On Fruits of the Spirit, a Particularly Bad Work of the Flesh, and Satan’s Power

This post is a continuation of the discussion on the previous post, “If Mormonism is a lie, what should people do about it?” The discussion evolved onto the topic of the role of feelings in discerning truth.

Paul’s letter to the Galatians, as some of you know, is centrally about living a Spirit-led life, particularly built upon the crucial foundation of justification by faith apart from works of the law. Gathering what we know on Paul’s view of the Law, “works of the law” included both distinctive works of Judaism (like circumcision and Sabbath laws) and the ten commandments. For Paul, love is the summary and fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10). Paul writes that “all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them'” (Galatians 3:10). For Paul, the Mosaic Law not only excludes Gentiles, but it also brings a knowledge of the sin of both Jews and Gentiles. If anyone is going to even partially use a law of works to seek justification and the Spirit, there is only curse and condemnation. Just as Paul wrote elsewhere:

“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20, emphasis added)

There is no real salvation or forgiveness or freedom in religions of merit-earning and worthiness-proving. To receive the Spirit and free justification we are told to, like Abraham,  receive these things “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5-6). After laboring over the topic of justification by faith apart from works and the implications of the freedom it provides, Paul encourages his Christian readers to walk by the Spirit which they have so freely received:

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (5:16-26)

In the context of Galatians, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” are fruits of a Spirit-led life which has as its foundation justification by faith apart from works (both the worst of bad works and the best of good works). It is sad that Mormonism attempts to separate a Spirit-led life from free justification by faith apart from all works. In fact, Mormonism seems to teach that a person won’t live a Spirit-led life if they embrace justification by faith apart from works. Sadly, this is severing the fruit of love from the root of gospel-truth. For Paul, the only way to walk by the Spirit is to first receive justification and the Spirit “by hearing with faith”, not by works.

In context, the list of fruits in chapter 5 is not of impressions or sensations used to examine the truthfulness of God or the gospel or apostolic authority (cf. Paul’s defense of his own apostolic authority in chapters 1 and 2). Instead they are given to help examine a person’s new life in Christ and to speak of the attributes which a Christian spiritually grows in. It would be imposing an extra-Biblical framework onto the passage to assume that things like “faith” and “longsuffering” can be summarized as feelings. Nor can such a notion stand up to the realities of life. Longsuffering can involve quite the gut-wrenching kind of bite-your-lip-for-the-sake-of-love kind of patience. Love can mean spanking a child who is unruly, something no parent should take an immediate joy in. Gentleness is a disposition towards people, not a buzz or an impression or a sensation. Self-control often involves restraining desires that are influenced by very, very strong feelings toward something inappropriate. Joy can mean directing our hearts to the blessings of the next life while experiencing the most horrific feelings of suffering in this life. To summarize all these fruits of the Spirit as “good feelings” is not only inadequate but also oversimplistic and misleading. No matter how good it feels, a feeling it not pleasing to God if it does not correspond to objective, Biblical truth and does not come to fruition in the overflow of the worship of the only true God (for all worlds and universes and realities).

But let us not overreact to the excesses of Mormonism (or “charismania”). To completely divorce the fruits of the Spirit from the feelings of the heart would be misleading too. The “fruits of the Spirit” are contrasted in Galatians with the “works of the flesh” (5:19) which come from “desires of the flesh” (5:16,17). Rather than mere emotions, fruits of the Spirit therefore would better be described as the budding of a spiritual flower, deeply rooted in the soil of truth-based desires, watered by faith in the actual promises of God concerning free justification and free eternal life—all of which is put into effect by the personal work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. This budding flower makes a person’s life spiritually beautiful and sweet to God and the angels and the saints. Elsewhere Paul indicates that the aroma of Christ in Christians is sweet to those being saved but is a stench of death to those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

The fruits of the Spirit are demonstrated over time. Feelings can come and go within minutes or even seconds. To examine someone’s life (firstly and primarily our own!) to see if they are exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit, you should look at their words and actions and dispositions, particularly in relation to the gospel about Jesus Christ, consider their pre-conversion life, notice the change, and compare them in a measure with the person of Jesus Christ. Examining any person’s fruits by simply gauging what emotional impression they personally have or give is not only unwise but also shallow, dishonorable, unloving, and disrepectful. When the sheep and goats are identified at the final judgment by their fruits they won’t be identified by their feelings but by their heart’s deepest desires and beliefs which overflowed into their actions.

That common Mormon phraseology like “feeling the Spirit” is conspicuously missing from the Bible should be disconcerting to some of you. Potential converts in Acts are never told to pray for an emotional epiphany or euphoria but rather are directed to look at the public evidence of Old Testament scripture pointing to the Messiah, eye-witness testimony of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and publicly manifested signs and wonders wrought by the Spirit, etc. The Bereans were commended not for seeking private emotional epiphanies but for examining Paul’s new message with what the Old Testament said. Luke writes, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

To those who have oversimplified the “fruits of the Spirit” as feelings and wrested them out of the context of a Biblical worldview, this might come as a surprise to you: I think Mormons are in urgent need of evangelism precisely because they do not exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. They characteristically do not “love” those who bring the truth about the gospel and the nature of God. They call what Christians believe an “abomination” and characterize most of the under-shepherds of authentic Christianity as “corrupt”. They revile God’s beloved bride, the church, as being apostate. They do not exhibit “peace” about those who denounce error and herald truth. They do not exhibit “faithfulness” to the gospel as communicated by the apostolic writings. They do not often practice “self-control” when encountering what is so viciously and hatefully called “anti-Mormon” material. And they spurn the one who supplies the Spirit and free justification and free eternal life, for instead of immediately and permanently receiving these gifts “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:2,5), Mormons are taught to merit and prove themselves morally worthy of them. Most tragically and disconcerting though, is that Mormons exhibit a “work of the flesh” which is most shocking to God and the angels: They exhibit “idolatry” (5:20) by expressing indifference and apathy toward traditional Lorenzo Snow couplet theology, and by teaching that Jesus Christ had to become a God in the pre-earth life. Instead of worshiping the God who was always fully God “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2), who authoritatively said of himself, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me” (Isaiah 43:10), they worship the God of Joseph Smith, who we have allegedly only “imagined and supposed… was God from all eternity“.

This is why I preach and teach and correct, hopefully with mingled kindness and concern and love and passion (trust me, I know I need a lot of help and growth in these areas). Satan has tricked Mormons into believing that their heart is not deceitful, but rather that it is the most reliable medium of truth. He has deceived people into thinking that he has no power to mislead with positive feelings. But Satan is powerful, and is even called the “god of this world” who has the ability to blind the mind:

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

If he can blind the mind, tempt us to sin, send demons to inhabit a person, and is called, in a sense, a god, he is not so weak as to not be able to put deceitful feelings in what the Bible calls a “desperately sick” and incomprehensible heart, which is “deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). Let that sink in. There is nothing more deceitful to humans than the human heart. While Mormonism teaches that the Bible is fundamentally corrupt, Christianity teaches that the human heart is fundamentally corrupt. While Mormonism teaches that the heart is spiritually alive and that the Bible is a dead book, in reality it is the “the living and abiding word of God” by which the Spirit brings a dead heart to life. Christians “have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). May God guard us from belittling the Spirit by treating him as a personified feeling or sensation. He is a real person who does powerful work through the living and abiding word of God.

You must be born again, my friends. And this is not something you can control with a ceremony like baptism.

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:6-8)

Consider the fruits of the Spirit in the larger context of Paul’s incredibly passionate letter, full of what one pastor calls a “compassionate rage“. Receive the word of Christ and the permanent indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit “by hearing with faith”. He promises eternal life and free forgiveness and a secure future for those who would trust him for it. Only then can you truly live a Spirit-led life rooted in truth that is pleasing to God. If you believe the promises of Christ, then you will stop working for justification, stop trying to “pay” the “price” to “merit” the companionship of the Holy Spirit, and start trusting the God who justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:4-6) and gives the Spirit freely (Galatians 3:5-6). Then you can join us in singing:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)

Grace and peace in Christ, who justifies the ungodly like me,


PS I’ll be on my way to an airport when this post is scheduled to be published. I hope you all have a great discussion. It seems some of you have become very frustrated with your conversation partners. I recommend that everyone pray for the people you are trying to communicate with before writing your comments.

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85 Responses to On Fruits of the Spirit, a Particularly Bad Work of the Flesh, and Satan’s Power

  1. Arthur Sido says:

    Aaron, great post. I loved this: “I think Mormons are in urgent need of evangelism precisely because they do not exhibit the fruits of the Spirit.” I had never really looked at it from that standpoint. Many people assume that because the majority of mormons are seen as nice people, they must be at least partly wrong. But that is a view seen from the eyes of sinners.

    The alleged good fruits of mormonism that are so often trumpeted as being “proof” of the truth of mormonism are merely works that please man, and are not signs of Christian regeneration. I would daresay that the most vital fruit of the Spirit is to give honor to the Holy Spirit and God the Father who sent Him. It is never about us ticking off a list of good behaviors to show our own righteousness. The fruit is a response to our salvation, not the source of it. It is the fruit of honoring God that is most lacking in the works based, man-centered faith of mormonism in stark contrast to the submission to Christ that characterizes the Christian.

  2. Jacob5 says:

    The duplicity I see, and I truly ask to be understood here is. If by faith alone, and not works, you can be saved, why is it that by works you can be damned. Sin is obviously a work against the teachings of God.
    The main premise when the “law” was being spoken of was the law of Moses. Also the Pharisees had developed a secondary law to prevent people from even going near to breaking the law of Moses. So not only was it a harsh punishment to break the law of Moses the same harshness was made for the secondary law as well.
    It was true that simply following the law of Moses doesn’t save. It was given originally so people could be constantly reminded of their Messiah. They forgot the main purpose of the law and felt that the law itself saved them. This would be the same as if someone took the bible and constantly read it and never really took the time to study what it teaches.
    For members of the LDS faith, we follow the commandments given to us becuase we believe it comes from faith in Jesus Christ, just as Paul says, If you are of the spirit you are not under the law. We are not under the law but we are under He who gave us the law.
    Who here follows the ten commandments. Is it simply because it is written in the Bible or is it because you have faith in the One who gave you the ten commandments?

  3. chuck5000 says:

    I feel it important to clarify. In your attempt to speak for God, you tend to overlook the Holy Spirit in terms of the fruits. You come across sounding as though the fruits of the spirit are manifested only in the individual and by actions. However, I would remind you that the fruits of the spirit are reflective of the minifestation of the Holy Ghost specifically. Otherwise, it would be the fruits of people. You cannot have the fruits of the spirit without the Holy Ghost. He is the key.

    Jesus taught, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

    Likewise, you cannot bear fruits of the spirit, without the Holy Ghost. So if you intended to say that the fruits of the spirit are exemplified in people by the power of the Holy Spirit, then I missed the definition. So as to clarify, the fruits of the spirit are the fruits of the Holy Ghost, not the individual.

    To shun or set aside feelings will lead you into wrong paths. Paul exhorted the Ephesians, “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
    Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being PAST FEELING have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:17-19)

    Likewise, when the men on the road to Emmaus walked with Jesus and while Jesus opened the scriptures to them, their hearts burned within them. (Luke 24:32) This was the feeling of the spirit that bore witness to them that they in facts walked with Jesus Christ. Then they went to the apostles “Saying, The Lord is risen indeed.” (Luke 24:34)

  4. Michael P says:

    Jacob, how can one be damned by works? When those works are done to gain favor in the eyes of God and man and when those works are done out of pride. We are called to humbly bow before God, and follow his will, and not recite a checklist of items we have accomplished, whether it be baptism or marriage or giving to the poor or completing certain temple rites.

  5. chuck5000 says:

    Michael, let me share with you a few examples. Let’s take baptism. Jesus Christ was baptized. (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:9) If it is not needed, then why was he baptized? Philip during his ministry baptized both men and women. (Acts 8:12). Jesus said, “be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with” (Matt. 20:22-23; Mark 10:38-39). Peter, the Apostle, not only taught and preached baptism, (Acts 2:38) he commanded them to be baptized. (Acts 10:47-48)

    Jesus Christ gave the apostles power and commanded them “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matt. 28:18-19; Mark 16:15). Not only that, but Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)

    How can you explain away what Jesus said and claim it is not required? It is clear that Jesus Christ himself commanded we be baptized. You are in contradiction to the teachings of the savior. Did Jesus teach us to be baptized because of pride?

    Please provide the scriptures that show there is not need for ordinances just as baptism, reception of the holy ghost, marriage, etc. You will find you cannot find anything that specifically says you do not need these things. You will find just the opposite as I have provided. The few verses you have to lean on is by faith and grace alone. But this does not exclude the commands of Jesus. When the Apostles taught this, they were trying to help the Jews learn the difference between the laws of God and the laws of their Elders. But it seems Christians take this to the limit and use it to explain that faith and grace is ALL that is needed. I don’t see how you can ignore the rest of the bible like that.

  6. Michael P says:

    But Chuck, you miss my point. My point is to answer Jacob when he asks where one can be damned for good works. I answered by saying that when these works are done out of a checklist rather than pure humbleness before Christ. Baptism remains in that vein.

    As to your argument that some things commanded by Christ are required for salvation, I ask you to show more evidence that when Paul wrote to the Romans that the law was created so that we might know when we go astray is nothing more than that. Or when in the same book he talkes about outwardly following the does not make one Jewish he makes essentially the same point: one need to inwardly follow Jesus to be free from the consequences of breaking the law.

    I was reading through Romans, and noticed several verses to this effect in the entire book. First, ch 3:21-31 and 6:14. In ch 3 we have the treaty on righteousness through faith and in six we have this direct comment: we are not under the law. Romans 7 talks about being dead from the law but free apart from it in Christ. Actually, the entire book is a great treatise about our freedom from the law.

    I have heard you (Mormons) say that the law spoken of in Romans is OT or Mosaic law. Yet, I have never seen any evidence of this. I do see constant references to being from from law through Christ and how through him we are free from its constraints. To be fair, we are called to live a sinless life, or God’s law ie to live a life free of sin. But I see no mention of various requirements as if the NT sets up a checklist.

    But this is indeed all off topic of the post, which is the fruit of the spirit.

  7. chuck5000 says:

    It is off topic, but I will respond. I have explained in other posts that the Law was fulfilled, but not done away. Jesus Christ himself said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matt 5:17) Yet Christians continually contend that there is no longer a need for the law. But Jesus continues in verse 18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” The mosaiac law was fulfilled. But that does not mean there is no more LAW. If there was no law, there couldn’t be sin. Without sin, what need have we of Jesus and the Atonement?

    I’m not certain I understand the point you are trying to make. How can one be damned for good works AND be judged by them at the same time? It simply does not make sense that you will be judged a “sinner” because you did good works.

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Rev. 20:12)
    And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Rev. 20:13)
    For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matt 16:27)
    And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work… (1 Pet 1:17)

    How can the Bible say we will be judged according to our works, yet we are not required to do good works? You cannot simply strip out these portions of scripture and still claim to be preaching the truth. The word of God is the truth.

  8. Michael P says:

    Chuck, the reply is easy for me, an average layman in the church: you confuse two aspects. You confuse salvation vs being damned and you confuse the judgment where we will receive our rewards or our punishment.

    My response still stands, and you get damned when you put yourself before God. This is simply known as pride. Pride leads to the checklist, and will lead you astray.

    And I am not sure you get the concept when Paul speaks of law in Romans. We are free from it in Christ! We do not need to follow a set of rules and ordinances in order to follow Christ. Following Christ ensures we are within the law of God. In a sense, you are right, for law has not been destroyed. But it is not through written or spoken rules we stay within its bounds. It is only when we follow Christ and worship him that we are free from its condemnation.

    And no you cannot strip them out, but you can look at them from a different vantage point by differentiating salvation and reward. This is consistent with Christ and his mission, and with what is written in the epistles.

    And when you know what Christ can do for you, not what you can do for Christ (which really is nothing), you can begin to know truly what the fruits of the spirit are.

    And if you rely on your own good motivations, your own good works to receive them, you will first not truly see those fruits and you will be damned. Remember, not one of us is good.

  9. Arthur Sido says:

    Chuck, that is flat our wrong. I can’t believe you use this quote to support your case: ““He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)” What does it say, those who BELIEVE and THEN are baptized are saved, and conversely those who DON’T believe are damned. Does Christ say those who are not baptized are damned? Nope! If anything, Mark 16:16 proves just the opposite of what you are saying.

    That is why I love this guy, the thief on the cross, because he quashes all manner of works based righteousness. He was not baptized, yet he was with Christ that day in paradise. No one has ever been able to refute that, which I believe is why that account shows up, to demonstrate a man saved exclusively by faith, a real person who did no acts of righteousness and was not baptized and yet is saved. We are baptized because we are saved, as a public sign of our declaration of faith. We are not baptized to be saved.

  10. Lautensack says:

    Amen Chuck5000,
    We will be judged according to our works, and guess what we all will come up short of the necessary goodness needed, for all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. As such it is only those who are freely justified apart from works that will inheret the kingdom of heaven.”Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” It is because our dead works are not counted against us that we have been justified and as such have peace with God who otherwise in His divine Justice must punish sin in us.
    However if you seek the reward for you works, then what of your lawless deeds the reward for them is death, as their wages are death. As it is written “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 and “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” James 2:10 To say our works play a role in our justification would lead us to believe that our resume of goodness on our behalf is what warrants our entrence into heaven rather than the perfect Gift of the Father saving us from ourselves through the death burial and resurection of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.


  11. mikeb says:


    Once again you are taking Biblical scripture out of context and assigning a different meaning which is called pretext.

    Everyone will be judged by their works but this is a different judgment and doesn’t jeopardize the true believers salvation. This judgment is exactly as it says…to determine your reward in heaven. Good works are a result of a repentant heart, a heart that wishes to please and bring glory to God. We’re not doing good works because it somehow figures into the requirement for salvation but as a result of salvation through faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Every person is born with a sin nature that we inherited from Adam.
    Romans 5:12 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
    19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
    If you read the whole text you’ll get the full meaning of a single verse. We are clearly made righteous by the obedience of Christ.
    Baptism is meant to be an outward sign of an inward change. It’s symbolic of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Take the thief on the cross…Jesus said “today you will be with me in paradise”. The thief’s only action was to have faith and it saved him

  12. mikeb says:


    I don’t mean to be picking on you but you said something that I would like you to clarify.
    “You cannot simply strip out these portions of scripture and still claim to be preaching the truth. The word of God is the truth”.
    If you really think the word of God is truth then which of the two do you believe is truth?

    Ephesians 2:8-9: 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Or…2 Nephi 25:23 “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    Clearly these are contradicting each other. Which one do you believe is the truth, because they both can’t be. One is the word of God and the other isn’t

  13. Ralph says:

    If final judgment is for your reward in heaven, what are the rewards? Does this mean that some people in heaven will get more than others? What is the advantage if there is nothing in the next life except praising God?

    You say the final judgment will determine the reward you will get in heaven, so what did Jesus teach about the final judgment?

    John 5:27-29 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

    According to this scripture, the reward given from final judgment is the resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation. Sounds more like salvation or damnation to me. And the prerequisites…? “They that have done good” will receive “the resurrection of life” or in other words salvation; and “they that have done evil” will receive “the resurrection of damnation”. This is what Jesus taught.

    MikeB, its easy – “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20, 26). So one can read Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith (ie belief and works based on that belief); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works (alone), lest any man should boast.

    As for 2 Nephi 25:23 “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” Here we see faith – ie belief plus works based on that belief.

    First and foremost we need a true faith in Jesus which motivates us to do His will. Without that faith any works we do, regardless of whether it is keeping within Jesus’ guidelines or not (eg baptism), will profit us nothing. That is what the LDS teach.

  14. Lautensack says:

    According to your interpretation of Ephesians 2:8-9 coupled with 2 Nephi 25:23, how is is that no one can boast, clearly if you did something to deserve salvation and another did not that is grounds for boasting is it not? You were better at whatever work it was that was needed? Also how do you reconcile even this teaching with Moroni 10:32?

    Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

    Clearly if it is of our belief that we do good works and then is His grace sufficient according to this passage has anyone attained the grace of Christ? That is believed enough to work enough, based upon that belief, to deny them self all ungodliness, and love God with all their might, mind, and strength?

    I leave you with this passage from Titus 3:3-8.

    For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.


  15. HankSaint says:

    How about this Aaron.

    (Alma 32: 28-30, 37)

    “Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.

    “Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.

    “But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.

    “And behold, as the tree beginneth to grow, ye will say: Let us nourish it with great care, that it may get root, that it may grow up, and bring forth fruit unto us. And now behold, if ye nourish it with much care it will get root, and grow up, and bring forth fruit.” (Alma 32: 28-30, 37)

  16. chuck5000 says:


    Ran out of time. I just wanted to say in conclusion, that you are correct, we should avoid all ungodliness. Wouldn’t that include being lazy (synonymous with being idle)? We should be working apposed to waiting for salvation. God wouldn’t expect us to idle our time away. Idleness IS ungodliness. We should be doing good works.

  17. Just for Quix says:

    (I’m a new poster.)
    This is my experience. When I was a Mormon things worked this way: I do good works as best as I can. Fruits of the spirit come in proportion to my exactness and the will of God. This leads to being worthy evidence for receiving exhaltation in the next life. (Jesus’ atonement is the salvific resume that gets me in the door for an interview. But the rewards I get come from “grace” only so long as I did the best works I could do.)

    As a Christian I view it this way: I accept Jesus as my Lord. I revel in the mystery of His infinite love. This has changed me as a person so that salvation is enjoyed now AND in the next life. As a changed person the Spirit works through me to glorify God, which also often helps others and is even has its own rewards in this life. By following His commandments (or not), I know how well my heart remains committed to Him (or not). Fruits of the Spirit bring glory to Him and bring happiness to me according to His will and grace. I repent and follow Him to keep my eye single to His glory, and my faith firmly rooted, but not to become worthy of His love, forgiveness and divine gift. I know I can never perfect myself by my own efforts.

    This latter perspective clashes with the meritocratic desires of Man and Mormon salvation in particular. I’m reminded of Jesus’ parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20. The workers had worked all day and received the same payment for their labor as those who came at the eleventh hour. If we are not enjoying the fruits of the Spirit that come while working the Lord’s vineyard in this life, then it stands to reason we feel cheated in the end to get the same reward as late-comers. Many a Mormon –and even prideful Christian– could feel cheated as if they were the elder brother of the Prodigal Son.

    I think we are all the Prodigal Son. Some of us return to our Father, to answer the call to work in His vineyard, sooner than others. It is lawful for Christ to do His will with His own.

  18. Michael P says:

    Chuck, when I listened to your post, and when I consider what many Mormons do with scriptures, it is if you seek to “fill in the blanks” with what is not mentioned. Christ in one verse is mentioned as going to preach to those already dead and you take it to mean that the dead can be baptized and still change their minds. You see a verse mentioning more than one heaven, and you take it to mean that indeed there are other heavens. You do this without considering context, who was being spoken to or why such language was used.

    Contrast this with what it is we believe. We believe what is clear in the Bible should be taken as such, but what is unclear or vague we should be very slow to come to a conclusion on, and in fact are best serve not creating doctrine out of such verses.

    As to your confusion, rewards are not known. I, or anyone here, would pretend to know what those are. But yes, the Bible is clear there will be rewards in heaven, and these will be based on what we have done and how closely we have followed Christ.

    Do I think I will know the difference in heaven if I recieve less reward than another? Absolutely not! I will be with Christ in heaven, and that is wonderful.

    And this is yet another example of Mormons looking for something that is not there.

    Another point that I think throws you guys off: laziness. Show me a true Christian who is lazy. Just one. That’s all I ask for. Show me one who does not do good work. Remember this: not all who claim Christ are of him.

  19. chuck5000 says:


    Again, if my understanding of Christian Context is not accurate, I would be interested to have authoritative understanding of how (or who) interprets the scriptures for the Christians knowing that not everyone can interpret them individually as there is no “private interpretation” of the scriptures. (2 Pet. 1: 20)

  20. Michael P says:

    Having trouble with audio, but you mention authority. See, we believe, and someone else more educated than I can expand, that each of us has direct access to God. We do not need someone of “authority” to do anything for us. Sure, we have out teachers and our leaders, and we have those wiser than us (more mature, learned, etc.) but that despite this, we still do not need one certified by a church to do anything to tell us anything.

    How, then, do we study? Well, there are many aspects, but in short we read the scriptures, and when we read them, we look for context, we look for other references to the same issue in them, we look at how the terms are used, we look at what others (those more mature ones) may have said about the passage. We cannot forget to pray, as I think this gets left out often in our explanations, though this is to be a huge part. But then with prayer, we are to constantly pray. We are to be in constant fellowship with God, and I think this may be a reason why it is left out.

    All that said, bottom line is that you have just as much capability to read and understand scripture as anyone else.

    Anyone else should feel free to chip in, and Chuck, I hope that at least begins to address your concerns. Let me know I am not…

  21. Just for Quix says:

    I’m with Michael: the rewards in the next life of following God are not known. We can speculate, for example, that these could be “degrees” of joy. Those, for example, who spent a life in service to the poor will only know the joy and reward that come from such an endeavor. Not those who did other good things. They will have their reward. Our joy or condemnation is meet with what we have learned (or not) from following Him in the many ways fruits of the Spirit can be made manifest thru His grace. However, this is speculation as I don’t think the scripture is clear other than rewards WILL be there.

    Salvation comes by faith. On this the substantial body of scripture is in favor. Yes, there are those scripture that may seem contradictory, that may seem to favor a legalistic interpretation of salvation instead of a faith-based one (e.g., James 2). I could be wrong, however, but I don’t think scripture equates heavenly reward with justification when the body of scripture is weighed together. You have 500 scriptures speaking of justification by faith, and a few that seem to speak by works. Why make such a big deal over emphasizing the few except that it justifies a practical application/cultural manifestation of doctrine based on the few scriptures that seem to contradict the large body that speaks for faith justification.

    Therefore, to me, the practical result of Mormon doctrine is what persuaded me to commit myself to Christian doctrine. In an effort to reconcile the meritocratic urge of man, a “law” that seems evidenced in every day life, to God’s law, Mormonism ends up with a very legalistic interpretation of salvation, which in cultural manifestation (e.g., control emphasis, tithing & temple ordinances req. for highest exhaltation) I think more greatly contradicts the body of scripture, moreso than arguing about so-called “lazy Christians” who say they have saving faith but lives don’t exhibit real change, and Spiritual Fruits.

  22. Jacob5 says:

    That is true. There are many who may feel that simply following through with these ordinances they have done all. Just as in Lehi’s dream there were those who got all the way to the tree and ate of the fruit, but when they started listening to the ridicule of the people around them they turned away from what they had.
    What is it that we are truly to have? A broken heart and a contrite spirit. I think the source of confusion comes from this idea that LDS think they are saved by these ordinances, when we do not. However we do feel that following the commandments is a requirement to receiving salvation. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
    There is no ambiguity in our church as to the necessity of baptism. It is taught in the Bible. It is taught in the Book of Mormon. It is taught in the Doctrine and Covenants. It is taught in the Pearl of Great Price. It is continually taught in our church.
    Faith in Christ is taught in all our scriptures.
    Following the commandments is taught in all our scriptures.
    When it comes to our church all the basic doctrines of what is need for salvation are well established, and there has been no evidence to the contrary to any of it.
    “Bad work of the flesh” indeed.
    Where does it say we don’t need baptism? Where does it say we don’t need to follow commandments?
    Although spiritual fruits can be seen on the outside, the main purpose of spiritual fruits is when you have it for yourself.

  23. Michael P says:

    Jacob, do you know why we say yours is a meritorious faith? It is statements like this:

    “I think the source of confusion comes from this idea that LDS think they are saved by these ordinances, when we do not. However we do feel that following the commandments is a requirement to receiving salvation”

    Anyone else see why?

  24. Jacob5 says:

    So, then do you say there is no need to follow the commandments? I would like to see the scripture for that.
    You claim that faith alone is necessary, but how do you exclude all those scriptures that talk about following commandments? Faith also is a merit, is it not? It means you hold on to the knowledge of what Christ had done for you and for all mankind.

  25. chuck5000 says:

    Micheal, let me see if I can clear this up for you. Like all Christians, Faith is important to our salvation. But faith/belief alone will not save you. It is but the first step one must take. Once you have faith, your fruits will bear such. You will repent of your sins and walk in clear paths. You will be baptized because of your desire to follow Jesus Christ. You will obey the commandments; not for the sake of the law, but because you want to be obedient to God. So the simple “act” of the works does not save, but the intent of your heart and the sincerity of your faith lead you to do these things.

    However, if you are not obedient and do not do these things, then you cannot be saved.

    Think of it this way, in order to walk through the door, you must open the door. You cannot have faith that you will appear on the other side, you must physically walk up to the door, open it and step through to the other side. Now comes the caveat. In order to walk through a locked door, you must have the key. That key is obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Do they get you through by the simple act of doing them (works). No… they are merely the ticket. You still must be faithful, obedient, and follow Jesus Christ, or all of the ordinances (works if you will) mean nothing.

    EV Christianity try to say that Mormons believe that strictly by performing “works” they will be saved. It’s not like that. We believe the same thing you do, faith is what leads to these works. But what you fail to grasp is if your faith does not lead you to do these things that are commanded, you CANNOT be saved. Whether you believe you will be or not.

  26. Just for Quix says:

    I don’t want to speak for all of Christianity, but as I understand it we Christians follow commandments because God desires, and the goodness that comes by His grace to His glory show ourselves whether we have truly given our heart and placed our faith in Him, such that we are changed. It is that faith that saves us, not the works that come from a changed heart. But we do not deny that if we love God we will follow His commandments. But how Grace is manifest in each follower’s life will vary and we will yet sin, so it is not ours to judge the exactness of another’s works to determine whether they have a sufficient saving faith or not.

    I really think the practical goal between committed Mormons and Christians is similar: we believe faith is vital, and we both want to follow God’s commandments. That is a good thing. Personally, I think a perspective of faith-based theology is more empowering and leads to a more healthy trust in God’s power, rather in the frustration that comes from judging oneself against a performance standard, or worse, judging others, wondering if one is good enough to be saved. I also think justification by faith is more scriptural when weighed in the sum. Still, I admit that either theological perspective can lead to negative outcomes: judgmentalism, patriarchal control and a reliance on the flesh on one hand, or a laziness that following God is not important on the other. I think the latter is merely symptomatic of Man not living up to accepting God’s grace and trusting Him. I think the former is symptomatic of a systemic theology that doesn’t live up to trusting God’s power to do His own work.

  27. Michael P says:

    But Chuck, I know you vehemently see this otherwise, but this whole thing your present is double-speak, and it is contradictory. Your whole premise is this: its one hundred percent based on faith but to have faith you must work. Works come before faith. To take your example of walking through the door, you could still walk through the door without faith. You can still learn about Christ and his work and not believe it. You can still work and not have faith.

    This is how we see your belief, and consequently we see it is a works based system.

    And this is the crux of the issue: do you rely on your works or your faith? From what I gather, Mormons rely on their works and following the ordinances (whether or not they say so) than they do on the faith. I gather this from observation of what is done and what is said.

    And let me ask a question that I asked before where I have not seen an answer: have you ever seen a true Christian who is lazy, who does nothing? I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, and remember when answering: not all who claim Christ are of him– he even said this.

  28. mikeb says:


    If you stopped participating in temple rituals is there a possibility of losing your salvation? Do you believe that Joseph Smith also has a say in whether or not you are saved? Do you believe that by adhering to all the tenants of the Mormon faith that you can become a god?

    EVs believe that when we sincerely acknowledge to God (God knows our heart) that we are sinners and that Jesus is the only way to salvation and by faith we believe that…then we are saved. It really isn’t a matter that we committed sins but that we are by nature sinners. We also believe that the faith we have to believe is not an act of our own but that it is from God. You see that way, God always gets the glory. Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
    The problem with basing any part of your salvation on works is then you would have a reason to boast and God is not going to share the credit with anyone. You misunderstand the Bible when it refers to works and faith in the same verse. This applies to people who say the have faith but are not demonstrating it by their works. The writers of the epistles are saying that kind of faith is not real faith. The Bible clearly teaches that Faith is counted as righteousness but good works are not.
    One to think about…. Deuteronomy 32:16 They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.

  29. Arthur Sido says:

    The reason that this whole discussion just goes around and around in circles is that mormonism has an invalid doctrine of sin and justification. We are trying to explain justification to people that reject the idea of original sin and the utterly deadness in sin of man. The reasons for this are myriad but really stem back to an inaccurate understanding of who God is and who man is. When you see God as an exalted man, a created being and you see man as of the same nature, in a different stage, as God (gods in embryo) it is impossible to truly understand the Biblical nature of man’s total depravity and sinfulness. Then the Bible stops being about the redemptive work of Christ and starts to become an instruction manual on how to become a god. When the Bible speaks of the need for perfect righteousness, the Christian recognizes our own helplessness to achieve that. The mormon looks at perfection as an attainable goal to be worked for. Thus the talking in circles. Christians see the Biblical record for what it says, mormons read the Biblical message through the lens of mormon preconceived doctrines that supersede the Biblical witness. That is why it is so important for mormon prophets in antiquity to cast aspersions and create doubts about the Bible. By knocking out the underpinnings of Biblical authority, mormon “prophets” can replace it with their own alleged priesthood authority.

  30. chuck5000 says:


    I look forward to the same courtesy of direct answers to my questions as I have provided. There are a lot of lies being added to this blog. I would like clarification of those claims or please stop repeating them as if you know what you are talking about.

  31. Lautensack says:

    Hey Chuck,
    You have yet to answer my question or even address it, perhaps because you know what addressing it will imply. However in the sense of fairness I will post a few more contradictions between the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

    First and foremost is the nature of the Fall. I think this will help clear up what Arthur meant by in adequate doctrine of the fall. This contradiction comes from 2 Nephi 2:23-25 and can be seen when viewed in light of Genesis 3:16-17, Romans 5:12, and 8:20-21. Now I understand that the Mormon explanation is that Adam and Eve could not fulfill the former command of “be fruitful and multiply” Genesis 1:27 however there is no indication of this what so ever Biblically, and as such is part of a false Gospel, and in fact makes God the author of evil, something that is absolute blasphemy.

    Second I would like to address the state of the Human soul, at birth and in Children. This seems to be clearly addressed in Moroni Chapter 8 of the Book of Mormon. This is in clear contradiction to texts like Psalm 51:5 and Ephesians 2:3

    Third I point to the mystery of the Gospel made known to Paul and the apostles by Revelation, that is that Gentiles were to be included, oh and how this mystery was not revealed prior to that. I refer to Romans 16:25-26, Colossians 1:26 1 Peter 1:1-12 and perhaps most clearly in Ephesians 3:3-6. The book of Mormon has this knowledge in 545 BC in 2 Nephi 25:19;26:12;30:2;31:17.

    As for your question on boasting:
    “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”
    – Joseph Smith Jr.,May 26, 1844


  32. Michael P says:

    Lets look at what you said:

    The vast majority will be saved.

    But only those who do the certain works will be saved.

    You said these statements.

    You also say you rely on your faith, but you also believe that you must work to be saved.

    Do you not see the contradiction inherent in these comments?

    I am not trying to twist what you say, but only to point out the contradiction that is in these comments.

    Whoever boasted? The Pharisees!

    Straight up questions: Have I ever heard a Mormon boasting about works, well, yes. I have. I have been told that because they do these works they are better than me and more than faithful than me. I have been accused of being lazy and they were

    And you still do not understand the criticism of the BOM. The BOM is an unreliable book. Clarification or not, it falls apart given the criteria I have provided. If anything, based on your claim, you could claim it is as a supplement in the way we view commentaries on the Bible. That’s at best. But it is not of God based on the troubles with the issues presented.

    So, to summarize, and I do this so you can better understand our view, there are cotnradictions in your belief on works v faith and the BOM falls short of criteria needed to be a reliable book.

  33. Michael P says:

    I just listened (had audio trouble earlier). You ask what your motivation would be to follow Christ and at judgment based on our works. Shouldn’t we be motivated by those words.

    This is really quite easy: our motivation is Christ himself. Our motivation is to love him, and not win points for salvation. Christ is our everything, everything we do we are to do in his name, for his glory, not ours.

    See, if you take the attitude you give in that audio post, that we are to study hard so that we can get the best grade and the most rewards, the glory is yours. Its YOUR motivation, and YOUR glory to become a god. This is not Christs glory. We are nothing without him, and you suppose you can be as glorious as he. This, again, with a spirit of clarification of our beliefs, is ananthema to what we beleive: Christ is the ultimate glory, and he deserves everything we have and everything we can ever give or recieve, not for us, but for him.

    You also use an example of one who professes Christ but goes and robs a bank. Two things on that. First, the man is sinning and is likely not a true believer. Second, he certainly does not have faith that Christ will provide everything that person needs.

    Finally, I think you were looking too much into my statement on reward. Its as simple as I said. As long as you are with Christ, that is all the glory you will ever care about. In other words, you won’t care that the person next to you may have a touch more reward than you.

    I hope this clarifies these points.

  34. chuck5000 says:


  35. Lautensack says:

    First the question prior that you avoided. According to your religions interpretation of repentance, that you described and as described in D&C 58:42-43, do you know anyone who the grace of Christ is sufficient for in light of Moroni 10:32?

    Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

    Adam’s fall brought death disease and separation from God. Yet the Book of Mormon describes that as a good thing. The Bible describes it as well horrific. As for not knowing good without evil, do you define God or goodness in terms of evil, if so you must subscribe to some form of Hellenic dualism.

    The question about Children sinning, yes, they do sin even in their mothers womb, Psalm 51:5. Also where do you get this idea that you have to know you are sinning in order to sin? Thats like saying I have to know I’m breaking the law in order to break the law. We are by nature Children of wrath. It’s a hard truth but it is true nevertheless, if you don’t like it perhaps you should take it up with God.

    Yes God’s greatness would be proclaimed to the Gentiles, that was not the mystery. “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6 The gentiles were not going to simply hear of God’s greatness but be redeemed by it, a mystery “which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations” Ephesians 3:5


  36. Michael P says:

    Chuck, in all due respect, you are not answering the claims against you. First of all, and you do this again in your latest audio, say that works ARE required for salvation, in other words, its not just faith. Its one or the other; it cannot be both.

    Laziness? First of all, you must believe us to be lazy. You said it again, that the inference is that we are lazy if we simply rely on faith. I have asked you to mention if you have ever seen a lazy Christian, and yet you come back to this. Laziness is not something I would ever call a true Christian, and this is because when we truly accept Christ, we are motivated to work for him. And we do so not so that we can earn points to become a god, but so that we can reflect the love he gave us. Its out of love that we act, not out of a desire or motivation to become gods. Becoming a god is at the heart of your motivation, from what I hear you saying, before a true love of Christ. So, again, to us, its not about us, its about Christ.

    As to problems with the BOM, this has been discussed elsewhere, and between us most recently in the other thread, but real quick (the point I am focusing on– other address the theology and quotes in the BOM) is the archeological problems. How many items are listed in the BOM that were not in the New World at the time? How many animals, metals, customs etc? How is it that many passages seem suspiciously close to the KJV?

    We are way off topic of the original post, but I do think the fruits of the spirit topic is involved here, most specifically when you look a the motivation behind those fruits: to honor God or to exalt ourselves.

    Good day.

  37. Lautensack says:

    Oh Chuck,
    One more just for kicks forgot about this one until I came across it last night reading 2 Nephi. Anyways here it is.

    14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
    -2 Nephi 3:14-15 (Emphasis mine)
    For full context see 2 Nephi 3 in its entirety.

    Those who sought to destroy Joseph were not confounded but actually succeeded when they murdered him on June 27, 1844 in Carthage, Illinois.

    21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
    -Deuteronomy 18:21-22

    Oh also the promise of Moses in Deuteronomy 18 which 2 Nephi 3 alludes to was fulfilled in Jesus Christ not Joseph Smith or any other modern prophets.


  38. chuck5000 says:

    Lautensack, I thought I had already answered that. Sorry for not being more direct. Do I know anyone who the grace of Christ is sufficient for? Yes. Jesus taught through Paul “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:19) His grace is sufficient for all of us. He is asking that we deny ourselves all ungodliness and love him. So if we seek him and love his grace is sufficient for us. This is opposed to those who deny him, seek ungodliness, and do not love him.

    If Adam didn’t bring sin and death into the world, then how would we need to rely on God? With out sin and death, we would have no need for the atonement or the resurrection.

    Your view on sin is not accurate. You do have to know the law in order to break it. “sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13) Sin does not exist without the law.

    We are taught in the bible that it is by knowlege of the law, we are capable of sin.( see Romans 3:19-20)

    Also, if children are sinners “in the womb” as you state, why are we commanded to become as a little child?

    You say that by nature we are children of wrath. You misunderstand. It’s because of our nature we sin; not sinners by nature. It is a subtle distinction.(See Mosiah 3:19)

    As for the “mystery,” what other reason is the gospel proclaimed if not to redeem through faith in Jesus Christ? I disagree with your interpretation.

    Micheal, why does it have to be one or the other? There is no inference that you are lazy. The point I am making is if you do not have the works (baptism, repentance, etc.) you cannot be saved. Do not think of works as “physical labor” but as obedience to Gods law. I think that is where you are getting hung up on the issue.

    And lautensack, they may have silenced him (murdered), but he was never confounded (thrown into confusion or disorder) as the Church is still around.

    Deut. 18 speaks of Christ. But how does that link to 2 Ne 3?

  39. Ralph says:


    You said “Becoming a god is at the heart of your motivation, from what I hear you saying, before a true love of Christ.” This is not entirely true. If you know about LDS doctrine then you know that we believe and teach “For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39) God’s work and GLORY is to assist us in becoming like Him. So it is all about God, not us. We want to become like our Father in Heaven because that is what He WANTS from us. This has been confirmed to me (and I would say to most LDS) and is why we are wanting to believe in and follow Jesus, because it is only thorugh Jesus that this will come about. So again it is all about Heavenly Father and His GLORY. When we achieve eternal life in the Celestial Kingdom it increases His glory.

  40. Lautensack says:

    So you then deny D&C 58:42-43, because to deny yourself all ungodliness would be to completely repent and abandon all sin, I am assuming you’ve done this if Christ’s grace is sufficient for you in light of Moroni 10:32.

    You’re right without the fall we wouldn’t need atonement or resurrection, we would still be walking with God in the Garden, relying on Him to provide food and relationship for us. We were perfect and we fell from perfection.

    You forget Rom. 2:14-15 “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” Yes through the law we gain knowledge of sin however that does not mean that we do not sin, the preceding verses clarify that we are all wicked and all together worthless.

    How are we to become as little children? By fully and totally relying upon another for everything! Children are fully reliant on their parents for survival, trusting solely on their grace for everything, or did you as an infant work in order to receive the food your mother gave to you freely?

    As for the Mystery I didn’t interpret anything, I quoted Paul. “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” Eph. 3:4-6

    If you read 2 Nephi 3 you will see that it is those who seek to destroy Joseph Smith that are going to be confounded, not his teachings. They surly were not confounded as they accomplished what they set out to do. As for the reference to Moses see v.10,16


  41. chuck5000 says:

    I’m sorry lautensack, I am not following your line of thought on the Moroni 10:32/D&C 58:42-43 comparison. The whole context of these scriptures teach that we should repent and be like Jesus and not serve sin. (Rom. 6:6) So I am not certain what you are attempting to explain.

    As for the fall, “WE” were not in the Garden. Adam and Eve were, and they were alone. They did not begin to bring children into the world until after the fall. Therefore, we would not have existed. That is why the fall is a good thing so that we could all obtain a physical body.

    I wasn’t trying to imply that by knowledge of the law or of sin we will not sin; I was stating that when we know the law and do not live it, that is sin. However, if we do not know, if we are “innocent” of the law, we cannot be held accountable for those sins. That is how the atonement applies to all of those who dies without the knowledge of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice will atone for and their “not knowing.”

    I think you misunderstood Mosiah 3:19… become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him…” There is nothing in all of scripture that says we convert to creatures of helplessness. Please don’t confuse the two.

    Reread Eph. 3:4-6, it had not been known to the sons of men, but it was know to the prophets.

    Those who murdered accomplished only the murder of an innocent man. They did not destroy the church which was their intention. That is why they were confounded. They thought if they murdered the prophet, the church would evaporate.

    I still am not making the connection on the Duet. 18 / 2 Nephi 3 scriptures. 2 Nephi 3 has no link with Deut. 18.

    To follow up on the fruits of the spirit and works issue, Joseph Smith said, “Let not any man publish his own righteousness, for others can see that for him; sooner let him confess his sins, and then he will be forgiven, and he will bring forth more fruit.”

  42. Michael P says:

    Ralph and Chuck,

    Ralph, well, no, it is about your glory. What you are saying is that God may want you to succeed, but you still want to succeed. Contrast that with our belief: success is simply honoring God and not anything else. Ask a Christian what success means and they will tell you honoring God, not successfully obeying a list of things and getting to Godhood.

    Chuck, why does it have to be one or the other? Well, if you have to work to be saved, then faith becomes a secondary issue. No matter how much faith one may have, if he does not work, he’s doomed, right? Before you say that if they have faith they will work, what if someone finds a BOM around, believes it, but does not have someone to baptize him or help him through temple rituals? Or perhaps a new Mormon dies before he can perform all the necesasry rituals for godhood? What you are inferring is that these people have no chance in this lifetime.

    Is this not a fair conclusion to draw from you saying you cannot be saved if you do not work? If not, please clarify. (I’m giving you a chance to backtrack.)

  43. Lautensack says:

    What does it mean to deny yourself all ungodliness? According to Moroni 10:32 this is required for the grace of Christ to be sufficient for you.

    There is no evidence stating that Adam and Eve could not have created children in the Garden, that is speculation on your part.

    You say those that don’t know the law will not be held accountable for it so you would simply throw out Romans 1 and 2?

    Do you really think nothing in scripture states that men are all together helpless? What do you think it means to be “dead in your trespasses and sins?” I as a dead man could not make myself rise but only God can quicken men, in body or spirit.

    The book of Mormon is not scripture and here is a point where it goes against scripture because children are not humble but self-centered, not patient but hasty, not full of love but “are estranged from the womb, they go astray from birth.” Psalm 58:3 The intentions of mans heart are evil even from their youth. Genesis 8:21 You continue to think children are good but was it not Christ who said, “there is none good but one, that is, God.” Mark 10:18 If you’re not Good you’re wicked, evil, all together worthless.

    A correction to your comment on Ephesians 3:4-6, in verse 5 it states “which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets” (emphasis mine) Even the prophets of old did not know this, they were also sons of men, it was only now, in Paul’s time, that it had been revealed.

    I still hold that those who would destroy the seer prophesied in 2 Nephi 3 succeeded. That may mean they killed Joseph Smith Jr. or they confounded His followers as since then there have been around a hundred of splinter groups all claiming to follow the true teachings of Joseph Smith, some of whom follow Joseph Smith’s teachings more closely than the mainstream Utah based splinter. So either way this is a false prophecy.


  44. chuck5000 says:

    Michael, I have already stated that faith is first and foremost. It is always at the forefront of our teachings and our doctrine; Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    That is the beauty of the plan of salvation and how perfect the plan is. It has been around since before the world began. (Titus 1:2; Alma 12: 25, 30) If someone dies in this life before they have the opportunity to be baptized or participate in the ordinances of the temple, the “work” is performed for them on their behalf and they will still have the opportunity to accept the gospel for themselves. That is why we are baptized for the dead. (1 Cor. 15: 29)

    Because God is a just God, and because of the perfectness of Gods plan coupled with the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ, all men, whether in this life of in the next, will have equal opportunity to hear and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety along with the ordinances of the everlasting covenant. That is why the Gospel is preached to the dead. (1 Pet. 4: 6)

    So no, you have not drawn the correct conclusion. I have no need to backtrack. It’s just clear you do not understand the purposes of temples. This work is initially performed for ourselves, and then each time we return, we have the opportunity to perform this same work for those who have passed on, thus fulfilling the prophecy in Mal. 4:5-6.

    Lautensack, I am not saying they couldn’t (adam and eve), just that they didn’t. They had no children until after the fall. Besides, if they had, those children who didn’t sin would still be in the garden and we wouldn’t know of them as it was Adam and Eve who transgressed.

    As for Eph., it doesn’t say that the Prophets of old never knew it.

    Children are innocent and come here perfect. It is their nature as they grow up to become sinners. Jesus showed this when he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:14) And we know no unclean thing can enter His kingdom.

  45. Lautensack says:

    Just because Adam and Eve didn’t have children doesn’t mean that they couldn’t or wouldn’t until the fall the basis for the Mormon concept of the Fall upward.

    As for Ephesians 3, question one, were the prophets sons of men? If so then they too did not know for the mystery was kept secret, if not were they aliens or something?

    Show me where in the Bible it says that Children are innocent and perfect. If their nature is flawed, eg they grow up to be sinners, then they are sinners by nature and have a sinful nature, as such are not innocent or perfect. If we continue to read Mark, we see that it must not be by their goodness that they enter the kingdom of heaven for None are good but God. Mark 10:16 So these children, infants really, who were being brought by their parents to Jesus must be for some other reason. Their total inability to come to Christ on their own and depending wholly on another’s grace to come to the savior. This is an example of grace since entrance into the kingdom of heaven is by God’s grace and not human achievement. Why must we be like little children, because they know they have nothing to bring and must receive everything by grace, it is Christ alone that makes anyone clean.

    Finally what does it mean to deny yourself all ungodliness, and have you done that whatever it means? According to Moroni 10:32 this is required for the grace of Christ to be sufficient for you.


  46. Donny says:

    From Aaron s. : “Mormonism seems to teach that a person won’t live a Spirit-led life if they embrace justification by faith apart from works. Sadly, this is severing the fruit of love from the root of gospel-truth. For Paul, the only way to walk by the Spirit is to first receive justification and the Spirit “by hearing with faith”, not by works.”

    Faith and works. Well, Aaron, if you restrict yourself to certain select verses that came from the pen of Paul, you can build a case for salvation that has no relationship to righteous works. But a broader reading of the Bible (and even simply Paul’s writing) simply squashes your belief-only doctrine.

    I could go on indefinitely on this one. But a couple of verses will do just fine –

    James 2:17,24,26 “…faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone … Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only … For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

    I’ve given only a partial rendering because I’m sure you have your own scriptures. But my quotation gives the gist of it.

    Actually, the relationship between faith and works is clear and concise in the Book of Mormon – 2 Ne 25:23

    “…we labor diligently…to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that IT IS BY GRACE WE ARE SAVED, AFTER ALL WE CAN DO.” (my emphasis)

    Aaron, the idea that we can be saved by faith through Grace independent of our works is not Biblical. It is not the doctrine of Christ. And it’s not what the Spirit teaches. You understand neither the relationship between faith and works taught by Christ, nor the LDS doctrine (I’m being a little redundant, because they are one and the same).

  47. Michael P says:

    An escape clause! So, if we die without completing the appropriate rituals, someone can do it on our behalf after we die. OK. But still, someone has to do it. Otherwise, we have no chance, right? And again, if you have to do it, or someone has to do it, the works by default become primary. I know, I know, you believe works and faith to go hand in hand, but if you gotta work, you gotta work, no matter how much or how little faith. You also say this: “This work is initially performed for ourselves…” So it is about you, and not about God? Interesting how you word that.

    Just so you know, I am not trying to twist what you say; I am taking what you say and applying it. And you also claim I don’t understand “what the temples are for” and probably all Mormon doctrine. Fair enough, I don’t believe it, but it is also clear you do not understand our position, for if you did, you would be able to address directly the concerns. You have not done so, and only confuse the issue you say only with works can we be saved. It confuses it because you say its not a works based system, but we can’t be saved unless we work.

    Does this make sense to you?

  48. Lautensack says:

    Donny the relationship of faith and works is clear in the bible too. Unfortunately it states something entirely different than what Mormonism teaches.

    “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” -Romans 3:28

    “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means” – Romans 5:20;6:1-2

    “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” James 2:24;26

    “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” Galatians 5:6

    Both James and Paul quote Genesis 15:6, which shows belief alone is counted as righteousness. We see that Paul is simply talking about our being declared righteous, However James takes it a step further to where Abraham’s faith is tested on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22:9, stating that if your faith does not work through love and you simply correct doctrine, the faith of the Demons, dead faith, that which does not work through love, and useless faith which is idle, empty, or ineffective it will not stand God’s testing of faith.

    Justification by works which Paul rejects in his writings means deeds done to show that you deserve God’s blessings or heaven because you’re such a good person. (Romans 4:4) Justification by works which James accepts in his writings means maintaining a right standing with God by faith along with the necessary evidence of faith, the works of love. (James 2:15-17)

    Paul and James agree as seen in Ephesians 2:8-10,
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”


  49. chuck5000 says:

    Lautensack, yes, Prophets were the sons of Men, but Amos 3:5 says “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.” We can then understand, the secrets are known by the prophets.

    I admit the Adam issue is interpretive. My point being just like you read about faith and works. You interpret it to your benefit. But are you disagreeing that if they had children they would have been left in the Garden in the presence of God since they committed no sin?

    Micheal, ‘This work is initially performed for ourselves’ was poorly worded. I should say that when we go through the template for the first time, we are the ones who make the covenants with God.

    A better way to state the whole “works” thing is replacing the term works, with Ordinances. Maybe that will better help you understand. In trying to use your terminology, you are confusing the issue. We must have certain ordinances to be obedient to God. Service is also important.

    No, It’s not making sense. I have answered these issues quite clearly but it doesn’t seem to be getting through for some reason. It seems we may be at a stale mate. I continue to provide the answers but they are not accepted.

    I’m not certain what more I can say short of agreeing with your position on the matter that would be acceptable by you. And that’s ok. My intention isn’t to convert you to the truth, merely to share it with you; to try to help you come to the understanding of our beliefs in an attempt to limit the untruth that is being spread.

    All I am trying to say is that in order to share information about the Mormon church, you should fully understand it so as to share the belief as it is, and not your interpretation of it.

  50. Ralph says:

    Just a quick yes or no question – A member of a bikie gang has led a life of beating people up, almost killed someone, drugs, booze and is homosexual. He hears someone preach Jesus Christ and the gospel and decides that this is what he needs. So he says the prayer acknowledging Jesus as his Saviour and asking for forgivness for his past sins. From that point on he changes everything about his life claiming that his faith in Jesus has helped him get off the drugs and alcohol, and got him out of the bad situation he was in. But he is still openly homosexual and lives in a commited relationship with someone. He will not ‘renounce’ this lifestyle as he believes that he was born that way and its his natural being and the way God created him. Is he saved? Yes or No?

    If the answer is no, then you do believe that works are a necessary part of salvation.

    If the answer is yes, then you believe as you state, that works are not necessary for salvation it is just faith alone.

    If the answer is yes, then what if he did not change the rest of his life style? Is he still saved?

    You cannot say that the works are an outward showing of faith but are not necessary and then say that this man above is not saved because he has not changed his lifestyle if salvation comes through faith alone.

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