Responding to the “that’s not official doctrine” deflection

I spent much of the General Conference weekend downtown doing video interviews for my project. At one point I shot some video of the missionaries trying to neutralize (“hymn-slam”?) one of the jeerers outside the Conference Center.

I added annotations to the video as a way of sharing and advertising. One Mormon responded:

Some of the little “bubbles” displayed randomly during this singing are not true of our beliefs. But, that’s how satan teaches – by giving half-truths.
Hail to the Prophet Joseph Smith!

I asked for specifics, and what follows is the conversation that ensued. She wrote:

Actually, I just watched it again and all of the bubbles contain misinformation. The Book of Mormon outdated? Still contains the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of the church. We also believe in continued revelation. Ruling over planets? No, we don’t believe that. We believe we can become LIKE God – eternal and perfect. Not “gods” of our own planets. That especially is not doctrine. Maybe people assume that, but it is not doctrine.

God, angels, demons and humans all being the same “species”… well, in a sense, yes I guess, (except God our Father is on a whole different ‘plane’ than we are or will ever be.) God our Father created us ALL, and us “humans” in His image. There are different types of angels – spirits who have not come to earth, those who have come here and have been resurrected, those who have come to earth but not resurrected. Demons, I assume, satan’s followers – will never gain a body and were all created as spirit children of God. Just like the rest of us. They chose to follow Lucifer and were cast out along with him and will never live on this earth.

God being a sinner? I would like to see where you come up with that? We have NEVER taught that as doctrine, EVER. God is perfect, all knowing and all loving. We know the true nature of God – meaning He is a being. Where His beginning began? We don’t know. For us, He has always existed. We do not believe that, that is an absolute flat out lie. See how all these little bubbles contain mixed up truth? And even lies?? Come on. Who do you think the creator of all that IS?

Certainly not the Lord.

Whether the Book of Mormon of 1830 represents contemporary doctrine of Mormonism in 2009 is a matter of opinion. On this issue I recommend this article by a respected Mormon historian.

I live in Utah, and know lots of Mormons. If you would ever like to have lunch with us, I’ll pay for your food. My Mormon friends are very up front about the future exaltation and ruling over planets as gods. Notice on this point how I appeal to “traditional Mormonism”. I chose that language as to not stereotype Mormons.

Your point about God and demons is compatible with my bubble. They are equivalent in species but varied in states and stages of development. My bubble chose careful language on this point.

On the God-as-former-sinner issue, I invite you to see a preview of my video project on that at Regardless of it not being an explicit doctrine specifically promoted from the leadership, it is a mainstream (but not uniform) belief according to my research. I chose my language carefully on this, and said “many Mormons”, not “all Mormons” or “institutional Mormonism explicitly teaches”, etc.

Please tell me what you think of the project. It is entirely made up of video interviews with real Mormons (most of the video work so far was done this past General Conference weekend).

Take care, I look forward to your reply,


I do not wish to go back and forth with you. While your Mormon friends may talk about ‘being gods” and ruling over their own planet, it is still an assumption. There is no doctrine stating that, anywhere.  Again, many things you point out ARE just assumptions. Not doctrine. No matter. I am sure you are very passionate in your beliefs and that is wonderful. I know the gospel is true. This knowledge has come from the Holy Ghost who testifies of truth.  Have a lovely day.

I responded anyway (maybe I shouldn’t have?):

I didn’t say it was formal doctrine. On many of those things I said things like, “Many Mormons believe”. You failed to distinguish between formal doctrine and actual mainstream beliefs, conflating the two, but when I pointed out that many Mormons actually believe thus stuff, you started distinguishing the two. Does that make sense?

Take care and best wishes,


We are free, of course, to form our own opinions… which is where you are getting your “information” it seems – from other Mormon’s opinions… and those are not doctrine. It is just interesting to me that this is how people like you like to discredit or bad-mouth the church… not focusing on the REAL doctrine, but from assumptions and opinions of members. Giving half-truths and misconceptions. I know the difference between what Mormons assume and what is doctrine, but others do not. They will read your misconceptions and take that as our “doctrine”… that is where confusion sets in. Oh well. All I can do is share my testimony of the gospel. Satan will continue to try to confuse and mislead people until Christ returns.

I know the gospel is true and that Joseph Smith was his prophet in this last dispensation, and that he restored the fullness of the gospel to the earth. I know the Book of Mormon is scripture, and that Joseph translated those ancient plates through the power and gift of Almighty God. I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and through Him, all things are possible.

Have a great day.

Thanks for writing back.

If a majority of church members believe something bad, and it happens to be fostered or implied by the rest of the traditional Mormon worldview, the LDS Church leadership still has a responsibility not to acquiesce to it. Otherwise they are complicit to a degree in the continuance of the belief among lay members, all the while having the ability to reverse the popular belief.

Also, what matters to outsiders like me is not merely abstract official doctrine (whichever of the varying standards you use to define that; Mormons themselves simply disagree over what constitutes official doctrine), but also what beliefs are actually held among members. I know it is embarrassing that many Mormon members believe that God the Father could have been a sinner, but the Mormon worldview and historic leadership have something to account for that. They are not off the hook just because they haven’t put it in a recent First Presidency statement, etc.,

Take care,


Well, you are free to form your own opinions, that’s fine of course.

I have never been embarrased by what others assume – even in the LDS church. They are also free to do so. I know the doctrine and THAT, the doctrine, IS what matters. It actually doesn’t matter what other members speculate about… because it is just that, speculation.

No matter. The gospel is true.

Have a great day.

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72 Responses to Responding to the “that’s not official doctrine” deflection

  1. jackg says:

    I think it would be more honest if Mormons said they believe God to be “perfected” as opposed to “perfect.” There’s a huge difference between the two.

    Peace and Grace!

  2. Michael P says:

    What is interesting is that how many here are certain what LDS official doctrine truly is?

    Also, where does one go to get the ‘official’ doctrine of the church?

  3. shematwater says:

    I find it rather enjoyable that few people outside the church actually understand the concept of doctrine in the LDS church.

    Official doctrine, as most people term it, would refer only to that doctrine that is actively preached by the church leaders at the time. This can be applied to doctrine that was taught up to a number of years ago (I would venture to say about fifty or so). This is official because it is what the people of that time need. It does not make other doctrine false.

    Past doctrine is a term that should be used for that which was taught, but is no longer taught. It is still true, but it is not needed by the people of the time. This would include any doctrine that was taught more than fifty years ago, but is no longer taught today.

    Opinion is statements made by leaders of any time that is prefaced with such phrases as I believe, or I think. An example is a quote from Brigham Young that is frequently used in an attempt to claim a doctrine for life on the sun. In it he asks if the people believe there is life on the sun. He than says “I rather think there is.” This phrase is an opinion he held, not doctrine. The doctrine taught in this quote is what he says next. “It was not created in vain.” The doctrine would be that the sun had a perpuse. The opinion he gives is that this purpose is to shelter some form of life life.

    False Doctrine is that which any prophet at any time has declared to be false, or that which contradicts the words of the prophets outright.

    With these basic understandings it is easy to understand the verying opinions of members in the current day. There are many who have read teh words of the early church and believe what they say, but these words are not Official doctrine. It is not needed that all of us believe that we will become gods, or know how spirits and angels and demons opperate. These are truths that only act to hinder those who are as children in the faith.
    When the time is right all past doctrine will be made official doctrine, and at that time we will be instructed in them. Until then we have only our own thoughts and understanding to go with, as we are guided by the spirit.

    (these definitions are my own understanding of how doctrine works, but I think most people will agree the basic idea.)

  4. gundeck says:


    Does the Mormon Church publish, somewhere where can I find them, the lists of official doctrines, true doctrines that have not been taught for 50 years so their not official anymore, and the doctrines that are not true and never have been because they are just the opinions of a prophet. Does someone keep track of these things so a doctrine does not fall off the official list?

  5. Michael P says:


    “Official doctrine, as most people term it, would refer only to that doctrine that is actively preached by the church leaders at the time.”

    Wow. Gundeck gives some wonderful questions that deserve answers.

    What about the Seed of Cain? That was only 30 years ago.

  6. I keep pasting this in various places when the issue of officiality comes up. Mormonism simply has no one consistent model for defining what is official doctrine.

    sola scritpura – Scripture is the final and alone binding source of authority. If it’s not in scripture, or if it is not inferred by scripture, it is not doctrinal and it is not binding. This is the view that neo-orthodox Stephen E. Robinson ostensibly takes in How Wide The Divide.

    prima scriptura – Scripture is the highest, most final binding source of authority, but it is not the only source of that which is binding and doctrinal. Other sources, such as current church leadership (considered lesser because they are compared with scripture and discarded if in contradiction with scripture) are also binding. This is a view that more sophisticated LDS apologists like Blake Ostler ostensibly take.

    prima ecclesia – Modern church leadership is the highest, most final binding source of authority and doctrine, and may override other sources of authority and doctrine, like scripture, if there is contradiction. This is the view that Mormon traditionalists take, and it was perhaps most clearly promoted by Brigham Young. This is the view that often comes into practice when the Bible’s reliability is questioned and the Church is esteemed as the final authority in interpreting scripture for members, and as the holder of special knowledge by the “keys” of the elite positions of priesthood.

    There are nuances and ambiguities to these models (well, particularly in how Mormonism applies them), and variations thereof, but you get the basic idea. My contention is that Mormonism oscillates between varying models to keep alive the theme of the “continuous stream of revelation” as well as enforce some regulatory sanity.

  7. jackg says:

    One would think the red flag would be so obvious when Mormons have to expend so much energy in defending this whole idea of “official” church doctrine. If it’s not official, then what is it? It seems to me that LDS “official” church doctrine is basically church doctrine that is no longer palatable, but will be in force at some time in the future “when the world will be prepared for it” or some such variation on that theme. Polygamy is not “official” church doctrine, but will be part of “godhood,” which makes it a doctrine that will be in effect at some point in the future. For the Mormon to say, “We don’t believe in polygamy” is an absolute lie and misrepresentation of their historical church fathers and their doctrines. This is all very deceptive, and the only argument the Mormons think they have, and it’s a very weak argument at that, is to mock those of us who actually know how the LDS church operates and what it teaches by making such statements as “I find it rather enjoyable that few people outside the church actually understand the concept of doctrine in the LDS church” (shematwater). I find it rather interesting how few LDS members actually know their own history of church doctrine, then turn around and infer that knowledge about the theology of Mormonism is exclusive to Mormons. How absurd is that? People other than Mormons can study Mormonism and what it teaches. In my past, I have been a member of the LDS church, and even served a mission. I served in the bishopric, as well. I have mentioned this in the past, and have received such comments as, “Well, you must not have understood the doctrine.” How absurd is that?! Of course I understood the doctrine. What I didn’t understand at that time was biblical Christianity. But, praise be to my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ, that He saved me from the darkness that is Mormonism and brought me into the Light that is Christianity. I am no longer a follower of JS, but a true follower of Jesus Christ.

    Grace and Peace!

  8. mobaby says:

    I watched the video. I wanted to just put up a word of warning regarding this – I always make sure my children are not around when I watch these videos, there are a lot of frankly blasphemous statements that could really instill confusion in a child. As a Christian, I would definitely rate these PG-13, as young children could have their innocent perception of God the father polluted.

  9. Michael P says:


    Good points. I just finished watching it with my two and three year old right here. When the missionaries were chanting the three year came up and asked what they were doing. Just singing, I said, and he went on his way. But at that moment I wondered how much he might be hearing that might be confusing later on. Fortunately, I don’t think he was that interested nor can understand much of theology now. But for older children, it may well be an issue.

    As to the video itself, it was very enlightening how the issue is brushed off as not important or is something to be celebrated because it shows how they can overcome their sinful nature and become like god (small g).

    How this misses the point of our relationship with Christ and what he does for us cannot be expressed accurately here. Though, it is suffice to say that it inverts priorities. Its not about attaining or overcoming anything, but rather submission to God’s will and living a real and personal relationship with Him. No matter how much they say that they seek that relationship, it is still primarilly about achieing the CK, not about abiding in Christ.

    But I wonder if there is any ‘doctrine’ on this topic?

  10. Ralph says:

    I have been taught that ‘official’ doctrine is found in the scriptures, the teaching manuals and the general conference talks – and that is all. This then excludes the church magazines (except for the conference issues), church newsletters, JoD, books officially published by the church (eg Miracle of Forgiveness, Marvelous Work and Wonder, etc) and anything else you can think of. While the other things can help with teaching or undertanding doctrine they are not considered as doctrine.

    When it comes to answers to question by members, just remember we are human and we do not understand all that we are taught. We are imperfect and so some have the wrong idea of things, others may tell a lie because they are ’embarrased’ about some things, etc. So yes you will get differing answers from individual members. I don’t claim to understand all of it, nor do I claim to have all the answers. Which is why I don’t write anything on some of these topics or I state (and I have done this a number of times) I do not know the answer. I have never claimed that I am talking for the church – that is for the prophet to do or someone he has authorised. All I give is my opinion, even when I am quoting from LDS sources.


    I do not think we have ever subscribed to sola scriptura or prima scriptura as a doctrinal basis as we are always taught to look to the prophet as he receives revelation from God for us in this day and age. However, if we are to understand from the Bible that scripture is what holy men write while under the influence … of the Holy Spirit that is, then what these men write can be considered as scripture if they are given the revelation and inspiration by the Holy Spirit. So there we could say that it is sola scriptura but I would not venture that far myself.


    I know my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am his brother and joint heir and I will receive all that He received from His and my Father. I love Him and revere Him as my Saviour and Redeemer. This life is about overcoming – it is overcoming the natural man and becoming more like God. This all means that we must submit to God’s will as you pointed out. But one cannot submit totally to God’s will without overcoming the natural man. As it says in Romans 12:21 – don’t just overcome evil, but overcome evil with good (my paraphrase). So it states we do have to overcome something – that is evil.

  11. Ralph says:

    I forgot – about the missionaries in the video, just remember that most of them are 19 – 22 years old. They are possibly being a little over zealous but that’s my opinion. I would not have done something like that myself, I probably would have approached the person and had a quite chat with them. That stops them from clling out things as they are talking with someone and focusing on that. Makes less noise on my behalf as well – I hate the lime light.

  12. Michael P says:

    Ralph, you miss the point of my comment. We are to remain sinless. That is our goal. But we cannot do that. We cannot overcome that. It is impossible that we do that on our own. This is why the issue cannot be overcoming anything.

    But Jesus can do it. If we abide in him, and put our full trust in him, our sins will be covered.

    Is this license to sin? No. But it changes how you view the equation, because if we cannot overcome anything then we try in vain, no matter how sincere we are in our belief that we can. If it is our effort, then we are sinning, and thus fall back down and have not overcome anything.

    It is only Christ who can overcome sin, and it is foolish to think we can play a role in that action.

    It comes down to this question: who gets the credit? You, or God?

    I know Mormons say that it is all about God, but I fail to see how that is possible given the emphasis on ‘beating sin’, following god’s commands to their fullest, or getting energized about their faith because god did it himself, which means they can, too.

    Those ideas strike me as mutually exclusive.

    If its all about God, then nothing we do matters, but if what we do matters, it by definition cannot be all about God because would not get all the credit. If what we do matters, we are not at the full mercy of God, which the Bible says we are. This is because God would be bound to reward behavior done for selfish reasons, ie going through the motions. A consequence of this is that if someones heart is in the right place but does not do the specific things, it will not matter where his heart is.

    However, if God only judges on belief, a matter of the heart, it does not matter what one does. If he works for the wrong reasons God will know, and if he does not work for the wrong reasons he will know. This must be granted, too, that God only cares about the heart, and sees through false motives.

    Before you say that this last part is precisely what you argue, think about this: why do you require the works if they do not matter and if God only looks at the heart? You may answer because ‘God commands it, and thus if the heart really believes it will want to do these things.’ Ask yourself if that fits with a God who only cares about the heart.

    And then ask yourself how that applies to over coming sin.

    Finally, ask yourself what fits better in terms of doctrine, in defining doctrine and following doctrine: a changing and morphous group or a timeless message that has an identifiable and consistent source?

  13. jackg says:

    I think one of the problems we have in the discussion is synchretism. Mormonism holds to enough Christian ideas so that members seem to make professions of faith that sound Christian: “I know my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am his brother and joint heir and I will receive all that He received from His and my Father. I love Him and revere Him as my Saviour and Redeemer. This life is about overcoming – it is overcoming the natural man and becoming more like God. This all means that we must submit to God’s will as you pointed out. But one cannot submit totally to God’s will without overcoming the natural man. As it says in Romans 12:21 – don’t just overcome evil, but overcome evil with good (my paraphrase). So it states we do have to overcome something – that is evil” (MichaelP). They truly believe they are Christians as we are, except they think they have “more” truth. That is the definition of synchretism: combining something pure with things impure. This is what the Israelites were guilty of throughout their history as they chased after false gods. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when Mormons speak a language that resembles the Christian language. However, we are speaking to the problem of the efforts Mormons make to explain away the embarrassing statements of early church leaders with the qualifier of “it’s not official church doctrine.” It is clear that Mormonism is founded on progressive revelation, which we can now see is a sandy foundation. I say it’s sandy because the tenets and doctrines of the Mormon faith are susceptible to shifting. If JS taught that polygamy was part of the “new and everlasting covenant,” then polygamy would still be practiced today by Mormons, just as the FLDS do. However, it appears that even he is a victim of his own philosophy, and even his “revelations” have been relegated to the pile of doctrine labeled “unofficial church doctrine.” This seems to portray a god who is very wish-washy, indecisive, and hardly omniscient, and who allows the condition of the world and governments and political ideals to dictate his law. This is not a picture of the Only True God, the Invisible God who exegeted Himself to the world in Jesus Christ. In reality, it’s not even a decent forgery. It’s a picture of a god with limits and weaknesses–a god who has built his tenets of faith on sand.

    My prayer is for Mormons to consider the teachings of JS and test them against the Bible. I can tell you that there is a huge sense of relief when you no longer have to cling to the “unofficial church doctrine” cure-all-for-embarrassing-theology qualifier. The true gospel of Jesus Christ never puts you in this position. It’s a gospel of God’s grace redeeming us while yet sinners. Salvation happens before sanctification, not the other way around, and Mormon theology teaches the backward approach.

    Peace and Grace!

  14. VWBrown says:

    Trying to obtain “Official Doctrine” is often like trying to follow the Star Trek game – Fizzbin – as the rules change from day-to-day and from person to person. One of the chief selling points of Mormonism is the “living prophet”. Well, if the living prophet’s words can be so readily dismissed, what good is a living prophet then?

  15. shematwater says:

    In my last post I simply tries to give a general guide as to how I see most members viewing doctrine.

    As far as I say with any certainty, the only official doctrine are those things that are required to gain a full salvation. As Ralph points out, these are the doctrines discussed in lesson manuels and church meetings. They are also found in the more simple and plain passages of the Scriptures.
    The mysteries of God, while true and doctrinal, are not needed for our salvation. These are the things that you will have many opions of, and the things that people continually harp on with quotes from early leaders. I really don’t care what they taught back then. If it is not taught now I do not need to know or understand it. All those things will be known to me at a later time.

    You may have an understanding of the church, but many do not. I was speaking in general, and not specificly. However, I will say that the term doctrine has more than one meaning in the church, as does the term gospel. It is in understanding these various meanings that others can come to understand the LDS faith. If you give them only one meaning, and apply it to all things ever said you will not understand it all.
    This is why I gave the four ideas of the division of doctrine in the church. To show that there are several ways of viewing that term. I can also give the three diferent meaning for Gospel. One means those doctrines and ordinances necessary for the salvation of man. This is the definition used when it is said that the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel. Since Jesus is the central point of Salvation that are times the term gospel is used to mean only the atoment. Then there is the third meaning which includes all truths, whether they are necessary or not.
    When I say it is funny that people don’t understand I am talking about them giving only one definition to each term and trying to understand all the words of the prophets with that single understanding.

    I will also hold that no person who was not a member of the church can truly understand the church. It is also true that as I was never a baptist, or methodist, or chatholic I will never truly understand these denominations.
    I also believe that if you leave the church your understanding of it will be lowered. After a number of years you will not know all that you did concerning that church. I do not say this with only the LDS church in mind, but all churches. After a time of being apart you will lose some of your understanding. Just as being away from a close friend for years will cause you to lose much of what you understood about them.

    (This is my last post on this thread)

  16. jackg says:


    Fair enough. Thanks for clarifying your position. We’re going to miss you on this thread (and I mean that). Hope you reconsider. Have a blessed Easter!

    Peace and Grace!

  17. jeffrey b says:

    So.. I’m pretty confused..

    If Jesus is just simply our brother.. How did he have a perfect life without sinning? He would have had to be perfect in order to be the lamb without blemish, right?

    That right there, to me, shows that Mormons have a flawed view of Jesus Christ and who He actually is. Could he possibly have been more than just man? According to scripture all men have fallen short of the glory of God.. How did “Elder jesus” live so flawlessly? He was just one of us, right?

  18. Mormonism simply has no one consistent model for defining what is official doctrine.

    I would really have to agree with Aaron on that one. Some of the younger and newer members of our Church are under the mistaken impression that the things that are widely taught today were always phrased exactly the same way throughout the history of the LDS Church. As your commenter put it: “We have NEVER taught that as doctrine, EVER.”

    Oooh, boy. Better be awfully careful when you say something like that.

  19. Michael P says:


    I do understand the argument you make. As such, in my threads now I am trying to be as specific as possible with my arguments. Am I successful? Probably not.

    But just as I pressed Ralph in an earlier thread that he needs to be careful in inferring that Mormons are saved by faith because faith as he presented is demonstrated by works. He was unable to separate the two, and thus faith and works are inseparable. Quite frankly, he’s right, under that view, that to warrant salvation by faith, you must work.

    But that is a far cry from the Gospel as defined by Christianity (specificly used, here). Faith and works are separate. Faith is a matter of the heart, and works are something outwardly done. They are separable and thus to say salvation by faith means it is a matter of belief, not of works.

    The discussion of doctrine, as demonstrated by Shem, seems to fit this problem of adequately defining a term such that it means the same to both parties. Shem gives four areas where the term doctrine is used by the LDS, contrasting to our definition that doctrine is a ‘list’ that defines what to believe and how to apply that belief.

    It is interesting to observe these differences…

  20. jackg says:


    Thanks for your post. I have been reading Wesleys’ “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection,” and the emphasis is that one desires to do works as an expression of their love and devotion. So, it raises it from doing works out of fear or compulsion to doing works simply because we want to. With this understanding, the word “must” doesn’t fit. That’s the attitude that is prevalent in Mormonism and, unfortunately, in some Christian churches, as well.

    Peace and Grace!

  21. Michael P says:


    I read that book a couple years ago. It was very interesting. I am not sure how much specifics I remember, but I do remember a quote about how when you believe, God puts a stamp on your heart, and it is that stamp that saves.

    If we miss acknowledging that stamp we do not acknowledge the primacy of Jesus who gives that stamp. If we continue to work for something already given we work for our own glory, even if we say we are doing it for the savior. In that sense, we work so we can go to him and say, “Look at what we did!” Yet He rejects that attitude outright

    But our Mormon friends do indeed require the works, and to them they are a must. They miss the simple truth that when when we believe, we have a stamp that guarantees our salvation and that God does not care about, and is offended, when we work to achieve something he has already given.

    Working because we want to, with the freedom knowing we are already saved, does please God. Working because we have to is a different story.

    Have a wonderful Easter!

  22. Ralph says:


    You too cannot separate faith and works when one takes James into account. No matter what you want to say, faith without works is dead. If faith saves you and without works it is dead then without works faith cannot save you. The devils believe (which is part of faith) but are not saved – why – because they do not have the works that go with faith. You may say what you evs usually do that if someone is not doing the right thing after they claim to be saved then they didn’t really have true faith and they weren’t saved. But it still indicates that works and faith cannot be separated and faith relies on some form of works.


    Just because Jesus is my brother does not mean that He was not and cannot be perfect and if you know about LDS doctrine as you proclaim, you already know that.

    Back to the what is doctrine question – To go along with wht Bored in Venal said, we only teach/focus current doctrine as that is what we need for this day and age. So yes, many youth and new members are not that knowledgable about what has been taught in the past. But that does not mean that somethings which are raised on this site are/were doctrine. Doctrine is only found in the scriptures, teaching manuals and conference talks/Ensign issue. Even the book “Gospel Doctrine” by McConkie is not official doctrine but was commissioned to assist in the teaching and understanding of what is doctrine.

  23. Hi Folks,

    I hope you all had a great Easter. I’ve been camping in the rain, listening to some great bands at a Christian Music festival here (P.S. If ever you get to see a bunch of Canadians called NewWorldSon, go see them).

    Just watched the extended video at and the reactions to the people responding to the question “Do you think its possible that God the Father ever sinned?”

    How sad that most folks, when pressed, responded by saying that the LDS church had no definitive teaching. Don’t they recall Lorenzo Snow’s couplet? Just as a reminder, here it is in full…

    “Still, tis no phantom that we trace
    Man’s ultimatum in life’s race;
    This royal path has long been trod
    By righteous men, each now a God:

    As Abra’m Isaac, Jacob, too,
    First babes, then men–to gods they grew.
    As man now is, our God once was;
    As now God is, so man may be, —
    Which doth unfold Man’s destiny. . . .”

    If we are walking the path that God trod, and we sinned, then he must have done. If we need a saviour, then so did God, otherwise the path we walk is not his path.

    Most folks in the video were comfortable with God being a previous sinner, and there was at least one guy who said that God the Father benefitted from having a Saviour. Many of the responses were along the lines of “it hasn’t been revealed to us”, except that it has, most clearly by Lorenzo Snow. Its just been obfuscated by a leadership that acts as if its got something to hide.

    Interestingly, the application (“how does that affect your worship”) mostly fell into the “if Heavenly Father can do it, so can I” basket. Or “I feel closer to God because he was a sinner”.

    It makes me want to ask “who is calling the shots in your universe?” I mean, if God sinned, then there must be something greater than God to make the call on what is or is not sin. Therefore, as there is something greater than Heavenly Father out there, Heavenly Father cannot be God – the “thing” that is greater than him is God.

    Also, who was there to judge him? Shouldn’t we be talking to these guys about what criteria they used to judge God with? I mean, whatever criteria they used on Heavenly Father must be the criteria that’s used on us, else Snow’s assertion is undone. Perhaps we should ask Heavenly Father about his experience of being on the receiving end of someone else’s judgement? Its kind of important that we should know, isn’t it? Where’s this vaunted “continuing revelation” when you need it?

    In any case, it seems to me that the entire logic ignores such passages as Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”.

    He lived in our world. He was touched by our world. He died in our world. He was raised from the dead in our world. But (and this is the big issue), he was without sin. And, no, I’m not confusing the Father with the Son because the Son is the visible likeness of the invisible God, the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of his being (Col 1:15, Heb 1:3). Why else is he called the Son?

    There is a simpler, more robust explanation to all this that fits all the various Biblical perspectives. God never sinned, and the LDS movement, from its leadership to the average Joe in the pew, has got it horribly wrong.

  24. Michael P says:


    The trouble with your analysis here is that you isolate one verse with the many that suggest it is the faith that saves us. In other words, there are many verses that suggest we are saved by our faith, not by our works, and that by focusing on the one idea at the expense of the others leads to a skewed point of view.

    Let me just play along for a second and grant fully that a faith without works is truly no faith at all per what you believe. Questions exist with this argument. For instance, when are we saved– when we believe, or after we work? Or, what specific works must be done to be saved? What standard does God use in determining if our works are sufficient? What about someone who dies in this life before they can perform all the required works? This list not complete, either.

    So, the ultimate question out of all of that is what exactly saves us? Discipline? Faith? The person who has the best opportunity to complete the required works by access to the appropriate forums is automatically in a better position to make it under the rules you have given, whereas others are left in the dust.

    Now, let me step back and offer this argument: faith saves. Simple, and direct. Works, if they give life to faith, are not necessary for salvation because salvation occurs before the works. Salvation is not dependant on works because it is a separate event.

    If you wish to think that works are necessary for salvation, you put salvation at a point other than belief because works are required before one can be saved. In other words, you have to work to be saved because by definition, belief is not enough.

    Finally, I could list the myriad of Bible verses that suggest works do not earn us salvation. In fact, Romans calls them “dirty rags” in the sight of God. But you know them, or at least can find them yourself. I encourage you to do so if you have not.

  25. Of all the people who should fight for the right to be heard it should be Mormon missionaries. How many times have people slammed doors in their faces or mocked them? Instead of standing up for the little guy (here “little” means numerically inferior) they gang up on him and try to drown out what he is trying to say. Sure, they are secure in their faith. Maybe they are just upset that they got sent to Salt Lake City for their mission.

  26. I personally wouldn’t consider the street-jeerers the “little guys” because of their booming voices and large figures. They’ve been around for years.

    I wish I could say that the Mormon Church is primarily upset at the jeerers for challenging people with the truth. But at this point I think the jeerers obscure their own message with their presentation. I of all people (as someone who values good street preaching) would admit the truth offends people and that we can’t please everyone and even that presentation itself can offend because of the message behind it. But the jeering has simply got to stop.

    Heck, I talked to a Mormon apologist on the street who was happy that the jeerers had taken over at Conference, driving away any existing or potentially existing street ministry that is more effectively communicative. It’s become a kind of circus downtown at Conference. I was expecting elephants and monkeys to start walking down the street at any moment.

  27. Aaron,

    I here what you saying but you and I both know that this type of thing is done to honest dialogue, tract distribution, and even legit street preaching. I personal have watched the tone with Mormons change over the last 10 years, and they are even more resistant to criticism than they were before.

  28. jackg says:


    You miss the point. A person who does not show works as evidence of faith has no faith. No matter how much you want your works to be a part of the salvation equation, they are not. You deny the power of God’s grace, and you diminish the Work of Jesus Christ when you think your works are the defining piece of the salvation puzzle. When a person has faith, works will be the fruit. Works don’t merit salvation, but salvation liberates the captive sinner to perform works as they respond to the grace of God in their lives. Your works are an response to God’s grace, Ralph, not the trigger to grace. I’m praying for you that you will allow the Holy Spirit to whisper the truth of all this to you. You think the Spirit already has, but you hold to teachings that contradict God’s Word. The issue, then, is that of following a false spirit. One of us has to be, and the only way we can know is by an appeal to the Bible. Think about it…

    Peace and Grace!

  29. falcon says:

    I just wanted to remind my Christian brothers that within the context of Mormonism, our Mormon friends are absolutely right regarding their works based system of religion. The works based system which is Mormonism, is within the context of the Mormon doctrine of man becoming an exahlted pefected god/man. So when Mormons write here, they are writing about what the believe and understand about thier religion.
    But we know that their belief system is not orthodox Chrisitanity. Discussing this point with Mormons is……well, pointless. Mormons don’t get the mercy-grace-faith-salvation-works doctrine of orthodox Chrisitanity. The Bible tells us that the unregenerated man doesn’t get it, the meaning of the Cross of Christ……that in fact he can’t get it. So to speak to a Mormon about these truths of God, unless he is willing to humbly and honestly consider God’s gift within the context of orthodox Christianity, this discussion is an exercise in futility.

  30. falcon says:

    So all any of us needs to do is hold up and compare the Mormon concept of the nature of God with who we Christians know as God, and we see the light of eternity that shones through the darkness very brightly revealing Himself to us not as a perfected man but as the living God.
    We know that God is omniscient. That is, He knows all things. He possesses perfect knowledge. He has no need to learn. In fact God has never learned and cannot learn. Isaiah and Paul express it when they say: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?” God has never progressed in knowledge. He has always been all knowing. God has not at any time received knowledge that He did not already posses from all eternity. God had no origin, that is He had no beginning. He doesn’t require anyone to help Him. He does not change. He has no limits.
    What does God say about Himself? “I am the Lord, I change Not.” The Scriptures teach us that God is indeed omniscient. He knows all that can be known. God knows with perfection everything that there is to know. God is self-existent and He is self-contained.
    If someone does not understand correctly who God is, discussion on matters of doctrine is futile.

  31. shematwater says:

    I know I said that I was finished on this thread, but I think I found the actual answer. I found the reason why the leaders of the church have stopped teachiing some things, and why most people do not consider much of it doctrine.

    It is recorded in the journal of discourses, volume one, page 47. Brigham Young is addressing those who are to serve missions in the world. He is giving them advice on what and how to preach. At one point he gives this quote; “When your face is turned from the body, let mysteries alone, for this is the only place for you to be corrected if wrong. Preach the simple unadorned truth; work out your salvation with diligence, and do that which will guarantee you a warranted deed, an undeniable title to eternal lives.”
    As long as they were only among the members, people who all had the spirit of God with them, and the leaders of the church were near, they could discuss any topic they wanted, because there they could be corrected. In the world they could not, but would instead spead personal opinion as true doctrine.
    With the coming of Radio, and especially television, the general confrences of the church were no longer an exclusive thing. They became accessable to the public. To discuss the misteries of God before the world is what Brigham Young had warned against, so as a body the church simply stopped discussing these things.

    On a personal note, Christ was more than man, but let me explain a few things about him. In the pr-existance we were all tried in some fashion. We had to progress. Christ progressed beyond all of us, so that when the earth was formed his spirit was already perfected as far as it could be, while ours were not. So, when faced with the challenges of mortal life our spirits can be overcome. Christ had to face those same challenges, but his spirit was strong enough to not be overcome.
    Also, he was not completely mortal, even though he could, and did die. His mother was a mortal woman, but his father was an immortal God. This blending of the two made it so he was goind to die, but that he could chose when. It also gave him a little extra edge in enduring the trials of mortality.

    So he had the ability to be perfect because he reached perfection as a spirit before he was mortal, and he was born of a mortal and a God. I know you will disagree, but I am simply explaining the doctrine of the church (and this was taught fairly recently in sunday school).

  32. Lautensack says:

    I guess that is another big difference between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism. Christians don’t hide what they believe in order to proselytize rather we “boldly proclaim the mystery of the Gospel” (Ephesians 6:19) where as LDS appear to seek to keep the mystery of their gospel hidden in darkness. (Ephesians 5:11)


  33. gundeck says:


    Can you recommend someplace I can find this doctrine, “With the coming of Radio, and especially television, the general confrences of the church were no longer an exclusive thing. They became accessable to the public. To discuss the misteries of God before the world is what Brigham Young had warned against, so as a body the church simply stopped discussing these things.” in the official writings of your Church?

    Just so that I understand you correctly, it is your Churches doctrine that they do not teach the mysteries of God because some may err and not be subject to correction? Doesn’t it also follow that people err because the Church will not explain the mysteries and by not even talking about them the Church surrenders the opportunity to correct errors?

  34. jackg says:


    Thanks for explaining your views. I used to believe everything you just shared. Then, one day, I actually fell to my knees and confessed to God that I didn’t know what I had always professed to know, which is represented in the standard Mormon testimony. God directed me to Isaiah 43:10, and that changed my life dramatically. It could change yours, as well.

    Peace and Grace!

  35. shematwater says:


    We boldly proclaim the gospel. However, the mysteries of God are not the gospel. The gospel consists of those things that are necessary for our salvation. To understand how the world was formed, or what spirits are made of, or countless other things are not necessary. These are the mysteries of God. These are the things we no longer openly discuss. We believe that God, our Father, has a Father himself. however, we do not discuss who he is, or what he is currently doing. We do not discuss other planets that were created and peopled by God, even though we know they exist.
    We seek to keep nothing in darkness. However, when people are in darkness for the entire life we do not shine bright light in their face or it will blind them. We give them a little light, wait until they have adjusted to it, then give a little more. Thus they progress, line upon line, until they can stand in the burning presence of God without feeling tormented by the light.


    No I cannot. I simply thought it was logical. God’s law must be obeyed, but how it is obeyed must alter to fit advancements in technology. Radio and Television were great blessings, as the general conference could be broadcast to thousands, and more were able to hear and see it than before. But with it came a new challenge: how to those who were not ready from hearing the deeper truths. As it was being broadcast live they could not edit these parts out, nor did they wish those who could not come miss any part of the conference. The only answer was to stop discussing such things.
    If you look at history I think you will find that it is around the time that radio and televion was being introduced, and actively used by the church, that these things disappeared from the talks of conference. It is a logical conclusion drawn from a command given by Brigham Young.
    I will also say that there are some topics we are told not to discuss, or at least not in detail. This statement by Brigham Young explains why this councel is given.


    I have read that same verse many times. I still believe what I believe, and I do not see this as contradicting it. But I will not get into that. I believe what I believe because nothing else makes as much sense. Nothing else answers as many questions for me. Nothing else brings the spirit into my life. There need be no other reasons.

    I do have to end this thread (at least for me). I just wanted to give that one quote.

  36. Linda says:

    So Shem, you don’t see LDS policy and procedures as signs of a cult? The secrecy, the careful rules of presentation, the ever changing teachings? My God and His Word are timeless, everlasting. There is no need to adjust for advancements in technology. So the tactics like the one true church, JS having the only divine authority, great cost if you leave the church, are all necessary? You can objectively look at cult tactics and say they don’t apply to LDS?

  37. Michael P says:


    I know it must feel like we are ganging up on you. I hope you take our comments as tyring to sincerely discuss these matters with you.

    I am curious as to why you say this ‘is your last post’ on any given thread?

    Anyway, you say that shing too much light would blind people, but do you really think God works that way? Certainly, as people mature they gain a better understanding but do you really need to couch in such rehtoric as getting mroe privilege? Again, as it often is, it is not that complicated. As we get closer to God, we naturally learn more about him, but that has nothing to do with being more privileged or more worthy for more information, or because certain things cannot be handled.

    God created us to fully understand his message from the beginning, and nothing can change that, nor has. There is no reason to withold anything from anyone at any point in their spiritual development. No one will be blinded by God’s light, I promise you that.

    All of that background gets me to asking this: could it not be construed you withhold things until someone is sufficiently grounded in what Mormonism teaches so that they may ‘buy’ whatever is revealed? In other words, do Mormons wait until someone has proven that they have bought the Mormon line hook line and sinker so that they will not bolt when they are told certain things?

    I know that is perhaps a rough question, but given the nature of God as I know it and constrasting with what you say, the question makes perfect sense.

    And I would like an answer.

  38. Ralph says:


    You say that “God created us to fully understand his message from the beginning, and nothing can change that, nor has. There is no reason to withold anything from anyone at any point in their spiritual development. No one will be blinded by God’s light, I promise you that.”

    In this you are at odds with at least 3 people in the Bible –


    1 Cor 3:1-2 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

    Hebrews 5:11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

    Paul says here that we need to be fed milk before meat – thus we need to gain our knowledge, or learn about the gospel and God’s way from the basics up, not all at once. This means restricting information – but that can depend on the person as to what information and how much to give at what time.


    Isaiah 28:13 But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

    If you read the few verses around this one you will see again, we get the word of the Lord bit by bit according to our understanding. Note it says precept UPON precept, line UPON line. The word ‘upon’ indicates that it need to be built up, not thrown all over the place.


    Matt 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

    Jesus said that He taught people at their level of understanding. Yes, He taught the whole message but it was hidden in the story that only those who had the light in them already could understand.


    You said “A person who does not show works as evidence of faith has no faith.” If we use equations like someone else did earlier we have –

    faith = salvation

    no faith = no salvation

    Now from you statement –

    no works = no faith

    therefore logically from our first 2 equations we get – no works (= no faith) = no salvation

    I understand that you believe that works do not save us, but still you cannot separate faith from works just as much as we LDS can’t. We also believe that our works come from our faith, that it is part and parcel with saving faith because (yes start rolling your eyes) faith without works is dead – it cannot save without works. But works can never save us all on their little lonesome, we must have faith in Jesus Christ and do the works that our faith compels us to do.

  39. Linda says:

    I apologize. I didn’t mean to be so abrasive. It’s just that so many of the procedures used by LDS I don’t believe were used by Jesus. They just weren’t necessary.


  40. Michael P says:


    Do you not see how those verses fit into what I say about maturity?

    And John 8:32 is an interesting verse: Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

    Another from the same chapter: “45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?”

    Here’s a commentary on the context of these verses:

    In John 14 we see these comments from Christ in response to Thomas: 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
    6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

    In Hebrews, the next thought begins: “1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity” Why if these things are not revealed does he say they should move on to them?

    I John 2 says: “20But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” A footnote says “1 John 2:20 Some manuscripts and you know all things ” The very next verse says: “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.”

    1 John 3:18 starts: 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

    2 John begins with this: “1The elder, To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth – 2because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever”

    This sampling of verses shows that the truth is Jesus. Others not listed here suggest the verse is the spirit, but the larger point in the context of our current discussion is that Jesus and the Spirit are available to us all. We also see that the author of Hebrew’s follows up your comment about the basics with a discussin about the more mature aspects of the truth.

    This very quick and amateur Bible Study shows something other than what you present.

    If any others more knowledgeable on these specifics wishes to weigh in, please feel free.

  41. gundeck says:


    I may not teach my daughter about supralapsarian or infralapsarian views, I will certainly teach he about the will and decrees of God. Paul also taught that we need the whole council of God (Acts 20:27) and all the wisdom (Col 1:28) I have read the verses you are quoting and none of them call for the hiding of doctrines.

    For instance when I read Isaiah 28:13 in context, I start with Isaiah 28:11-13, the people with foreign tongues are coming from Assyria. They are going to bring down Gods judgment because His people will not listen to his Word. I then go back to Isaiah 28:1 and read the entire chapter. This is Gods judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem for failing to follow the commands of God, not an instruction to hide doctrine from people.

    When I look at Heb 5:11-14, I see the writer of Hebrews, much like Paul in 1 Cor 3:1-4, condemning people for a failure of spiritual discipline. In Hebrews they should have been “teachers” but have failed to live up to this potential. We see what that potential is in Hebrews 6:1-2 “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” So far from wanting to hide doctrines from people the writer of Hebrews wants to move on to bigger and better things.

  42. gundeck says:


    Thank you for the honest reply. I agree that modern technology presents unique challenges, although we will have to disagree on how to handle them. I just do not think that with the spread of information anyone can hide doctrines. Thanks again for the time you took to answer my question.

  43. jackg says:


    I’m praying for you. Understanding the truth about God’s grace is really liberating. I can see that you struggle to understand something that’s really very basic. I’m just saddened that Mormon theology has really put people in the wrong direction. It’s not your fault, Ralph, and I know it’s difficult to see the light when you have such a conviction for your beliefs. But, the Bible is clear, we are saved by the grace of God, and all we have to do is have faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Everything after that is our Spirit-empowered response. The way you describe it, God’s grace and salvation is a response to our works. That is very backward from the biblical teachings that you have access to. I would encourage you to try and read the Bible without the filter of Mormonism.

    Peace and Grace!

  44. Ralph says:


    There you go again “…and all we have to do is have faith that Jesus Christ died for our sins.”. Now is that ‘faith’ with works (in other words living faith) or ‘faith’ without works (in other words dead faith)? These are the Biblical teachings I have read.

    But I agree, all we have to do is have living faith in Jesus to be saved. But i disagree with the ‘when’ you are saved. It is a life long process as one can have faith at the beginning but lose it somewhere in the middle and not have it at the end. Those that are saved will have faith through all their life and then be saved at the Day of Judgement. Remember the parable about the servant that owed his master a hell of a lot of money? His master forgave him the debt and allowed him to go free. The servant then found another servant that owed him much less. When that sevant said that he could not pay and asked for mercy the other servant said no and sent the other to gaol and sold his family into slavery. When the master heard about this he called the servant in and told him he had unfairly dealt with his fellow. Because of this his previous debt would now be called into play again. He was then sent to gaol (etc). He lost his forgiveness – which was given completely and without any retrictions or conditions – because he did not continue on with the forgiveness. o this shows to me one can start with faith and gain forgivness of their sins, but they can lose that faith and ultimately that forgiveness durinng their life. So in other words, if you believe that one is saved as soon as they have faith, then I believe that this parable teaches that one can lose their state of being saved during their life. So its only on the Day of Judgement that we gain our salvation, not before.

    You look at it in that we are saved once we have faith in Jesus – ie that exact time – and this cannot be lost. So if one lives 10, 20 years claiming that they are saved and have faith and they live a good life during that time, but then after then they ‘go down hill’ and start living a degenerate life style you claim that they did not originally have faith, they were just deluding their self and thus .they were not saved to start with.

  45. jackg says:


    I will never waiver from the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. You are saved by your faith because of God’s grace. I pray you will come to accept the real message of the Bible, and forsake the lies of JS. Why are you so averse to God’s grace? “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2a). There is no peace unless there is salvation.

    Grace and peace to you and yours!

  46. Michael P says:

    Ralph, you say: “So if one lives 10, 20 years claiming that they are saved and have faith and they live a good life during that time, but then after then they ‘go down hill’ and start living a degenerate life style you claim that they did not originally have faith, they were just deluding their self and thus .they were not saved to start with.”

    I would say this is accurate. But don’t fool yourself into thinking it can only apply to one who claims salvation by faith only. Even under a works scheme can the situation be true. One can work in the way Mormons require work and fall away just the same as you accuse us above.

    What does that mean? It means someone can fall away from faith no matter what is required. So, do not think your works based system is any better. The only difference might be that you would say they were not even saved yet. But wasn’t it you with whom I discussed differentiating the two meanings of faith, and you argued you believed you are saved by faith but that faith is only valid if you work. So, if we use your definition, working is faith, and if someone works for years they are acting by faith, and well on their way to salvation. But, if after those years that person walks away from it, they no longer believe and lose opportunity to be saved, and they were just deceiving themselves for all those years.

    Or, what if they work all those years but do not believe?

    Really, there is no difference in these situations, are there?

    As to losing salvation, there are some Christians who think salvation can be lost. But my contention is that it cannot, but rather upon true belief your life will change. It will radically change. Some may think they have changed but have not, and others will experience this change for some time before cooling off. There is actually a parable about this, too– when the sower sowed the seeds, some on the rock, some in shallow dirt, and then some in good soil.


  47. jackg says:

    We need to see sin as relational, and we need to understand that works are considered good when they are in response to divine initiative and for the glory of God. Paul understood that salvation was the fruit of faith, and he also understood the relationship of salvation to works:

    “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

    To argue against this is is to preach another gospel.

    Peace and Grace!

  48. JackG wrote “Paul understood that salvation was the fruit of faith…”

    One thing that’s worth noting about Paul’s perspective is that he is not offering it as a “new” revelation. Rather, he argues that this was how it was in the beginning. Note how he bases his argument on Abraham, the father of Israel and the father of the Faithful (see Romans 4:1-3, for example).

    In other words, Paul is saying “we are justified by faith and we have always been justified by faith – its the folks who try to base their justification on their works that have lost the plot”. Paul doesn’t abrogate the OT; he sees himself as upholding it.

    As you might have gathered by now, I have little tolerance for the idea that the OT teaches one thing and the NT another.

  49. shematwater says:

    Sorry, for confusing people. I really should not be back on these threads, as I have much I need to do and they are distracting, but I just can’t seem to help myself. I have cut back in the amount I say, and limited myself to the number of threads I am on at a time, so I hope that will do for now. This is a particularly interesting thread, and so I will continue on it for a little while.


    We teach what people are capable of understanding. You do not teach calculus to those who have not learned algebra. You do not teach advanced scientific theory to those who have no understanding of science. I cannot undertand the details of the theories concerning Dark Matter, because I do not have the learning in astrophysics that would allow me to. I know the theory is there, but I do not teach it, or try to explain it to others as I know I would most likely be wrong. I may mention that the theory exists, but that is it.
    Likewise, when teaching the gospel, we must start at the simple beginning. Those who do not understand this simple beginning will never fully understand the mysteries. Yes we believe in a plurality of Gods, but unless you understand all the details of this you should not be teaching it. Even with this understanding you should not teach it to those who do not even understand the one God that we worship. Yes, we believe that God was once a man and he progressed to be a god, but unless you understand how this worked, and all that is connected with it you should not teach it. Even with this understanding you should not teach it to those who do not understand our potential to progress.
    See how this works. There is the basic gospel, that which we need for salvation. All other doctrine is built on this, so you must understand this to understand the higher doctrine. There are layers of doctrine, each on top of another, and you must understand those at the base to understand those at the top. You cannot start from the top and go down, nor can you start in the middle. So, for the benefit of those who are still at the base, or simplest level of doctrine, we do not introduce that which is greater until they are ready.

    As to waiting until they are entranched in Mormonism, I have to say I did not particularly care for the phrasing of the question. It is basicly true however. Like in all schools of learning, the higher knowledge is reserved for those who know and understand the lower. I will say that some people are never quite ready, but they are still introduced to some of the doctrine and they do leave the church. It is those people who have the faith to say “I do not understand, but I believe God’s word.” I know a young man who does not know all these things, and he has told me he does not want to discuss them because he is not yet capable of comprehending them. It all comes down to the individual.


    As far as I am concerning every chistian denomination other than the catholics can be effectively and honestly be called a cult. A cult is simply a break-off sect that alters the ordinances and teachings of the original.
    More correctly to the definition of a cult, all religious groups qualify as they all come together for the veneration of a person, object, or ideal.
    However, going with the general idea of what a cult is (at least how I understand it) no. While there are aspects of the church that are kept for members only, our general meeting are open to everybody. Also, we live within society and even do our best to help all around us, so we are not seperatists. The only thing that really fits are the ordinances, but than the ancient Israaelites would have been a cult as well, as would the saints in the Apostolic age, as they all had ordinances.
    Now, I have yet to see a teaching that was truly changed. As to the rest of the list, logic dictates that there is only one true church, as if two teach different doctrine both cannot bring you to Christ. Joseph Smith is not the only one with Devine authority, as he got his authority from others, and passed his authority to others. He was simply the one chosen to start the work (much like Moses was chosen to free the Israelites and set them up as a nation). And lastly, there has always been great concequences for denying the truth, and Hell is all ready for those who do (just as other denominations teach).
    So, no, by common definition I do not see it, but by technical definitions it is, but than so is everyone else.

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