Sunday, February 3, 2008

Accusation: Mormons live in a burning house

The other day I happened to run across a web site that purported to be a ministry to reach out to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and teach them the truth. As expected, I didn’t see anything new except the same old weak and “recycled” (a term one of my friends used) accusations used against the Church. It’s especially obnoxious when these people try to use the Book of Mormon text to teach us what we believe.

As I perused it’s content, a few statements caught my attention:

“If you saw a house on fire with someone trapped inside, what would you do? Would you drive by without doing anything? If you knew you could help the person, would you try? Nothing stimulates a sense of urgency more than a life and death situation.
When you see a Mormon, do you recognize that that person will suffer the everlasting fire of hell for eternity? Do you believe that Mormonism places its members inside a burning building that collapses into hell at the moment of their death?
Like followers of Judaism, Mormons believe their own works will give them righteousness. In truth, every Mormon who doesn’t trust in Jesus as his or her substitute, relying solely on Christ's righteous works, is living in a house that is on fire.”

My reaction was probably similar to yours: I rolled my eyes and shook my head. I decided that if this author’s true motives were really to reach out in truth in love to mormons (this is the site by the way, – You might not want to go there, by doing so they will start to move up in search engine rankings and that’s a bad thing), then they would probably be willing to make corrections if their assertions were shown to be incorrect. I emailed the author and asked if their statements were implying that Mormons don’t believe they are saved by grace. Following was their reasoning for their accusations. Following that is my response.

*Disclaimer – I hope no one is offended by my response. I was a little facetious in my response email to hopefully impress upon them the “silliness” of their accusations.*

“Dear Rusty,

Thank you for taking the time to send us an email. We appreciate your comments!

You asked if we were correct in our assertion that LDS people do not believe in being saved by grace. The LDS Bible Dictionary states, “This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts” (p. 697). Also, 2 Nephi 25:23 says, “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” The book True to the Faith says that “The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fulness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him” (p.77). How do you interpret these quotations? Doesn’t it say that grace is the power God gives people to save themselves only
after they have done everything they can do? So according to these
sources, LDS people do not believe in being saved by grace. Can you cite sources that tell me otherwise?

The LDS sources contradict what Jesus says in the Bible, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Heavenly Father has given us a free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. All we need to do is believe, just as the Bible says.”


Thank you so much for your speedy response! I also appreciate the thoroughness of your response.

In answering your question, I will assume that you have read the Book of Mormon many times, cover to cover, and really studied and pondered it’s message in order to more fully be able to show “truth in love to Mormons.” After all, it is souls your trying to save, and you would definitely not want to bear false witness about your brothers and sisters.
In my reading I’ve run across a couple interesting verses in the Book of Mormon. I imagine that you have also run across the same verses from during your deep and objective studies of the Book of Mormon.

“24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is ONLY in and through the GRACE of God that YE ARE SAVED.” -2 Ne 10:24

“17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be NO OTHER NAME given nor any other way nor means whereby SALVATION CAN COME unto the children of men, ONLY in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” -Mosiah 3:17

Sounds like a similar teaching to that found in John 14:6, right?

It might be interesting to read 2 Ne. 25:23 and instead of trying to interpret it, let it speak for itself:

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is BY GRACE that WE ARE SAVED, after all we can do.”

I did not read anywhere in this verse that we save OURSELVES with the grace of God. I see that it is by grace that we are saved. I observe no disharmony between the Bible and the Book of Mormon on this subject. PAUL states that we are saved by grace, Nephi states that we are saved by grace.

I believe then that we are agreed Mormons believe they are saved by grace.

What then does “after all that we can do” mean? Maybe in your studies of the Book of Mormon you have also run across an insight into this phrase. A group of wicked Lamanites had converted and joined the believers stated, “it has been all that we could do… to repent of all our sins….” -Alma 24:11

Surely we agree that the Bible teaches repentance of sins.

Well, I hope this clears that up. I would appreciate it if you altered your web site content to reflect what Mormons really believe on this subject, and maybe, if you have the time and care to be correct, study out your other accusations made against the church and update accordingly. I don’t think you want people thinking that your accusations were not thoroughly researched.

Best Wishes,

I have not heard back from them and their site has not been updated, last I checked.

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