Heartbreak of the Mormon Gospel

In a recent article on Mormon Times, LDS author Orson Scott Card wrote a column about books. Books he’s seen, books he’s read, and “Mormon books [he’ll] do without.” Much of the article was written a bit tongue-in-cheek, but Mr. Card got serious when he wrote about the LDS mission he served in Brazil in the early 1970s.

“There have been church books that changed my life. On my mission, I read then-Apostle Spencer W. Kimball’s ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness,’ which was so warm and open and real that it touched my heart and gave me great hope, as I realized that this was a part of the gospel I was in Brazil to teach.”

I, too, read “The Miracle of Forgiveness” when I began my mission to bring the Gospel to Latter-day Saints. And like Mr. Card’s experience, it touched my heart, as well. But not in the same way.

When I read “The Miracle of Forgiveness” my heart broke for the LDS people. If Mr. Kimball’s teaching is believed, Latter-day Saints live under a sin burden from which they can never escape.

“The Miracle of Forgiveness” says that gaining forgiveness for sins requires the successful completion of a six-step repentance process, which includes a permanent abandonment of sin and keeping all the commandments of God. In other words, to be forgiven one must reach a state of perfection:

“Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men. This process toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through the perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us… Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.” (page 208-209)

“Repentance must involve an all-out, total surrender to the program of the Lord. That transgressor is not fully repentant who neglects his tithing, misses his meetings, breaks the Sabbath, fails in his family prayers, does not sustain the authorities of the Church, breaks the Word of Wisdom, does not love the Lord nor his fellowmen. A reforming adulterer who drinks or curses is not repentant. The repenting burglar who has sex play is not ready for forgiveness. God cannot forgive unless the transgressor shows a true repentance which spreads to all areas of his life.” (page 203)

“There is one crucial test of repentance. This is abandonment of the sin. Desire is not sufficient. In other words, it is not real repentance until one has abandoned the error of his ways and started on a new path… the saving power does not extend to him who merely wants to change his life. Trying is not sufficient.” (page 163)

Christian friends, is this not heartbreaking? The “gospel” Orson Scott Card was sent to Brazil to preach was that “the repentance which merits forgiveness” is found in one’s own work and worthiness. One must perfectly and completely abandon all sin, and then (as Moroni 10:32 in the Book of Mormon states) Christ’s grace is applied. This is an impossible gospel.

Furthermore, “The Miracle of Forgiveness” maligns the genuine Good News, the biblical Gospel of grace:

“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.” (pages 206-207)

The Bible does not agree with Spencer W. Kimball. The Bible does not teach “that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). The Bible teaches that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). We do not earn or merit forgiveness by keeping the all the commandments of God; rather, “If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The Good News is that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). Indeed, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (Titus 3:5).

Pastor John Piper wrote,

“Forgiveness costs us nothing. All our costly obedience is the fruit, not the root, of being forgiven. That’s why we call it grace. But it cost Jesus His life. That is why we call it just. Oh, how precious is the news that God does not hold our sins against us! And how beautiful is Christ, whose blood made it right for God to do this.” (Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die, page 37)

Yes, in the Gospel given to us in God’s Word there is much to rejoice over. Jesus came to remove our yoke of slavery and our burden of sin. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life” (John 6:47).


For Further reading:

The LDS Repentance Quiz
Bill McKeever’s review of The Miracle of Forgiveness

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 Forgiveness, Gospel, Grace, Repentance, Salvation. Bookmark the permalink.

157 Responses to Heartbreak of the Mormon Gospel

  1. GRCluff says:

    The only difference between mainstream Christianity and Mormonism is the “Christians” like to sugar coat the sin. Pat you on the back and tell you it is OK.

    Like I said — If no sin is abandoned, no grace is found.

    They say grace must come first, that is A-OK as long as it results in the abandonment of sin.

    Some may say (like in Miracle of Forgivness) abandon the sin first. What difference does that make? It is the same act of faith, the same abandonment of sin, and it’s done for the same reason.

    It is the grace being applied WITHOUT the abandonment of sin that concerns me. That is not faith, that is not grace. It is sin that results in spiritual death. Lets call it what it is.

    I would think the coat of sugar could become counter-productive because it will tell people on the line to go ahead with sin. It is in your nature and Christ covers it all anyway. Not the right message– at least for “real” religions.

  2. Ralph says:


    No I didn’t miss the beginning. The man asked for his inheritance, meaning that he was saying to his father “You are dead to me, give me what you would if you were dead.” When the father accepted the son back he told the one who remained that everything he (the father) had was his (the son’s). If we were to go along the lines of grace then wouldn’t the story finish with the property being split into 2 inheritances again? The ‘works’ of the prodigal son should not have any effect regardless of whether he took his inheritance to start with or not.

    This is like saying, “I believe in Jesus Christ and I have received confirmation that I am saved. I have received my inheritance from God through this.” Then you go out and live a life of debauchery until just before you die or unitl you realise that your life is down the gurgler. Then you turn around and ask God to forgive you and take you back. Yes He will take you back with joy and celebration, but you have lost your original inheritance and those who did not ‘stray’ will have all the more inheritance than you. So this is teaching that one can lose their salvation through works regardless of their belief in Jesus.

  3. GRCluff says:

    It was some time back, but you said:
    “Forgiveness of sin is conditional, but the conditions have been fulfilled by Christ on the cross. You may be putting on a show of personal piety and “worthiness” but if your heart isn’t changed by God it is all a facade and He ain’t fooled.

    I would say Christ met the demands of justice by his offer of mercy. The atonement paid the price of sins to make forgiveness possible, maybe even help us find foregiveness.

    The conditions I am speaking about are the conditions that Christ must place on us. His grace is NOT promised to everyone unconditionally.

    It is the chicken and the egg theory. What came first the checken or the egg?

    Well, what comes first the abandonment of sin or the changing of the heart? All I’m saying is you can’t have one without the other.

    If you abondon sin first, the change of heart will always follow. Eventually.

    If you change your heart first, but fail to abandon sin, it wasn’t a real change of heart now, was it?

  4. Arthur Sido says:


    “The conditions I am speaking about are the conditions that Christ must place on us. His grace is NOT promised to everyone unconditionally.”

    Sort of. Salvation is granted to all who believe. The question is: why do some believe and not others? That is where grace, unmerited and freely bestowed comes into play. But His grace is not contingent on any action or work on our part. Even to repent requires intervention by God.

    My point is that you are unable to abandon sin without His grace first. That is clear and unequivocal in the Bible. Man is naturally an enemy of God, and while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (the us in this case being Christians) It gets to the question of whether Christ died to make salvation possible or if He died to secure the salvation of certain people. That is more of an intramural debate among Christians. I need to get you to the point where you understand that for grace to be gracious it must be undeserved and unearned. Romans 4 is the seminal passage here. I don’t have enough characters to copy it entirely, but even Abraham was counted righteous before he was circumcised. He was not righteous because he was circumcised, he was circusmcised because he had faith. He was justified by his faith, not his works.

  5. Andrea says:

    You are rejecting the Savior explicit command: “Be ye therefore PERFECT!”
    Scofield Reference Notes
    [1] perfect
    The word implies full development, growth into maturity of godliness, not sinless perfection. Eph 4:12,13. In this passage the Father’s kindness, not His sinlessness, is the point in question. Lk 6:35,36

    Prodigal Son: Luke 15:32 ‘But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.

  6. mikeb says:

    It’s so obvious that our LDS friends don’t have a clue about the Christian faith. They think we’re ok with the notion that’s its ok to go on sinning after we receive Gods gift of salvation through Christ. Are you kidding me! Is that what they teach you about Christians…kind of like we’re going to sit on clouds playing harps?

    A true Christian repents of the thing that displeases God but with the knowledge that we’ll never be able to reach perfection. We’ll always come up well short of Gods standard so that’s why we need that amazing grace. That’s where our faith comes in…that Jesus paid the debt God required. My whole hope is only in what Jesus did, nothing else!

    My LDS neighbor said he thought he was at least 60% good and that Jesus would cover the other 40%. So if you could really achieve 100% then you really wouldn’t need Jesus at all according to that reasoning. If you can show me the LDS person who’s gotten there I might consider converting. One thing that I agree with the LDS that God does require 100% perfection. If you can’t achieve that where does that leave you?

  7. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    I will use the quote that Ms. Lindbloom used on her original post. I will number them and capitalize the words that show a pattern and not event:

    “That transgressor is not fully repentant who NEGLECTS his tithing, misses his MEETING, breaks the Sabbath, FAILS in his family PRAYERS, does not SUSTAIN the authorities of the Church, breaks the Word of Wisdom, does not LOVE the Lord nor his fellowmen.

    How does Kimball know the transgressor does not really believe, does not have real faith, has not obtained grace or has fallen from grace? It is the PATTERN of his life. He is saying that repentance and forgiveness will become evident in our lives. We have a new heart, we feel different about our fellowman and about God. He is not saying that doing this or that will then earn forgiveness. He knows it is all a gift! (Moroni 10) That why he calls it a miracle.

    I would accept your comment if the Savior had stopped at “Be ye therefore perfect”. But he didn’t! He went on to add something absolutely crucial…”even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect”. Your comment would imply that God is perfect but not sinless perfect.

    Good comments. I would say that sometimes my fellow LDS misunderstand our doctrine about perfection. It is all a gift! It is based on the power of God and the saving power of grace (Moroni 10:32-34, Moroni last plea). I love Moroni 10 and bring it up in almost all meetings. ONe of the great contributions of the restoration is a better understanding that grace is conditional. We must comply with the terms the Savior has put down in order to obtain His grace, which the scriptures clearly outline. By ourselves we are 0% good. Jesus makes us 100% good through the atonement if we will comply with His terms. He will not force us to perfection.

  8. falcon says:

    As Christians we need to understand that the Mormon system of forgiveness and salvation is not Christianity. Now knowing that should reduce our frustration level by about 100%. Frankly, I don’t even know why we’re having this discussion. It’s like having a discussion about why a horse isn’t a dog. Who cares?
    If Mormons want to work and work at trying to get righteous and than have the Mormon Jesus come in and cover the shortfall, I really don’t care. It’s not traditional Christianity, but they’ve rejected the Christian view of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible so why would we think they would accept our concept of salvation?
    Mormons have based they’re whole program on Joseph Smith. They don’t preach Christ and Him crucified. They preach Joseph Smith and the little grove of trees. Their testimony is all about Joseph Smith, the BoM, and the Salt Lake City branch of the LDS religion.
    So Christian friends, take a deep breath, go for a walk in the sun and just thank God you’re not a Mormon.

  9. Jeffrey says:

    There is an order that Christians understand that Mormons don’t grasp here. And it probably comes from a lack of understanding the Bible and verses like James 1:5 that LDS leadership indoctrinated them with. Kimball did a good job of explaining the Mormon Order which is:

    God’s “restored” Word -> Faith in Jesus Christ -> Good Works to qualify for grace -> God’s Grace

    The true order is this:

    God’s Word -> Faith In Jesus Christ -> God’s Grace -> Good Works to show appreciation and obedience to that which God has asked of us.

    The reason it is heartbreaking is that Jesus Christ has promised His grace to us if we only have faith (trust) in him. That we believe him when he says the law was created to show that no man is righteous, and that we are imperfect and will never make it to the Father unless we have faith that he died for us to deliver us.

    The best way I heard it put on here is Christians respond with good works to God’s grace (which is gift, free of any pre-requisites other than faith).

    I am not stopping at faith and saying forget about works. I thought I made it clear that works manifest because of faith. Where the LDS gospel fails is where it teaches you must “become perfect” and abandon sin and then grace comes along. And that is impossible. Just because you stop cursing, but you still tell a lie once in a while, makes you just as guilty of sin as one who does all that and more.

    Cluff, please cease with saying that Christians believe it doesnt matter if you continue to sin. That is ridiculous.

    DoF, re: ur comment to Andrea.. That verse commands you to be mature just as God is mature which is possible for humans. It doesn’t command you to be sinless because that is impossible. I guess your perfect though? You denied yourself of all ungodliness? Ladies and gentleman, we have a new Jesus! You need Gods grace to abandon sin, you don’t abandon sin then receive grace.

  10. JessicaJoy says:

    I am trying to understand the LDS definition of “repentance” so I am reading “Preach My Gospel.” It says “Repentance involves a change of heart and a desire to forsake sin and serve God. It involves humbly yielding to the Spirit and submitting to God’s will. It requires that people increase their commitment to live in agreement with God’s will. Repentance requires a sincere and lasting change of thoughts, desires, habits, and actions” (p. 8).

    Okay, so I’m trying to find in here where the seeker is taught that they are a SINNER and cannot do anything to make themselves righteous (Rom. 3:10-28), but that they can be “justified freely by His grace” when they receive His free gift of righteousness (Romans 5:1-18) and then (and only then) will the true God of the Bible actually hear their prayers (Isaiah 59:2) so they can ask Him whether or not a certain book is true and only then can they actually live righteous lives because they will have the true Jesus residing in them and the Holy Spirit of the living God to help them.

    This “Preach My Gospel” book skips the gospel. It goes right from sinner to law-keeper. Where is the step where a sinner recognizes they are totally helpless to save themselves and they are so overwhelmed by their own sinfulness that they cry out to God, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13) ?

    Instead, the investigator is taught that they were already in heaven with God and that we are all children of our Heavenly Father and everyone is basically good, but we all make mistakes. I do not see the total depravity of the sinner anywhere in this book. That is one of the most important aspects of the gospel. How can a person truly repent when they do not know the depths of their own need?

  11. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    (Mikeb cont.)

    As far as what LDS believe about the Christian faith. I have never heard any Church authority speak about what the Christian faith is or is not. I think it is unwise for any of us to say what someone else believes. One thing that amazes me is that many on this blog attempt to say “This is what Mormons believe” This discussion is a great example. An innocent bystander may think, from some comments, that Mormons don’t believe in grace. I wouldn’t take much digging to learn that this is as far from the truth as can be. On the flip side, some LDS comments, would lead someone to believe that Christians don’t believe in works or abadoning sin.

    Summarizing your thoughts(correct me if I miss anything) Perfection comes to the Sanctified.

    I would agree. But Heb 10:10 does not say who (besides those present) is sanctified but “How” one is sanctified. You say that you are sanctified because you have accepted Christ’s perfection as your own. What does that mean? The scriptures say that sanctification comes in the following ways:

    1) John 17:17 Through the truth/Word of God
    2) Acts 26:18 By faith in Christ
    3) 1 Cor 6:11/2Thes 2:13 By the Spirit

    If you are not Sanctified, you will not be Perfected.

    1)How can one be Perfected if he rejects even some of the Words that proceed from the mouth of God.

    D&C 1:2 For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

    2)Having real faith in Christ (Key)
    2 Nephi 31:19 unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

    3) Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost

    Perfection: you are correct that He came to be Perfect. But wrong that it was not meant to be a pattern.

    1 Pet 2:21 “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, THAT YE SHOULD FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS”.

  12. Arthur Sido says:

    DOF, no one is saying “this is what mormons believe”, but we ARE talking about what the mormon church teaches in official church publications and pronouncements by church authorities. It is perfectly valid in an authoritative religion to cite what mormon authorities have said and written. These men are alleged to be “prophets, seers and revelators” I love the writings of John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon but neither of them are prophets. I mean if you are a mormon, and you can’t trust what a modern prophet says, then the whole thing kind of falls apart doesn’t it?

    Sanctification is not a process designed to achieve perfection in this life, the perfection that we are imputed comes from Christ and His righteousness. A brand new Christian is as saved as a Christian who has been saved for 50 years. They are at different levels of sanctification, but that is not relevant to their salvation. We seek to follow Him, mortifying the sin in our lives. That is not the same thing as achieving perfection to be made right with God on your own merit.

  13. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    The quote you chose obviously assumes that the reader already understands the depravity of mankind and his need for repentance. This book is written to whom? Missionaries and Members to help them preach the gospel. We are well aware of the sinful nature of mankind. The prophets know that we search the scriptures which tell us these things already. We do not need to “tell these people they are SINNERS”. That God has reserved for Himself.

    The step where the sinner recognizes their state does not come from another person. It comes by hearing the Word of God and from the witness of the Holy Ghost. Our job is not to condemn people for their sinful state because we are no better than they. But we have covenanted to testify of Jesus Christ and give them the scriptures. The Lord will reveal to them their fallen state. We CANNOT and SHOULD NOT do this by our own power.

    Rom 10:13

    For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?


    If you think the Bible is hard on sinners, try a few of these chapters in the BoM. Mosiah 3, Mosiah 16, Alma 41. And for the best of them all Helaman 12. The scriptures are sufficient to call men to repentance. The whole message of the Restoration is to “say nothing but repentance unto this generation” D&C 6:9

    I assure you the living prophets know how to preach the gospel and do it according to the Lord’s own prescribed way & the tender mercies of the Lord will sustain them.

  14. falcon says:

    Christian friends what needs to be recognized first and foremost in dealing with the spirit of Mormonism is that at its core is control. These folks have to be kept off balance, on their toes, never having a sense of assurance that a believer in Christ has. It’s an oppressive spirit that robs people of real joy and never allows them the emotional release that comes with knowing God’s grace, love and total forgiveness. The spirit of Mormonism keeps people in a daily grind of futile activity with the brass ring always beyond reach.

    Wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from this body of death? Thank God for Jesus Christ, who did rescue us while we were yet sinners. Not on the basis of works done in righteousness but based on the Cross of Christ and His sacrifice for us. I’ve personally never had any illusions of what I am both without Christ, before salvation and after receiving this gift from God.

  15. JessicaJoy says:

    DoF: I wasn’t suggesting that sharing the gospel or teaching about repentance involves “condemning people for their sinful state” but it should involve looking at passages having to do with one’s sinful state, shouldn’t it? If a sinner is to understand from Scripture that they are a sinner in order that they can understand their need for a Savior and the meaning of true repentance, shouldn’t they be directed to passages that talk about their sinful condition such as Romans 3 for example?

    Instead, it appears to me (from “Preach My Gospel”) that a person is directed toward a list of works.

    This reminds me of the parable Jesus told about the Pharisee and the publican. The Pharisee took pride in his works saying “I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all I possess”; the publican “would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying ‘God be merciful to me a sinner’ –
    Jesus said, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14).

    Again, the contrast of true repentance involving acknowledgment of one’s helplessness to save themselves vs. the one who is seeking to do ‘all he can’ to please God through his own works.

    From the below 3 verses does it sound like repentance is a work or a gift?

    Ac 5:31
    Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

    Ac 11:18
    When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

    2Ti 2:25
    In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

  16. Defebder asked…
    Question #1: Does not Christianity believe that Christ gave the mandate to be perfect? If so, then how is perfection defined and what does it mean to attain it?

    Question #2:
    Is obtaining grace contingent on anything we do?

    I’ve posted on this before. The answer to Q2 is a solid ‘no’. If Q1 is about achieving some kind of post-enlightenment moralistic perfection, then the answer is actually ‘no’.

    Now, I might get accused of fraternizing with sin (which I don’t), or claiming the God tolerates sin (which he doesn’t). I do know that in Christ, God has fixed what I broke and its my vocation to respond by conducting my life in a way that honours this great act of unmnerited mercy.

    Please feel free to accuse me of freeloading or dishonouring God’s love – you’ll only be telling the truth. I’m egotisitc, proud, stubborn, torn by lust, intoxicated by the cult of my own righteousness, bedazzled by my own intellectual shenanigans, but when I keep my eyes fixed on the Christ who shed his blood for me, I realize that I am no asset to the Kingdom.

    When I get to glory, though, I’ll be there in the crowd shouting “You (not me) are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” Rev 5:9.

    I am part of that pearl of great price that God sold everything to acquire; I am one of those prisoners that God sprung from Egypt. Did I contribute to the purchase of my own freedom, or did I part the waters of the sea? No, no and no, again. How can I take any credit for what God has done for me? To do so would insult the unsurpassable grace of God.

  17. Berean says:

    DOF: Arthur Sido explained to you sanctification in his last thread so I will not repeat what my brother in the Lord told you. However, notice the other part of John 17:17 that you didn’t mention: “thy word is truth”.

    Our LDS friends don’t think Christians do anything out of obedience. They are wrong again. I will cite several reason why we obey.

    1. Scripture: We obey from the heart because we want to – not because we have to. “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBEYED FROM THE HEART that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Rom 6:17). “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within MY HEART.” (Psa 40:8)

    2. Personal: Why would I want to deliberately sin against the one that gave me eternal life? The one who paid a debt for me that I never could? When I think about deliberately sinning I place myself at Golgotha. Christ is on the cross and it’s laying on the ground and he has been nailed to it. I picture myself taking the hammer once again in my hand while my other hand holds the nail while I look at the Savior and He at me with tears in His eyes and blood pouring down on his head from the thorns. I lean back with full force and hit the nail again. It’s going to hurt. I am a 275lb. athlete and compete in powerlifting. I have strength. He will feel it. Everyone of us has hit that nail because of our sin.

    3. Gratitude: How many Mormons know anything about this? It’s LDS lip service when “after all we can do” is shouted! Christians have nothing but gratitude while Mormons have their backs to the grind in Mormon law in their attempt to pleasing and serving (home storage, geneology work, Word of Wisdom, etc.). If Mormons had gratitude like Christians do they would never say this:

    “We always pray to our Father in Heaven, and to him alone. We do not pray to the Savior or to anyone else. To do so would be disrespectful of Heavenly Father” (Missionary Preparation Student Manual Religion 130, p. 40)

  18. germit says:

    To All: Falcon, on this thread, you’ve got company, all of us probably feel like the man or woman who painted the house just prior to the typhoon: lots of effort and for what?? We are at about 70 posts, and could go 170 and not get much farther in agreement, except to agree on the fact that we use words, key words, in very different ways. I’ll list some off the top of my head, feel free to add to the list.


    This is just a starter list, my point being that since we have no agreement on core vocabulary, we will just go round and round and tell each other, ‘you just don’t get it’. We are really speaking two different languages and then ‘trying harder’ to get the other guy to understand: a little like William Hurt shouting to (deaf) Marlee Matlins back in ‘Children of a Lesser God”…as if shouting to a deaf woman’s back was going to get his message across. For what is worth, I still appreciate the efforts of DOF, DJB, Cluff (the IMOVE-ABLE), and Susan; I’ve learned a lot about LDS thought and language in the process. GERMIT

  19. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Well…I’m blowing my first comment of the day already and my brothers have already made my point in spades (ha!). I think our biggest roadblock to discussing smaller issues in Scripture is that we disgree on fundamentals. ALL of us that hold to the historic Christian faith agree on, for example, the items put forth in the Apostle’s Creed: God (and there is but ONE) is eternally manifested in 3 persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Jesus was born of a virgin; he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he died (as our substitute, FOR our sins); was buried; He rose again the third day; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father; He is coming again.

    But with our Mormon friends, we don’t even agree on who God is or how many there are…so how can we move on to smaller issues in Scripture? We historic Christians disagree on the smaller issues (and yes that has resulted in denominations even), but on the FUNDAMENTALS there is no room for disagreement.

    I suppose an entirely different God would very possibly have a different system of repentance and grace…just my two cents…Blessings!

  20. Rick B says:

    Andrea said

    You are rejecting the Savior explicit command: “Be ye therefore PERFECT!”

    Like I said before Andrea, if we really are to be perfect, then God failed in 1 Nephi 1:7. Since He commands us and gives us the abilty to be perfect. Rick b

  21. Missusslats says:

    I don’t get what the huge is hangup on the definition of “perfect”? Clearly Paul tells us HOW perfection is achieved in Colossians (1:28) when he states, “…we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Obviously, we are not made perfect by our actions, by by being “IN Christ Jesus.” It’s ONLY in His perfection that we can be perfect.

    Hey RickB,
    I just looked up 1Neph 1:7 and I don’t get it. Could you expound a bit on your point about God failing? Thanks!

  22. Missusslats says:

    “I suppose an entirely different God would very possibly have a different system of repentance and grace.”

    Therein lies the problem. Since the mormon jesus does not exist–there are no remains of Zarahemla or Cumorah; there is Asian rather than Hebrew DNA in the American Indian “Lamanites;” the canonized scripture known as the Book of Abraham is a complete, utter, documented fraud (I could go on, but the bottom line is that there are no “hooks into reality” with mormonism)–then we are obligated to look elsewhere for biblical interpretations than to Jo Smith and the LDS church! When God (I mean the real, uncreated, eternally unchanging and existent One) says we are dead in sin, saved by grace, and (when we accept the free gift of Jesus Christ) heirs of salvation (not godhood) the meaning is clear when one reads it without LDS filters in place.

    Now that I’m sufficiently worked up, I guess I’ll go hit the treadmill:) Thanks to all my Christian brothers and sisters who post here. You are so helpful to me in my efforts to be a better witness.

  23. jackg says:

    King David does a beautiful job of expressing man’s utter dependence on God with regard to sin, repentance, forgiveness, and works in Psalm 51. First of all, repentance is not based on what I do but on God’s unfailing love and compassion. Broken relationship is the result of sin. Sin is two-fold: those we actively commit and the sin nature inherited as a result of Adam and Eve’s display of lack of trust in God in the Garden of Eden. Beginning with verse 7, we see that cleansing is not a result of what we do but a result of what God does. One cannot make oneself holy; that is God’s work, and He is faithful to do it. He is the one who creates in us a pure heart and steadfast spirit. We cannot do that for ourselves. Then, in response to what God does in our lives to forgive us and to sanctify us, we begin a life of service because God lives in us, and it is His work He works through us(vv.14ff). Mormon teachings are definitely different than this. Jeffery is right that Mormons have the order wrong. How hard can it be to accept that God does not respond to our works with His grace, but that we respond to His grace with works as evidence of our faith. The question is not: what works do I need to perform to be saved? One just has to believe in Jesus Christ. The question, with regard to works, is: what works do I need to do in order to prove I believe in Jesus Christ?

    DOF said, “How does Kimball know the transgressor does not really believe, does not have real faith, has not obtained grace or has fallen from grace? It is the PATTERN of his life. He is saying that repentance and forgiveness will become evident in our lives. We have a new heart, we feel different about our fellowman and about God.” Everything you say here is absolutely correct. This is rooted in Galations 5:22 and James 2. The difference, and it’s a huge difference, is that Christians believe it’s in response to God’s grace in our lives; Mormons believe grace is earned this way.

  24. falcon says:

    See Brothers and Sisters in Christ how easy it is? Just let go. Ahhhh sweet relief and serenity when we recognize that Mormonism is a totally different religious system from Christianiy. Our Mormon friends have bought the “You Can Become A god Too” Joseph Smith home study course and they are on their way to sinless perfection. In fact, if you make it all the way through the 12 pack DVD series and the corresponding manual, you don’t even need Jesus. It’s entirely possible you can do it all on your own. Quite a deal. You know of course, that Mormons believe that this quest for sinless perfection and godhood is the original Christianity of the Apostles. That’s what we really should be spending our time discussing: Is the Mormon religion first century Christianity?
    Oh, by-the-way, that god wanna be self-improvment program, comes with a magic rock so you can learn scrying……just like Peter and John and all of the first century apostles did. I wonder if their’s was chocolate colored?

  25. susan says:

    Falcon –

    You are a broken record. Why don’t you just re-post the same post over and over…

    You express nothing over and over but your utter contempt for Mormons.

    If there’s anything I’ve learned on my brief stay at Mormon Coffee is that if anything “Christians” AREN’T, it’s joyful.

    Hateful, spiteful, vindictive, yes. Joyful, hardly.

    Spare me your self-righteousness.

    This blog is tired.

  26. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Susan, with hesitation I give you my last comment of the day…seeing as you might not even read it…we might have contempt for “Mormonism” but not Mormons. Otherwise we would have no desire to even communicate with you.

    Secondly…I rejoice in the Lord…I rejoice with the Truth…and I rejoice that my sins are forgiven and that one day my weak body will be resurrected in a glorifed body like my Lord’s…we are nothing if not a joyful people.

    BUT…just as the psalmist says all through 119…we love the Word of God and it’s precepts but we hate every false way (verse 104). Mormonism fired the first shot by saying that we had lost the real faith. We simply search for evidence that would hold up in a court of law and have yet to find any (for example the verifiable historicity of the BOM).

    Soooooo…yes we might tend to react a bit negatively to a 14 year old kid coming along and saying that 2,000 years of verifiable textual evidence and church history should all be tossed aside and that he will instead be God’s pick to bring back the “real” faith (which by the way seems to teach things that we can’t find ANYONE ANYWHERE ever believeing).

    Hope that made some kind of sense…until tomorrow…Blessings!

  27. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Falcon wrote:

    “Mormons believe that this quest for sinless perfection and godhood is the original Christianity of the Apostles. That’s what we really should be spending our time discussing: Is the Mormon religion first century Christianity?”

    That’s a great topic to discuss. Let’s save it for another thread. I’ll try to get a thread going on this question next week.

  28. falcon says:

    Susan Dear,
    Is that a personal attack? I’m hurt. You are demonstrating what you are accusing me of, aren’t you? I don’t have contempt for Mormons. It’s Mormonism that I have a problem with. See here’s the deal, I always know when I’ve hit the ball solidly by the response I get. You don’t address any of my points but go after me on a personal level. You need to take off your magic glasses and view Mormonism in a new light. If you’ve got a specific point to discuss, I’d be more than happy to even speak with you off line. But don’t start a personal feud here. It really isn’t condusive to open and honest discussion. Hay you might even learn to like me. I’m really quite harmless.

  29. Rick B says:

    my mistake, I meant 1 Nephi 3:7. I hope this helps.

    7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may

    Now this is/was my Point. If as LDS teach, God Commands us to be perfect, then in Nephi, we my accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

    But Since LDS are not Perfect, I saw an LDS give a persoal Attack, thats not perfection, then according to the LDS, God failed. Rick b

  30. Ralph says:


    Reread the Apostles’ Creed – there is noting about only one God manifest in 3 persons in there. It discusses 3 individuals, God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This was one thing that was instrumental in my father’s conversion from Anglican to LDS. He said that as he was growing up they recited the Apostles’ Creed in church, but when he got older (teenager) the programme changed and they started reciting the Nicene Creed which brought in the concept of the Trinity. To him that was a totally different ‘system’ of belief in God.


    This is not an attack I am just wondering how you came to believe that Adam and Eve did not trust God? I do not find this in the Bible. Is this something taught through your church or is it your opinion? If it is taught in your church, can you tell me how it is explained? I just want to understand, that’s all.

    Back to the parables of the prodigal son and the unrighteous servant – I asked the question, why does Jesus teach in these that one can lose their salvation by the works they do even though they believe in Jesus and have accepted Him as their Saviour, if works are not important?

  31. Andrea says:

    Jackg -beautiful post re David & Psalm 51!

    Cluff said: “If you change your heart first, but fail to abandon sin, it wasn’t a real change of heart now, was it?”
    Correct. To truly accept Christ and His sacrifice means to stop doing the things you did before you were saved (willfully sinning). If one does not, and does not confess their weakness to God and ask for His forgiveness again, then no they did not have a change of heart. This why it bothers us when certain people assume we believe that we can “accept Christ then sin all I want”.

    This is how the parable of the forgiven debts applies to grace. The servant (we sinners) begs forgiveness and prostrates unworthiness in our ability to meet the Master’s (God’s) standard. The Master shows mercy and forgives this HUGE debt asking for no payment. Now, as Christians with our heart changed to “go and sin no more” we show gratitude to the Master by proclaiming His mercy and conducting our lives so that others may see and also receive His precious gift. The folly of the servant in the parable however is that he did NOT have a change of heart and did not show the same forgiveness to one indebted to him. Then the Master saw that the servant did not truly accept His gift therefore forgiveness didn’t apply and his entire debt was called in for payment (judgement).
    So those who pay “lip service” and go on sinning “all they want” have not accepted Christ and are not Christian. Again, Christians do good works in response to God’s grace, not to earn it. This may start another debate among everyone here (Mormon and Christian alike) but I believe that we cannot lose our salvation once given except if we deny Jesus’ atonement, so neither do we do good works to retain God’s grace.

  32. naturalverities says:

    RE Ralph’s response to my brief abstracts of some parables of Jesus (thanks for that thoughtful response, Ralph):

    Okay, I might be stretching the point in positing that the “unjust servant” of Matthew 18 didn’t understand grace and was trying to scrape up the money necessary to pay his own (forgiven) debt. But at the least, we can see that the servant didn’t appreciate grace or accept it as an all-encompassing life principle, since he turned right around and prosecuted his own petty debtor under the Law. So, (sticking my exegetical neck out again) the servant demonstrated, by his mercilessness, that he still wanted to live “under the Law” at least as far as it brought him benefit. To which the Master essentially said, “Fine, law it is, then!” When the servant initially asked (ridiculously, given the size of the debt, hint, hint) for TIME TO REPAY (fulfilling the Law), the Master gave him total (and costly!) forgiveness instead, from the outset, no qualifying works of repentance required beyond the servant’s plea for temporary mercy. The apparent post-grace condition, however, (you are right, Ralph, there is indeed a condition, but one of principle rather than Law) was to continue to live under grace rather than slipping back under Law (read Galatians!). That is something we should all think about seriously! I know I should! Grace came first and freely, but grace must beget grace, not as a means of gaining personal merit or paying back our debt, but “in view of the mercies of God” and because “the love of Christ constrains us”. Law, on the other hand, only makes us merciless toward ourselves and our fellow men.
    (continued below)

  33. naturalverities says:

    Concerning the “prodigal son” parable, Ralph sees it as being about Saints who stray and then return, and the loss (or postponement) of merit and therefore exaltation that results from straying (did I get that right?). But remember, this story was told, along with those of the lost sheep and the lost coin, in answer to the Pharisees’ complaint that Jesus was hanging out with the riff-raff (implication: if you were a prophet of God you would reject them and associate with us good guys, but you always party with them and hassle us). So I think the parable is about Jews and Gentiles or religious and unreligious in the emerging Kingdom of God. The religious Jews, who had been (arguably) serving the Father through the Law since Moses, were in no mood to accept Gentiles and “sinners” (as though they themselves were not sinners) to the banquet table. The Father simply pointed out that the older brother had had the continuous benefits of his Father’s household as a reward for his service, and that it was right to celebrate the younger brother’s return. The Father did not exclude the older brother from the celebration BUT THE OLDER BROTHER EXCLUDED HIMSELF because he could not accept the Father’s acceptance of those less worthy than himself, and so refused to acknowledge his brother. The older brother displays righteousness by works of the Law; the younger, righteousness by faith, about which Paul has much to say in Romans and elsewhere.

  34. GRCluff says:

    I need take a deep breath, go for a walk in the sun and thank God I AM a Mormon.

    falcon said:
    “They don’t preach Christ and Him crucified. They preach Joseph Smith and the little grove of trees.”

    You need to review your facts on this one. It is at least 85% Christ 15% JS. Some would even say 90 or 95% Christ. How that translates into NOT preaching Christ I’ll never know. That is what the Bible calls “itching ears” you hear what you want to hear.

    2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
    4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    To me the difference is clear, Mormons preach Christ crucified with one important exception.

    Paul pointed it out for us:
    1 Cor 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
    2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
    3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
    4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    The power of God is evident to us as we bear testimony it is the foundation of our faith.

    The foundation of your faith is equally clear. It is the evidence of history, the foundation of the Nicean Creed and the unknowable God called Trinity. You try to call the foundation a Bible, but that foundation is like sand. Subject to interpretation. Fallible.

    It is the wisdom of men applied to a concept that is tesimony based.

    I know Jesus is Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know JS was a prophet by the same power. The power of God. It makes perfect sense to group in one with the other.

  35. Arthur Sido says:


    “The foundation of your faith is equally clear. It is the evidence of history, the foundation of the Nicean Creed and the unknowable God called Trinity. You try to call the foundation a Bible, but that foundation is like sand. Subject to interpretation. Fallible.

    It is the wisdom of men applied to a concept that is tesimony based.

    I know Jesus is Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know JS was a prophet by the same power. The power of God. It makes perfect sense to group in one with the other.”

    And there it is, I have a testimony, don’t bother me with the facts! The last refuge of every mormon when backed into a corner.

    I love the idea that the Bible is fallible when you follow men who a serial adulterers, false prophets and teachers and really old P.R. people.


    “If there’s anything I’ve learned on my brief stay at Mormon Coffee is that if anything “Christians” AREN’T, it’s joyful.

    Hateful, spiteful, vindictive, yes. Joyful, hardly.” Au contraire, I am very joyful and filled with gratitude that in spite of my enmity toward Him, God saved me out of mormonism. What I feel, what most of us feel, towards mormons is not contempt, but compassion. He called me out of mormonism, and I believe that it is His desire that I bear testimony of that to those still cuaght in the lies. It is compassion born of having been in your shoes.

  36. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Germit about the definition thing. Therefore, I would like someone to explain to me some basic definitions. I hope there is some agreement here from the the nonLDS group.

    Start with the basics:
    Faith in Christ:
    Gift of the Holy Ghost

    I do agree that we probably will not completely agree what these terms mean, especially the first and the last terms. If Christians believe that Mormons do not understand grace, I can take that (although I would not agree) but to say that they don’t believe in grace is just not true. I am assuming we are all truthseekers here. Thus, Germit’s comment about defintions I would second. I don’t believe that the noncontingent grace that is being promoted here is even remotely supported by the scriptures.

    Brisbane (I’m jealous, you dog. I would love to be surfing) said that grace has no contingency. If that is the case we are all set. God will save us all. There is actually a sect (Universalist Christianity) that believe this. I would like all to weigh in on this topic because it is vital to understanding “The Miracle of Forgiveness”. Sad thing is , the BoM settles the issue so clearly yet the stumbling continues.

    Definition of Grace to start.
    Is grace contingent on anything?

    I believe that if we can get a Christian consensus on this then we can proceed with a meaningful discussion.

    You are right about directing people to passages about their sinful state. What I don’t get is how you can even get past the cover of “Preach My Gospel” and not see that message. It is all come unto Christ. How? Through repentance. Why? Because you are a sinner. By the way, my favorite chapters to leave with people in the mission field. You guessed it Mosiah 3, Helaman 12. The Lord did the rest. So your suggestions are exactly what is being taught to the missionaries.

  37. GRCluff says:


    Let me do a little Biblical translation for the apparently illiterate:

    Cor 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    I have a testimony = I have felt the demonstration of Spirit and of power spoken of by Paul.

    don’t bother me with the facts = my faith is in the power of God NOT in the wisdom of men.

    Try replacing each phrase with its equivalent.

    Like this:

    “And there it is, I have a testimony, don’t bother me with the facts! The last refuge of every mormon when backed into a corner.”

    Will become:
    “And there it is, I have felt the demonstration of Spirit and of power spoken of by Paul, my faith is in the power of God NOT in the wisdom of men! The last refuge of every mormon when backed into a corner.”

    Well stated, and well it should be!

    Try this:

    1 Cor 12:3 …and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

    No testimony = no belief in Christ. Who are the real Christians now? Obviously, someone with a testimony!

  38. Berean says:


    Reading your post has always made me wonder what Mormons think about when they are taking that walk in the sun or at night thanking the Mormon god that they are a Mormon. Do they look into the heavens and try to figure out where Kolob is where their god resides with his many wives since he is not omnipresent? Do they wonder what he is doing besides performing his husbandly duties with all those wives to bring about more spirit children to come here, serve and pray to him? You mentioned the fables from 2 Tim 4:4. This is where I would put these fables that the Mormon faithful have given themselves over to. When I look up to the heavens all I can say is “how great thou art!” I don’t have to wonder what God is doing being isolated on some star with a name because the God of the Bible is everywhere (Psa 139:7-10).

    The ratio of Christ to JS is 85/15 or 90/10. I’d say we have another problem. It should be Jesus Christ 100% and Joseph Smith ZERO. Our salvation is based on Jesus alone (Acts 4:12) – not Moses, Paul or anyone else. Unfortunately, in Mormonism there is no salvation without Joseph Smith:

    “NO SALVATION WITHOUT ACCEPTING JOSEPH SMITH. No man can reject that testimony without accepting most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (Joseph F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1:189-190).

    You state about the Bible, “that foundation is like sand…fallible”. You make yourself look bad when you quote a source and then turn around denegrate it. You lose credibility and shoot yourself in the foot. I thought the LDS foundation in Eph 2:20 was solid? Is the Mormon Jesus and “that foundation…like sand…fallible”?

  39. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    jackg said

    “The difference, and it’s a huge difference, is that Christians believe it’s (repentance) in response to God’s grace in our lives; Mormons believe grace is earned this way.”

    I just have never seen that. It is not an accurate assessment of those I mingle with. I don’t know anyone who says “What can I do today to earn some grace”. The Mormons I know love the Lord and aren’t striving for some “one-up on someone else’s righteousness” that is being conveyed here. Rather, we repent because the Lord has said that He will extend His grace if we will listen to Him and follow Him. In other words, grace is conditional upon His terms (which is repentance). Hence, the command to repent. Otherwise, why give the command?

    I am interested to hear what this group feels about grace.

    As far as the perfect/mature thing. I have never heard that before. Complete I have heard. Nevertheless, the translation says perfect. So what am I to do? Is the translation correct or not. If not, is this crowd willing to admit that. If it is correct, but I am interpreting it wrong, who should I look to for guidance? A living prophet, the Lord himself or the myriad of explanations many would be willing to give? I believe the BoM explains it well that it is “perfect in Christ”. Obviously, I am not perfect, but “perfect in Christ” is obtainable. Missusslats has summarized it well and he is in complete harmony with LDS doctrine. He quotes Paul but actually sounds more like Moroni (not sure that he would be willing to admit that). I agree with him that “I don’t get what the big deal is”. I imagine our disagreements are going to come from “…in Christ” and what that means. All that screams for “Thus sayeth the Lord”. I am grateful Kimball has the authority to tell me what that means (and he couldn’t be more in line with the Biblical prophets)

  40. Berean says:

    Getting back on topic, I couldn’t agree more – let’s define our terms. Let’s start with the LDS and who better than the featured prophet Spencer Kimball.

    “There is one crucial test of repentance. This is abandonment of the sin. Desire is not sufficient. To try is weak.” (Sharing the Gospel Manual, p.94)

    Now we have to see how the Mormons define “abandonment of sin”:

    “Abandonment of Sin. The forsaking of sin must be a permanent one. True repentance does not permit making the same mistake again.” (LDS pamphlet “Repentance Brings Forgiveness”, 1984)

    Wow, what a heavy burden that is. All of this perfectly coincides with LDS scripture (D&C 58:42-43). How do you know if a man repents? He will forsake them. How many sins must you forsake? How often must you forsake them? Are you doing this right now? Have you forsaken all of your sins? What about those sins you haven’t abandoned yet? How does it feel to know you are not forgiven for those sins? How does it feel to know that if you commit that sin again all the former ones come back to your account (D&C 82:7)? Not good for our Mormon friends.

    Grace for Mormons defined? Yes, you will get grace after you have denied yourselves of all ungodliness first (Moroni 10:32); after you are perfect (3 Nephi 12:48); after you have done all you can do (2 Nephi 25:23); after you obey ALL the commandments (1 Nephi 3:7; D&C 25:15; D&C 1:32); after you are out of your sins (Alma 11:37); after you have forsaken your sins (D&C 58:43) and after your former sins don’t come back (D&C 82:7). If you fail in your attempts you will end up where Alma 34:30-35 puts you. Not good again for our Mormon friends.

    Answer? Scroll up to my posts on August 19th and see the biblical solution for your predicament in the Mormon impossible gospel/law.

  41. DefenderOfTheFaith says:


    There is no need for you to dream about what Mormon must think about. The other night I was out with my son looking at the stars and he (age 9) said, “Wow, dad it’s so incredible”. I didn’t say, “yes and which do you think is Kolob?” A simple “Yes, it is!” was enough. Sounds like your “How Great Thou Art”. I don’t understand the constant inaccurate portrait of our inner convictions.

    Another misrepresentation: Your whole conversation about Jesus/JS ration with Cluff. Just because Jesus is the Savior (your 100% ratio) doesn’t mean that you don’t ever speak of Moses, Paul, etc. You, in fact, quote the prophets of the OT/NT often. Do you rely on them for salvation? No. But you do accept their teachings and testimony, don’t you? Could you ever gain salvation or the knowledge of salvation while simultaneously rejecting the Bible? JS is no different. If he is a true prophet, then you can no more reject his testimony than you could reject Biblical prophets, and still expect Jesus to save you.

    I do agree with you that it is unwise to quote a source that one considers falliable. Although I commend Cluff for his testimony.

  42. Berean says:

    Grace in Christianity? It’s simple – our faith is in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10). It’s a gift. There is nothing you can do in your own filthiness and disgusting humanity before Almighty God to warrant one flicker of His favor outside of his Son because we are disgusting in His sight outside of the Savior. (Rom 3:10,12&23; Isa 64:6)

    Let’s now talk about forgiveness in Mormonism. Once again quoting the good prophet Kimball:

    “Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon TOTAL repentance and meeting ALL of the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works – many works – and and all-out, total surrender, with great humility and a broken heart and a contrite spirit. IT DEPENDS UPON WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE FORGIVEN AND WHEN. IT COULD BE WEEKS, IT COULD BE YEARS, IT COULD BE CENTURIES before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility, your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.” [Emphasis mine] (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 324)

    Ughhh…what a burden, weight and how depressing. No wonder Mormons hate this book when I show it to them. Where is the miracle in this text? I remember visiting a ward on testimony Sunday and listening to an elderly woman who was sobbing as she spoke in how she had been asking forgiveness for months and still didn’t know if she had been forgiven. Nobody gave her comfort or consolation. She just walked off the stage with the sniffles. I thought about this passage from Kimball. It’s really true with the Mormons.

    For Christians? It’s simple once again. We confess our sins and He is faithful and just to cleanse us from our sins and ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) and remember them no more (Hebrews 10:17). You don’t see Kimball’s “miracle” in the Bible texts.

  43. LDSSTITANIC says:

    Ralph…point granted…the only creed that gets into the persons in depth is the Athanasian, but it is too long to read in church (ha!). However Christians reading any of those creeds have had the Trinity in mind for centuries.

    I happen to be perched in the Anglican branch of the Christian family tree at the moment so I’m confused by your father’s story. When Thomas Cranmer drafted the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549 he used the Nicene creed in the Holy Communion (the principal Sunday service). Not sure what time period your father attended but I’m guessing it was after that year. The only thing I can figure is he was thinking of the service of Morning Prayer which, in the American prayer book versions, does use the Apostle’s creed but wasn’t designed to be the principal Sunday service. So I’m lost on how he thought someone switched something. I can assure you the Anglican tradition has always been thoroughly Trinitarian. When we won our independence and the Anglicans in America started the Episcopal Church they made that subject the first of their famous 39 articles in 1801: “There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in the unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Not meaning to be disrespectful but it doesn’t sound like he was too staunch of an Anglican to begin with.

    GRCluff, another key to interpreting Scripture is CONTEXT…you quoted chapter 2 but in the first chapter Paul already told us that JESUS himself is the power of God (v. 24). Question is which Jesus do you know? Even Gordon Hinckley admitted you all have a different Jesus. Lucifer’s brother is not my Savior.

  44. falcon says:

    Thanks Berean. Your ability to answer using Mormon references is very informative. It gives us all a depth of sorrow as we examine the Mormon religious system regarding forgiveness. Mormonism takes, what they say is Christianity, and flips it on its head. Because the Bible is not an authoritative source for Mormons, they will never understand what it means to be forgiven in Christ Jesus.
    I was listening to an interview done with Grant Palmer author of “An Insiders View of Mormon Origins.” He was asked what one thing could Mormons do to reform themselves. He said they could start emphasizing Jesus. (As a sideline I wanted to ask Grant Palmer who Jesus is) He had done an analysis of the topics used for discussion in the Mormon yearly calender and the amount of time dedicated to Jesus was paltry, almost negligable. I think it was Spurgeon or Moody when asked about his preaching said, “I start with my Biblical text and make a beeline for the Cross.” In contrast, I watched a video of a MM training session where the BYU trainer emphasizecd emphatically that the prospectt be taken to “that little grove of trees.” It makes my heart ache. Mormons spend more time talking about the activities of their relief society than they do the forgiveness that comes through the shed blood of the Cross of Jesus Christ. What a cruel religious system this Mormonism is. It robs people of what God has offered us through His Son Jesus Christ. But than Satan’s scheme is to keep these people as captives to a spiritual tyranny, never knowing the real God, the real Jesus, and real forgiveness.

  45. jackg says:


    Since I am attending a Wesleyan college, a lot of focus is on the “imago dei” in which Adam and Eve were created, which refers to God’s character. Sanctification is the road that leads to the “imago dei,” which can be termed as perfect love. So, Adam and Eve had perfect love since they were created in the image of God. I’m not sure if others see it the way I do, where not only did Adam and Eve have perfect love prior to the fall, but they must have had perfect trust in God. When Satan tempted them and they did as he suggested, I see this as them putting more trust in the words of Satan than in the words of God. For us, I see us as be sanctified to the point of having perfect love for God and for humanity, which is God’s image, but I also see the issue of us being restored to that perfect trust or faith in God, which is a huge part of Jesus’ teachings. Naturally, this is an opinion, whether shared or not I am uncertain. And, thanks for qualifying that your question was not an attack. Sometimes, we feel as if we’re being attacked on this blog when we’re not. Other times, attacks are definitely being made. Hope this helps, and I’m curious what other Christians and Mormons have to say about this.


    I believe 2 Nephi 25:23 sets the foundation for my statement. One must come to understand that grace is prevalent throughout our entire lives: there is no condition upon which to receive grace because grace is a free offering of God’s love in our lives. Whether or not one accepts God’s grace is up to that person; however, grace woos us and it is because of God’s grace that we see our need to repent. It can never be adjusted to the end of one’s live as an afterthought and in some percentage equation where our works are measured because our works are only filthy rags and could only merit us death. Grace is alive from birth to death. The concept of grace is the most precious truth I have learned since being liberated from JS teachings.

  46. germit says:

    DOF and others: well, let’s get started
    from IVP Pocket Dict.of Theo.Terms 56
    GRACE: One of the central concepts of Scriptures, grace speaks of God’s loving actions toward creation and toward humankind in particular. Grace is the generous overflow of the love of God the Father toward the Son, Jesus Christ. This love is most clearly demonstrated to humans through God’s selfless giving of Jesus to enable people to enter into a loving relationship with God as the Holy Spirit enables them. COMMON GRACE- speaks of God’s extension of favor to all people thru providential care, regardless of whether or not they acknowledge or love God; EFFICACIOUS GRACE- refers to the special application of grace to a person who comes by faith to Christ for salvation. It is the special act of God that brings about the true salvation of a person; PREVENIENT GRACE- though often thot to be syn. with common grace, refers more specifically to the Weslyan idea that God has enabled all people everywhere to respond favorably to the gospel, if they so choose.
    from the Quotable (C.S.) Lewis
    p.209: (Salvation) is the change from being confident about our own efforts to the state in which we despair of doing anything for ourselves and leave it to God. I know the words “leave it to God” can be misunderstood, but they must stay for the moment. THe sense in which a Christian leaves it to God is that he puts all his trust in Christ: trusts that Christ will somehow share with him the perfect human obedience which He carried out from His birth to His crucifiction: that Christ will make the man more like Himself and, in a sense make good his deficiencies. In christian language, He will share His “sonship”with us, will make us, like Himself, “Sons of God”.

  47. germit says:

    Part II:
    again from Quotable Lewis; p.269

    The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or-if they think there is not- at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.
    same page:
    Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions or Faith in Christ…It does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from the despair at that point: and out of the Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come.
    p.272 @GRACE:
    St.Augustine says “God gives where He finds empty hands” A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift.
    from the Layman’s Guide to Prot.Theology p.25
    In contrast to other religions, christianity has a unique point of view. Whereas most relgions believe that man has to do something to atone to God, Christianity teaches that God Himself has performed the atoning work. Other religions perform sacrifices in order that God might turn His angry face back toward man and forgive him. Christianity teaches that God has performed a sacrifice, in and thru Jesus, which has brought God and man back into fellowship with each other.
    hope this helps get the ball rolling
    as to grace being ‘contingent’ (reliant,dependent,conditional), I would say dependent upont who HE is, and what HE has promise, ‘contingent’ upon HIS character, nothing else: certainly not us. GERMIT

  48. falcon says:

    Berean, Jack, Germit, et al great posts.

    So I’m out riding my bike this morning, pounding out the endless miles here in the rural Wisconsin countryside, and I’m thinking about Benjamin Bloom. He’s an educational researcher that developed a model of learning that says there is a hierarchy of six levels starting with the lowest level: knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. So I’m asking myself as I’m turning the crank over and over, “Why after so many clear, precise, beautifully developed and succintly articulated presentations of the Christian view of forgiveness, are some of our Mormon contributors not even able to move into level one, knowledge. What I mean by that is, why can’t they even repeat the words of the Christian position. I’m not even talking about “understanding”. So I say, “Maybe they don’t have the intellectual horsepower?” Maybe, “They have a processing problem in the brain with the synapes not just firing?” So I reject those two possibilities. Then I say, “Maybe they’re just willful. They don’t want to repeat it because there would have to be some level of acknowledgment.” Maybe there’s a fear of threat to their current mindset that Christians believe once receiving Christ they can sin with inpunity. There whole religious world falls a apart if there is an acknowledgment of the Christian Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    Now Sharon says I can’t say maybe they’re nonelect so I won’t, but do others wonder about this. I think my best guess is that the comparison of the Mormon system of forgiveness with the Christian view, threatens all the basic premises upon which all of Mormonism is built. Mormons have too much equity in their current system to breach the divide and accept God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and gift of eternal life.

  49. Andrea says:

    When I was living with my sister who was beautifully newly Christian and witnessed to me every day, it prompted me to have a discussion with my boyfriend about what Christians really believe. This brand of Christianity my sister was displaying was unlike any I had ever seen. It was awesome and I wanted to know what it was all about. So my boyfriend and I have a conversation (in which I say “that is SO different from the Jesus I was taught as a Mormon!”) and he tells me that all one has to do to be saved and go to heaven is accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for all our sins. I kept saying “but that’s so easy. It can’t be that easy!.” Let me repeat that “It can’t be that easy.” I believe this is the problem our Mormon friends are having. They have been taught that it’s NOT that easy, that in addition we must do good works and that total forgiveness will come only when they sin no longer (yes, an impossible feat). It was over a year after that conversation that I finally accepted Christ, that He knows each and every one of our sins and knew every tear each of us would spill before He came. I know that is IS that easy to accept Him; the hard part is what comes after. The hard part is dealing with our still sinful nature and remembering to rely on God for everything for we cannot do it alone. The hard part is listening and submitting to God’s will and letting His work and His awesomeness shine through me.
    Ralph, Cluff, susan, DOF, everyone: I promise it is that easy. All the stuff JS made up in the BoM, the PoGP, and the D&C is NOTHING to your salvation. All you need is God’s Word in the Bible. All you need is to admit that nothing YOU do means anything and will get you nowhere near God’s presence. Accept that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is all that’s needed to pay for our sins. I pray that you will diligently read the Bible without the Mormon filters on. I honestly do.

    By the way, (to be continued…)

  50. Andrea says:

    I’m curious if any of Mormons here have ever read/seen Lee Stroebel’s The Case for Christ. Cluff said, “The foundation of your faith is equally clear. It is the evidence of history” and “I know Jesus is Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost”. Mr. Stroebel was an atheist who did historical and archaeological research to see if any truth about Jesus could be verified, hoping that he would prove those silly Christians were just basing everything off of “faith” and had no real evidence. The result? He came to Christ. So to say “The foundation of (Christianity) is the evidence of history” is not completely accurate. It would be more acute to say our foundation is Christ and is verified by evidence in history. This is why we feel it is a cop-out to fall back on your testimony when “anyone asks a reason for the hope that is in you”. We have testimonies but they are backed up by history and other forms of verifiable evidence, there is no historical evidence for the BoM or BoA or all the rest.

    P.S.: C.S. Lewis had a way of impeccably articulating grace and forgiveness. And to DOF, I believe jackg was talking about obedience, not just repentance.

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