After All BYU Professors Can Do to Implicitly Reject LDS Institutional Readings of 2 Nephi 25:23

Bill McKeever, Eric Johnson, and I discuss 2 Nephi 25:23 in relation to institutional Mormonism and BYU neo-orthodoxy. This conversation is from around June 21, 2007. I procrastinated in uploading the talk and hence have not done all I can do.

Direct link to MP3

Having listened to this MP3 again, I realize how much I need to be quicker to listen and slower to speak and interrupt!

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29 Responses to After All BYU Professors Can Do to Implicitly Reject LDS Institutional Readings of 2 Nephi 25:23

  1. jackg says:

    Just two years ago, my daughter was taught in her SS class about grace coming after all we can do. The example used was having a debt, paying back as much as we could on our own before Jesus stepped in to pay the rest because we ran out. So, this idea about the preposition “after” and all that rhetoric to diffuse it is really not true.

    With regard to Kimball’s MF, I think it is important to point out that he speaks in terms of sanctification to some degree in that it is a process, but it is still flawed. He talks about overcoming the “big” sins like adultery and stealing, and when we overcome those, then we work on the “smaller” sins which deal more with what we would call venial sins. This is more in line with perfecting our character and goes beyond our outward sins. So, I think Mormons have a separation of outward sins and inner sins, which means they can consider themselves “worthy” while still saying they need to repent on a continual basis. We as Christians don’t put sins into such categories. Also, we as Christians believe we are born with sin nature, while Mormons believe they are born with divine nature. This is why they believe they can become perfect. Of course, their sense of perfection deals with performance. I align myself with Wesleyan theology and, therefore, believe that perfection is more of intent than performance. Wesley called it Christian perfection, and is focused on becoming perfect in love, which is in agreement with the two great commandments as well as relational, which is what the 10 commandments are all about. It’s more of a heart issue than a performance issue. With Mormons, it’s more about performance. Again, from my perspective, it’s a backward theology.

    Also, Mormons believe they can make themselves perfect through their obedience and behaviors. We Christians believe that our obedience is a response to God’s grace in our lives, while Mormons believe God responds to their obedience with grace. Again, backward.

  2. jackg says:

    Moroni 10:32 reads thus: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, THEN is his grace sufficient for you…”

    This presentation of grace makes it a mere appendage to our works, but God’s grace works in our lives even before we come to know what grace is.

    Mormons put a premium on their works to earn grace; Christians put a premium on their works as a witness for Jesus Christ and as evidence of their faith in Him. I find it interesting for Peter to say, “for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9). He then goes on to put works in their proper perspective: “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12).

    I know there will be those Mormons who will argue that God’s grace is so wonderful that everyone will be spared hell and live in one of the kingdoms, and the terrestrial kingdom will be better than this life, and that we’re talking about becoming gods anyway. But there is a hell for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as the sole author of salvation. It is not “Salvation” by Jesus Christ et al.

    My Mormon friends, grace is not an appendage to your works. Your works should be in response to God’s grace. We are justified by our faith, and the purpose of our works is not to add to the grace of God in our lives but to glorify God. So, here we have it:

    Mormonism: good works to earn grace so we can be glorified and become gods.

    Christianity: good works in response to grace so we can glorify God.

    It doesn’t get any clearer than this, my friends.

    Grace and Peace!

  3. Jeffrey says:

    I hope the LDS on here take the time to listen to the audio, at least the first half.

    Over on the other thread they are discussing evidences which is a valid discussion, but I think this thread gets to the heart of the LDS gospel. It explains very clearly why it’s impossible for LDS if they take their authority’s (prophets, scriptures) words for it.

    Basically, as an LDS person, you have 3 choices in regards to this.

    1) Accept and believe in what the prophets and apostles of your church teach

    or 2) Disregard and at the very least internally rebuke what your church authority has said on the issue, and develop a belief much like Robert Millet and other BYU professors have

    or 3) Disregard everything and just come up with your own belief on the issue

    With a decision on either of the 3, leaves you with 3 separate consequences.

    If you choose #1, then you have to ask yourself, have you done ALL that you can do? Have you abandoned sin entirely and completely? If you say no, then you are not forgiven according to your own belief. If you say yes, then you have no reason to repent because your sinless (but this of course would make you a liar)

    If you choose #2, you might want to question other things that church authority teaches as well. I would also hope that you don’t act like your belief agrees on core doctrine that the LDS church holds to, and you don’t say to Mormon critics “You don’t know/misunderstand/mis-interperet what Mormon’s believe.” Why? Because you have chosen to separate yourself from traditional Mormonism. Also, I would like to add that if you are in any position of teaching like Robert Millet is, I, like Aaron Shaf, would like you to publicly renounce what LDS leadership has taught in regards to “after all you can do”.

    If you choose #3, well, you might want to start your own offshoot of Mormonism like the many others.

    to be continued..

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Or theres always plain and precious truth #4..

    4) You can accept what God has said in the Bible and put complete trust and faith in the One He hath sent and be saved..

    but lets not get too crazy here..

  5. Brian says:

    Amen, Jeffrey.

    “Jesus paid it all,
    All to Him I owe.
    Sin had left a crimson stain,
    He washed it white as snow.”

    — From the hymn “Jesus Paid It All”

  6. amanda says:

    We are saved based on Christ’s parameters. Christ has asked us do all we can. It’s that simple. Certainly we cannot contend with a concept that Christ has taught.

    Faith isn’t just believing, Aaron…You mentioned grace and faith in Christ is all we need…well faith is action, faith IS doing all we can! I know you are familiar with Lectures on Faith…doing all we can is a representation of our faith in Him. To suggest that Mormons think it is in their power to save themselves is absolutely false. I know many evangelicals try very hard to fit this square doctrinal allegation in the circle of the restored gospel. It just doesn’t fit. You can reasonably disagree in the definition of faith.

    Here are some scriptures that may help
    James: 14, 17-18, 20, 22, 24, 26
    14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    • • •
    17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
    18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
    • • •
    20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    • • •
    22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
    • • •
    24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    • • •
    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    I believe when Christ asks us to do everything we can first, that doesn’t mean he isn’t mighty to save, it means also that he is a mighty teacher. There is purpose to this life…we came here to learn..and we couldn’t come here and learn through trial and error AND make it back to our Heavenly Father without a Savior. He came here so that we could learn and live with Him again.

  7. Hi Amanda,

    Imagine yourself stuck in prison with a hard task-master as gaoler. You were born there, so he has a right to own you. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, or how well you learn from your experience, or even how good you are at your prayers, the outcome is the same – you die.

    There’s no way you can get yourself out, and the empirical evidence is stacked against you – everyone dies!

    Now imagine God smashing open the prison door and leading you out into a journey that will take you to the place where you are meant to live. He leads you down through the dark waters of the sea, and when you have crossed to the other side you find that the Gaoler can no longer reach you. You don’t have to live by the Gaoler’s rules any more, in fact you shouldn’t because you now have a new boss, who doesn’t operate to the Gaoler’s rules.

    God doesn’t do this for your sole benefit; he has in mind the building of a community of redeemed human beings. After he has saved them from jail (please note the order of events), he gives them the law. Its a strange law that’s more like a river of righteousness, flowing from the throne of God, through his people, to the surrounding world. Its a law that points you to God, because God himself is the ultimate destination of this new journey you are on.

    Consider this; how much did you contribute to the smashing down of the prison doors? And, how should you live your life, now that Christ has purchased you with his blood?

    The real question is this; how can you join with Jesus in his Exodus, because that’s how his journey through the cross and resurrection is viewed by the Gospels. And that’s how we should view our redemption too.

    (PS quick post, Bible references – Exodus 12-20, Romans 6 and Rev 1:6).

    In my opinion, the problems with LDS teaching on the subject start because of a marked lack of empathy with the Biblical story of redemption. I might add that much Evangelical teaching falters for exactly the same reasons

  8. jackg says:


    I was wondering if you could tell me where it is in the Bible where Christ asks us to do everything we can first before His grace kicks in?

    Christians do not say that obedience is unnecessary. We believe that works are important in that they prove we really believe in Jesus Christ. Mormons are inclined to think that they can do good works of their own power; Christians believe that God performs good works through us by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Mormons think they can make themselves “worthy” through good works as they progress to holiness, but being made holy is not our job, it’s the work of God through the Holy Spirit, and He is faithful to complete that work.

    So, what we need to look at is the emphasis on works. It seems that your emphasis is on your own works and then God’s grace kicks in. I see it as my response to God’s grace, and such response is obedience because I desire to please Him. It comes down to why we do what we do, and I think that Mormonism teaches its members a faulty perception and answer to the “why.” Obedience to please God as opposed to obedience to earn grace. The Mormon teaching puts God in our debt; in other words, if we do enough, God will have to respond with grace. If I do all my home teaching (or visiting teaching), and go to the temple, and pay my tithing, etc, then God owes me exaltation because I have merited it on my own. That’s backwards, Amanda. When we are saved and justified by faith, we are free to be obedient simply because we want to. There is no compulsion. I’m not sure this is helping, but I hope it does.

    Grace and Peace!

  9. Lautensack says:

    As all of scripture is God Breathed I agree that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (Jas 2:14) However if we actually believe that “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and d bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from f all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:24-27 and “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 Thus while I absolutely agree with James but I don’t agree with your analysis of James. It seems evident to me that when James 2, Romans 8:13-14, 1 Peter 4:17 etc are read in the light of all scripture we come to the conclusion that Paul made in Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

    Soli Deo Gloria!


  10. germit says:

    AMANDA: welcome back to MC, if I didn’t say so already.

    Yours is quite obviously a charitable and ecumenicl spirit, for which I’m grateful, but you underestimate a few things. You wrote,

    We are save based on Christ’s parameters…

    no argument there, but for all the disagreement that various christian groups endure, we agree on the basics of salvation, and beyond that, I’d say we generally use the vocabulary of the discussion in the same way: “saved by grace through faith..” is understoon in roughly the same way by all these “disagreeing groups…” The same CANNOT be said for the LDS, and so we find ourselves unavoidably at odds in the most basic of ways. And from the orthodox position , yours is a different gospel altogether.
    As a sidenote, the ev. christian is able to compare scripture with scripture and come to the needed understanding of troublesome themes and ideas: while extra-biblical material is helpful, our foundation remains the pure, uncorrupted, Word of God, compared to itself. You and I agree to disagree on the need for a modern prophet to sort this all out.
    Not trying to be contrary so early in the week, just point out some of the obvious distinctives of our respective faiths, and why you don’t, and won’t, get treated like just another christian group. Glad to have you back at MC. GERMIT

  11. amanda says:

    I wouldn’t call it MY faith, germit…but I would agree with your overall meaning that the gospel I believe in is very different than the gospel you believe in. However, there is one very important foundation that we all can agree on and that is Christ.

    With all the differences we have, “Christians” with other “Christians”, I would say that anyone who believes and puts faith in Christ is headed down the right path.

    The differences that many of you all have suggested and problems that have been pointed out, the main problem is the fact that I accept modern revelation, and you all do not (those who are “contending” with my position). I accept the Book of Mormon as scripture. So as long as one does not accept all of scripture, they will not accept the restoration. Period.

    This is my way of saying that if I were in your shoes, I would say and argue those same points. But I am not. I was raised in this church that I presently belong to. I believe it because of my own personal endeavors for truth. I know it for what it is because I’ve lived it. I find joy in it. I find purpose and direction having faith in the restoration. It has made me the person I am today and continues to mold me into something better. That is all I have to offer you. I cannot ever pretend to have enough secular knowledge to prove anything. But I can offer my testimony. That might not be enough for many of you, but its enough for me.

    Sorry I do not have time or ability to answer all of your queries and arguments. I am sure you understand, it is easy to be ambushed on this website if you are LDS 🙂

  12. germit says:

    AMANDA: thanks for the tag back; well, here’s the rub: if indeed we had the same Christ, I think we’d have (basically, at least in the essentials) the same gospel. The fact that we have radically different gospels makes me suspect that our ‘agreement in Christ’ is illusory. I’m not trying to create division where none exists, but neither am I trying to skirt division when it is the plain state of things. I’m new (about a year) into this debate, but from what I’ve seen and heard from the LDS themselves, the LDS gospel and that of orthodoxy do not, and cannot, agree on any major point. That being the case, how can our “Christ” be the same ?? I don’t see it….. It’s possible that ‘orthodoxy’ is wrong….it’s possible that the LDS are wrong….it is impossible that BOTH are right… and to describe our side as just ‘incomplete’ or ‘good, but not quite restored…’ is just plain dishonest, not that YOU have said that , but these are descriptions that I have heard from LDS sources.
    An aside: yes we believe in modern revelation, but not in the manner that your church has taught; and I’d say the same for REVELATION, AND ANSWERED PRAYER AND THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. I can easily believe that your religion, or the religion that you follow, has made you a more moral person: but if it’s fundamentally false , that will be little solace on the judgment day. GERmIT

  13. I realise that I might have been overly critical of the consensus of the ‘Evangelical Gospel’ (I’ll use this term to try avoid perjoratives for ‘other’ Gospels).

    When LDS hear the Evangelical Gospel, I think the signal they recieve is akin to antinomialism. In other words, when we say ‘salvation by faith alone’ they hear ‘salvation without repentance’, or ‘subscribe to this creed and don’t bother changing your life’.

    This is a misrepresentation of nearly all forms of the Evangelical Gospel that I am aware of, and there is a strong consensus in Evangelical camps that a gospel without life-changing repentance is a false gospel.

    I am also aware that some ex-Evs (Reggie?) left their churches over this issue, though I wonder if their former churches were negligent in their teaching or culture.

    Is ‘salvation-without-repentance’ a real feature of the Evangelical Gospel? I think not because Evangelicals cannot escape the Bible, and the Bible teaches repentance. The perception that it is has to be sustained by movements like the LDS (also JW’s) in order to delegitimise their rivals.

    Another thought; there are streams of folk religion and ‘authorative’ teaching in both Ev and LDS movements. One difference is that authorative Ev teaching tends to converge on a consensus centred on the Bible, whereas authorative LDS teaching diverges wildly according to whatever the ‘prophets’ say at the time, as demonstrated in this thread’s starter topic. The folk religion of LDS isn’t orthodox Christianity, but its generally closer than the authorative teachings of its leaders.

  14. Lordship salvation is the historic and primary current teaching coming from evangelical seminaries. The biggest exception is some departments at Dallas Theological Seminary that push non-lordship.

    Mormons have in my personal experience been ardent (and sometimes opportunistic) to represent historic and contemporary evangelicalism through the lens of the dying and minority non-Lordship position. As with the “God without passions” and “Who does Jesus pray to?” misrepresentations of Christianity (as having an aloof, modalistic God), I think Mormons are for the most part being deceived by their own religious community about the standard evangelical view of justification and sanctification.

  15. …So LDS can rightly criticise the ‘folk’ religion of Evangelicalism for getting it wrong (so do Evangelicals, so there’s no story there).

    Evangelicals criticise the ‘authorative’ religion of LDS. The only ameliorating circumstance is that the ordinary ‘folk’ LDS in the pew doesn’t have a good grip on what the LDS leaders have actually taught.

  16. I would add that institutional Mormon teaching on repentance, etc., doesn’t perfectly flow down to the folk level, but it does it enough to the degree that the common Mormon won’t claim that they have received eternal life and comprehensive forgiveness of sins.

    On the flip side, most evangelicals I talk to think that it is pretty common sense that if you’re a flaming hypocrite, you might never have been born again.

  17. amanda says:


    you said: “The fact that we have radically different gospels makes me suspect that our ‘agreement in Christ’ is illusory. ”

    Hmmmm…this logic would then call into question which commonly accepted “Christians” faiths are truly Christian because ALL denominations disagree on points of doctrine, hence their separations from each other. So who has the real story then, Germit? By your logic, we can question EVERY religion that claims Christ at its center so long as it differs from the next.

    Early Christians are even more suspect since their differences were fundamentally at odds with each other more so than contemporary Christianity- and contemporary “Christians” cannot separate themselves from this fact since they are built on early Christian texts, translations, interpretations and traditions, well the ones that seemed to win the “we are the REAL Christians” debate through much debate and warfare. Did the real Christians WIN out?

    So, given your analysis and logic, Germit, who are the real Christians?

    Here is some insight on that point:

    Moro. 7: 11 (6-11).
    11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.

    James 3: 11.
    11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

    Matt. 6: 24.
    24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

    Solace on judgment day? Well, I can only hope that the peace He gives me now through His holy spirit is that same peace I will feel that day. Could we both be feeling that peace? Only you and the Lord know by reading those passages where you stand. I’d rather keep it between the two of you ;)- That kind of judgment is beyond my perception/knowledge for sure.

  18. Amanda wrote “who are the real Christians?”

    Though this is not a pointless question, its almost unanswerable.

    I could say I am a Christian because I follow Christ. I’d venture that you’d say pretty much the same thing, and I’m not going to question your sincerity in saying it. Another person might say that he or she is a Christian by accident of geography – by being born into a ‘Christian’ Country. So the answer depends on what we mean by Christian.

    I prefer to use Biblical metaphors. For example, the People of God in their wanderings in the Sinai were identified as the people of God because they followed the tabernacle. I think there is evidence in the text of a flux of people in and out of the camp, so the nation of Israel (which prefigures the Christian church) is identified because of its willingness to follow God, not only because of its ethnicity. Its just a hunch of mine, but it does align with NT thought on what it means to be a part of the Kingdom, i.e. our claim to be a part of Abraham’s family is justified by our faith, not by the fact that we are a product of a system of religion or of a particular family.

    Your Bible quotes are germane. I’ve heard other LDS use them, and I think the context is something like “if we weren’t the true church, how come we’re all nice people”. I’m not questioning your ‘niceness’ (being “nice” is a vastly underestimated virtue, BTW), but your vision may be fixed on the folks in the pews. Look higher into the institutional levels, and what emerges is not as winsome. We could start with a young man who had maybe 30 wives, who lied about his ability to translate ancient texts, and who gave his followers instructions that he had no intention of following himself. Back on topic, we see a leadership that has no reservation in denying its own history. Denial and lies is not the language of God’s Kingdom (John 8:44).

    If you apply James 3:11 to the LDS leadership at its highest level, you might not get the result you want.

  19. germit says:

    Amanda: one of the ironies in your post is that you imply that I’m being too restrictive in my defining who is a christian. I find that ironic, because I’m actually prepared to accept a wide variety of groups and doctrine, from Coptic, Eastern Orthodox, to back hills pentecostal. There remains a core of orthodoxy, and more to the point, a life in the spirit, a being born again, that unites us all. The irony, of course, is that you represent a religion that holds itself above, and better than , all others, and you are so much as telling me I’m being too restrictive….. hmmmm, I’ll be thinking on that one…and of course your ‘out’ is saying “God set it up this way, it’s not Amanda’a idea, etc” I can accept that you are buying into another’s idea’s, that you didn’t cook this up yourself, I’ll pass on the “God did it” for now. Not having a very big hell does not impress me that much either, as throwing the orthodox a lower level of heaven makes you more inclusive and less judgmental. We are both restrictive in our own ways, and both making judgments, that’s the nature of decision making.
    You are unquestionably a nice, moral, person but you will have to come to grips with what your religion does in regard to other christian views, i.e. we don’t mix, not because ev’s are stubborn or prideful, but the two systems are oil and water.
    This will sound cranky, but Martin hit the nail on the head about good fruit: the fruit that your leaders have given me, EVEN IF THAT’S ALL I KNEW ABOUT YOUR GROUP, gives me plenty of reason to know that what JS started is not of God. Thanks for your posts. GERMIT

  20. amanda says:

    Well Martin,

    My point was mostly on an individual level- how to discern for yourself whether you are Christian or not or whether the message of someone else is “Christian”. Look at the fruits. I had no aspirations of actually convincing you that the restored gospel applies to this scripture. But since you brought it up ;),

    I don’t believe it is just “niceness” that encompasses what the restored gospel requires or engenders. I see that you would like to focus on the famous lines about Joseph Smith from his critics and haters. Red Herring. It is convenient of you to completely overlook everything else. However, in fairness to you- if the negative is all that you look for, then I guess you wouldn’t ever find those things that go beyond “niceness”.

    Examples, Family. We believe in eternal families. This belief that goes beyond niceness gives responsibilities to our members to value the institution of marriage, love our spouses and teach our children the gospel of Jesus Christ. We teach them to love their neighbor, be charitable, to have gratitude, to sacrifice our time in serving others and to have faith in Christ. We give 10% of all we have to the Lord. These funds go to such causes as taking care of the poor in our church and outside of the church. Giving to those in crisis. We send out our young men to preach this gospel of Christ who sacrifice their time and money and face much ridicule in the world because of it. I am only scratching the surface.

    That is more than just what you seemed to imply as a facade of “niceness”. Disclaimer: of course not all mormons are good examples of this- but that would mean they are asleep at the wheel and need to wake up.

    There is the question of who are the real Christians…and I don’t agree with you completely. I think the fruits of those who claim to know the Savior will give them away 🙂

  21. jackg says:

    Germit and Martin,

    You guys are doing an excellent job!


    You’re doing a fantastic job of representing your beliefs.

    You said, “Hmmmm…this logic would then call into question which commonly accepted “Christians” faiths are truly Christian because ALL denominations disagree on points of doctrine, hence their separations from each other. So who has the real story then, Germit? By your logic, we can question EVERY religion that claims Christ at its center so long as it differs from the next.”

    You make a fair statement, and I would like to address it the best I can. Even within Christianity, groups that claim to be Christian are measured against the established criteria of dogma. Professing the Trinity is part of that dogma, which means one must believe the in the Triune God to be a Christian. Also, believing in being saved solely on the merits of Jesus Christ, and not our own works, is another example of dogma. Denominations then have criteria that a member of their denomination should believe, and these are considered doctrines. The final category is opinion, and baptism often falls into this category, but can end up in the doctrine category, as well. So, when Germit talks about “orthodoxy,” I hear “dogma.” This is why he can say that Ev. Christians share the “same” gospel, and that it is radically different from the message Mormonism espouses.

    What I am gleaning from what the Mormons are saying on this blog, and from conversations with my son, it seems to me that Martin’s observation is amazingly accurate: “Evangelicals criticise the ‘authorative’ religion of LDS. The only ameliorating circumstance is that the ordinary ‘folk’ LDS in the pew doesn’t have a good grip on what the LDS leaders have actually taught.”

    I spoke to one Mormon who claimed to be a “Born-Again” Mormon because he does not believe that men will become gods. Yet, he still believes that grace is added after all we can do.

  22. jackg says:

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what we do if we don’t understand that we are saved solely on the merits of Jesus Christ on the cross, who died for us while we were still sinners, and that His sacrifice in our place was done because of grace. There is a chasm between men and God, and sometimes we think we can bridge that chasm on our own through good works, but this scripture comes to mind: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20). The Good News is not that we can earn our way into heaven by what we do because grace will be added, but this: “…Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus Christ bridges the chasm for us. Our works play no part in that. The message of Mormonism is not his same message, and that’s why I am no longer LDS. Was repentance necessary? Absolutely! But, repentance isn’t a work; it’s a response. This is orthodox Christianity. Hope this helps.

    Grace and Peace!

  23. faithoffathers says:

    Have been gone a while.

    A few questions that have never had responses here.

    How does one strengthen his faith if not through works? Answer- there is no other way. Faith is a gift from God, received as a person obeys His commandments.

    The belief that we must repent and obey the commandments to be forgiven is perfectly in line with the laws of nature which Christ alluded to so often in His teachings- law of the harvest, etc.

    A farmer must plow the field, sow the seed, water the crop (when possible), and pick the weeds. But God creates the miracle in the seed, provides the rain and sunshine. Do you see my point? The farmer must do his part. But because he must do his part does not diminish the miracles God provides.

    This is a very biblical teaching. It is the foundation of the JudeoChristian ethos.

    jackg- this in no way puts God in our debt, or makes Him “obey” us. What is faith, if not the conviction and belief that God will keep His promises- if we follow Him, He will bless us. This is the underlying message of Christianity/bible. Am I “obeying” my daughter when I bestow a promised reward for good behavior? Seems silly to ask.

    In all the attempts by EV here to describe or explain my and other LDS belief on this topic, I have never seen one person accurately describe what I actually believe. Why is that? Do you really think you are representing what we believe if this is the case?

    And to say the “pew” folks in the LDS church do not understand the leaders’ teachings is not true or fair. But this is something fostered by critics for some reason. I suggest that LDS are better educated about the doctrines of their church than the vast majority of members of other churches.

  24. poetchick says:


    I’m curious how you justify your beliefs in eternal families biblically. I know your church teaches this, but it goes against the Bible. The Bible says that there is no marriage in heaven.

    Also, you say that people will know that you’re Christian based on your fruits. Well, if I were you I’d be more concerned with what God thinks about your Christianity, and He doesn’t care about your works. A person who isn’t saved can do all the works they want, but it won’t save them.

    John 3:16 says that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    That’s it. It doesn’t say that whosoever believeth in him, get married in the temple, be baptized, give 10% of their income, baptize for the dead and be sealed in the temple will be saved, does it? So is the Bible wrong or is it the LDS teaching?

    John 3:16 has it right. We believe…REALLY believe, not just have a knowledge of Christ in our minds, but know him in an intimate, personal way, and we put him in charge of our lives. This is the requirement for salvation. Nothing else. Works will never save us.

    Works are our response to our salvation. I believe that it’s impossible to be saved and not change. Our works will determine HOW we spend our eternity in heaven. God has jobs for us there too, you know.

    Works will never determine WHERE we spend our eternity.

  25. amanda says:

    I believe that “faithofourfathers” addressed this topic very well (works- refer above)-I won’t readdress it.

    Also, your question about eternal families is an important one. I’m not sure what biblical teaching goes against families. The Abrahamic covenant is a very real and clear teaching supporting family relations, also:
    Mal. 4: 6
    6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

    In mainstream Christianity, the above scripture and the Abrahamic covenant are a bit elusive. They don’t seem to have much meaning. The gospel has been restored, and much of these truths have therefore been defined.

    “Professing the Trinity is part of that dogma, which means one must believe the in the Triune God to be a Christian.”

    Trinity as a requirement for Christianity? I am 100% positive that this requirement is nowhere in the bible. Moreover this teaching is easily challenged. Early Christians would take issue with your claim. Dogma is no better than people assuming roles of authority in determining beliefs. This process denies the power of the Holy Ghost to confound the wise, and His servants the Prophets to lead through priesthood authority. Basically God chooses those who speak for Him. I’ll put my faith in the age-old organization of the priesthood rather than a politically necessary council at Nicea. You honestly believe that since the time of Jesus Christs’ death on the cross that His teachings have been perfectly preserved? Historical documents and scholars would claim otherwise.

    I believe the most important doctrines, that are actually accounted for in the bible, that determine a true Christian can be found in Christs’ teachings: the sermon on the mount for one. Turn the other cheek, love your enemies, and many more virtues.

  26. jackg says:


    Welcome back! I think that I can say I understand where you are coming from because I used to be in your shoes. I know what the Church teaches (unless it’s changed dramatically), and feel confident in saying that the nitty gritty of Mormonism isn’t really addressed until later; and with new converts, not until after they’re baptized and have established for themselves the “I know…” testimony. I wonder how many convert believers know that Mormonism teaches that one can become a god. I know many younger Mormons, like my daughter, who do not believe the Church teaches this. Just an observation. With regard to grace, please correct me if I am wrong and you do not see your works as a requirement for salvation (and by salvation I am talking about living eternally in God’s presence, what you would call the CK). I believe the intent of this post is to discuss works as a means to salvation and not as a means to strengthening our faith. Do you see your works as “evidence” and evidence only of your faith, or as a requirement into heaven? From my perspective, the “after all we can do” clause corrupts the true teaching of grace and implies that God is put into our debt based on our works. Good hearing from you again!


    I appreciate your thoughts. I want to address this statement (a discussion on theology requires another thread): “You honestly believe that since the time of Jesus Christs’ death on the cross that His teachings have been perfectly preserved?”

    I will say that I believe the message of salvation through God’s grace has definitely been preserved. If it were not so, then the gates of Hades have overcome it.

    We can address the priesthood and families another time on an appropriate thread. 🙂

    Grace and Peace!

  27. faithoffathers says:


    We absolutely believe that our works are required for salvation. But that does not mean that our works are what save us. Follow? This is what is misrepresented, in my opinion, about our faith by EVs. Without the grace of God, we are without ANY hope. Our works, on their own merits, will gain us nothing. But our works are required if we are to receive God’s blessings including forgiveness, the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and salvation/exaltation. It is not because we deserve anything if we keep these commandments. These are simply things God has commanded us to do to gain forgiveness and salvation. God has laws upon which all blessings are predicated- He is a God of order and law. Does this make sense. This is a fundamental concept, and it is important that people claiming to understand the LDS church should understand, but don’t.

    I asked about works strengthening faith because if we are saved by faith without works, I see no way to strengthen a person’s faith. If works are completely out of the equation, faith would be dependent on or a function of something else. My question was- what else? It simply doesn’t make sense.

    “Giving our lives to Christ” or “trusting completely in Christ” as means of strengthening faith is correct- but inherent in these paths is obedience. How can I give my life to Christ if I do not follow, or obey Him? I can’t.

  28. germit says:

    FoF: I was painting today on a bank holiday and I’m beat, but I’ll throw in a short post.
    What strikes me as I read your post is that I agree with maybe 98% of it, perhaps more…. I think you understand the sanctification process better than many christians, and can certainly explain it better than most also. We do indeed live in a cause and effect universe, and when we do X, God tells us Y will surely come, sometimes slowly….
    You might well be correct about the descriptions of your faith, but, as I’ve stated several times, we seem to use the same (essential) words in significantly different ways, and that makes the discussion problematic. There is also the problem that JackG and others allude to: you guys are all over the board in your PERSONAL theologies, so the theology that IS or WAS taught as official may or may not be embraced by you or other individuals. THis happens in ev. christian circles, of course, but I don’t think to as deep a degree (hard to know, really..). AS A GROUP, your diversity among members actually reminds me quite a bit of the Roman Catholic church, but that’s just my take, nothing data-driven there.
    I’ll finish with an agreement with the faith strengthened by works (also a very dominant Catholic theme by the way) idea: the early christians were sometimes called followers of THE WAY, their lives were indeed distinctive…is mine?? hmmmmmm thanks for your posts GERmIT

  29. jackg says:


    I can honestly say I know where you’re coming from: the way you believe makes sense to you. I just want to say that the concept of grace doesn’t make sense, and I think therein lies the problem. Also, I have one suggestion so you can perhaps understand where I am coming from: change the “R” word you use from required to response. Therein lies the key to understanding grace and works. When you know you’re saved, everything you do is to please God and bring Him glory–obedience without compulsion. When you live in the Law as Mormonism teaches you to do, your obedience is motivated by escaping God’s wrath and earning His grace. If that’s how you want to perceive God and live your life, it’s your prerogative to do so. But, keep in mind, it’s an non-biblical perception. I just want you to taste the sweetness of grace as I have. It’s really liberating, FOF. I want you to have what I have–peace of mind in knowing that I am aleady a citizen of heaven because I am justified by my faith and not by my works. Now, that’s Good News! But, alas, I can’t make you want it.

    Grace and Peace!

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