Attempting the Impossible?

The ability to earn one’s own salvation is an important distinction in the teachings of the Mormon Church. Using the Book of Mormon passage that a person is saved “by grace after all (he or she) can do” (2 Nephi 25:23), LDS leaders throughout the years have made it abundantly clear that grace only takes a person to the dance, but the onus of one’s salvation is placed on the shoulders of the 14 million members and their good works.

This was made very clear in Seventy Jorge F. Zeballos’s message titled “Attempting the Impossible,” which he delivered during the Fall 2009 General Conference; it is printed in the November 2009 Ensign (pp. 33-34). Let’s provide some of Zeballos’s quotes to show what I mean:

  • Quoting 3 Nephi 12:48 (“Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect”), Zeballos said that the Father and Jesus “are the models to be followed by each one of us.” It ought to be pointed out that this passage obviously came from Matt. 5:48;
  • Zeballos said, “From a purely human point of view, at first this seems to be an impossible task. However, it begins to appear possible upon understanding that in order to achieve it, we are not alone.” Those he says will help an individual attain this perfection include the Father and Jesus.
  • He then quotes D&C 14:7, which says, “And if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.” Zeballos promises that “this divine promise is possible to achieve.”
  • Attaining this, he said, is necessary if we hope to “live with our Father and with our families forevermore.” In fact, “should not this promise be the greatest incentive to do the best within our reach and give the best of ourselves in pursuit of what has been promised to us?”
  • “These rewards,” he said, “will be for those who nurture faith in Jesus Christ and comply with His will to work, sacrifice, and give all they have received to strengthen and build the kingdom of God.”
  • Furthermore, “the fulfillment of the divine promise to have eternal life, to achieve perfection, and to be happy forevermore in the family unit is subject to the sincere demonstration of our faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to the commandments, perseverance, and diligence throughout our lives.”
  • Fascinatingly enough, he declares, “The Lord does not expect that we do what we cannot achieve. The command to become perfect, as He is, encourages us to achieve the best of ourselves… (and) to realize our potential as children of God.”
  • He adds, “The invitation and challenge to become perfect, to achieve eternal life is for all mankind.”

These quotes are interesting because, after motivating his audience to achieve perfection, Zeballos appears to back off from his hard teaching. This is indicated when he said,

“God will not require more than the best we can give because that would not be just, but neither can He accept less than that because that would not be just either. Therefore, let us always give the best we can in the service of God and our fellowmen…. Let us do the best we can and each day be a little better.”

The “trying your best” idea has been around for a long time, but President Spencer Kimball said this was a weak position. Kimball wrote the following in his 1969 book The Miracle of Forgiveness:

“Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin. To try with a weakness of attitude and effort is to assure failure in the face of Satan’s strong counteracting efforts. What is needed is resolute action” (p. 164).

Kimball then tells a story of a soldier who told his officer that he would “try” to fulfill an order. After he was reprimanded, the soldier told the officer that he would do his “best.” When the officer rejected this as not being good enough, the soldier said that he would “do it or die.” Kimball wrote,

“To this the now irate officer responded: ‘I don’t want you to die, and I don’t want you merely to do the best you can, and I don’t want you to try. Now, the request is a reasonable one; the message is important; the distance is not far; you are able-bodied; you can do what I have ordered. Now get out of here and accomplish your mission’” (p. 164).

To conclusively show that to try one’s best is all that the LDS God requires, Kimball concluded the section this way:

“To ‘try’ is weak. To ‘do the best I can’ is not strong. We must always do better than we can. This is true in every walk of life…. With the inspiration from the Lord we can rise higher than our individual powers, extend far beyond our own personal potential” (p. 165).

Perhaps Zeballos knew that trying is weak, because toward the end of his sermon he appeared to revert back to his original hard-line stance. In the last minute of his sermon, he provided a line from the title of his sermon that made things appear very clear:

“Even when, from a purely human perspective, perfection can appear an impossible challenge to achieve, I testify that our Father and our Savior have made known to us that it is possible to achieve the impossible. Yes, it is possible to achieve eternal life. Yes, it is possible to be happy now and forever” (emphasis mine).

What a confusing message! According to a current LDS general authority who was speaking at a general conference—a place where doctrine can be taught and clarified before the membership—complete obedience is necessary. The only way a person can find happiness is achieving the impossible. Yet can anyone actually achieve what is impossible? Oh, what a hopeless, confusing message that Mormonism offers!


Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.


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179 Responses to Attempting the Impossible?

  1. subgenius says:

    quite frankly it is “book” not “tree”…at least in most of the correctly translated versions of the Bible (and a name “in” the tree of life is nonsense) but hey the Ev has always relied on the chinese telephone.
    So, if you discount “choice” in Deut, what say you about Proverbs, 1 Peter, etc…or better what say you about the discernment in your heart that free agency is true and is a gift from God?

    I read above where falcon has a “sense” about things…interesting revelation from one who has denied all things non-logical.

  2. rvales says:

    Thanks Liv for that awesome post! Merry Christmas to all. I’ll be praying for continue strength, patience, and endurance for our steadfast EV posters and for truth, light and salvation for our LDS friends.

  3. gundeck says:


    I am surprised at you, generally Mormons are all over textual variations pointing to some supposed nefarious intentions by scribes to deliberately alter the original documents. Please tell me that you weren’t completely unaware that Revelation 22:19 reads “Tree of Life” not “book of life” and that this error can, with certainty, be traced to the “Textus Receptus”, Erasmus’s translation of the New Testament, and a 2 letter error in the word “ligno” (tree) and “libro” (book) in SOME Latin manuscripts. No Greek manuscript has this variation and “tree” is certainly the correct word from both the transmission and translation prospective. Please tell me that you were aware of this before you made your latest claim. Please tell me that you give me at least the same amount of credit I give you to look something up before making a claim.

    I hope that you have not based any of your doctrinal views on this error in the AV. If I can suggest, again, I always recommend the NET Bible on-line (with 60,000 translation notes) as a first stop when looking at a particular verse. This may help you with understanding that context determines the appropriate definition of “eklektos” and not your doctrinal aversion to the sovereignty of God.

    Did I deny that men have and make choices? Our choices simply cannot violate the sovereignty of God. My point is that the free agency to sin against our creator is not the greatest gift and that the LDS philosophy of libertarian free will at the expense of the sovereignty of God is not addressed by any of the verses you are quoting.

  4. falcon says:

    When examing the LDS religion, we see that it’s pretty much an “all about ‘ME'” sort of program. In Christianity we recognize our sin before God, repent, receive the free gift of eternal life-by grace through faith-that God is offering us, and the works we do-we do to bring honor and glory to God and His Son Jesus Christ.
    By contrast, the Mormons with their emphasis on striving to achieve deity, work not to please God and bring glory to Him, but to claw their way to the top of the Celestial corporate latter. The “after all you can do” philosophy subjugates the Mormon god to a sideline cheerleader or perhaps a quality control engineer with a clipboard and check-off list.
    The Bible clearly tells us who is in charge. Without listing every verse in the Bible that details God’s sovereign will being played out in His creation, let me offer this: Acts 2:23, “….delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God…”
    God has a will for our lives. It is that once we have come to Him with a repentant and sincere confession, that “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Who did the creating? When did He do the creating? What is our role?
    The whole first chapter of the Book of Ephesians lays out the order of things and who is in charge.
    *”He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…” (Ephesians 1:4)
    *”He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will to the praise of the glory of His grace…..” Ephesians 1:5-6)
    *”….having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will…” (Ephesians 1:11)
    Mormons need to repent from their idol worship of a god that they have created, put away their Luciferian desire to have glory that is reserved for God only, and receive the gift of eternal life that God is offering.

  5. Gundeck,

    I think it is pretty clear that “wood” or “tree” is the better rendering of “ξυλου”. “Book” in Greek is “βιβλω” or some version of it. “βιβλω” and “βιβλιου” are translated as “book” in Rev 22:19. I am not sure if the rendering in the KJV, Duoay-Rheims, and the Webster’s Bible of “book” is do to a variant (possibly Latin) reading or is just a less than superb translation; the KJV has other mistranslations in it. Young’s Literal Translation has “scroll” and the rest have “tree”.

    I do not think that Sub bothered to take anytime to ponder the original text and its proper translation. The KJV says “book”, and “book” is what he wants at the time so “book” it is.

    Gal 3:13 Cursed is everyone who hangs on a “ξυλου”.

    Rev 2:7 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the “ξυλου” of life.

    It seems as though Sub is attempting the impossible in more ways than one.

  6. Olsen Jim says:

    Gundeck and David Whitsell,

    “I do not think that Sub bothered to take anytime to ponder the original text and its proper translation.”

    Article of Faith #8 says: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”

    I always get a kick when religious critics like yourselves rail against mormons for that article of faith. How are you any different?

  7. Olsen Jim says:

    By the way:

    “Tree of life” vs. “Book of life.” Does the difference really matter to your discussion here? The point is the same- it is possible to fall from grace.

  8. liv4jc says:

    David, apparently Erasmus did not have access to a Greek text with the last six verses of Revelation available to him in any Greek manuscript. So he translated the verses from the Latin MSS that he had creating several textual variants in the last six verses of Revelation in the Textus Receptus. Since the Textus Receptus was used to create the KJV these variants were copied into it. In his TC work “NT Text and Translation Commentary” Philip Comfort tells us that the Latin MSS Erasmus was using contained several copying errors from the original Greek to Latin. A copyist accidentally mistook “ligno” (tree) for libro (book). He continues, “However, it is possible that the change in some Valgate manuscript was deliberate because it makes for a nice turn of phrase: “if anyone takes away from this book, his part in the book of life will be taken away.” However, an eminent promise in Revelation is that the faithful Christian will be allowed to enjoy the tree of life (see Revelation 2:7;22:2, 14). This information can be found on page 870 of Philip Comfort’s excellent commentary.

    I have just about come to the conclusion that Sub is nothing more than an adolescent with the uncanny ability to use the internet to glean information from various sources, particularly LDS apologetic websites. He then passes this information off as his own knowledge. This is why we never see much support for his arguments in the form of citations of scripture or other resources.

  9. gundeck says:


    As I understand it Young’s Literal Translation uses Textus Receptus as the source for the New Testament Greek, explaining variant being found there as well. “Tree” and its greek “ξύλον/xylon” is found in Byzantine texts, the Alexandrian texts are in agreement in favor of “tree”.

    The problem that I have with the “chinese telephone” scenario proposed by Sub or worse the malevolent scribe theory is that it fails to take into account the actual textual history of the New Testament. When confronted with evidence gathered by Scholars, readily available to anybody with google they revert back to unsubstantiated claims. The simple fact is Textus Receptus has a textual variant that is in disagreement with both the older Byzantine and Alexandrian manuscripts and this variant is not in favor of LDS doctrine.

    I am sure that Sub crows over the Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7-8), if he is aware of it, while being blissfully unaware that this textual variant was identified shortly after it entered circulation in the 16th century. This variant is corrected and documented modern translations but not Sub’s AV. There is a certain level of hypocrisy working if you feel free to make claims about “chinese telephone” and then refuse to consult or even acknowledge current critical textual scholarship.

  10. gundeck says:

    Olsen Jim,
    There is certainly a difference between having your name removed from the Book of Life and not being allowed to partake of the Tree of Life. One suggests a fall from grace while the other intimates a refusal of reward or a punishment for a sin committed. There is no implication in this passage that a person who “takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy” has a standing of grace to fall from.

    The difference between the Protestant who recognizes the authority of the Bible, while understanding textual transmission errors, and the Mormon who confess the 8th article of faith is that the Protestant takes part in textual scholarship struggling toward the original autographs humbly submitting themselves to the Word of God as we have it today, while the Mormon uses this for an excuse to explain away non-biblical doctrines and to undermine the authority of Scripture. Perfectly satisfied to hide behind the archaic language of the AV the LDS make no effort to re-translate the Bible and to correct errors; instead they make every effort to cleave confidence and conviction from the Bible in order to promote the power of their prophets.

  11. Texas Ranger says:

    The opening paragraph isn’t quite accurate. King Benjamin made our stance before God very clear:

    “I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants. And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you. And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?” (Mosiah 2:20-24; vs. 34 describes us a “eternally indebted” to God)

    This entire sermon makes it very clear that we can in no way “earn” salvation. We cannot obligate God into saving us. We cannot put God into debt. While commandment keeping is mentioned, it explicitly states that we are immediately blessed for it, thus making it impossible to ever fully “return the favor”. Within this context, Lehi was correct when he said, “And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.” (2 Ne. 2:4)

  12. subgenius says:

    my apologies for being unable to properly convey sarcasm at times…maybe I can find some text variation to make it easily ascertained.
    nevertheless what needed exposure was indeed exposed.

    Once again Jim Olsen makes a clear and eloquent point. I am often amazed at the semantics and rabbit holes the Ev will resort to in order to obscure the relevant point.
    The finer points of academia with regards to translation are laughable in the above posts…what do you imagine the typical pedestrian “lurker” realizes when reading such banter?
    but once again we revisit the importance of “correctly translated” – a vital article of faith enjoyed by Mormons but only a point of convenience for many Ev.

    so point is God’s sovereignty is up to God and free agency is real and pre-determination has long since been debunked by those of better stature than any of us.

    for the record
    I do not visit or rely on apologetic sites.
    I use only my trusty “quad” scriptures and the Spirit…you guys provide the rest.
    see you on next thread
    and yes gundeck you have no authoritative source for the Greek word “elect” and the definition I posted is viable and more appropriate in scriptural context.

  13. gundeck says:


    Yes except that you have presented not a single thread of evidence for your position. If correctly translated is so vital why does your church continue to use the AV that use the words elect and election 29 times? Where are the LDS correct translations?

    In your trusty quad, Paul describes himself as a “wretched man” (Rom 7:24) how does this match your definition of elect a few paragraphs latter in Romans 8:33? In your trusty quad Peter claims that the “strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” are “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:1, 2) giving the credit for their election to foreknowledge of God the sanctification of the Holy Spirit and the obedience of Christ. How does that contextually fit your definition?

  14. liv4jc says:

    The assertion that predestination and election are not taught is absurd. Even died-in-the-wool Arminians agree that this doctrine is contained in the scriptures. To get around this doctrine they re-interpret God’s foreknowledge in order to shoe-horn the doctrine of free will into predestination and election . That being said, how can the Smithian disagree with predestination? Aren’t the valiant pre-incarnate souls born into LDS families? Aren’t those same taught LDS doctrine and sealed to their parents in the temple. The lazy souls are pre-destined to be born black or dark skinned and are most likely to be born into areas of the planet where Joseph’s restored gospel is less likely to be preached. Is this semi-predestination?

    Ralph, the only verse you cited that holds any water is Revelation 3:5, but properly exegeted the speaker, Jesus Christ, is speaking to members of the church in Sardis. This church had a reputation for being alive, but because they had defiled their garments (vs. 4) they were actually dead. There were however a few names even in Sardis who had not done so (true Christians saved by God’s grace) and would walk with Him in white, for they were worthy. In verse 5 Jesus identifies those that overcome as being clothed in white garments and their names will not be blotted out of the Book of Life. There is no text stating that those whose garments were defiled (false converts) were ever in the Book.

    Let’s look at John’s definition of the “one who overcomes” in another of his books, 1 John. In 1 John 5:1 John tells us that whoever believes Jesus is the Christ is born of God. The fruit of the sons of God are explained in veres 2-3. Then John tells us in verse 4 that “whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith.” To sum it up 1 John 5:5 says, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

  15. Texas Ranger says:

    All this is rather interesting in light of the following:

    “For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.” (D&C 93:20)

    “And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.” (Alma 41:3)

    “And may God grant, in his great fulness, that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works.” (Hel. 12:24)

  16. Texas Ranger says:

    “Aren’t the valiant pre-incarnate souls born into LDS families?”

    That would leave out the first few presidents of the Church, so I doubt very much the validity of that doctrine.

  17. Mike R says:

    Hi Ralph,

    I also missed your reply.I knew that you were
    rather busy with your work obligations.I hope
    you are on schedule with your work.

    My question was in relation to your reply to
    Falcon on the 20th, i.e. my emphasis was on
    Mormon prophets, not simply the prophets in
    the N.T. etc. My question to you did’nt make
    that clear enough.
    What I was concerned with was where you said,
    “…this is exactly what we do with the BM and
    living prophets.Because we believe in Jesus and
    His words in the Bible, and through this we believe that He has sent us the BM and prophets
    in these days.Thus we can believe in them and
    trust them to tell us God’s Word for this day
    and age.”

    Ralph, I believe Jesus definitely told us that
    there would be prophets in the last days.He very
    clearly told us about them in Matt.7:15 and 24:11. These “latter-day ” prophets were also
    mentioned by Jesus’ Apostles, those disciples
    He mentored and taught about future things.
    One of these was Peter. He carried on the teach-
    ings that he had heard from his Master[2Pt.2:1].
    As you can see from these scriptures, far from
    trusting any latter-day prophet, we are told to
    examine their words and to reject their authority,
    that they want us to acknowlege,if they fail the
    test of rightly dividing [interpreting] the Word
    of God.

    Ralph, it’s my opinion that Mormon prophets and
    Apostles have not been reliable guides in their
    interpreting scripture. The question for me is:
    have these men , that you so trust, been reliable
    in their handling of God’s Word, the Bible. Only
    then can our faith in Jesus mean anything towards
    any other “scriptures”.

    Before I close let me take a minute to wish you
    and your family a Merry Christmas , down under.

  18. Olsen Jim,

    I will accept the label of a religious critic. Will you? Cuz that is what you are. I do not have a problem per se with that article of faith. What I have a problem with is when Mormons are backed into a corner, some resort to alleged corruption of the Bible (like Sub did a couple posts ago). I also have a problem that the Mormon will not say that about his other scriptures; it seems to cast doubt on the Bible but not the BoM, PoG, or the D&C.

    Translating from one language to another is not some mysterious process and it is more often than not the Christians on this board, and not the Mormons, who are willing to engage in the dirty work of the details. So to answer your question, I am not any different and I never claimed to be. And no that passage does not teach that one of God’s own could fall from grace; it is a warning passage that you saddlebag with a ton of theology that is not there (kind of like Matt 5:48). Even the expression “fall from grace” betrays your position. Paul uses it in Galatians for those who once professed salvation from grace but then started adding works to the mix. Synergists have mistakenly taken it to mean someone who stopped “doing” – the opposite of Paul’s “grace”.

  19. Sub,

    “but once again we revisit the importance of “correctly translated” – a vital article of faith enjoyed by Mormons but only a point of convenience for many Ev.”

    Why does any of it matter? John could have gotten that portion of scripture, or the whole book wrong. Its not a stretch. If Matthew and Luke got some words mixed up in the infancy narratives of Jesus (lurkers see post on the virgin birth dated Dec 10), then why not John here? I think the lurkers here can understand that, don’t you Sub?

    “so point is God’s sovereignty is up to God and free agency is real and pre-determination has long since been debunked by those of better stature than any of us.”

    You got us there! Debate over, some guy somewhere debunked any kind of determinism. Since we are comparing names of famous men of stature who do you have?

  20. subgenius says:

    sorry my quad does not use AV but KJV.
    So let us look “rationally” at Calvinism which is essentially a proxy Gospel and more or less a theory.

    So God has “chosen” some and “condemned” others.
    So this means God has looked upon each differently…which contradicts the scriptures..particularly Romans 2:11 and the scriptures are rich with the basis that we are all Romans 6:16 how can God favor one over another?

    What about the blatant manner by which predestination negates what Jesus did on the Cross? If God has predetermined then what Jesus did is not how God looks favorably upon us, because His favorability is predetermined.
    This does not discount God’s sovereignty…Romans 9:11 insures that.
    A great example of free agency is when God asks Cain where Abel is..Now, knowing full well that God knows where Abel is, nevertheless He asks.
    This is easily discerned as God seeing what Cain would choose in that moment. Knowing what you will do and causing you to do are two different things, this is distinct because God has “chosen” this course for Himself because it allows for free-agency.

    So do the scriptures teach us that God does not look upon all mankind equally? Do they teach us that Jesus dying on the cross was an exercise in futility because salvation has already been determined? Does God not love us as a parent loves a child?
    The entire basis of Turning to God, Repenting, having Faith, and Obedience are nothing without free-will. Wow, even Evangelism is senseless in a world without choice.
    John 14:15
    1 Cor 9:24
    Luke 6:46 why ask why if the answer is predetermined?
    John 3:16 should it read whosoever has been chosen shall be saved? believes is a choice.

    What about Genesis 2:6…freely eat? by choice pick any…how clever of God to forbid fruit and make Eve eat it anyway so He could punish, or did she choose?

    Leviticus 1:3 KJV “..he shall offer it of his own voluntary will..”

    Ephesians 6:8

    Boy, you guys sure are stubborn

  21. liv4jc says:

    Nice try Sub, but I already answered those questions in my conversation with Falcon earlier in this thread. Predestination, foreknowledge, and election do not destroy the concept of free agency. The verses you cited as pointing to free will are nothing more than God’s general calling for repentance from all mankind. Those who hear the gospel and do not respond are responsible for not responding (see Romans 9, who are you to argue with God O man?), those who hear the gospel and repent do so only by God’s grace. Without God’s grace nobody would respond because we are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), but God brought us to life through spiritual rebirth (John 3 and Titus 3) through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit. All men are guilty before God and deserve His just judgement, but God saves those who turn to Him in repentance and faith. This is the good news, the evangellion, that is to be proclaimed to the world. Working toward a salvation that you are never sure you will merit, or may lose, is not “good news”. It is the basis for every other man made religion. Yours is no different than the rest. You just use Christian terminology to explain yours.

  22. gundeck says:


    The AV is the KJV.

    If you are going to look at Romans 2:11 try starting with Romans 2:10.

  23. Texas Ranger says:

    Perhaps I’m just not familiar with how this works, but why have my posts not been posted.

    Texas Ranger, welcome to Mormon Coffee. Our commenting system requires that a moderator approve a person’s first comment before it appears online. Your future comments should not need to wait in the moderation queue. Please take a moment to read our comment policy, and be advised that the goal here at Mormon Coffee is for friends to enjoy some interesting discussion together. Lengthy quotes with no accompanying personal commentary (i.e., in your own words) is not what the Mormon Coffee community is about. Thanks for joining in the conversation.

  24. OJ asked

    I always get a kick when religious critics like yourselves rail against mormons for that article of faith. How are you any different?


    To put it as plainly as possible, the difference is between submitting to the Word of God and attempting to understand what it says, and trying to get the Word of God to submit to your agenda.

    As far as the debate between Christian scholars goes, compared to the promoters of the LDS agenda, its the difference between the “loyal opposition” (to borrow a term from British Politics) and a bunch of terrorists hiding in the hills. One is engaged in the processes of Parliament (however frustrating that might be); the other is simply interested in blowing it up with gunpowder.

    liv4JC and Gundeck,

    Thanks for your discussion on the history of the translations. I find it fascinating and its worthy of a better forum than this. So, it seems that the Bible has been translated correctly; or at least reliably enough to get its intended meaning (as if I needed persuading).

    Gundeck made the point earlier, and its worth repeating; if the translation of the Bible was a real problem to the LDS movement, why has it committed absolutely zero resources to getting a “correct” translation.

    I mean, all it needs to do is to get Joseph Smith’s magic rock from the Manti Temple, and “voila” – the “correct” translation will appear. With the “correct” translation, I’m sure we can clear up all the minor misunderstandings; such as how many gods there are, and exactly what works are needed to get at least one of them to look at us with enough favor to grant a corner of the universe to our charge.

    Yeah, these themes have so permeated scripture, that all that’s needed is a few revisions to a couple of words to remove the accumulated dross so that they come to light.

    On the other hand, contesting with great Biblical memes of One God and salvation by faith alone is like trying to push the proverbial uphill.

  25. falcon says:

    liv4jc, gundeck, david, mike, et al,

    I’ve very much enjoyed the contribution by our Christian posters regarding the Bible. Martin is right, this doesn’t seem like an appropriate forum for the high test fuel you guys are using in your apologetic race cars. You do such a fabulous job and I’m sure it whizzes right on by the Mormon posters. I’ve said this before but one of my favorite lines from Napoleon Dynamite applies to those folks who attempt to keep up with you. It’s something snappy like, “Why don’t you go home and tell your mother to shut-up!” I’ve studied a lot and I wouldn’t even try to add to what you guys write because it would be inadequate. But I really enjoy the “lesson”.
    It’s important in life to know what you know and also what you don’t know. Our Mormon posters fail on both levels. I watched all of the videos that I think setfree had posted regarding the Mormon missionaries who committed themselves to diligently study God’s Word. I believe it was Micah who was challenged to do so by a Baptist minister who had listened patiently to Micah’s presentation and responded by walking Micah through the Bible revealing the Good News. Micah came off of his mission born again. All five of his band mates came to Christ and they now proclaim this Good News of salvation through Jesus. Micah knew he didn’t know something and he humbly searched God’s Word to discover what it was he didn’t know. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God revealed Himself to these young men.
    One of the things that’s become apparent to me here in these discussions is that Christians are always working to get it right when it comes to searching God’s Word. There’s no childish, simplistic, trite, shallow explanations.
    Through the presentations here, Jesus is knocking on the door that has no “door knob” on His side. But He knocks and knocks and knocks awaiting for the person on the other side who has the door knob to open the door. I sense there are Mormons who come here looking for answers and are looking for a pathway out of Mormonism. God will lead them as they humbly seek His truth in His Word.

  26. HankSaint says:

    God did knock, and I opened the door, two Missionaries were there and we invited them in to hear the message of the Restored Gospel. The Holy Ghost came with those Two Young Men, and as they preached the Gospel I did hear the voice whisper in my ears that what they had just taught me was true, nothing more and nothing less was whispered.


  27. Mike R says:


    What you’ve described as also happened to many
    sincere people as they upon hearing a knock at
    their door opened it to find two well dressed
    polite persons who proceeded to share their
    gospel, “the good news of the Kingdom”.They
    were Jehovah’s witnesses. No doubt, like yourself,
    others felt the need to embrace this message as
    they had a hunger for God. They were soon to find
    out that there was more than the initial message
    that they were presented with however.
    In like manner, many people today see the great
    need to get financially free, but unfortunately
    often get only further in debt by trusting polite,
    curtious salesmen, financial “advisers”. The basic
    initial message offered at first turned out to be
    only the first steps in a list of mandatory
    Thankfully Jesus, and His Apostles he trained,
    gave us a warning about counterfeit gospels.Even
    though sincere people have embraced such gospels
    the good news is that God knows where these people are and that they do have a heart felt
    desire to worship Him.Because of His love, God
    will see to it that these sincere people will
    hear the truth, the whole truth.God spoke thru
    the Apostle Paul to share this love with the
    people that Paul longed to see the truth,
    So Hank, may you this Christmas season, come all
    the way home to the truth of God, He beckons you.
    Consider: Matt.11:28; Phil.3:9; Heb.7:25

  28. HankSaint says:

    Thank you sincerely, and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.


  29. Texas Ranger says:

    The only thing that I can see as a violation of the comment policy was that I posted too many entries. Yet, the ones you allowed to go through make no sense because you did not post the other material. My posts were not “apologetic” material, but from scholarly articles and books by mostly non-LDS (I believe Gee and Ostler were the only members I posted). Throughout my posts, I explained how this fit with LDS theology. Because the posts are limited in space, I had to make several in order to include the quotes. How sad that quotes from scholars would be edited. This already appears to be a waste of time posting here with no chance of actual scholarship being discussed. Therefore, I will no longer be engaging here.

    Anyone interested in learning the about the reciprocal system that ‘grace’ and ‘faith’ were a part of should see these sources:

    – Blake T. Ostler, “Re-vision-ing the Mormon Concept of Deity,” Element 1:1, Spring 2005
    – David DeSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture, 2000
    – John Gee, “The Corruption of Scripture in Early Christianity,” Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy, 2005
    – David M. Hay, “Pistis as “Ground of Faith” in Hellenized Judaism and Paul,” JBL, 108/3, 1989
    – Gail R. O’Day, “I Have Called You Friends,” Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, 2008
    – DeSilva, Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle ‘to the Hebrews’, 2000
    – Jerome H. Neyrey, “God, Benefactor and Patron: The Major Cultural Model for Interpreting the Deity in Greco-Roman Antiquity,” JSNT 27, 2005
    – Mark A. Jennings, “Patronage and Rebuke in Paul’s Persuasion in 2 Corinthians 8-9,” JGRChJ, 6, 2009

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