On February 21st (2010) a young woman sent her secret to the Post Secret blog. She wrote,
“I started a blog to talk about how I’m ‘Faking it’ as a Mormon…I haven’t told my husband I joined for him.”
Calling herself “The Faker,” the blogger describes herself as “Married, childless, petless, late-20s… and, of course, fumbling through life as a make-believe Mormon.” Her blog, Faking It — The Life and Times of a Make-Believe Mormon, is the place where, she says, “I [can] tell the world how I really feel.” And she does.
The Faker fell in love with a Mormon man (returned missionary) and converted to Mormonism so she wouldn’t lose him. Then she married him. She writes,
“I have a handsome RM husband who absolutely adores me. He is an incredibly motivated person who is on his way up in a big corporation. Working is optional for me. We own a nice house. So on and so forth. And I totally wish I was as thrilled with that as I feel like I should be.
“In actuality, though, I’m not. I feel trapped a lot. I have a lot of resentment stemming from the pressure that was applied to me to convert. Worse than that, however, is the feeling I can’t shake that I was deceitful and made my own bed. After all, I pretended I was okay with converting and all that jazz. Much more serious than having pretended to love action films, for instance.”
The Faker isn’t mad at the LDS Church — she just doesn’t believe it and doesn’t enjoy going and being a part of that faith. And she feels trapped. After sending in her Post Secret last week she found she wasn’t alone. People who heard of The Faker’s blog flocked to her site to encourage and empathize. Some of the comments left by other make-believe Mormons are heartbreaking as they express their fears and regrets. A few excerpts:
“I went though the motions to marry the LDS girl I love, even the two year ‘wasted time’ adventure. I go to the three hour death march every Sunday. I don’t have a single true friend in the ward, but [what] I have is a phone ringing off the wall with folks asking me to do things for them…”
“I am a different person at church than I am at home — I am lucky my husband knows who I truly am, but I can’t open my heart to him and tell him how wrong I feel doing certain things. …I haven’t let him watch me weep…”
“I grew up in Utah…lived the ‘faking it’ life for about 5 years, 2 of which was married to the RM husband. I couldn’t do it any longer… It was a huge struggle for me day in and day out to ‘fake it’.”
“I am in my forties, I went on a mission for the LDS faith. Now I’m a faker for my children. I’m not sure how that’s going to go. My guess is that it will go badly.”
So these people find themselves between a rock and a hard place. What should they do? Continue the make-believe or come clean? The Faker writes,
“Whether or not [my husband] really *grasps* the full extent of my discontent is more iffy…It’s not like he has the constant barrage of doubts, thoughts, et cetera that I have. Understandable.
“The other problem is that the whole ‘doing something about it’ is easier said than done. For those of you who have been in the LDS church, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s not a part-time religion. Your whole life tends to revolve around it…
“So, have no fear: I’m not pretending to be a Molly [Mormon] to my husband. And trust me, he’s expressed regret for pressuring me back in the day. We were both naïve. It’s just very difficult to know what choices to make from here. Where is my crystal ball?”
Many of The Faker’s readers told her to be obedient to the restored gospel, to fulfill her callings, to seek more diligently for a testimony of the Book of Mormon, to put the best face on her doubts and wait them out — in other words, keep up the charade. I don’t think that’s what Jesus would tell her to do. Nor would He tell her to consult a crystal ball. Finding wisdom in God’s Word, this is what I believe this young woman should consider:
- Regarding her relationship with her husband, love “rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).
- Regarding feeling trapped, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
- Regarding her relationship with her LDS friends, “Speak the truth to one another;… love no false oath,…[and] love truth” (Zechariah 8:16-18).
Jesus taught of the folly of building a house on the sand. When the winds and rain come, the house will fall. But, those who are wise build on the rock. Then when the storms come, the house will stand firm (Matthew 7:24-27). The Faker is building her house — her life — on sand. She fails to trust the words of Christ. She believes living the truth will cost her too much. But Jesus also taught, “[W]hoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
Truth is often costly. To each make-believe Mormon (and to everyone else), I encourage you to believe and act on Christ’s words: love the truth — the truth will set you free. Build your life on the Rock. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), so lose your life for the sake of the Truth, and by His grace, you will find new life — and be at peace.
I agree with The Faker’s sentiment, “The other problem is that the whole ‘doing something about it’ is easier said than done.” She’s right; it’s easy to say and yet much harder to do. Nevertheless, it is true — and it is worth doing something about.
It’s called free will, or agency. God cannot force anyone into heaven. One must accept the sacrifice through repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost is then given for a constant comforter.
What was it that Christ had against the Pharisees? I suggest you review his statements regarding them.
Christ criticized the Pharisees for being hypocrites. He criticized how they used the law to lift themselves up above others. He criticized them for condemning others for trivial things, while excusing themselves in treating others like scum. He condemned them for being so anxious to create boundaries between them and others. And He criticized them for having adulterous hearts.
He told them “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men.” Interesting when you consider how EV critics of mormons are so anxious to exclude them as Christians and followers of Christ.
How about His description of them, “And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” It is more than a little fitting of those who condemn modern prophets while seeing themselves as brothers to the ancient apostles and prophets.
I ask you- who is using man-made rules to condemn others. Who is judging others? Who creates religious boundaries and claims those outside those boundaries are going to hell?
Do you know how many times EVs on this site have condemned mormons as individuals and as a whole to hell? Yet I cannot think of one instance when the reverse was true.
The fundamental argument from you and others here is that mormons are going to hell because we worship “another Jesus” based on your critical interpretations and man-made criteria for a christian.
Who are the pharisees?
Janet, you’re right, but without proper understanding of the nature of man and salvation all those words are nothing more than an LDS slogan. The Bible paints man as totally corrupt. Man lost his true “free will” when Adam sinned in the garden. That was the only time in the existence of man that he had an actual choice whether or not to obey God untainted by a sin nature. This doesn’t keep man from making moral decisions based upon his free agency. Man is free to make moral decisions like deciding not to lie, steal, sleep with his best friend’s wife, etc. But that agency is tainted with a predisposition to sin. Did you teach your kids to lie? I’ll bet you taught them not to lie, but they did it as a matter of their nature. Even knowing the Ten Commandments and what God expects, can you obey them? All of the time? When you repented, got baptized, and had someone give you the gift of the Holy Ghost did you stop sinning? Is it easier to lie when confronted with a tough situation that could damage you, or to tell the truth? According to LDS soteriology once you have truly repented it should be impossible for you to lie in that situation. Don’t you want to be exalted more than anything else in the world? Don’t you want to please Heavenly Father more than anything else in the world? All desire to commit sin should have been conquered by your free will to choose salvation over the alternative. Have you achieved that? No. So what is our free agency used for? Is it used to choose to sin or is it used to will not to sin when spurred on by conscience? How often do you lie before even thinking, for instance, and then ask yourself why you did it? Did you choose to lie, or if you had the opportunity to think about the consequences of your answer would you have had to use your will to choose not to lie? If you you lied without thinking, why isn’t the Holy Ghost actively in your life keeping you from sinning? Because salvation doesn’t impart righteousness in thought and deed
Jim, I suggest you take a look at the Bible apart from your LDS viewpoint and look at Christ’s statements regarding the Pharisees in their historical context. You forget that the gospels were not written to you, although they were written for you. Many statements were understood by the readers because of the common knowledge of the culture of that time. Without studying history and instead reading the Bible from your traditional viewpoint you will get many things wrong. The Pharisees shut up the kingdom of heaven by adding to the Law of God (the Ten Commandments) by also adhering to the Mishna, or the oral tradition of 600 plus rules that covered everything from washing cups and hands before eating to how high a parapet had to be on the roof of a building. It makes up the bulk of the Talmud. These things came into play when the Pharisees condemned Jesus for telling a formerly lame man to take up his mat and carry it on the Sabbath instead of glorifying Him as God for healing the man. It was correctly against the Law to do work on the Sabbath, but the Jews had established a stricter law that defined what constituted “work”. This included carrying your bedroll on the Sabbath and even got down to the details of how much ink a person could carry with them on the Sabbath. Entering the kingdom of God was judged by how well a person adhered to these extra-biblical rules that are found nowhere in scripture. Just like the LDS temple ordinances, word of wisdom, wearing garments, etc. these were traditions of man, not the Law of God. Since we know man cannot obey God’s law and it condemns all men (Romans 3:19), how much more will men be condemned if they had to obey the Mishna or the LDS gobble dee gook? The Law is not to be obeyed to obtain salvation,
The Law is to bring us to our knees seeking salvation from Jesus Christ,
You will deny this because you take pride in what you can do and count it as righteousness. God doesn’t care that you don’t drink coffee, use tobacco, self-righteously attend church every Sunday, eat a piece of bread and drink some water, etc. God weighs your heart which is totally corrupted by sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). You cannot go to church, read your bible, pray, eat bread and water, baptize for the dead, abstain from foods (Colossians 2:16-19) enough times to merit God’s mercy. God gives us grace in Christ, which is unmerited mercy. This grace saves us completely. My God says He is powerful enough to save me without my help, and I believe Him. The scriptures condemn your soteriology. They do not uphold it. I don’t condemn you. Only God knows the state of your heart. Only He knows if you have really submitted to Him. But from your selfish self-righteous “I can make it most of the way and Jesus will make up the rest” attitude, I personally doubt the state of your heart. But who am I, but a selfish man constrained by my sinful nature? Only God can condemn you, which is what His word does if you plan on working for salvation.
“THEN spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matt 23:1-3.
In fact, Christ taught people to follow what the Pharisees said. His condemnation of the Pharisees was for HYPOCRISY- teaching one thing, but doing another. After the verses I just cited, He goes on to criticize them for the things I mentioned above and:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and canise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, AND NOT TO LEAVE THE OTHER UNDONE.”
Here is my challenge to you- show me one instance when he clearly condemned them for the law. You cannot, because he never actually condemned such. His criticism was for their hypocrisy and their utilizing the law to lift themselves above others.
In fact, your reasons for Christ’s condemning the Pharisees is exactly opposite His reasons. He is teaching obedience to the law, not condemning it. The Pharisees were not obeying the law, but were pretending obedience to look good outwardly.
But your mistake in reading these passages is extremely common among EV critics of LDS. They totally manipulate or misinterpret the text in an attempt to make LDS look bad. Pretty ironic actually. Even poetic.
Why do you eat white fluffy bread morsels, and drink water, during sacrament meeting?
As one of those “Ev critics of LDS”, I’d like to respond.
Yes, the relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees is certainly worth looking at.
No, it does not support the position that we can rely on the law to establish or maintain the connection to God. That connection is established by grace alone through faith alone (Eph 2:8-9 etc).
OK, let’s look at what’s going on in the Gospels. You’re right that Jesus does not condemn the Pharisees for NOT living by the law (e.g. Matt 23:23-24). In fact the picture that emerges is that the Pharisees were successful at implementing the law, and they had optimised their system of religion, which was centred on the Temple.
The problem was, that they relied on the law to stake their claim in the Kingdom of God, e.g.
The reliance that the Pharisees placed on their habits, rites, Temple etc has a direct parallel with the reliance LDS place on their habits, ordinances, Temple etc.
So, what’s the problem that Jesus saw? The problem was that the reliance on these habits, rites, Temples are not a sign of faith, they are a sign of a LACK of faith. Without faith, there can be no connection to God.
What LDS critics commonly do is to claim that Evangelical Christianity offers an escape from the law, so that we give ourselves license to sin as much as we like (its called antinomianism).
The reality is that a careful reading of the Bible refutes antinomianism, e.g. Romans 6:1-14, in which Paul concludes
Did you notice how tangible this “offering” is? Its not merely a mental attitude, but something that we do with our fleshly bodies.
I’d agree that there are a number of ways to approach this subject, but what I think underlies the NT perspective is “what is the law for“. This then changes the question from “do we do the law?”, to “do we do what the law is for?”
BTW, LDS critics are in no position to look down on others for not obeying their ordinances. An honest look at Joseph Smith and his successors quickly establishes how comprehensively he failed in this area. Ironically, Smith’s religion has the franchise on writing licences to sin (D&C 132 etc)
Furthermore, if LDS are so concerned about keeping the law, why change bread and wine into something else (as setfree asked)?
More importantly (from the OT perspective) why don’t they circumcise their sons? As Paul comments
Why would Paul say that, if it was not for the fact that the circumcisers had tried to mix the yeast of law-keeping in with the dough of the Christian Gospel?
Jim, how about Matthew 12:1-8. The Pharisees accused Jesus of violating the Sabbath by picking wheat, which they considered to be work. Nowhere does the law forbid gleaning wheat for food on the Sabbath. Working for profit was forbidden on the Sabbath. Read Deuteronomy 23:25 “When you enter your neighbor’s standing grain, then you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you shall not wield a sickle in your neighbor’s standing grain.” Deeds of necessity are permitted on the Sabbath (see vs. 3,4 from Matthew passage). Jesus then heals on the Sabbath in verses 9-13 and the Pharisees plotted to destroy Him.
Let’s go to Matthew 15:1-20. Actually read the passage Jim, and pay attention to the word tradition. Jesus condemns them for their tradition of hand washing, which is found nowhere in scripture, only in the Mishna which was their traditions, not law, just like your bogus temple rites, word of wisdom, etc. The only people required to wash their hands before eating were the priests, who were required to wash their hands before eating holy offerings (Leviticus 22:6,7). Likewise they had a tradition of giving to God in the temple. This gave them an excuse to not financially assist their parents because they had to give to God, who was greater. This was a clever ploy to maintain their wealth by declaring it “Corban” (see Mark 76-13) that violated God’s commandment to honor and care for one’s parents, no matter how old. Read Matt 15:3-6.
He calls the Pharisees blind leaders of the blind. He hardly commands men to follow their traditions, and He Himself refuses to do so. This is why they wanted to kill him. If are concerned about following the righteous Pharisees because Jesus commended them for telling people to do those things, but only berated them for not following their own rules, I suggest you grab a copy of the Mishna for yourself and get to work.
In case we’re speaking past each other, Jim. I never said Jesus condemned the Pharisees for teaching the law, because Jesus Himself said that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. Jesus did call us to a higher understanding of the law showing the Pharisees and supposed pious Jews of His time that outwardly appearing to keep the law was not good enough because God judges the heart and mind of man, not just his actions, or even his intention to keep that law. For one who insists that perfectly keeping the law is a means to salvation I would think that you would pay especially close attention to this aspect of Matthew 5-7 to make sure that even your thoughts and motives are pure. Have you truly repented? Why not? Remember, God is not satisfied with a person who merely tries to keep the law but fails, and even if you have repented, as soon as you commit a sin all of your former sins come back to you. How are you doing with that? If you fully place your faith and trust in the work of Jesus on the cross He will forgive you of all of your sins.
You have and keep misrepresenting what e LDS believe. I have made the statement a number of times about this. Jesus has paid the FULL debt of our (ie everyone who has lived, does live and will live) sins to God (Heavenly Father). There is NOTHING left to pay to Him IF we believe in Jesus. That is the only Heavenly Father wants from us – to believe in Jesus. It is from our belief in Jesus that we acknowledge that He (ie Jesus) has asked us to do certain things in this life. That is why we do the things we do – because of our faith in Jesus. And yes, what we do is an indicator of our faith as on the day of Judgment our faith will be judged according to how we lived our lives (ie what we did; or in other words our works). Regardless of how much we proclaim our faith and whether we are saved or not right here and now, the ultimate judgment is what we did with our faith on the Day of Judgment. So what you claim now can be and is premature. Yes we are assured that if we have faith in Jesus we are saved, but that is manifest on the Day of Judgment.
Ralph, is there any possibility that you are doing all that you can do?
We are not talking past each other. You are misrepresenting or misunderstanding the New Testament and LDS.
You clearly started the discussion of pharisees by claiming “The LDS church is the modern Pharisees, and look how Jesus treated them. They both add rules and traditions that are nowhere in scripture.”
You argue that LDS are pharisees because, in your view, we emphasize rules and obedience. I have shown that Christ actually taught the people to follow the guidance of the Pharisees because they sat in Moses’ seat.
I have also shown that following rules and obeying law was never criticized by Christ. He criticized HYPOCRISY. You are not understanding the scriptures or my point.
You are trying to turn this into a debate about faith vs. works. It is not. I am arguing that LDS who obey the commandments and follow our prophets, in private and in public, are nothing like those whom Christ was criticizing.
I am sure you can find a mormon who is a hypocrite. But please be a little more thoughtful and smart when you say we are the modern pharisees.
You also refer to me as “one who insists that perfectly keeping the law is a means to salvation.” If that is not ultimate spin, I don’t know what is. When have I ever said that? Why do you and others misrepresent us and our doctrine so blatantly?
I am growing so tired of EVs back-peddling into different arguments when they are refuted and slandering our beliefs with such cunning, spin, and sophistry.
For the majority of my life I have viewed EVs who criticize the LDS church as good, sincere truth-seekers who simply misunderstand our doctrine. But I gotta be honest- that view is fast changing.
liv4jc, whereas I’d mostly agree with your analysis, I’d baulk at the suggestion that the issue is about what we’re permitted to do and what we aren’t.
You’re absolutely right in pointing out the Pharisees’ failures, especially the “corban quickstep” (Mark 7:14). The intriguing thing though (as OJ almost points out) is that Jesus never condemns the Pharisees for failing to keep the law. The picture presented in the Gospels is a highly religious community that keeps the letter of the law.
The fact that they propagate religious scams, and “devour widows’ houses” is self-evidence that their hearts are far from God (Matt 15:8).
My point is that if the law was enough to bring us to God and mend our hearts, then the Pharisees should not have been behaving this way. They had the law, the traditions, the Temple, the circumcision (see Romans 9:3-5) and yet they sinned and crucified the One whom they claimed to worship. The connection to God remained un-mended.
So, if we cannot be reconciled to God by “doing” religion, what hope is there? Answer – Col 1:19-20.
OJ objects to us equating the LDS movement with the Pharisees. I’m not surprised. No-one likes to be told that he is on the losing side.
Here’s a thought – Jesus loves Pharisees (e.g. John 3); He might have been one Himself. What He objects to is their reliance on their religion to claim their stake in the Kingdom. What Evs object to in Mormonism is its reliance on its ordinances and its Temple to do exactly the same thing in exactly the same way.
OJ, your “way” doesn’t work! Your Temple will NOT reconcile you to God.
Ralph said: You have and keep misrepresenting what e LDS believe. I have made the statement a number of times about this. Jesus has paid the FULL debt of our (ie everyone who has lived, does live and will live) sins to God (Heavenly Father).
Olsen Jim said :You also refer to me as “one who insists that perfectly keeping the law is a means to salvation.” If that is not ultimate spin, I don’t know what is. When have I ever said that?
These guys are nobodys in Mormonism. Read “the Miracle of Forgiveness” By Spencer W. Kimball the great Mormon Prophet, At least he tells it like it is.
Ralph and Jim, why do you accuse me of misrepresenting your faith? All I know about it has been learned from reading your own church materials. Just because you don’t like to hear what your church teaches doesn’t mean that it’s not true. Are you denying that your church requires perfection to earn salvation?
Jesus didn’t cleanse you of your sins as you claim, Ralph. If you obey the commandments, then will his grace be sufficient for you. Remember Moroni 10:32,33?
Did you notice those uplifting, comforting if/then statements? Now, thatis good news. If I deny myself of all ungodliness, then will His grace be sufficient for me.
Let’s not forget that you said, “Jesus has paid the FULL debt of our (ie everyone who has lived, does live and will live) sins to God (Heavenly Father). There is NOTHING left to pay to Him IF we believe in Jesus. That is the only Heavenly Father wants from us – to believe in Jesus.” That’s not true Ralph. Remember the cute little story contained in the Gospel Principles manual in Ch.12 pages 25-28 about how God was our creditor and Jesus paid him for us? But, here’s the problem for you Ralph, you no longer owe Heavenly Father the debt, but you still owe it to Jesus because He’s your new creditor,
Another one of those pesky if/then quid pro quo statements.If you keep his terms, then you may return to live with Heavenly Father. It sure doesn’t sound like all you need to do is believe in Jesus to me, Ralph. The terms are to repent (which we all know means never repeating a sin again) and keep His commandments. All of them, all of the time. You said, “Yes we are assured that if we have faith in Jesus we are saved, but that is manifest on the Day of Judgment.” I can easily show that your church teaches that you are saved (In the fullest sense. What Christians would call salvation) only if you stop sinning and continue keeping all of the commandments. If you just mean general salvation in the LDS sense, then everyone is saved, which is another false teaching. Christians believe that salvation is by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, my friend. That is not what the LDS church teaches. If you believe what you say you do then you’re in the wrong church. That’s closer to Christianity than it is to Mormonism.
I’d like to add a little bit to what Liv4jc said.
I sure don’t want to accuse you of using PR, as
I’m sure you believe what you said ( relative to
complying with Jesus’ “terms” for salvation), but
something just does’nt ring right about all your
emphasis on faith. It sounds good, but…….
Let me see if I understand this. Heavenly Father
[HF] terms for eternal life/exaltation, are for
us to keep all the law and commandments. But we
could’nt, so we’re guilty of death. Jesus kept
His Father’s terms. He lived a perfect life and
paid the penalty for us.Now Jesus sets the terms
for us, compliance to his terms will give us
Are Jesus’ “terms” different than HF’s “terms’?
It seems that compliance with all the terms Jesus
sets is’nt all that different than the ones His
Father set, perfect obedience required etc.
Furthermore, is’nt there additional commandments
today that are tacked on by Jesus, as revealed
through His latter-day prophets? For example:
the Word of Wisdom.
To me, this does’nt seem like the good news
of the gospel.
bfwjr and liv4jc,
No, I have not forgotten that story from the Gospel Principles manual, it is the one I am referring to. It tells us that our debt has been paid in full by Jesus to Heavenly Father does it not? Yet you keep on insisting that we LDS are ‘working’ to pay the debt to Heavenly Father so we can get into heaven. If Jesus has paid in full then this is not true. There are only 2 ways to get into heaven a set by Heavenly Father – Be completely perfect to His commandments/laws OR have true/proper faith in Jesus. And yes, that faith means following and doing what Jesus has asked us to do. Look at that BoM scripture you quoted what is the first thing it says to do? ‘Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him’ This comes first, then after one does this they can through their faith in Jesus ‘deny yourselves of all ungodliness’. This is what the LDS church teaches whether you like it or not. First faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then through this faith comes everything else.
Are Jesus’ terms different? Yes – Matt 11:28-30 tells us that Jesus’ yoke (requirements) are ‘easier’ than than the yoke of the law (Heavenly Father’s requirements). He might expect the same, but He can be more lenient than Heavenly Father when it comes to judgment.
I am biased so I think I’ll leave that up to our final judge, Jesus, to answer on the day of judgment.
One of the most dreadful and tragic things about Mormonism is that you can basically believe what you want.
From the website:
At Baptism, “you make a covenant, or promise, with God to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, to follow Him, and to keep His commandments. In return, He promises to forgive your sins and let you return to live with Him, provided you keep your covenants.
You may believe what you wrote above, Ralph, but it is not correct Mormon doctrine.
Jesus promises to forgive you IF.
IF you keep your covenants (one of which is to keep all the commandments)
You never did deal with the clear examples that Liv4JC gave where Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their overzealous adding to the law just as the Mormons add the word of wisdom, temple works, etc. etc. Liv4JC clearly shows that Pharisees are rebuked in these instances NOT for being hypocrites but for adding to the law, which is exactly what the LDS Church does:
Jesus also condemns the Pharisees for being hypocrites. But what does this condemnation really mean? It is clear from Scripture that Jesus was leading people to the truth of salvation by faith. For instance, Jesus pinpointed the fault of the rich young ruler. This young man did not ask for Jesus mercy, he proudly proclaimed he had kept the law and was obviously counting on his faithful good deeds to get him into heaven. Jesus saw where he failed and pointed it out – the ruler did not repent, or fall down and ask for mercy, rather he went away downcast. The rich young man would rather keep his sin than ask for mercy or forgiveness. Everywhere in Scripture where people ask Jesus for mercy – He delivers, redeems, heals, and promises heaven. Where they lift up their own works and act like they are not sinners and don’t need Jesus – they get knocked down by the law, for no one is made righteous by the law. God’s mercy is demonstrated to us through the cross – in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Don’t be looking to the law, or word of wisdom, or temple works, or anything you do for redemption. Look to Jesus – He is merciful and has done all to redeem you.
A Mormon Fakir? that is a funny image and thought. Maybe an LDS missionary could hold an open BOM in a continuous upright position until a bird builds a nest in it. Did Joseph Smith ever sleep on a bed of nails?
Not that this advances the discussion, I thought it curious.
You are probably right on the smoking – although there is no spiritual benefit from not smoking, Mormons often see a few ‘works’ as having spiritual benefit and tend to focus on keeping those few rules to demonstrate to themselves and others their righteousness. There are health benefits to not smoking and I wish my brother would quit for that reason – but I don’t think for a minute that not smoking will put him one step closer to God.
Great clarification about smoking.
That is what living faith is – keeping Jesus’ commandments and the covenants that we have made with Him. But it is done through faith, for without faith it will mean nothing to Jesus or Heavenly Father. If you do not have this living faith in Jesus then He will not ‘forgive’/save you as a dead faith cannot save (do I need to quote the scripture again about faith without works?).
It is similar (note RickB SIMILAR, not SAME) to what most Evs here say about someone who claims to have faith in Jesus and is saved but they live a life of debauchery – to most other true believers this points to the person not being saved and not having a true faith in Jesus. The lifestyle/works after for you indicate a state of being saved – ie Jesus has forgiven that person.
We say/teach (as liv4jc above quoted from the BoM) “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength”. What comes first here – faith in Jesus, then all else (ie our lifestyle/works) comes from that faith in Him.
Your comments on Matt.11:28-30.
You said, ” Are Jesus’ terms different–yes”
Really? According to the Church manuel ,Jesus
after paying the debt of our sin to the Father,
turned around and then set the terms for us to
pay Him (Jesus) back. These “terms” as I pointed
out really were’nt any different than the Father’s
“terms” in that a complete compliance to all the
laws/commandments are required.
You even said as much when you said, ” He(Jesus)
might expect the same.” The same what? It’s
obvious what you meant, it’s the same “terms”,
i.e. complete 100% compliance to ALL the laws,
commandments. If Jesus expects that type of
performance from you in order to receive eternal
life, then you are on a crash course with
we don’t pay off our sin debt to Jesus, after He
has done so to the Father.Since the debt against
us was nailed to the cross, it was there paid in
full. With Mormon doctrine there appears to be
a double payment illustrated here ( Jesus pays
the Father for our sin, then we “pay” Jesus back
by complying 100% with Jesus’ new terms).
Jesus did NOT “refinance ” the debt, He paid it
off! We’re free from any payments to anybody.
We are now free to serve God from a thankful
heart. We could never strive enough to be found
worthy to be forgiven by Jesus. Take note of
Col.2:14 and Phil.3:9.
Ralph, we all must fall at the Savior’s feet and
confess our inability to measure up to the 100%
compliance level needed for forgiveness of our
personal sins.We can ask Jesus to forgive us and
become our Savior and mediator, and then thank Him
that he did,nt just “refinance” our sin debt, He
eliminated it, Col 2:14.
Ralph, are you saying that since you have faith in Christ he has cleansed you from all unrighteousness and the Father now sees you as sinless? That is Christianity, not Mormonism. Remember what the BoM text says, “IF you deny yourself of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind, and strength THEN will his grace be sufficient for you.”
Have you denied yourself of all ungodliness? Isn’t sin ungodliness? And how do we sin? Isn’t it by breaking God’s commandments? Are you keeping them perfectly? Only after you have denied yourself of all sins and loved God with all your might mind and strength is His grace sufficient for you! That is a perversion of the word “grace”. Grace is favor or mercy that was not merited. This passage says that you obtain grace by denying yourself of all ungodliness and then you will be perfected in Christ. This is nothing more than a rewording of “For it is by grace that you are saved, after all you can do.” That is a direct perversion of Ephesians 2:8,9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
You believe in two books that preach the gospel of Christ. One of them is wrong. They are contradictory and not complimentary as your church claims. You need to affirm one, and deny the other. Stop sitting on the fence. If you realize that you cannot merit salvation by the BoM formula, which your church has added to to make things harder, come to the salvation offered by the Bible which is an actual historical account of God’s true plan of salvation not a work of religious fiction.
In church today, I came across a passage that I found very interesting. Eph 14-15. I tried to look it up but have not been able to find anything on it. However, it seems relevant to the discussion at hand. Here is the text:
“14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.”
From what I can tell, it seems to address the Jews and Gentiles coming together, but it is in vs. 15 that I am most interested now. He aboloshied his flesh, and the law with its commandments and regulations. That’s what it says– that the commandmnets and regulations no longer exist. They were voided/made null when Christ died and went to hell before rising again.
Perhaps someone can shed some more insight into this verse, but right now I have a hard time seeing how anyone can read this and think they are required to follow such a rigid faith, especially when later in the same paragraph of Ephesians we are told that Christ himself offers the way to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, then in vs 22 we are told that in Christ we are to become a dwelling for God.
Its not through any sort of work we become dwellings, but through faith in Christ.
In regards to the article, though, I’d like to share a story of mine. I used to post here under Michael P. I stopped posting for a couple of reasons. First, I lost my password and for whatever reason I was not able to get it reset. But then secondly, the last several months have been difficult to say the least. I am in my second year of law school, and with two young boys and a wife who works evenings you can imagine the stress level. But through that stress, I in some ways feel like I lost my way. I can’t say I doubted, but I can say that I lost motivation to follow Christ and to study his word. It just was not a priority. My priority was keeping my head above water and not going crazy. In some ways, I felt like I was faking it. I stopped going to church for that reason, and I fell often. We’d go every so often, but not much, and I kept falling. In this time I just had no motivation to come to a place such as this, and didn’t.
My road back has been slower than I’d like, but I am getting there. But reading this today was appropriate in my return to Christ, who never left me. Reading it I realized some important differences between LDS and us. I never stopped believing, though I was running from God. I just didn’t want to face that I was simply overwhelmed, tired, and broken. I had tried to do it all on my own, and not through him. Big mistake.
What this young lady is experiencing is a shame, but she is now trapped in something she never bought into. I do not know her background prior to her marriage, but she is now trapped. Mormonism is much more of a cultural thing than is Christianity, I think, which is why she is trapped. Her husband’s future is tied in her belief as a Mormon, and I am sure she knows that well.
In my situation, I could have walked away and not affected my wife’s or children’s salvation. Surely, there would be problems, but not the same problems. If I were to walk away, my wife and kids will still go to heaven.
Glad to see you back. Life can be very difficult,
it’s vital to know that we’re not alone.
” casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He
cares for you.” [1Pt.5:7 NAS]
Thanks for your post. I’m praying for you.
You are not alone in your struggles. The good news of the Gospel of Grace is that its not about you feel, but about how Christ “feels” for you. And He does not change.
Psalm 23 is a favorite of mine for a whole bunch of reasons. To me, it describes life’s journey. We start in a nice place (“green pastures, quiet waters” etc Psalm 23:2-3). But wait, there’s the “valley of the shadow of death” part (Psalm 23:4), and our only comfort is a walking staff and a stick to beat off the predators. We’d like to sit down in the evening and enjoy a meal at home, but no, He “dishes up” in the company of our enemies (Psalm 23:5). Our greatest blessings are in the places we feel most uncomfortable. Odd stuff.
The outcome? We dwell in the House of the Lord for ever. Life is hard work, but God is with us in it. Jesus, our Immanuel.
I just read your passage in Eph 2:11-22. You’re absolutely right; it’s about breaking down the barriers between those who considered themselves to be “inside”, and those whom they considered to be “outside”. When I read it, a whole bunch of ideas came into my head, especially Eph 2:14. Christ makes peace between us because, in Him, we are all made right with God, Jew and Gentile.
Its something that can only happen because Christ is our righteousness; for the Jews (on the “inside”) and the Gentiles (on the “outside”) (see 1 Cor 1:30).
As I write this, I’m also thinking; Michael, take a break from this forum. Get away from your computer and spend the time with some “real” people. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you find Him, who is our peace.
You forgot the first part of the quote from the BoM. Yes it does say to ‘deny all ungodliness’ but first it says to ‘come unto Christ and be perfected in Him’ then deny all ungodliness. How does this work? When we have true faith in Jesus we will not want to do any sin and we will want to better our lives. This is denying all ungodliness – it does not mean that we will not sin, but that our nature is more spiritual and we will want to do as Jesus has commanded us and not what the devil wants us. It is denying the carnal man and putting on the spiritual man. Once we have been given the Gift of the Holy Ghost it will make this process much easier if we listen to His promptings.
But here is the part you don’t accept and is the main difference in our teachings – we believe that we will not be fully saved, that Jesus’ atonement will not come into force so to speak, until the day of Judgment where our lives and our faith will be judged according to how we lived our lives (ie our works from our faith in Jesus). That is what the final judgment is all about.
Whereas you believe that final judgment has already been made once you have accepted Jesus. Then despite what you do in your life you are still saved, even if you become a serial murderer or adulterer, etc.
Hang in there, life’s tough some times but Heavenly Father will not give you anything you cannot overcome by faith in Jesus and accepting the help He has provided for you.
You commented on the 10 commandments being done away with – in the LDS Bible dictionary it says that the 10 commandments are part of the Law of Moses and were fulfilled (not destroyed) by the Atonement. How were they fulfilled? By the giving of a higher Law. What was that Law?
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
Now we read in Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
So if we keep this commandment from Jesus we are also keeping all of the 10 commandments plus more. The 10 commandments were a carnal law; one could keep them quite easily without having to love their neighbour. The new commandment Jesus gave to His disciples and us entailed a lot more. We HAVE to love everyone as Jesus loved us. We should be willing to lay down our lives for any other human being if necessary (ie for a good cause not a whimsical reason) regardless of who they are.
We also read
John 14:5 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him
So if we do not keep Jesus commandment of love we cannot be saved, thus there is something we need to do and part of it is the 10 commandments, but they are just the base.
Maybe I used the wrong terminology with saying that Jesus’ terms are different to Heavenly Father’s. Jesus can be more lenient in in punishment than Heavenly Father because of the commandment of love.
Thanks for all the good wishes. I think I am ready to come back (I post when with the kiddos), but truth be told a good male friend with whom I can directly interact would be a blessing these days, perhaps more appropriate would be the time to develop one. For anyone taking prayer requests– there’s mine, along with maintaining sanity through law school… But the Lord is amazing, and as I said, he never left me because he was talking to me all the time. I just didn’t want to listen.
Anyway, I tend to agree with Martin, Ralph, in his take– its all about Jesus, and not the law. I am aware of the verses regarding following the commandments, but what is missing from the Ephesians verse I quoted was any reference to any sort of qualifier on the law. It says that with his flesh he abolished the law. If there is any sort of qualifier there, it would be in Christ’s flesh, which would seem to support the idea that justification is found in Christ alone.
And if that is the case, the aboloshing of the law would mean that in Christ we are free from the law because we are in Christ’s flesh.
Your position is that there are different types of law, but sa I just demonstrated, that is absent. As to the possible argument that this was Paul’s opinion, I don’t see that in the text there either. He speaks as if it is truth.
I’m glad to see you admit you were wrong.
You’re also mistaken by trying to downplay
how impossible it is to keep Jesus’ terms
for receiving eternal life LDS style. Jesus
can’t be “lenient” because He sent the bar at
complete compliance( i.e.keep all the laws/comm
andments).This is His doing and it pleases the
” For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the
least degree of allowance;…” [D&C 1:31]
Is this Jesus speaking here? Can we use the word,
“leniency” here in place of “allowance”?
Please re-read Phil 3:9 as it states how we are
worthy to stand before God.
I think you’ve heard the Christian gospel too many times since you’ve been here, Ralph. It’s a good thing, though, since maybe you have actually come to believe what we have been showing you. What you wrote above, disregarding your closing statement about final judgement, was basically the Christian gospel. You claim that upon having faith in Christ you are perfected in Him. This is the point of Romans 3:22-26 and especially 2 Corinthians 5:21. Moroni 10:32,33 is a quid pro quo works based contract. IF you do THIS (deny yourself of all ungodliness) THEN Christ’s grace is sufficient. You almost Jedi Mind-Tricked me until I went to LDS.org and once again made sure I understood the restored gospel. I payed special attention to the definition and explanations of “grace” and “repentance”. I was right. Then there’s the whole I Nephi 3:7 thing. Christ’s grace alone by your faith alone does not merit exaltation. You only get the best reward if you try as hard as you possibly can, abandon your sins and even your desire to sin, then His grace may be sufficient for you if you tried hard enough. This is what you really mean when you say you will not know until the day of judgement what your reward will be. In your mind virtually everyone is “saved” by Christ’s atonement, and can become even “more saved” by “believing in Jesus Christ” read as, “first name Jesus, last name Christ”. It’s actually The Lord Jesus Christ (Lord meaning YHWH God). You only gain true salvation by doing all that really cool LDS stuff that you can boast about. Hmmmm, I’m trying to think what the last phrase of Ephesians 2:9 is….
You’ve done a great job in explaining to Ralph
the difference between the true salvation found
only in the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ
credited to us through His grace, compared to
the LDS version of self-meriting religious
activities designed to promote one to Godhood.
Thanks Mike. I almost believed Ralph until I reminded myself that in LDS-speak salvation is the gift everyone receives due to their universal resurrection. I like Ralph even though I’m hard on him sometimes. He’s a genuine person and I think he believes what he wrote. Maybe for a moment he forgot the rules. I pray that one night while he’s sleeping or maybe while he’s in the middle of a research program at work the pieces will all subconsciously fall into place, the circuit will be connected, and CLICK!…the light will come on. That’s what happened to my father last year. There’s hope for everyone.