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The significance of a single word

“In the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth….”

creation

Part of the reason I believe the Bible is the word of God, rather than the work of men, is because there is this underlying thread that remains consistent throughout the Biblical record, despite the fact that these books were written across many years by several different authors. I also believe that God was very specific with his words and those who truly heard from God spoke His words faithfully and even the slightest change, as insignificant as it might appear to some, can have a huge impact.

One of the claims of the LDS Church is that “plain and precious truths” have been removed from the scriptures, and those things have been “restored” through Joseph Smith and/or other LDS Prophet. However, when I read LDS scripture and many of the other things written by Joseph Smith, like the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST), called “the inspired version,” it appears to me that Joseph Smith is the one guilty of removing important truths from scripture. Truths that, while precious, might not be so plain, especially to the “uninspired,” if you will.

Most Christians, when they read Genesis 1 and 2, think of the creation of the physical world that we live in. And this appears to be how Joseph Smith saw it, as well. But, while it does speak of the physical world (heaven, earth, sun, moon, stars, man, beast, etc), it speaks to more than that, as those things which “are seen,” being temporal, bear witness to those things which “are not seen,” which are eternal. (2Co 4:18)

We see an example of this in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians where he makes reference to the creation account in Genesis when speaking of “the light” that God has shined “in our hearts.”

(2Co 4:6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness (Gen 1:3), hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Paul also uses Adam and Eve and the marriage relationship to teach us about “Christ and the Church.”

John makes use of the creation account, as well, when speaking about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

(1Jn 2:15-16) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

(Gen 3:6) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh), and that it was pleasant to the eyes (the lust of the eyes), and a tree to be desired to make one wise (the pride of life), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

What a lot of people do not notice is that Gen 1 makes a distinction between that which God “created” and that which God “made” and “formed.” This may seem like an insignificant or unimportant (and even meaningless) detail to many, but I believe it is hugely significant, as it is a detail that makes up part of this “underlying thread” that God has woven throughout scripture, as it relates to “creation,” particularly as it related to God “creating” man in His own image and likeness. For this “creation” BEGINS with a man who is FIRST “formed out of the dust of the ground,” but ENDS with the “one new man” CREATED “in Christ,” WHO IS “the image of God.”

So, I find it rather fascination that scripture tells us that there is “A GENERATION TO COME, and the people WHICH SHALL BE CREATED shall praise the LORD”? (Psa 102:18)

And:

They are CREATED NOW, and NOT FROM THE BEGINNING, even before the day when though heardest them not, lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them. (Isa 48:7)

[Read all of Isa 48, which also talks about being “called a transgressor from the womb” and being “chosen in a furnace of affliction.”]

And:

Thou SENDETH FORTH THY SPIRIT, they are CREATED: and thou RENEWEST the face of THE EARTH. (Psa 104:30).

I believe we see this in a similitude when God breathes the breath of life into Adam (whom he FIRST “formed” OUT OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND – AN EARTHEN VESSEL), making him A LIVING SOUL, thus “creating” him “in the image of God.”

And, as it is “in Christ,” who is “the beginning” (Rev 21:6), even “the BEGINNING of the CREATION of God” (Rev 3:14), that men are “created in the image of God,” we read in the very first verse of scripture: “IN THE BEGINNING God CREATED…..”

As is pointed out above, there is spiritual significance tied the use of the word “created,” which ties this verse of scripture to so many other verses of scripture which speak to “creation,” especially as it relates to “Christ,” about whom Moses wrote! (Psa 40:7-8; Heb 10:7; John 5:46)

Yet Joseph Smith came along, claiming to be a Prophet of God, and claimed that God commanded him to (re)-“translate the Bible.” And not only did he CHANGE the wording of many passages to make them fit his own doctrines, he ADDED passages, including passages that, supposedly, contain prophesies ABOUT HIMSELF. And these changes begin right at the beginning of the Bible in Gen 1, such that the JST does not begin with “IN THE BEGINNING God CREATED….” And when we do get to this verse in the JST it was changed to read: “Ye, in the beginning, I FORMED the heaven and the earth upon which thou standeth.” (Gen 1:3 JST)

It seems to me that this was done to make the Bible fit within LDS Doctrine, which claims that God did not “create” the world or mankind, etc, but only “organized” or “formed” it out of matter which already existed. But, whatever the reason, Joseph Smith seems to have been completely oblivious to the fact that these passages speak to MORE than the creation of this physical world, because not only did he change “created” to “formed” in the JST of the Bible, he ADDED the words “upon which thou standeth,” which we also see in the book of Moses (though, there, he retained the word “created”).

Moses 2:1 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth UPON WHICH THOU STANDETH.

Irrespective of all of the other changes that surround it, this one change alone demonstrates, to me, a complete lack of spiritual insight into the deeper meaning hidden within the creation accounts in Genesis, and how they relate to “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” as there is far more to “the heavens” and “the earth” than just this physical world that we see or “this earth upon which [we] stand.” (see also Moses 1:40).

By removing the word “created,” Joseph Smith also cut the thread, so to speak, that exist between Gen 1:1 and many other passages of scripture. And by adding the words “upon which thou standeth,” he limited the context of the passages to the creation of the physical world in which we live, though Moses imposed no such limit and anyone with a deeper understanding of the scriptures would reject such a limitation.

So why couldn’t this “Prophet of God” understand what Moses was talking about? And why couldn’t he see this connection that Gen 1:1 has to so many other passages of scripture?

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Posted by on December 6, 2018 in Joseph Smith

 

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The Light of Christ (and the Holy Ghost)

Comforter

According to LDS doctrine, the Light of Christ is “the divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things.” This statement is true enough, but LDS.org goes on to say: “The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them to receive the Holy Ghost.”

After pointing to John 1:9 and some other passages in the D&C, they go on to say: “In the scriptures, the Light of Christ is sometimes called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Life.”

True, all synonymous. But is the next statement true?

“The Light of Christ should not be confused with the Holy Ghost.”

Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say, starting with the first chapter of John and see who John says the “true Light” of the world is:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:1-17)

Now, according to John, the Light that lighteth every man who comes into the world is Jesus Christ, whom John was sent to prepare the way for and bear witness of. So, while it is true that the Light of Christ is sometimes called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Life, it is not something separate and apart from Christ or God. Nor is the Holy Ghost.

Though LDS doctrine denies this truth, the “Holy Ghost” (otherwise known as “the Holy Spirit”) is “the Spirit of God.”

If we need proof that the Holy Ghost/Spirit, also known as the Comforter, is not a Spirit that exists separate and apart from the Spirit of Christ we need only look to the words of Jesus himself.

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:15-21)

The Greek word here translated “Comforter” (referring to the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost in KJV) is Parakletos: an intercessor, and advocate.

Who is the intercessor, the advocate, the mediator between God and man?

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (1Ti 2:5)

How many mediators are there? ONE!! Christ Jesus!

In 1 John we see Jesus Christ named as our Advocate/Parakletos:

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate (Parakletos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1Jn 2:1-2)

And what did Paul say about the Spirit of the Lord?

“But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2Co 3:15-18)

Scripture tells that there is ONE GOD, the Father, and ONE LORD, Jesus Christ.

“… there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: ….”  (1Co 8:4-7)

They are ONE!  It is THE SON who reveals THE FATHER, who dwells IN HIM, he being THE IMAGE “of” THE INVISIBLE GOD.

Going right back to John 14 where we see the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost/Spirit as one and how we are made one with them and each other, as part of the “one new man” created in Christ.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth (Jesus said: I AM THE TRUTH); whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, AND I IN YOU. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”  (John 14:6-21)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb 13:5-6)

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (1Jn 5:7-11)

It is the sending forth of “the Spirit of His Son” (= CHRIST IN YOU) that makes us SONS OF GOD.

This is why the entire creations GROANS, waiting for “the manifestation of the sons of God.” For it is “CHRIST IN YOU,” that is our very HOPE OF GLORY! (Col 1:27)

Mormon Doctrine fails on so many levels when it comes to the subject of Jesus Christ and His relationship to not only the Father but to mankind.

 

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Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord

This morning I started out thinking I was going to write about something else, something completely unrelated to Mormonism, but as soon as I started to prepare my notes they began to go in a completely different direction. This isn’t really about Mormonism, but it’s related, so I felt this was still an appropriate venue for this subject. It’s about Monotheism and the deity of Jesus Christ and I am only going to post 3 key verses of scripture from the New Testament that relate to the first of all commandments: 

Hear O Israel: The LORD our God is One LORD. (Deu 6:4)

I’ve written on this subject before, but I really don’t think this can be stressed too much, especially as it relates to Mormon Doctrine concerning the Godhead.

One God One Lord 4

I have colored the words in the verses, in the image above, to correspond to the Greek and Hebrew words being used in each verse, so we can look at how they related to each other. These passages tell us:

The Lord (Jehovah) our God (Elohim) is one Lord (Jehovah)!

Thou shalt worship the Lord (Jehovah) thy God (Elohim), and him only shalt thou serve!

To us there is ONE GOD (Elohim), the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD (Kurios) Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

So what does all of this mean?

Jesus Christ is LORD!

He is the manifestation of God in the flesh: Emmanuel, God with us.

God (Yahweh/Jehovah) Himself is the REDEEMER/SAVIOUR of His people. (Isa 43:10-12; Isa 45:20-21; Hos 13:4)

Mankind is redeemed/saved from sin and death by the Spirit of God that dwells IN THEM, of which Jesus serves as the perfect pattern and our blessed assurance.

He is the pattern Son and the one into whose image we are to be conformed as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ.

He is the Head of a many-membered body.

This is why all power and authority was given TO HIM; why all things were put into HIS HANDS; why the Spirit was given TO HIM WITHOUT MEASURE; why He had the power to lay down His own life and take it up again; why He has preeminence over ALL MEN, being THE HEAD of the body of Christ, whose Head is God; why we are called by HIS NAME, just as He is called by the Father’s name.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just about one individual man named Jesus, though in all things He will always have the preeminence. It is about the ONE NEW MAN “created” IN CHRIST, the only begotten Son of God. It is about one Son bringing many sons to glory, as the captain of their salvation.

This is why we are to know NO MAN after the flesh, not even Christ. We are to see ALL MEN as ONE MAN through Christ Jesus! We are to see ALL MEN as GOD’S ONLY BEGOTTEN SON… ONE MAN: ONE HEAD, ONE (many-membered) BODY. One man whose Head is God: the ONE God and Father of all.

We are ONE, just as they are ONE, because we are all joined together by ONE SPIRIT, which is THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

God is Spirit! And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit!

We are God’s offspring and because we are united in, by and through the ONE SPIRIT that IS GOD there can be ONLY UNITY in the Kingdom of God, where God is ALL IN ALL.

We are ONE! One with God and one with each other!

I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, trying to stick with just the three passages of scripture highlighted in the image. However, the temptation is to list every verse that immediately comes to mind with regard to this topic, so I did end up going beyond the three I wanted to focus on, though I did curb my desire to add so much more.

I also had to fight the temptation to make this all about Mormon Doctrine, in particular, though this is a blog dedicated to Mormon topics. This topic, however, reaches beyond Mormonism, as I believe so much is missed (by Mormons, by Jehovah’s Witnesses, by anyone else with an incorrect understanding of the Godhead) when we do not fully understand who Jesus Christ is as the mediator between God and man. If we do not properly understand their oneness, we cannot possibly understand our own.

Let God be true, but every man a liar…

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Godhead, Sons

 

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Terryl Givens on Mormon Universalism

Mormon UniversalismI came across another article on “Mormon Universalism.” I have not listened to the interview yet, and maybe I should before I comment, but I don’t have the time right now and I think there is enough in the article to comment on without hearing the interview.

I will grant Mr. Givens that Mormonism is very inclusive when it comes to salvation, much more so than traditional/mainstream Christianity, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that even Mr. Givens has to exclude the “Universalist Unitarians,” by which I think he probably means the Christian Universalists, since he was speaking of “the Christian world.” Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that salvation as defined by Mormonism is not the same as salvation defined by the traditional view of Christianity. In Mormonism “all are saved” based solely on the fact that all receive immortality through the resurrection of the dead, whether they are subsequently damned (sent to outer darkness or obtain a lesser degree of glory) or not. Either way you look at it, though, there is no true “universalism” in Mormonism.

Mr. Givens also makes some very false claims about the universalism that existed in Joseph Smith’s day, particularly Christian Universalism (which goes all the way back to the first century and the gospel preached by the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus Christ). Anyone who has ever read the writings of the Universalist preachers of that time (look them up, many of them are available for free on the internet) can tell you that it is an absolute falsification of the truth to claim that “they didn’t know how to reconcile the need for a Savior with that desire to universalize salvation,” until Joseph Smith conveniently came along, after receiving a vision, and provided those answers.

There was and is absolutely no uncertainty whatsoever as to how God provided for the salvation of all men among those who are Christian Universalists. His name is Jesus Christ. And if God actually did provide for the salvation of all men through the gospel of Jesus Christ, as He did, then Mormonism is proven false, categorically; as it denies (among many other things) the FULL salvation of ALL men.

While it certainly would be nice to see Mormonism get out of the “only true church” business, that is only the tip of the iceberg that is Mormonism. That they are more inclusive than traditional Christianity, in the sense that they do not damn most of humanity to endless torment in hell, is a good thing; but it doesn’t make up for everything else Mormon doctrine lacks. Truth.

It’s not even, truly, all inclusive.

But the true gospel of Jesus Christ is!

P.S.  For another interesting take on Mormon Universalism you can check out this website.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Mormonism

 

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Mormonism and Universalism

punish1I was looking into the connections between Mormonism and Universalism, again, and happened across this blog which speaks of “a universali[s]m that existed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” in the LDS Church, which this member seems to believe has gotten, at least somewhat, lost in current years. I’m not sure how lost it is, as many members of the LDS Church, even today, will be quick to point out that, according to LDS Doctrine, salvation is “universal” in its scope. What they mean by that, however, is something very different from true Christian Universalism, as they only mean that all men will be resurrected from the dead, to immortality. They do not mean that all men will return to the Father or even that all men will enter into any of the various “degrees of glory,” as taught in LDS Doctrine.

That said, some of the quotes provided do seem to allow for the possibility of movement between these degrees of glory, by way of “eternal progression,” and that would seem to allow for someone to receive a greater degree of glory over time. I think this is something which current Mormons do still allow for, at least as a possibility, even if they cannot explain how that might look in practice, especially as it might relate to the highest degree of glory, for which there are certain requirements that must first be met, including the everlasting covenant of marriage.

But, as to the quotes provided, saying that truth can be found in all places, inside or outside of the church, among both believers and non-believers (as any Christian, LDS or not, would allow for), is not the same thing as teaching true “Universalism,” the belief that salvation will come to all men and all men will be united with God, the Father.  So I don’t see “Universalism” being the message of most of those quotes, though a couple of them do seem to speak to that possibility, even if not the guarantee, especially as it relates to “eternal progression” (and not just the fact that all men will be “resurrected from the dead” to a state of immortality). It’s not clear that such pertains to those who are termed “sons of perdition,” however.

But there can be no doubt that Joseph Smith and, therefore, Mormon Doctrine was heavily influenced by Universalism or the Universalist beliefs of Joseph Smith’s father and grandfather. Anyone familiar with Universalist arguments will immediately recognize the argument made in D&C 19 with regard to “eternal punishment,” etc., as a Universalist argument. The only problem is that D&C 19, while true when applied to the Bible, is not true when applied to the Book of Mormon because in the Book of Mormon it is written that there shall be “no end” to this torment – quite unequivocally.

So we have the expression “endless torment”, which is made in relation to the punishment of the wicked/unrepentant and another way to say “endless torment” would be “torment that has no end”.

However, in D&C 19 we read: “it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment” and if it is not written that there shall be “no end” to this torment then there must need be AN END.

In D&C 19, Joseph Smith seems to be explaining why something that is called “endless” HAS AN END !!

He explains that it is not “endless torment” (or “endless punishment”) because it “has no end” but because this torment/punishment comes from the hand of God, whose NAME is ENDLESS (and ETERNAL)

Therefore ETERNAL PUNISHMENT = GOD’S PUNISHMENT

And ENDLESS PUNISHMENT = GOD’S PUNISHMENT

Signifying from whom it comes, not how long it lasts.

I would have absolutely no problem with this IF, in fact, it wasn’t written that “there is no end” to the punishment/torment of the wicked. The problem is that it is written, at least in the Book of Mormon.

In the Book of Mormon we find many references to “that hell which has no end.”  to those who “cannot be saved,” to that which says: “the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out,” to those who are “cast off forever,” where they are “destroyed forever,” from where there is “no deliverance,”  to “a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and hath no end,” wherein the wicked will be “miserable forever” (you get the picture).

None of that sounds to me like torment/punishment that has “no end.” And we can’t blame it on “translation errors,” like we could if we were discussing the Bible which was actually translated by fallible men, since the BoM, we are to believe, was not translated but was simply transcribed by Joseph Smith directly into English as dictated by God himself.

And the fact that there are so many references to the fate of the wicked, which is clearly said to have “no end” (in more ways than one), completely disproves the statement that “it is not written that there is no end to this torment” (even if, in fact, this could be proven to be true by addressing translation or interpretation error in the Bible).

It IS written that there is NO END (no redemption, no salvation, no deliverance, no end to the misery) of the wicked MANY TIMES, in MANY WAYS throughout the Book of Mormon.

And I certainly don’t know how else you can understand the statement “it is not written that there is no end to this torment.” The fact remains that it is written, but only in the book produced by Joseph Smith. It is not written in the Bible.

Here are just a few references:

2 Nephi 1:17  My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;

2 Nephi 2: 5  And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

2 Nephi 2: 28-29  And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Note that if “eternal life” is that life which comes from God who is “eternal” and “eternal punishment” is that punishment which comes from God who is “eternal,” then by the same token this passage attribute “death” to God.  Note also that this is not an expression one will ever find in the Bible.

2 Nephi 9:16-24 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame scendeth up forever and ever and has no end. O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.  O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it. And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.

2 Nephi 28:22-24   And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

While Joseph Smith was clearly influenced by and even incorporated, in some sense, “Universalism” into his doctrines, there also seems to be quite a bit in the Book of Mormon that seems like a deliberate attempt to refute that same doctrine. It’s quite the paradox, so just one more place where Mormon Doctrine seems to fall apart.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Book of Mormon, Hell, Mormonism

 

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Baptism in the Book of Mormon

… it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

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Moroni

Chapter 8

8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.

9 And after this manner did the Holy Ghost manifest the word of God unto me; wherefore, my beloved son, I know that it is solemn mockery before God, that ye should baptize little children.

10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.

12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!

13 Wherefore, if little children could not be saved without baptism, these must have gone to an endless hell.

14 Behold I say unto you, that he that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell.

15 For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism.

16 Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.

17 And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.

18 For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

19 Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God unto them, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

20 And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

21 Wo unto such, for they are in danger of death, hell, and an endless torment. I speak it boldly; God hath commanded me. Listen unto them and give heed, or they stand against you at the judgment-seat of Christ.

22 For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing—

23 But it is mockery before God, denying the mercies of Christ, and the power of his Holy Spirit, and putting trust in dead works.

 

Questions:

  1. If saving one child because he was baptized and not saving another because he was not baptized makes God “a partial God” and “a respecter of persons,” why cannot the same be said of God when it comes to adults, where He (according to the LDS) requires the baptism of all, which is why the LDS Church teaches the need for vicarious baptism for the unbaptized dead? Saving an unbaptized child, but not an unbaptized adult doesn’t make a God a partial God or a respecter of persons?
  2. Since the LDS Church does teach the need for baptism and does practice baptism for the dead, why would there even be any concern for children who died without baptism, since those ordinances need not be performed before death by anyone – in fact, for most, will not be? Wouldn’t baptism for the dead rectify the problem just as easily for unbaptized children as it does for unbaptized adults?
  3. Why does Moroni 8:13 claim that if baptism were necessary for the salvation of little children that those who had not been baptized would, necessarily, have gone straight to hell? In other words, why do the Book of Mormon Prophets know nothing of baptism for the dead?
  4. If little children are completely innocent and unable to sin, why does saying that they do need to be baptizes “set at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption,” since they have no sin that needs to be covered by the atonement? (This passage doesn’t seem to suggest that they are without sin because of the atonement but because little children have never been capable of sinning.)
  5. Who are those “without the law,” for which baptism also avails nothing, but is considered “dead works,” given the LDS teaching on the necessity of baptism for all over the age of 8 and their practice of baptism for the dead? Again, why does the Book of Mormon seem to not know anything about the LDS gospel doctrine of baptism for the dead?

 

Just some things I was thinking about today when looking at this passage in the Book of Mormon on baptism…

 

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AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT

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Alma 12:27 “… it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end.”

This seems to be a clear reference to Heb 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

The problem with this is that this verse from the Book of Mormon actually supports an incorrect, though very common, misinterpretation of Heb 9:27.

Most of the time when people quote Heb 9:27, that is all they quote – that one verse. And they do just as is done in the Book of Mormon, they leave out the “as” and simply make it a declarative statement; “IT IS appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” That certainly does make it sound like men die and after their death they face judgment. And it is exactly how most Christians use this verse and seems to be exactly how it was being used in the Book of Mormon. But if we take the time to read the whole passage and put verse 27 back into its proper context, we can see that this is not what this passage is talking about at all.

This passage is talking about the death of one man, Christ, and the judgment (upon all men) that follows HIS DEATH. Let’s take a look:

Heb 9:23-28 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For CHRIST is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that HE should OFFER HIMSELF often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must HE often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but NOW ONCE in the end of the world HATH HE APPEARED to put away sin by the sacrifice OF HIMSELF. And (((AS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN))) ONCE TO DIE, but AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT: So CHRIST WAS ONCE OFFERED to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him SHALL HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME without sin UNTO SALVATION.

Yes, it is appointed unto all men that they shall die. But this passage is not talking about the deaths of all men, it is talking about the death of Christ and that which followed His death, which is judgment.

This world is judged by the cross of Christ, by His death. For He came into the world, coming unto His own, and the world received Him not.

Joh 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT. He came unto his own, and HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT.

Jesus himself told them:

Joh 12:30-31 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. NOW IS THE JUDGMENT OF THIS WORLD: NOW SHALL THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD BE CAST OUT.

And when did He say this? Wasn’t it right before he went to the cross?

And what was to followed His death?

Joh 16:5-11 But NOW I GO MY WAY TO HIM THAT SENT ME; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY: FOR IF I GO NOT AWAY, THE COMFORTER WILL NOT COME UNTO YOU; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And WHEN HE IS COME, HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN, and OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and OF JUDGMENT: Of sin, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE NOT ON ME; Of righteousness, BECAUSE I GO TO MY FATHER, AND YE SEE ME NO MORE; Of judgment, BECAUSE THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD IS JUDGED.

Jesus said:

Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, FOR JUDGMENT I AM COME INTO THIS WORLD, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Jesus even told them that the time of harvest had come!

Joh 4:34-38 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and TO FINISH HIS WORK. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? BEHOLD, I SAY UNTO YOU, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, AND LOOK ON THE FIELDS; for THEY ARE WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST. And HE THAT REAPETH RECEIVETH WAGES, AND GATHERETH FRUIT UNTO LIFE ETERNAL: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, ONE SOWETH, AND ANOTHER REAPETH. I SENT YOU TO REAP that whereon ye bestowed NO LABOUR: OTHER MEN LABOURED, and YE ARE ENTERING INTO THEIR LABOURS.

Surely the “other men” who had already been laboring in the field were the Prophets who sowed the seed, which is the word of God! (Luke 8:11) And now the Apostles would be sent to reap, to harvest the field!!

Have you ever notices that Jesus said that THE REAPERS “are” THE ANGELS?

Mat 13:37-43 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; THE HARVEST IS THE END OF THE WORLD; AND THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. THE SON OF MAN SHALL SEND FORTH HIS ANGELS, AND THEY SHALL GATHER OUT OF HIS KINGDOM ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUSNESS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN IN THE KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Did you notice that this all happens “at the end of the world”? Let’s go back to verse 26 of Heb 9:

Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: BUT NOW ONCE IN THE END OF THE WORLD HATH HE APPEARED TO PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF.

And Jesus told His disciples: “I SENT YOU TO REAP!”

Do you have the ears to hear?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the only true Church of Jesus Christ in this world. They claim to be led by modern-day Prophets and Apostles, who are the ones chosen by God to lead His Church. But do they teach these things?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that the Book of Mormon is “another testament of Jesus Christ,” that it “contains the fullness of the gospel.” Does it contain these things?

Of the Book Mormon, Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.)

The LDS Church confirms: ““The most correct of any book on earth” was a bold statement to make in Joseph Smith’s day, let alone in our day of sophisticated publication. The statement is still applicable, for the Lord has never rescinded it nor cast doubt upon it.”

Though the LDS may believe it, this bold declaration is as false as it is bold. Presented here is just one of the many flaws the book contains, proving to all who are capable of discerning the truth that the Book of Mormon is not the word of God, but the words of a man (or men) who were not as acquainted with God or His Word as they pretended.

May the Lord open the eyes and the ears of those who believe the false doctrines of the LDS Church, so they can come to the Truth and see who Jesus Christ really is.

 

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