With a Sincere Heart

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Moroni 10:4

I was talking with a Mormon elder the other day. He challenged me to read the Book of Mormon (I have) and put the Moroni 10:4 promise into practice. Elder A. had just commented on the importance of LDS missionaries making an effort to understand, from a non-member’s perspective, what they tell investigators; therefore, I tried to explain a problem I have, as a non-Mormon, with the Moroni 10:4 challenge.

“Elder, this doesn’t seem like a valid test for me to use and here’s why. The Book of Mormon promises that if I ask God (while meeting certain criterion) whether the book is true, He will tell me it is true by the power of the Holy Ghost. But in order for me to believe the promise, I must already believe that the Book of Mormon is true. Because, if I don’t already believe the Book of Mormon is true, why would I exercise the promise given in Moroni 10:4? Why would I trust something that I don’t yet know or believe is true?”

Elder A. said, “You don’t need to believe the promise; you just need to do it.”

I explained that the book I do believe — the Bible — does not tell me to discover truth in the way the Book of Mormon suggests.

Elder A. quoted James 1:5.

I talked about the difference between praying for wisdom (as the Bible passage instructs) and praying to know if something is true (as the Book of Mormon instructs). I told Elder A. that I had prayed as I read the Book of Mormon some years ago, and that I believe God answered that prayer. With wisdom and discernment given by God, I came to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is not true.

Elder A. informed me that of course I would reach a negative conclusion if I doubted or wondered if the book might be false. He said the honest investigator must pray with an open mind, with no preconceptions regarding the validity of the Book of Mormon.

“But Elder,” I said, “what you suggest is impossible. In order to use the Moroni 10:4 test, an investigator must begin with confidence that the Book of Mormon is true and Moroni 10:4 is an actual promise from God. Therefore, he cannot pray as prescribed in Moroni 10:4 with a completely open mind while bearing no preconceptions about the validity of the Book of Mormon. He is unable to do that because he must already believe the book is true enough to impart true promises from God.”

Elder A. disagreed. He did not want to discuss the matter further, so we let it drop.

But as explained by Elder A. this is really an impossible situation. Either an investigator believes the Book of Mormon and so “tests” its truthfulness according to Moroni 10:4, or the investigator questions the Book of Mormon, including the Moroni 10:4 promise, and thereby loses any ability to discover the truth.

Friends, the Moroni 10:4 truth test is a stacked deck. As good as it may sound, it’s simply not viable. I encourage you to consider instead the commended method for discerning truth as described in Acts 17:11.


For further reading:
Burning in the Bosom
Praying About the Book of Mormon – Is it Biblical?

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Book of Mormon, Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry. Bookmark the permalink.

91 Responses to With a Sincere Heart

  1. Rick B says:

    Let me add to the trinity thought here for you.
    LDS teach/Believe that Jesus was an Angel who went to become a man then made it to Godhood. If Jesus was simply a man and was once an angel first then please explain this verse.

    Hbr 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

    God NEVER SAID to the angles, today you are my son. So if Jesus was once an Angel as LDS believe, then He could have never been the son of God. So He must be part of the trinity as we believe. Now lets add one more.

    Col 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:
    Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
    Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
    Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    All things WERE CREATED by Jesus, Jesus was around before ALL THINGS. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. Jesus also said, if you have seen me, you have seen the father. Rick b

  2. chuck5000 says:

    Lautensack, “This is what I am trying to say, the MIND is not of the physical but the spiritual. How is this so hard to understand?” Because you (Christians) have explained it this way. You explain that studying brings truth. Sharon even stated in the story that she could not pray with an “open mind.” She said is was impossible. She goes into the situation with a pre-conception (in her mind) that the book is false removing the ability for the spirit to touch her. She then goes on to quote Acts 17:11 referring to “examining the scriptures” as a source of evidence. Taking prayer (and the heart) completely out of it. So this is not only the dichotomy, but also excluding the heart from the entire picture. Can you not see that?

    I already answered your question. Please read carefully when I answer, I am not going to continue to repeat myself. Further more, I do not make up my mind until I have consulted with God. So no, my mind will never contradict my heart. And if my heart (spirit) reveals the truth to me, that is what I listen to.

    Rick, you have it wrong with your LDS beliefs. Thus the question you pose is irrelevant. So your entire post is completely meaningless.

    Jesus Christ was the Only Begotten of the Father. He was God before he came to earth in the flesh. And yes, “he hath created all things, both in the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.” (2 Nephi 2:14; Mosiah 4:9; Alma 18:28; 22:10;) And when Jesus Christ visited the Americas shortly after his crucifixion, he said:

    “Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.” (3 Nephi 11:15)

    We know what we believe, it does not take a Christian to explain it to us. Just stick to what you believe and we can save confusion and wasted space.

  3. Rick B says:

    Chuck said

    Rick, you have it wrong with your LDS beliefs. Thus the question you pose is irrelevant. So your entire post is completely meaningless

    Why dont you be a little more spefic and tell me exactly where I am wrong and how. Rick b

  4. Lautensack says:

    Please go back and read my post from March 15, my first post on this thread. I believe it clearly states that the MIND is spirit, as is the HEART. Now is it your belief that studying the Word of God will not bring one to the knowledge of the Truth? If that is the case then can we trust anything He has sent down to anyone outside ourselves? Should I pray about committing this or that sin, because surly I cannot know if it is a sin from studying the scripture alone? No I’d better pray and interpret my feelings according to my agenda about sleeping with my neighbors wife.
    Now I would also reject my mind in this scenario as well because I can reason my way around the commandments into committing adultery with my neighbors wife. This is what Sharon is saying, that we are wicked and cannot trust ourselves therefore we must learn from the scriptures that which is “God-Breathed” (2Tim3:16) and if God does not lie (Numbers 23:19) if something does not correlate with scripture then it is false no matter how rational it seems or how good it makes us feel. Please do not get me wrong, I do believe that God is both rational and emotional, I have personally experienced this in Him, yet whenever I did it correlated with scripture, and if it did not, such as when I was using drugs prior to God saving me, though it felt right and I could reason my way to it, because it was a sin according to scripture it was just that, a sin.


  5. clarity67 says:

    I will agree completely with Chuck that you have absolutely misrepresented the LDS belief about Jesus. He is the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, the Creator of all things and the Savior of the world, not “an angel who became a man and then went on to Godhood”. I am actually curious as to where you could have conjured such an idea. Well, really no…, I am not. Please don’t interject again until you know what in the world you’re talking about.

    Lautensack, thank you for your thoughts and references. So, if you will indulge me, just a few questions that I think I may know your answers to, but want to be direct and as clear as possible. (1) Does the Father have a physical body like Jesus? (2) What is the definition of “essence” as used in your description of the trinity? (3) Referring to your comment about Jesus being “fully God and fully man”, does this mean that you believe that he inherited these characteristics from his “PARENTS”? And then, (3a) do you believe that Jesus is literally the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, just the same as you were begotten in the flesh by your parents? (with the exception of course that your father wasn’t God-no disrespect to your earthly father, of course)(4) acknowledging your statement that God is “three persons that share nature, essence, substance of Godhood,” how are they different, if at all? (5) What is your understanding of Joseph Smith’s First Vision and how does it contradict what you believe? Look forward to your thoughtful response.

  6. Rick B says:

    I said what I said because LDS teach Jesus and Lucifer are Brothers. I quoted

    Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
    Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    It says here Jesus Created ALL THINGS, What Does ALL mean? All means All. So it seems from Scripture Jesus created the devil and the Angels. So did Jesus create his own brother?

    The Bible also Teaches that Lucifer is an Angel, the BoM teaches Lucifer is an Angel, so that is why I said what I said. Now you were saying I should keep quite on things I know nothing about, Please show me where I said I know everything and I cannot make mistakes. Also I think you should hold your self to your own bar, because you seem to be wrong on many things, you joined a false religion that will result in eternal death for starts. Rick b

  7. chuck5000 says:

    Rick, you said “Why dont you be a little more spefic and tell me exactly where I am wrong and how.” Did you not read my last post?

    Wow Rick, this is the “reading between lines” of all instances. You are drawing your own conclusions of our beliefs. Jesus Christ being an angel is not a doctrine taught in our church. You are free to continue to believe however you would like, but trying to draw the correlation with your mind like that is why you struggle making sense of our beliefs and why you continue to spout untruth about our beliefs. Like I said before, instead of trying to tell me what I believe, stick to what you believe.

    As for holding myself to the same standard (and clarity), I could be wrong, but I don’t recall anyone telling you what you believe. We merely try to clarify the truth of the falseities you share about us.

    Lautensack, there is a HUGE hole in your statement “if something does not correlate with scripture”. What if it is not in scripture? Then what? What if your ‘mind’ interprets the scripture incorrectly? Then what?

  8. Lautensack says:

    1) The Father does not have a physical body. The two natures of the incarnate Son are for lack of a better term divine to which He takes upon Himself human nature, becomes fully human while remaining fully God.
    2) Because God dwells “in that inaccessible light, wom no man has seen or can see” we can only know of God by what He reveals. That being said there is a qualifier I would hold anyone to who would like to define God. There was never a when, when he was not, prior to Him nothing at all existed. Nothing is co-eternal with God except God, and everything that exists which is not god was created by God, including matter and some even say spirit, stating that John 4:24 is anthropomorphism, because of the radical transcendence of God.
    3) Please define what you mean by “Characteristics.”
    3a)No, He is the only begotten Son of God in any sense of the word, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit (not the Father) of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
    4) The Father and the Holy Spirit are not incarnate for one.
    5) Well the main difference is that your religion teaches that men can become Gods through obedience to something outside of God in a hunt up a Kabbalahistic latter of divinity. Mine teaches that even though God didn’t have to save a rebellious creation, He (God the Son) entered into creation, and made Himself a man, suffered and died at the hands of men being crushed and cursed by God to bring glory to Himself and save a sinful people from themselves for Himself. So to put it very mildly, your God is far too small. Yours rearranges the pre-existing, my God creates from nothing at all. Yours had a beginning, mine is from everlasting to everlasting.


  9. Lautensack says:

    “What if it is not in scripture? Then what?”
    Chuck5000, please provide me with a subject about our lives that the Bible has not touched on?
    “What if your ‘mind’ interprets the scripture incorrectly? Then what?”
    Chuck5000, What if your ‘mind’ interprets your ‘heart’ incorrectly? Do you not understand that interpretation of feelings is what LDS are doing when they “think, believe, know” that the burning in their bosom is from God. Hence you are trusting an interpretation of your feelings, over the Word of God. You trust your feelings that you are good over the Word of God which says “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” – Romans 3:10-18
    Could your interpretation of your emotions be something completely out in left field? Could your interpretation of your own ‘heart’ be wrong?
    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9


  10. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack, thank you, but I am more than just a little confused by several things, but let’s go one at a time. In answer to your question about “characteristics”, I only meant to ask do you believe that he inherited the fully God side of his “essence or being” from God the Father, and his fully man side from his mortal mother, Mary? To respond to your answers, we read in Gen. 1:26 “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Can we not conclude that we are made in the image of God(the Father and the Son) and if not who is the “our” in this verse? Now for common sense purposes is it fully ridiculous to conclude that when God refers to Jesus as his Only Begotten Son that he was begotten by his Father and retains His image and likeness just like Gen 5:3 “And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:” Now let us reason for just a moment- Is it so preposterous to suggest that God the father has a body, just like His Son?. By definition, fathers and sons are connected in this way, hence we refer to them as fathers and sons. God is not the author of confusion-should we be so “out of the loop” on the nature of the being we worship?
    At the risk of being simplistic and acknowledging my own wisdom to be far from some supernal intellect, I would ask the following? Is it reaching far beyond the mark to take Paul at his word when to the Romans he said, 8:16-17 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” We are all not denied from becoming like unto God but rather commanded to do so (see Matt 5:48) Only through Christ and his atoning sacrifice will it ever be possible, not through some extra credit work we were assigned to complete.

  11. clarity67 says:

    Is it blasphemous for a child of God to want to grow up and be like his Father. Or is this not the epitome of common sense?

  12. Rick B says:

    3rd post today.
    Chuck said

    Wow Rick, this is the “reading between lines” of all instances. You are drawing your own conclusions of our beliefs. Jesus Christ being an angel is not a doctrine taught in our church.

    Please enlighten me here if I am wrong. I think I am correct and we simply do not agree, But Mormon Doctrine under (Devil) Says Lucifer Spirit son of God in the pre-existence, but goes onto say he was an angel of God and uses 2 nephi 2:17 and D and C 76:25. The LDS bible dictionary under Devil says the same thing.

    Then as I said before, Jesus created ALL THINGS, Even the things in power. So Jesus created the devil and if Jesus and the devil were/are brothers then that makes Jesus an angel, or he was an angel, so that means Hebrews is wrong when God says that he never said to any angels, to day you are my son.

    Clarity, remember the Bible teaches not everyone is a Child of God, only those who call upon His name to be saved are Children, the Bible teaches that some our the Children of the devil. Rick b

  13. Lautensack says:

    Yes, the Son did inherit His human nature from His mother, however He did not inherit His Godhood, He always was God, there was never a when when He was not. So long as the Father has existed, so has the Son. He took upon Himself, human nature.
    I agree that we are made in the Image of God (Father, Son, Spirit), we are image bearers. Think of a mirror it is the image of you, yet there are far more differences than similarities between yourself and your image.
    As for Jesus bearing the Image of His Father, I don’t need to conclude this, it is scriptural,(Col 1:15) as all men bear the image of God, He just bears if far better than you or I.
    I too agree that He “retains His [God the Father’s] image and likeness.” However to draw the conclusion that God the Father must have a body because God the Son does would be to make the Father fully Human, which is heresy and Christians reject it as such. You must understand the Christians reject the LDS concept of God and men being the same species. You bring up 1 Cor 14:33 to support your point, however this text is referring to Biblical Prophecy, stating that all Prophecy will agree with previous prophecy. It also assumes that God and men are the same species. Assuming the conclusion is what we would call circular logic.
    You next turn to Romans 8 as a proof text that we are Children of God, yet in verse 15 it states that this Sonship is by adoption not nature because Paul also writes that humanity is by nature Children of Wrath (Eph 2:3).
    You bring up Matthew 5:48, I must ask are you perfect? If you are not what implication does this have on your own Exaltation or Salvation in light of Alma 34:30-35 from your own sacred texts?
    I would say that it is a good thing to imitate God, to grow in maturity to be more like Him. However if we are serving an idol we have created in our mind, then it is blaspheme, because you, a man, make yourself to be God, and if that’s true I need to invite you my next party (John 2) 😛

  14. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack, Ok, a couple of direct questions (1) Am I to understand correctly that you do not believe that you are a child of God? (2) Are we not all the offspring of an eternal Father in Heaven? (see Psalms 82:6 and Acts 17:28-29). If your answer is decidedly NOT, and you maintain that God and man are different species then I will emphatically declare that you and I do not worship the same being. Another SPECIES? Are you for real? Promulgating such an offensive idea is insulting to the God of Life who lends you breath from day to day. Come on, until this I thought we had some things we could draw common ground on, but if you will actually disregard or otherwise twist the language of “in our own image and after our own likeness” to conclude that God who lives an eternal, immortal, glorified existence, categorically different from our mortal, sinful, imperfect, and fallen state, yet, is literally of a different species, then perhaps we should return to the basics. Elephants do not grow up to be tigers and eagles do not hatch lizards. Pardon the blatant condescension, but seriously- I can perceive through your writing that you are highly intelligent and not lacking in calculative and reasoning capacity. Where in the world do you come up with this idea that not only defies common sense, but also nature itself. Please explain!

  15. clarity67 says:

    Now, to answer your question- as my wife will whole-heartedly agree, I am far from perfect. But, let’s be real, doesn’t God already know that about each of us. However, the admonition in Matthew in not one made in absolution because of its impossibility. The point is we should try to become more like God as you so correctly stated. Curiously though, I have a couple of questions from a common sense point of view, so please be open to what one would conclude logically for a moment. If the idea of an embodied God is so repugnant, why are the central doctrines and singularly most distinguishing characteristics of all Christianity the Incarnation, the Atonement, and the physical Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? If having a body is not only NOT needed, but not desirable by Deity, why did the Redeemer of all mankind redeem his own body, redeeming it from the grasp of death and the grave, guaranteeing it would never again be separated from his spirit in time or eternity? John 17:3 states “ And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Knowing the nature of God, the being we profess to worship is central to our salvation, and well, according to John, our eternal life. One day there will be no more questions and the heavens will be opened, but until then I believe I could answer to God with a clear conscience that I put my faith in his Word accompanied by common sense rather than a fourth or fifth century creedal description of his “incomprehensible nature”. Humbly welcome your response.

  16. Just for Quix says:


    It is inaccurate to think one is “taking Paul at his word” to read a relationship to God by “proof texting” Romans 8 other than one of a spiritual, adoptive, titular nature.

    First, remember Paul wrote in Greek, not English. The term used for children is teknon. From the Scofield Ref:
    “Gr. teknon, “one born,” a child (and Song in Rom 8:17,21); not, as in Rom 8:14, “sons” (gr. huios). See Gal 4:1,7 where babyhood and sonhood are contrasted. Also “Adoption” Rom 8:15,23 Eph 1:5.” (See also: http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=5043)

    Second, read the verse in context with the passage; it is clear that a spiritual, adoptive, titular context is what is being spoken of here. (I don’t think one needs to study Greek to get that.)

    Third, read from the Bible other passages that refer to the term “children of God” and “sons of God.” You will find they very much support what Scofield has noted above. See the Biblos.com cross references for this passage which should help bring clarity: http://bible.cc/romans/8-16.htm

    Lastly, Lautensack has addressed the nature of our relationship to God very well. I agree that it is a very fundamental division between Mormonism and Christianity. You are honest and self-aware to highlight the distance that Mormon doctrine places between itself and biblical doctrine by asserting specieal descendancy of mankind from God who is Spirit, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, etc. I think it is humbling, awe-inspiring, and consistent to worship the God of the Universe who seeks us out, to adopt us as children unto Him while saving us from our fallen, Homo sapiens state. Isn’t that a Father whom one can love, whom one can glorify? Do we need the irrational heresy of claiming God was Homo sapiens like us who, through exactness to the Law progressed unto infinite Godhood? It’s non-biblical. It’s also, IMO, within the arguments of faith, more non-sensical: get on a bus bound for infinity and one will never reach there.

  17. traveler says:

    The notion that diety is entirely spiritual, and non corporial, is a Neo Platonic one – comming out of Greek philosophy.

  18. Just for Quix says:


    I encourage you to begin to study the Bible. Start with a good study bible or parallel bible. Or, if you don’t mind studying online, the Biblos.com site is one of many excellent and convenient references.

    Not to offend, but there is a lack of good education and week-to-week practice in study of the Bible within the LDS experience, by and large. Generally “proof texting” and limiting oneself to only reading the LDS version of the King James Bible, results in inaccuracies of understanding. The two other scripture you have cited above show this:

    Psalms 82:6: The (little g) “gods” referred to here by the Psalmist is referring to princes and rulers whose earthly “godship” will but die and fall; it is only GOD who will judge the earth and ultimately rule. In John 10 Jesus uses this same Psalm to criticize the leaders who have used their power and understanding to create false “godships” blind to seeing the true works of the Father in Jesus.

    Acts 17:28-29. This benefits from the same comparative study I highlighted in my post above. I address it again to bring up a related matter: the Greek word used here for “children” is genos, which can be kindred, nation, generation, or offspring, literal or figurative. This is where it really helps to stay in context of the passage to see the clue to a literal or figurative interpretation. Here v29 tells us not to think our Divine Nature is a work of man, in precious metal or stone. Again, like cited above, we find our heritage as children of God is not of this corruptible earth.

    This passage is especially useful in highlighting the Christian theological offense with LDS theology. To construct God in Our image, a perfected Man, is really no better than the most ideal marble sculpture that Mankind’s civilizations have created. As an artist I believe such sculpture can help us look beyond ourselves. But it is only art, and ultimately pales in glory to God’s nature. Its LDS theological equivalent, IMO, becomes idolatry.

  19. Rick B says:

    clarity said

    (2) Are we not all the offspring of an eternal Father in Heaven?

    the answer is no! we are all God creation, but we are not all children of God. Remember, the bible teaches only those who call upon Jesus are children of God, Jesus even said, you are from your father the devil. so it seems even scripture teaches some our children of the devil and not God. rick b

  20. Just for Quix says:


    Sorry to be so bold, but you clearly haven’t studied Platonism let alone “Neoplatonism” to make such a statement.

    If anything the Nicene-era combative Arian controversy was that most heavily influenced by “Neoplatonic” thought. The Nicene counsel attempted to render into creed a unified concept of clear if paradoxical (not contradictory) statements of faith and doctrine affirmed by holy scripture, and was hardly a novel doctrine. The only thing new was how to word it in order to affirm and combat Arian heresy. I’ll concede that the tools of thought, philosophy, communication and faith were all put to test in wording the Nicene creed accurately. But to wield the term “Neoplatonic” pejoratively in the sense Lautensack and I have affirmed simply what scripture plainly attests: God the Father is spirit not glorified Man just goes to show how little you embrace about scripture as well as understand the influence Neoplatonism did have on Christian thought.

    Not all of Neoplatonism was bad, by the way, to the extent, in this context, that it helped us grapple with comprehending scripture; but it is by far not the only tool, and where it went so far at times to become aligned with heretical notions, Gnostic or otherwise, such was repudiated.

  21. traveler says:


    I never intended to imply that Neoplatoniosm was in anyway “bad” and I am sorry if I have misquoted, but I feel certain that the Neoplatonic movement was a core influence on this concept – between the material and the spiritual. I’ll check my sources and continue this later.

  22. Just for Quix says:

    Greetings, traveler. Sorry if I came off too boldly by reading a pejorative intent into your comment.

    I’m sensitive to how LDS apologists frequently use this angle to try to create a fuzzy and non-defined “pre-Creed” Christian church in which they then use to justify connections to uniquely modern LDS notions, which really stand or fall on one’s acceptance of Joseph Smith (or not).

    It’s common assertion that it was Greek or Roman pagan thought that defined the doctrines that shaped Christianity. Such influence, was not always positive or without controversy, for certain, but the tradition behind what has become core Christian theology is not the “battle of competing philosophies” or “ideologies of Man mingled with Scripture” that is the cultural LDS bias.

    The vibrant core of Christian faith that has been preserved, not only through monks, theologians, clergy and intellectuals, but also through the core faithful–the Body, Temple and Universal Church of Christ– is a tradition that should not be discarded so lightly, especially if that is the primary reason to state why the LDS Church had to come into being, and if said church wishes in this day to be welcomed among the Christian fellowship.

  23. Lautensack says:

    I am sorry, thought you knew and understood that Christianity has never taught that Men were the same species as God, not that God is a species, however the language does articulate the point I am trying to make. You said, “Elephants do not grow up to be tigers and eagles do not hatch lizards.” I agree and Men do not grow up to be Gods. I have never said that the body was filthy or evil, in fact God made it very good (Gen 1:31). Included in the statement of very good are birds, beasts, and fish, are they too going to evolve into gods? Satan is called the god of this world, is He too a God? I submit that God is the Father of all Creatures because He made all creatures. He is especially the Father of Christians by adoption. How are humans different than the other creatures of this planet? It is not that we have a body, or even how our body appears.
    Of course Jesus kept His body, He is God made Flesh, He is the True God and the True Man, two natures one person. He emptied Himself to become a man. (Phil 2:5-11) The center of Christianity is the Incarnation, Atonement, and Resurrection of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ, however it has become clearer and clearer that you have no idea what the incarnation or atonement even is or what it is the resurrection signifies.
    As for Psalm 82:6 it is clear by verse 7 that though they are “gods” they are men and will die like men. In Acts 17 we must note that Paul is quoting from Aratus’ poem Phaenomena, now does He believe it in the same context that Aratus penned it? Not at all because this section of the poem is speaking of Zeus. Paul is condemning statue worship, stating that if we are created by the divine then the divine is not in idols of gold or silver. We must understand the context both textual and historical contexts to exigite scripture properly, as ripping verses out of context allows me to make the bible say anything.


  24. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack,Just for Quix,

    Well, where to start? A question perhaps? Where, indeed, has there ever been a father (a spirit only, no embodied being) who ever begat a son with a body?? I would like love to hear the answer to this because it’s got to be good. While you both make compelling arguments through a literary commentary on the two verses I referenced, they simply do not register with common sense. Fathers beget sons. Golden Retrievers with bodies beget cute little puppies, uh incidentally….with little bodies. However, you cannot show me where the unembodied father of ANY species begets a son with a body- it defies all nature!

    Not enough room here to list them all, but just two examples- – how does the Lord himself refer to God the Father in prayer…??(Matt 6) “OUR Father which art in heaven…” and when he says to Mary after his resurrection, “I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). Please don’t try to say that my reference to Romans 8 is out of context when it plainly reflects the Savior’s own words defining the parental relationship. Now before you refer to adoption again, I recognize that adoption as children of Christ applies to those who accept him and take up his cross and follow Him- (Gal 4:5,7 John 1:12, Heb 12:7)- point taken, but these and other verses do not DENY that God is in fact the very Father of our spirits, quite the contrary. (Heb 12:9). We are His spirit children, and are adopted by Christ as we accept Him and His sacrifice and then He (Jesus)becomes our “Father”, “if it so be that we suffer with Him.”

  25. clarity67 says:

    You have suggested that I made the implication that the body, or having one, was filthy or evil-I did not. I merely stated that I read your previous comments to mean that you thought it somehow “repugnant” (was the word I used) for me to suggest that God the Father has a body. If not, I apologize. Rather, how curious it is that you suggest that I make myself “like unto God” when, according to you, I can never be such because I have a body and will be resurrected while, again, you maintain God the Father does not/will not.

    For you to infer that somehow my maintaining that God does indeed have a body is idolatry or blasphemy may be reaching, at best. I perceive that you see it as a limiting or otherwise unappealing feature to believe so. Why? God the Father knows who and what He is and whether or not he has flesh. Why if it is good enough for Jesus to take on flesh, why not for the Father??. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19) Please don’t come at it both ways saying, “Jesus is God made flesh, two natures, one person.” (as you stated in your last post) You can’t have it both ways. If he does not, as you suggest, then answer the question – why not?? Give me a plausible, believable, common sense answer to that question, if you can.

    I must say that this subject alone is precisely why settling this by an appeal to the Bible is nearly futile. If it is not, and God‘s word is contained therein, and the answers are there for everyone to see, then why do you see hundreds of Christian denominations that interpret the same verses of scripture in such differing fashion and substance?? If one truth exists and God knows the whole of it (which is generally undisputed) then let each man approach God for redress and to him that shall seek, he shall find. I hope that is the case for all of us, humbly I pray.

  26. Lautensack says:

    I do not believe you understand the incarnation. The Father did NOT beget the Son with a body, no from eternity past the Son is begotten very God of very God. Jesus did not have a physical body until one was made for Him through the virgin Mary by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. This is when God, Jesus, took upon Himself added to His God nature, human nature. The Creator entered into His own creation.
    As for John 5, where does this say that in order to take action one must have a body? It doesn’t Jesus actually qualifies this in verse 21, and actually if we are taking your exegesis then the Son should be unable to Judge because He has not seen the Father Judge, vs.22-23.
    I agree that only those who accept His free gift are adopted of God. Therefore if you experience this adoption and you pray to God He is your Father. Mary was a Christian so this also agrees with my exegesis. However where in scripture doe we see that all men are children of God through a literal union between God the Father and a Mother Goddess? Please note that Hebrews 12:9 states that God is the Father of Spirits, again if we take the exegesis you purpose then God also literally Fathers light (James 1:17) and Glory (Ephesians 1:17), oh and He is a literal consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29) with feathers (Psalm 91:4). Thus according to your exegesis stating that Humans look like God physically we should be Glowing fiery feathered beings, which clearly isn’t the case.
    I do agree you can never be God, a God, I never said you could not try to be like Him. You however have this weird idea that to try to be like God requires God to have a body, rather than to emulate and reflect attributes such as holiness.


  27. clarity67 says:

    Thank you for absolutely advancing my point that trying to settle this issue by an appeal to the Bible is nearly impossible. You have certainly confused the issue further with a humorous, yet ridiculous exegesis of the holy writ in which, although tongue in cheek, you unashamedly pick and choose when you want to take the scriptures at face value and then, when they don’t actually measure up the artificial creedal profundity that cannot be upheld by an HONEST examination, they are immediately dismissed by a translation flaw in the original Greek or whatever excuse seems to conveniently fit.

    You said,“The Father did NOT beget the Son with a body, no from eternity past the Son is begotten very God of very God” This does not compute. Please explain why then the scriptures are repleat with the reference to Jesus as the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD. And what does this reference mean to you, if not taken literally??

    You said,” actually if we are taking your exegesis then the Son should be unable to Judge because He has not seen the Father Judge, vs.22-23. “ Says you!! That is not what the verse says. “22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” Yes, Jesus is our judge, not the Father, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus hasn’t seen His Father judge before!! I am literally floored by the narrowness of your mindset. Have YOU been with the Father and the Son since the beginning and witnessed everything they have done?? How do you KNOW that the Father has NOT judged?? Oh, I forgot, because there’s no mention of it in the Bible, and therefore, we MUST conclude that it did not happen because we don’t read about it now. What supercilious conjecture to deduce such a conclusion. In fact, what would be so unnerving in the idea that Jesus learned ALL THINGS by watching his Father?? (reread John 5:20) What is the purpose of this life?? And, (related) was/is gaining a physical body necessary for us since God does not have one?

  28. Lautensack says:

    Why there are so many Christian denominations, I could ask the same thing about the Mormons. There are about a hundred sects of Mormonism. If they are all following their heart which according to some Mormons cannot be lied to, should they not all follow the same prophet? However because you will assume I am avoiding the question I will quote a passage of scripture that is plain and causes many splits in Protastant Churchs, more than the color of the carpets. If you believe all of Scripture you will interpret it one way, if not you will twist it to mean something else.

    “It is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”
    – Romans 9:6-18


  29. Lautensack says:

    I do trust scripture but I trust all of scripture, not just the parts that correlate with my theology. If my theology goes against the Bible I change my theology to fit the scripture. When did I say there was a translational flaw from the Greek? I have not.
    As for Jesus being the Only Begotten Son of God isn’t it you and not I who is being narrow and not trusting scripture? Are you not believing John 1:1-14, Mat 1:18-20, Phil 2:5-11, etc. Your presupposition is that begotten must mean in the flesh and could not mean the only begotten Son of God from eternity past and then made flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit, as scripture states.
    As for John 5:22,23, it is a logical progression from your exegesis of John 5:19. Of course I do not believe that, the part about v22-23, I was simply showing you how silly your view was. Now if we take the passage in its context we see that Jesus was making Himself equal with God(18). The Son only does what He sees the Father doing(active), not what the Father has done(19). the Father shows the Son all things that He Himself is doing(20). The Father raises the dead and gives life, so also the Son gives life to whom He chooses(21). The Father has given all judgment to the Son, so that we will honor the Son as we honor the Father (22-23). We also see that it is by Faith we pass from judgment to eternal life(24). The rest of the Chapter goes on to state that Jesus is God, distinct and a separate person from the Father yet God nevertheless. Culminating with the fact that because you do not believe Him others will come and you will believe them (43), and if you believed Moses you would believe what Christ has said about His own Deity(46). Concluding that if you do not believe Him, you have not believed in Moses.
    Search the Scriptures for they all testify of Jesus (John 5:39), Including verses such as Isaiah 44:6 thus Jesus must have forgotten He had a Father or He truly is God in perfect unity with the Father.

  30. Lautensack says:

    Clarity67 wrote, “What is the purpose of this life?? And, (related) was/is gaining a physical body necessary for us since God does not have one?
    Man was created to glorify God, (Rom 11:36; I Cor 10:31) and enjoy Him forever, (Psalm 73:24-28) and rule over creation as a caretaker. (Gen 1:26-28)
    We have a body because God created one for us, as He did for all creatures. Had He in His infinite wisdom to create us without one He would have. So a similar question are snakes progressing to become snake Gods? If not why do they have a body, what is its purpose? I would submit that it is not our body that is important for it came from the dust of the earth and to the dust of the earth it shall return(Gen 3:19). God breathed life into us in a way that He did for no other creation (Gen 2:7) this is why we are different from other creations, not because we were begotten by a god prior to gaining a body.


  31. Rick B says:

    I understand LDS believe Lucifer does not have a body and never will because he was disobeident to God and either was not granted one or it was taken away. If that is true, what about the Holy Ghost/Spirit who does not have a body yet is part of the Godhead? Rick b

  32. clarity67 says:


    This IS our understanding regarding Lucifer as well as the hosts of heaven that followed him (Rev 12:7-9) and the scriptures show many examples where evil, unclean spirits , demons, etc. long to abide or possess the bodies of humans, or even swine (Matt 8:28-32). What we know about the Holy Ghost is contained in the scriptures, namely that he is a member of the Godhead, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and “a personage of Spirit, were it not so, he could not dwell in us“. (D&C130:22) He is one with the Father and the Son in purpose, glory, and power. Any further speculation such as to whether or not he may receive a body, or any other guesswork is fruitless because we don’t know.


    Thank you for your detailed explanation. I finally think I am understanding the difference. You said, “God breathed life into us in a way that He did for no other creation (Gen 2:7) I agree. Perhaps where we differ is that I believe that all things were created spiritually first. Moses 3:3-7 states, “For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air; And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word. “

    To answer, of course I do not believe that snakes will “ become snake gods”. All creatures of God were created by Him to fulfill the measure of their creation according to His command.


  33. clarity67 says:

    However, the difference with man is that we were spiritually begotten of Him before, (Jer 1:5) (D&C 76:24) and then sent here and given dominion (Gen 1:26-28). In short, God granted us agency that we could choose for ourselves whether we will serve Him and be obedient to his commands, or not. The animals, and all other creatures are not granted that same privilege, they must obey (some people will call it following their intuition, or natural tendencies for survival) as they are commanded to multiply, each after their own kind, etc. So, while you have indicated it is the breath of life that sets us apart ( and I agree strongly), I believe there’s something more.

    We can respectfully agree to disagree here and I am grateful for your patience for my argumentative side that, at times, threads my wording. At least, I feel like I understand your take and am not left confused. Further, I apologize – the accusation about translation flaws was a general criticism and not directed at you personally. I whole heartedly agree that one of our purposes in this life is to glorify God. To explain my “weird”(your reference) thinking to you, it stems from the belief that gaining a physical body was/is another primary purpose of our life here and part of the grand design of the Creator. If not, why send a Savior to redeem us from death so that we could be resurrected and retain our bodies like Him?? And as you said, “Had He in His infinite wisdom to create us without one He would have.” YES!! BUT HE DIDN’T!! Therefore, is it reasonable to conclude that if, in your words, God’s wisdom is infinite, and here we are alive with physical bodies, that we absolutely need them in order to glorify God or otherwise fulfill our purpose here?? And if so, why??? Or why not?

  34. Lautensack says:

    First I must humbly disagree with your interpretation of Jeremiah 1:5, however that is a discussion for a different thread entirely, perhaps one in the future on the pre-existence.
    You say that animals must follow God, so would you say that the wolf or bear that wanders into the city or suburb and devours a family in their sleep is being forced by God to do that, as they are forced to obey Him?
    It is a mystery why God the Son would willingly enter into His own creation to save men who hate Him and are enemies with Him. Could it perhaps be to bring glory to Himself? Could not this be the foolishness of the cross? For even prior to the cross there was to be a resurrection.(Matthew 22)
    You ask the purpose of our bodies. Could it not be that they make us rely upon God for every good and perfect gift? (James 1:17; Matthew 6:26) Just as the law was given to increase our trespass is it not plausible that the body was give to increase our dependency? For God is active in the world and winning souls of men according to His purpose, not ours, for not a generation has gone by that God has not been glorified by the Church in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:21)
    Now before you throw up the agency flag, I agree we do have agency, however our agency is bound to our desires and we as fallen creatures will always desire the things that oppose God unless God through the efficacious calling of the Holy Spirit brings us to freely choose Him, which the Holy Spirit does not fail in. (John 6:37-40;44, John 10:25-30)


  35. clarity67 says:


    I am extremely impressed!! (not an ounce of sarcasm.) Don’t look now but you are nearly quoting the Book of Mormon in word and concept. You said “our agency is bound to our desires and we as fallen creatures will always desire the things that oppose God UNLESS God through the efficacious calling of the Holy Spirit brings us to freely choose Him, which the Holy Spirit does not fail in.”

    (Mosiah 3:19) “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, UNLESS he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh 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, even as a child doth submit to his father.” I am in awe of your insight. 🙂

    To answer, animals (God’s creations) simply fulfill the measure of their creation. Fish swim, birds fly, insects crawl, and yes, predators such as wolves and bears seek out prey. This is the world in which we now live with enmity of the beasts. Isaiah 11 tells us that this will cease during the millennium when Christ reigns (Isaiah 11:6-7) “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” and (D&C 101:26), “And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.”

    I am a little confused by paragraph 3. Are you suggesting that God was seeking to glorify Himself by sending Jesus to suffer and this was, in some way, foolishness on His part? Please clarify. Is this truly a “mystery” to you or were you being rhetorical?

  36. Lautensack says:

    I do see a similarity in our beliefs in that it takes the drawing power of the Father through the Holy Spirit, however I see also the difference in that you religion allows room for God to fail in this calling. This leaves much room for a total apostasy which is the key doctrine of your faith. Thus the fact that God fails is essential to your faith. I on the other hand believe the words of Christ “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day…No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:37-40;44 and “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:25-29 Because of this what the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote can be true of Christ where “for by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
    As for the foolishness of the cross, it is only foolishness to those who are perishing, but God’s very wrath was turned against the Son for those who are being saved.(Isaiah 53:10) It pleased the LORD(Jehovah) to crush him [Jesus] and put him to grief.


  37. Lautensack says:

    As for my use of the word mystery yes in this case it was rhetorical. Thus I will make a statement rather than a question for the sake of clarity (no pun intended). The reason God saved men and ordained the Son to die on a cross, becoming cursed by God (Deuteronomy 21:23), to be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our sins (Isaiah 53:5), to bear our sins in His body (1 Peter 2:24) was for His [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] Glory.


  38. Lautensack says:

    Bump for Clarity67.

  39. clarity67 says:

    Lautensack, You said, “I see also the difference in that you religion allows room for God to fail in this calling. This leaves much room for a total apostasy which is the key doctrine of your faith. Thus the fact that God fails is essential to your faith.” Well, how about that. Let’s start with your accusation of God failing. When was the last time God failed at anything? Are you suggesting that if WE do not turn to God and accept the Savior that God has somehow FAILED? And you believe that Mormons believe this? What? Total apostasy is the key doctrine of our faith????? Perhaps you have been reading some literature from the other 99 sects of Mormonism you claim to know about. Let me help you…..the following are the “key doctrines” (your words) , or Articles of Faith:

    History of the Church, Vol. 4, pp. 535—541

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  40. clarity67 says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Joseph Smith

    If you’re going to question our faith at least get your resources correct.

  41. Lautensack says:

    Perhaps I was unclear thus I clarify my previous statements. In order for your religion to be true mine must be false. Thus historical Christianity is an apostate faith, as your own book says “the church of the devil.”(1 Nephi 14:10) If this is not the case, if my church is the other church described in that very verse, for there are only two, then what need was there for a restoration? This is why the Great and Total Apostasy is the key doctrine of your faith. By “the key doctrine” (singular) I mean that it is the necessary one upon which you build the rest, as Mohammad did with Islam. Men turned away from the faith so that it no longer existed on the earth and needed to be restored. This must mean that God must have failed in keeping His promise that the Church would stand without fail. (Matthew 16:16-18; Ephesians 3:20-21)
    Now you might say that God did not choose men for close to 1700-1800 years depending on when you date the beginning of this apostasy but if that were the case, why make such promises if He was unable to keep men for Himself as He had done in the past? (Romans 11:4 cf.1 Kings 19:18)
    Finally do you interpret the statement that the Truth Himself makes when He says, “All the that the Father give to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” to mean?
    As for the “about a hundred sects of Mormonism” Here is a source if a majority of the groups listed can be proven as to have not sprung from Mormonism I will gladly recant the statement that there are about a hundred splinter groups. Please note that this list does not contain many of the modern splinter groups.


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