders. I tell my skeptical friends, what other intervention could have possibly caused the movement of such a magnitude of humanity hardly seen since the Exodus. Jesus said "you shall know them by their fruits" Clearly the fruits of the Mormon people are to be admired and as former Utah resident, I miss them. Brigham was a man. A remarkable one but a man non the less and I'm positive he earnestly believed in his statement of dispensation regarding Joseph Smith because of his admiration of the man. The disciple Paul, also a worthy man walked with Jesus, died a martyr, and was a disciple of Christ. He earnestly believed Christ would return before his death. He did not. Men are not infallible and there lies the dilemma. God bless and thanks for allowing my opinions on this discussion board.

  60. The notion here that the people rejected Moses and therefore his message, is somewhat skewed. These messages were from God, to be delivered to the people. The people did not reject Moses, they rejected God, since the messages were from Him,not Moses.Consider me telling a child to sit. The child says "no" and continues on their merry way. Then I come back and say " your mom says to sit" and the child still refuses to do so. In the first case, I was rejected because it was a command that came directly from me. In the second scenario, the command was from the mother, and her message was rejected,not the messenger.Therefore, Mr. Smith need not have any say in where I end up.

  61. As Stephen R. Gibson has pointed out, in every period of time throughout history when there have been prophets or apostles of God upon the earth, rejecting the words of those prophets and apostles has been the same as rejecting God or Christ. As Christ himself stated “He that receiveth you receiveth me” (Matt. 10:40), which means the converse “He that receiveth [not] you receiveth [not] me” is just as true.
    As you stated if we lived at the time of Bringem Young we would have to believe all that he taught including “ADAM-GOD doctrine, Blood Atonement, Swearing oath of Avenges for their Prophet Joe Smith.

    • What does it mean to “receive” a prophet? Is it to accept every single word a prophet says, regardless? This would place upon a prophet the burden of infallibility. We know that no one was perfect except Christ, so would this not be somewhat self contradictory for God to tell us to accept a person as perfect, knowing that person is incapable of being perfect?

      Joseph Smith taught that “a prophet is a prophet only when acting as such.” As members of the LDS Church we fully accept that prophets are mere humans, mortals who make mistakes. We do not believe in the infallibility of anyone other than God himself, and I see no obligation to obey the teachings of prophets unless; 1) it has been accepted by the Church as doctrine, or 2) I’ve received a personal revelation from God to obey it.

      More on prophetic fallibility here.

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