It’s No Joke

Our webmaster Aaron decided to play a joke on April Fools Day (2008) that really had some people choking on their morning bowl of Cheerios. The almost-believable story posted on the Mormon Coffee blog site said LDS Church leaders had decided to ban Spencer Kimball’s book The Miracle of Forgiveness, a classic LDS work showing how salvation depends on a person’s own works. Trying is not good enough, Kimball actually wrote in his book, because the requirements are clear as well as do-able. Instead of just realizing that Christ’s followers are supposed to obey the commandments for their hoped-for salvation, Kimball explained that people needed to be successful in their efforts if they ever hoped to attain exaltation.

When reading the May 2008 issue of the Ensign magazine, I can only wonder if the Mormon leaders had read the gag blog. In fact, on April 5, 2008—only four days after the post—Apostle Russell M. Nelson stepped up to the General Conference podium to give a speech following the confirmation of new prophet Thomas Monson. In a clear tone, Nelson delivered a “get-to-work” address titled “Salvation and Exaltation” that left nothing to the imagination. It was brutally clear and to the point, as were many of the messages in this particular conference.

After explaining the difference between general salvation (something all humankind received thanks to the “Resurrection of Jesus Christ”) and individual exaltation (which includes “living in obedience to the laws and ordinances of His gospel, and by serving Him”), Nelson stated, “The time to prepare for our eventual salvation and exaltation is now.” The endnote Nelson attached to that statement is Alma 34:32-33, which states,

“For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye no not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.”

Keep reading Nelson’s sermon and you’ll see Kimball’s philosophy everywhere. For instance, Nelson explained how “eternal life, or celestial glory or exaltation, is a conditional gift,” as attested by D&C 14:7. What must a person do? he asks. Faith, repentance, baptism, temple marriage, and “remaining faithful to the ordinances and covenants of the temple” are required. Indeed, this means one will never be able to “know” that he or she has eternal life, even though 1 John 5:13 says this is possible. Toward the end of sermon, Nelson taught that “the blessings of exaltation” are only given to those who are “worthy.”

Then, in a later conference speech titled “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Apostle L. Tom Perry quotes from former apostle Bruce R. McConkie’s book Mormon Doctrine:

“But only those who obey the fullness of the gospel law will inherit eternal life….It is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’…, for it is the kind, status, type, and quality of life that God himself enjoys….” (2nd ed. [1966], p. 237, ellipses his).

Obviously this is nothing close to the “justification by faith alone” doctrine taught by Reformation leader Martin Luther almost five centuries ago. As these conference speeches attest, the ideas found in Kimball’s The Miracle of Forgiveness continue to thrive in the current Mormon leadership. President Monson’s men continue to guide the LDS ship in the same direction as previous leaders, regardless of those claiming that Mormonism in recent years is moving in a biblical direction. I can only ask, “How?”

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33 Responses to It’s No Joke

  1. Apollo says:

    If Jesus and the prophets teach us commandments and we are saved by grace, then why should we obey them if we’re saved regardless if we keep them or not?

  2. Jeffrey says:

    Because its typically a good idea to keep your nose clean. Being positive and doing positive things in life only breeds more positive. In other words. If you are a good person, more good should come to you and those around you.

    When you get wrapped up in sin, it’s is a lot easier to lose your faith in Christ Jesus. Losing faith can happen because of many reasons brought about by sin. Think about Adam and Eve. Both felt very ashamed after eating the fruit and they hid from God. They, because of their shame, purposely tried to disconnect. It is when we are at a lowest points in life that we need to be running toward God, not away, do you see?

    Because you are saved by Grace, you should strive to be a better person. To set forth an example to others who are non-believers. God doesn’t want you going around saying your Christian and being a horrible example of one. What do you think non-believers would then think of Christianity?

    I know this makes sense to me, Apollo, I hope it does to you as well. If your a fan of logic and reasoning, I think it should be.

  3. Jeffrey says:

    To bring it down to more personal terms.

    If your parents will love you anyway because you are there child, regardless of what you do, why be good at all?

    BECAUSE they love you and care for you. You know that even though you may view them as being bothersome or annoying when they give you rules (commandments) to live by, they do it for your own good. Because of experience, they know that if you follow those rules, your life will be better off. And hey, if your younger or older brother/sister sees you being respectful towards your parents, they typically follow suit. (on another note, this is why you dont typically see a family with two kids, one ridiculously out of control and disrespectful and the other well mannered and respectful. As long as the parents stay consistent with the parenting.

    Sin/disobedience leads to more sin/disobedience. Faith/Obedience leads to more Faith/Obedience. It’s is au’ natural. 🙂

  4. lovehawaii says:


    I am mormon and have been reading this blog for a while and I had no idea that was a joke about the book Miracle of Forgiveness. I was actually very happy when I read the post because I thought it was true. I always thought that the book should be re-named “Your going to hell there’s no hope.” I wish that the lds newsroom really did say there were problems with the book. My favorite chapter is repent or perish or repent or die. In this chapter it says “And the longer repentance is pushed into the background the more exquisite will be the punishment when it finally comes to the fore.”
    I like your blog. Thanks,

  5. Rick B says:

    What it really comes to is this,
    The Bible teach’s Grace Alone, this way we cannot enter heaven by ours works and then insult God and say, As A mere human I could hang with you.

    Then God even says, Lest any man should boast. We would all be in heaven Boasting, I am better than you, because I did this, and that is way better than what you did.

    Add to that, being saved by grace alone also means, you can turn your back on God live right up until your death, then on your death Bed come to Jesus and spend eterinty with him, now thats Grace, yet Mormons deny that.

    How is it Grace if I decide on my death Bed Christ is who he says he is, and he says, Sorry, you did no works. Then the LDS ignore the Bible when it teaches, IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN US, TO DO THE GOOD WORKS THAT GOD PREPARED FOR US IN ADVANCE.

    It is not us, but God. Then Jeffery said If you are a good person, more good should come to you and those around you.

    This is simply not true, Jesus said NO ONE IS GOOD, BUT GOD ALONE. The Bible tells us our hearts are dectiful and Wicked, and that no one does good. What Jeffery said sounds more like eastern Karma mystism.

    Then when God says Obey the Commandments, Remember, it’s not like the LDS who feel it is a long list of Do’s and Dont’s, Jesus summed it up in one word. LOVE. If we Love God and Love our Neighbor we fufill the law. Rick b

  6. Anitap says:

    We born again Christians keep His commandments because of LOVE. Love and gratitude for His salvation. Not out of fear or guilt or out of a desire to get rewarded somehow. Our righteousness is but filthy rags. It’s all God. It’s nothing we do or can ever hope to do. We know he’s already done it for us. We also have the Holy Spirit inside of us to give us His desires so that we are changed beings no longer wanting only to serve ourselves but to serve Him. Only to serve and please Him, not because we think he will give us some extra points and a better position in heaven. We know we cannot earn it no matter what we do. When one accepts Christ as Savior and becomes born again, his (or her) heart is changed. A person truly born again will still sin of course, because we still have the sin nature in us, but a person who is truly saved will not want or desire to continue to live in sin and choose it as a lifestyle over and over again because of the Holy Spirit living inside. Yes, there are people who call themselves Christians but do not live like it. Either these people were not truly born again, or they will eventually repent because they cannot be happy with choosing sin as a lifestyle. Jesus said his yoke is light. It isn’t a burden to live to please Him, but a joy. True and complete happiness is knowing that all is well with my soul and I have nothing to worry about, knowing that I am fully accepted and pleasing to God because of Christ and what He has done for me. True joy is serving Him who saved me. It brings more happiness and fulfillment than anything on earth.

  7. Jeffrey says:

    Rick B,

    Perhaps you misunderstood me.

    I agree that no one is Good like God is good. He is the epitome of good. Anyone who reads the book of Romans will begin to understand exactly how sinful we are and that no matter what, we will never be “good enough”. God is good always good. Humans have an incomplete goodness because of their sinful nature so no one is truly good. (truly being without fail, all the time).

    I believe you can still be considered good on a humankind level. Mother Teresa was good. Still very much a sinner as we all our, but she has done good things.

    As far as you calling what I said Eastern Karma Mysticism, THAT simply is not true. Granted, every person who does a good deed will be rewarded, but think about these situations.

    You help someone move. You doing the good deed of helping out your fellow man will stick in the mind of the person you did a good deed for, so when you need help yourself, there is much greater probability that the person you helped will help you in return.

    You’re married. The more love (positive) you show your wife, the more probable it is that she will show you love as well. If you yell at your wife (negative), it will naturally create in her negative feelings.

    I really don’t see how this seems like voodoo to you.

    Just like when you smile at someone (a positive gesture), it generally makes them smile back at you. Like produces like here.

    So God telling us to be good examples as Christians provides much greater probability for the Lord to win the heart of an unbeliever. But if you are a fake and the person sees that, that produces a negative impact on the probability.

  8. Rick B says:

    As Followers of Christ, We will be Hated, no matter how much Love we Show, Jesus Showed Love, yet was hated. Your Correct about Doing Good on a human Level, But no matter how much Good on a human Lever Mother T did, it cannot get her into heaven, if she reject Jesus as Lord she is in Hell.

    And Romans is my Favorte book of the Bible, I even have Romans 2:11 tattoed on my arm, as that is my Life verse. The way you fist worded it sounded like Karma to me. You better explain it this time, but still no good works can save us, not saying your teaching that, just simply pointing it out. Also this is my 3rd post today. Rick b

  9. Apollo says:

    Thank you all for the responses.

    I accept Christ Jesus of the Bible. He is my Savior. Without Him, I cannot be saved.

    I’m glad you believe that I can be saved regardless of what I do. But I’m still going to follow Christ’s teachings regardless of what others say. I’m still going to go to church, take the sacrament, serve others, study the scriptures, listen to the modern-day prophets, pray, pay tithes and offerings, attend the temple, raise my family in the Gospel of Jesus and always take upon me the name of Christ.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  10. shelli says:

    Apollo, if you believe in the Jesus of the Bible, then you would only believe what Jesus said in the Bible. You would not need all these external sources. Why would you knowingly bring your family into a place that Jesus is portrayed as not who He said He was? It is fine to go to church if they are going to teach only the Bible, without bias, and to serve and tithe and pray. These are Biblical things. In Hebrews 1, God says that He no longer speaks through prophets, but through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you just read the Bible, without bias, and do what it says, then your relationship with God will grow, if you have one.
    As a Mormon, you would know that the “gospel” preached by the Mormon church is not the same one in the Bible. Remember, salvation is not by works, but by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Even on this point, our theology differs. Mormonism teaches that the atonement happened in the garden. As a Christian, I believe God is clear that the atonement happened on the cross. These small things to you are huge doctrinal differences. Just think about it.

  11. falcon says:

    I can’t do anything to merit my salvation. In my natural state I am a sinner, without hope, destined to be separated from God. The Good News is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God extends His grace to us so that we can be saved through faith. I can’t get good enough to satisfy God’s requirements for perfection, no matter what I do. So after accepting God’s gift of eternal life should I continue to sin so that God’s grace will increase even more to me? No, I’ve died to sin. Why would I continue in sin if I’ve died to it? If we walk in the light as God is in the light, I have fellowship with Him and with His children in faith, and the blood of Christ continually cleanses me from my naturally hopeless sinful state. Performing religious ceremonies isn’t going to perfect me or make me more worthy. It’s an insult to the finished work of Jesus on the cross to think otherwise. Nothing can be added to what Jesus did in the shedding of His blood. This is God’s program, His solution, His requirement for eternal life. Men come-up with works related programs to keep people striving and in fear, thinking their souls are constantly in jeopardy. God wants us to have the assurance of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.

  12. jackg says:

    Apollo, you ask a fair and valid question. There is human responsibility with regard to salvation, and that is to respond to God’s grace. When I was Mormon, I believed the teaching that God’s grace was added to our works to make up for the shortage after all I could do. Herein lies the dilemma for you, and it is that your understanding of God’s grace is different from the Christian understanding. God’s grace is not something that is just attached to our works, but is something sweet and incomprehensible when we realize that we all deserve death. God did not have to send His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. He did that because of His desire to have relationship with us. He did that simply because He loves us. When we obey God’s commandments–which are actually emobodied in the commandments to love God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves–we do so because it is the Holy Spirit indwelling us that motivates us to respond to God’s grace and His commands, which is the evidence of the fruits of the Spirit. Even in this, we can only be obedient through God’s grace. So, we don’t obey God because of how it might benefit us; we obey God because we love Him and want to please and honor Him. We repent and accept Christ as LORD and Savior to be saved; we obey in response to our salvation. Hope this helps.

  13. Lancaster says:

    The Mormon leadership teaches “earn your way into Heaven” because that’s what makes sense to them as businessmen. Very, very few of them ever formally studied any aspect of religion or theology, and never developed the metaphorical tools. The same with politicians who don’t understand comparative advantage and so treat all economics as a zero-sum game.

    The emphasis on works over faith also arises out of Joseph Smith’s early attachment to Methodism. Mormons take this literally, believing that there are specific “means of grace” (though Mormons don’t use that term) you must accomplish to be saved.

    It’s important to realize that the modern “hedging about the law” that now defines cultural Mormonism only began in earnest after polygamy was abandoned and Utah became a state. Commandments such as the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity were not originally the mortal sins they are now, but were seized upon as ways to define Mormon “uniqueness.”

  14. Apollo says:

    Falcon said “God extends His grace to us so that we can be saved through faith.” Define faith as it is used here.

    jackg said “There is human responsibility with regard to salvation, and that is to respond to God’s grace.” You’ll need to define ‘responsibility’ here because what you are saying sounds like a requirement. What I’ve been told by my Baptist friend and also what I understand from Eric Johnson’s article is that you say a prayer and you’re saved … no requirements or responsibilities. If you feel like it, keep the commandments. If you don’t, you’re still saved. There is no need to show your commitment to God. All you have to DO is speak it.

    jackg also said “So, we don’t obey God because of how it might benefit us; we obey God because we love Him and want to please and honor Him.” I agree with this statement. This is why I try to keep the commandments. I want to honor God.

    It is a beautiful day outside! I love the summertime when everything is green and the birds are singing and lawnmowers mowing and the sweet smell of grass. I hope ya’ll get a chance to enjoy the summer days (and mornings and evenings and even nights)! Have a great day! 🙂

  15. falcon says:

    Excellent questions and comments! Will saying a prayer get a person saved? In the context in which you’re asking the question, I would say no. It would be like missionaries in the old days going into foreign lands and baptizing babies in Jesus name, thinking that baptism would insure the babies salvation. That’s known as “sacramentalism”. So, go through the rites of the Church and your salvation is assured. Kind of like getting the salvation card with all of the punches or stamps for baptism, confirmation etc. You’re also alluding to something called “easy believe(ism)”. Here, try this as an attempt at a definition of faith: a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation or truth (2 Thess. 1:11-12) a personal surrender to Him (John 1:12), a conduct inspired by such surrender (2 Cor. 5:7). Just remember, Satan acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, that Jesus shed His blood on the cross as payment for sin, that Jesus arose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will return. But Satan isn’t saved. When Jesus encounter the demonic man, the evil spirits cried out “What do you have to do with us oh Son of God. Have you come to torture us before the appointed time?” So they had full knowledge of Jesus, but were not saved. So in my way of thinking, faith leads to repentence which leads to a changed life. We’re talking about saving faith. Doing religious rituals in the hope of getting saved or assuring salvation isn’t saving faith. I think Isaiah 35 gives a good example of a believer in Christ: “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. Say to those with palpitating heart, ‘Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.”

  16. Rick B says:

    The Bible is VERY CLEAR, We are Saved by grace not OF WORKS.

    As I said before, one problem with LDS saying we must do works is this, not everyone can do works, what about Kids after the age of 8, they die at ten or 11. Or what about Converts who die a day or two later, or people in prison on death row who covert at their last minute?

    But I also pointed this verse out to LDS who insit we must do works, so if you want to work to be saved, then here you go, this is from the mouth of Jesus.

    John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
    John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

    So according to Jesus, the Only Work WE MUST DO, Is believe on Him.

    Then the Jailer asked Paul, What Must I do to be saved?

    Paul said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ

    Man Paul either Lied or was very ignorant of the Bible and Gods teaching, Paul forgot to mention the Paying of Tithes and entering the temple and all the Stuff LDS teach we must do. Boy Jesus must be mad at Paul for leading us astray. Rick B

  17. Jeffrey says:

    Apollo, you said “What I’ve been told by my Baptist friend and also what I understand from Eric Johnson’s article is that you say a prayer and you’re saved … no requirements or responsibilities. If you feel like it, keep the commandments. If you don’t, you’re still saved. There is no need to show your commitment to God. All you have to DO is speak it.”

    The only requirement is that you have faith (trust) in Him. That you trust He is who He says He is, and that He saved you while you were dead in your sins. Naturally, because of our sinful nature, people rebel against God and his commandments. God knew we couldn’t ever be “good” enough.

    James 2:10
    “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”

    Even if a person commited just one sin, that would separate them from God. Even though from our eyes that person would be amazing. Even that one person would need Jesus Christ.

    Only God can judge the heart and determine if they truly have faith. Good works are an evidence of one having faith, and Christ in their lives.

    The problem I have with Mormonism is this. It’s as if Christ is saying “I have a gift for you, and all you have to do is believe in me and my ability to give it to you. If you want it, hold out your hand.” Then the LDS person says “Wait wait wait, I don’t deserve it, I haven’t even done anything.”

    The Bible is the Word of God that tells you, as Rick pointed out, that your belief is what is required to receive that gift.

    In the LDS response in my analogy, they said a true statement. And that is “I don’t deserve it.” Which is true, NO ONE deserves or ever will deserve the grace of God, which is why Christ was sent here to give it freely to all those who desire it and believe in Him. The sad thing is Mormons miss Christ’s reply to what the LDS person said, which is. “You can’t do anything anyway.”

    Look up – Isaiah 64:6. All our righteousnesses (good works) are as filthy rags.

  18. Brian says:

    Here is a quotation from Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians. (This commentary began as a lecture series he delivered at the University of Wittenberg in 1531.)

    Commentary on Galatians 1:3 (Grace be to you, and peace, from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.) —

    “The article of justification must be sounded in our ears incessantly because the frailty of our flesh will not permit us to take hold of it perfectly and to believe it with all our heart. The greeting of the Apostle is refreshing. Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever. Only Christians possess this victorious knowledge given from above. These two terms, grace and peace, constitute Christianity. Grace involves the remission of sins, peace, and a happy conscience. Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the Law. The Law reveals guilt, fills the conscience with terror, and drives men to despair. Much less is sin taken away by man-invented endeavors. The fact is, the more a person seeks credit for himself by his own efforts, the deeper he goes into debt. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God. In actual living, however, it is not so easy to persuade oneself that by grace alone, in opposition to every other means, we obtain the forgiveness of our sins and peace with God. The world brands this a pernicious doctrine. The world advances free will, the rational and natural approach of good works, as the means of obtaining the forgiveness of sin. But it is impossible to gain peace of conscience by the methods and means of the world. Experience proves this.”

    If it is true that the LDS gospel was lost from the earth during this time period, why does it advance the same method for forgiveness of sin as “the world” did during the dark ages?

  19. jer1414 says:

    It’s important to note the Jesus of the Bible is not the same Jesus of Mormonism.
    These postings reflect the difference between a religion and a relationship. A religion is more about following and focusing on rules, as though following a map somewhere, the focus is on the map. Whereas Christianity is more about following a Person somewhere, the focus is on a Person – Jesus. Becoming a Christian isn’t about saying a prayer (if it has no meaning) but about a change of heart or attitude and surrending your life to Jesus Christ and making Him the Lord of it. Not surrendering to a religion and following their “to do” list, but surrendering to Christ and being reconciled to God through Him.
    This is short, hopefully making sense.

  20. falcon says:

    So that’s it! It’s all about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve run into people who are involved with a Christian denomination and they’re more into the customs and traditions of the religion, then they are into Jesus. People will spend more time planning the fall bazaar than in prayer, Bible study and contemplation. How’s that possible? Because the church becomes like a big club that provides certain functions that are deemed necessary by society. The church becomes like a lodge or a club or a fraternity.
    I got saved during the Jesus Movement of the late 60s and early 70s. It was so cool because there were Bible studies and prayer meetings breaking out all over the place with the attendees giving little thought to the religious label of the participants. What a mixture of religious traditions and it worked because everyone was focused on how to get closer to Jesus and how to walk in the Spirit. I was pretty spoiled with that experience and to this day I don’t have much use for religion. Free in Christ. Exhilarating!
    I have complete confidence in the gospel; it is God’s power to save all who believe….For the gospel reveals how God puts peo0ple right with Himself; it is through faith from beginning to end.
    If you feel like you’re on a spiritual treadmill, you can get off…..and follow Jesus. The deep abiding relationship with Him can be your’s, right now. The good news is that you can be saved a part from religion. It’s just you and Jesus.

  21. jackg says:

    Apollo, I appreciate your comments, your questions, and your positive attitude. I believe second Nephi has thrown a wrench in things when it comes to works and grace: “…we are saved by grace, after all we can do.” This teaching attaches grace to the end of our lives. Grace is prevalent throughout our lives. I like to view works in correlation with the fruits of the Spirit, especially that of love. Love motivates our good works because we want to be a blessing to others. Good works are not motivated out of the fear that we will lose our salvation. Also, works are evidence of our faith in Christ. While yet sinners, our works are sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, etc. While believers in Christ, our works are manifest in the fruits of the Spirit. Once again, we respond to God’s grace in our lives. With the second Nephi passage, God responds with grace to our works if we’re worthy. We could never be worthy on our own, Apollo, for all fall short and all are sinners. God saved us while we were yet sinners. He doesn’t save us after we have made ourselves perfect. The Mormon Church teaches works righteousness, Apollo. It sounds like you don’t agree with works righteousness because you want to please and honor God by your works and not earn your salvation. The fact that your thinking is more in line with the Bible than with the LDS Church is evidence of God’s grace working in your life. Now, it’s up to you to respond to that grace.

  22. Jeffrey says:

    jackg, very well written. I too, Apollo, appreciate your positive attitude.

    Jackg made some very good points. “after all we can do” puts God’s grace in the future as if it is a paycheck for the “work” you do.

    God’s grace is a gift, given to you as soon as you desire it and turn your life over to Christ. God is always there in front of you, with his hand out, and grace placed in his palm.

    This is not to say that you can’t lose the gift God gave you after you received it. God is the only one who can determine if you truly have faith in Christ.

    Jack G said “Once again, we respond to God’s grace in our lives. With the second Nephi passage, God responds with grace to our works if we’re worthy.”

    I just wanted to quote that as I believe that statement is beautifully true.

    When you are filled with Joy because of your relationship with God, that joy naturally pours out of your soul into your life and the lives of others. Thats what I think what “God does his good work through you” means. Because on our own, without Gods grace in our lives this day, we have no hope of ever doing anything substantially “good enough”

  23. Rick B says:

    Here’s a thought on Work based salvation.

    Vision of the Celestial Kingdom.

    On the twenty-first day of January, 1836, the First Presidency, and a number of presiding brethren in the Church, assembled in the Kirtland Temple where they engaged in the ordinances of the endowment, as far as it had at the time been revealed. After this was done the Prophet states that “All of the Presidency laid their hands upon me, and pronounced upon my head many prophecies and blessings, many of which I shall not notice at this time.” “All of the Presidency” included Oliver Cowdery and Father Joseph Smith as well as the two counselors, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams. Following this ordinance the following vision and revelation were givin to the Prophet, making known to him and through him to the Church one of the most important principles pertaining to the salvation of men


    The heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell. I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son. I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Father Adam and Abraham, and my father and my mother, my brother, Alvin, that has long since slept, and maravelled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.
    Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying-



    All who have died without a knowledge of this Gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it,

  24. Rick B says:

    who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom, for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven. D.H.C. 2:380-381.

    Here are a few problems I find with this vision Joseph Smith had. Read over the requirements for salvation given by Bruce R. McConkie found in the book “Mormon Doctrine,” under “Salvation.” This is also posted on my blog, under Will all be saved,Part 2

    The requirements given do not line up with this vision. According to this vision, God states through the Prophet Joseph Smith, Anyone who died without hearing the gospel, if they would have heard the gospel and believed it, would be allowed to enter the Celestial heaven. If this is in fact true, then why even bother doing Baptism for the dead? I figure, if they would have believed, then they will be saved. Also, if this is true, why bother sending out Mormon Missionaries?

    We also see Mormon Prophets both contradicting the Lord and confusing the people. If this vision is true, then we read about Prophets leading the LDS people astray. Here are a few examples. In the book, Achieving a Celestial Marriage, Student Manual, we read on page 131, under the title, (1-13) Exaltation Is Based on Celestial Marriage.

    If you want salvation in the fullest, that is exaltation in the kingdom of God, so that you may become his sons and daughters, you have got to go into the temple of the Lord and receive these holy ordinances which belong to that house, which cannot be had elsewhere. No man shall receive the fullness of eternity, of exaltation, alone; no woman shall receive that blessing alone; but man and wife, when they receive the sealing power in the temple of the Lord, if they thereafter keep all the commandments, shall pass on to exaltation, and shall continue and become like

  25. Rick B says:

    the Lord. And that is the destiny of men; that is what the Lord desires for his children. (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:43-44.)

    These things are not only taught by Bruce McConkie and the Student Manuel, but also by the Prophet Joseph F. Smith. We also read in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, Student Manual, pp 30-31, a modern day parable given by the LDS PROPHET, Spencer Kimball. In short it states that if we are not married in the temple, we could be shut out of the 3rd heaven.

    The Prophet Spencer Kimball in “Achieving a Celestial Marriage Student Manual, pg. 30, makes it very clear that we must do certain things to enter the temple to be saved. He gives a list of 6 things called, (TEMPLE RECOMMEND INTERVIEW). It says that when you are interviewed for a temple recommend you will be asked about:

    1. Church attendance
    2. Payment of tithes and offerings
    3. Loyalty to Church leaders.
    4. Moral cleanliness.
    5. Overall faithfulness and worthiness.
    6. Obedience to the Word of Wisdom.

    Then we read in “Gospel Principles,” pg. 125: WE MUST KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD. To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments of the Lord (see D and C 1:32). We are not fully repentant if we do not pay tithes or keep the Sabbath Day holy or obey the Word of Wisdom. We are not repentant if we do not sustain the authorities of the church nor love the Lord and our fellow man.

    Add to that pg. 241 of “Gospel Principles,” eternal marriage is ESSENTIAL FOR EXALTATION (emphasis mine). Our exaltation depends on marriage. Then over on pg. 242, it says, “and in order to obtain the highest, a man MUST ENTER INTO THIS ORDER OF THE PRIESTHOOD [MEANING THE NEW AND EVERLASTING COVENANT OF MARRIAGE];” “and if he does not, he cannot obtain it” (D and C 131:1-3)

    Now with all that said, how is it that Joseph Smith’s brother does none of this, yet is saved in the Celestial Kingdom? I will finish tommorow, this was my 3rd post. Rick b

  26. Ralph says:


    How much do you want to read and understand rather than read and find fault? The answers to the questions you have posed have been given a number of times in the past.

    All those who would have received the LDS church as truth in this life will make it to the Celestial Kingdom. That is scripture and fact as you have written. How does this happen? We teach that Jesus opened the way for missionaries to be sent to the spirits of the dead waiting for resurrection in spirit prison. This feat is through His atonement. These spirits have their free agency to choose whether to accept the gospel or not. Now before you say anything about how easy that would be, go through the LDS teachings and you will find that all of them indicate that it will actually be many times more difficult for them to accept it because they have a spirit body, not a physical one. The reason being is that the same characteristics that were in our physical body will be in our spirit.

    That is how they will learn about Jesus and His gospel. Then for the ordinances like baptism, endowments, temple marriage (sealing), etc will be performed for them by proxy in the temple. They then have the opportunity to accept or reject these ordinances. This is why all who lived will have their temple ordinances performed, so they will be given the chance to accept or reject them and they can then be judged on this decision.

    Just remember, in the D&C verses you quoted it says ”for I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts In other words, our thoughts and intents are to be judged besides our actions. Jesus taught this when He said that a man who looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery in his heart.

    Lastly, children under 8 are without sin. Again this is through the Atonement. So they can go straight to Heavenly Father.

    So none of the comments you quoted contradict the scripture from D&C which you pointed out.

  27. jackg says:

    Rick, I have to support you despite Ralph’s eloquent entry. As you point out, there would be no need for temple work according to the first sentence of the so-called “revelation.”

    Ralph, the question you pose to Rick could be posed to you: how much do you want to read the Bible and believe it rather than reading it to compare it to the LDS cannon? Also, with regard to baptism, the problem is that you view baptism as regenerative rather than as the sign of the new covenant. The new covenant is Christ, not temple marriage. Otherwise, we’re talking about a “new” new covenant. I do admire how well-versed you are in Mormon dogma. I, too, was able to spit out such a response. You are very thorough, and you write well. I wonder if you know the difference between the words “sacrament” and “doctrine.” Looking forward to hearing from you.

  28. Ralph says:


    In discussing baptism Jesus said:

    John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    If we cross reference this to the next verses we can see what ‘water’ and ‘spirit’ means:

    Matt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

    Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

    Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

    Yes, we LDS teach that baptism is putting away the ‘old man’ ie a sinful life, and being born again to a new life in God’s path. From the LDS Bible dictionary we read – “Baptism is not optional if one wishes the fullness of salvation. Jesus said a person must be born of water and of the Spirit (John 3: 3-5). When he sent the twelve apostles forth to teach the gospel he told them that whosoever believed and was baptized would be saved; and whosoever did not believe would be damned (Mark 16: 16). Jesus himself was baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3: 15; 2 Ne. 31: 4-11). But the Pharisees, being unwilling to accept the gospel “rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized” (Luke 7: 30).”

    We know that baptism was a practice in the OT from the way people, including Jesus, went to John to be baptised. Indeed, to be ‘perfect’ to the Law of God, Jesus was baptised to ‘fulfil all righteousness’ (Matt 3:15). So we see that a person needs to be baptised in order to enter the Kingdom of God. That is why as I said in my last post the temple ordinances are performed for those who did not hear the Gospel and receive a baptism.

  29. Rick B says:

    The part that is in bold, is to add to what I wrote above, and it picks up where I left off.

    Notice, Joseph Smith even states he marvelled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom.

    We read in the Dictionary at, the meaning of the word marvel is:

    1. One that evokes surprise, admiration, or wonder. See Synonyms at wonder.
    2. Strong surprise; astonishment.

    v. mar·veled, also mar·velled mar·vel·ing, mar·vel·ling mar·vels, mar·vels
    v. intr.
    To become filled with wonder or astonishment.

    If Joseph was surprised, it tells me that he did not expect to see his brother there. But why does his brother get special treatment? Please explain to me, why would I want to be an LDS member and do all the work required to enter the temple, and be taught the idea that I might not get into the highest heaven? If I read only the book, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, believe his vision to be true, and die, I believe I could enter the celestial heaven by default, without any works.

    Does anyone care to explain why the LDS church is built on a foundation of sand and confusion? Rick b

  30. Rick B says:

    Ralph said

    So we see that a person needs to be baptised in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

    Ralph can you please give me chapter and verse that teaches this from the Bible? Please do not simply say, well Jesus was or others were, because while they were baptized, it does not say that they were in order to be let into heaven.

    Then add to that if what you say is taught in the Bible can you explain why we read verses like these,

    John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

    John 4:2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,).

    Wow, what a terrible example the Saviour Set, According to LDS, Jesus says we MUST BE BAPTIZED to be saved, Yet Jesus did not baptize.


    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Wow, Confess and be saved, What About be baptised and be saved?

    Brigham Young said

    Baptism is an essential ordinance for our salvation.

    If this is true, then why do we not read any accounts of Jesus or the Apostles ever once saying, In order to be saved, you must be baptized. Then in the Bible I read accounts of Jesus not baptizing, and the apostle Paul claiming Jesus did not send him to baptize.

    John 4:1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

    John 4:2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,).

    1Cr 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

    1Cr 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

    1Cr 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I bapt

  31. Rick B says:

    1Cr 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.

    1Cr 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

    Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

    Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    I read in these verses, no mention of needing to be baptized to be saved.

    Let me end with this, Brigham Young and many other LDS teach in order to be saved, WE MUST OBEY ALL OF GODS LAW’S. If this is true, why are we told to be baptized to be saved when this is not taught as a law, But yet Brigham young, D and C and God supposedly gave the LDS law’s like Polygamy, D and C 132, or Adam God and Blood atonement, Blacks not allowed to hold the priesthood, Word of Wisdom, and things such as this, that Brigham Young very clearly stated, these are laws given to him by god himself and you will be damned for not obeying. Seems the LDS pick and choose what laws they will obey and what laws they will deny. Rick b

  32. jackg says:

    Rick B, I appreciate your knowledge. We both know that the LDS argument will be that the Bible is not totally correct, and that the verses you point out are proof of what they say.

    Once again, the LDS focus is on what man does, not what God does. Ralph, you didn’t comment on “sacrament” and “ordinance.” The LDS do well to call baptism an ordinance within the context of their view of God’s grace in salvation, which is that His grace is only kicked in at the end of our lives after all we can do. “Sacrament” focuses on what God does for man. “Ordinance” focuses on man’s efforts.

    Ralph, let’s look at the famous passage in John. I noticed that you did not quote any of the other verses in this scene. Nicodemus’ question is in reference to physical birth. We need to remember that in order to understand Jesus’ response. To answer Nicodemus, Jesus is stressing the point that He is not talking about physical birth. The verse you like to use, which you think seals the deal on this topic, verse 5, is referring back to Nicodemus’ question about being physically born again. This is clarified in verse 6, when Jesus says, “That which is born of flesh is flesh.” This is the water birth that is being discussed. When Jesus is preaching that a man must be born again, He is not talking about water birth of any sort, He is talking about spiritual birth. This is what Nicodemus missed in the conversation. This is the focus of the passage: spiritual birth, not water birth. No where in this passage can we exegete that Jesus is talking about water baptism. He is talking about baptism of the Spirit. Further on in verse 12, Jesus says: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not,how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” Again, Nicodemus’ confusion is pointed out. But, Jesus isn’t finished with this teaching. In verses 14 and 15, Jesus says: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

  33. jackg says:

    That whosever believeth in him might be saved” (KJV). It is through Jesus that we are saved; we are not saved through baptism. Baptism is the sign of the new covenant, which is Jesus Christ, just as circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. Circumcision didn’t save anyone, and baptism doesn’t save anyone. Jesus does the saving alone. He doesn’t need the help of sacraments or ordinances.

    Proof texting is not the way to go, Ralph. I know that you will reject everything I have said; however, I know that God’s grace is working in you even as we correspond through this blog. The blood of Christ is all you need, Ralph. Christ saves you; not baptism or going to the temple or anything that is added to the Work of Jesus Christ. Anything we do in the way of works is our response to our relationship with Christ, not because it merits us anything; the only thing we could ever merit for ourselves is death. But, praise be to God that His grace is poured out freely and in great abundance!

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