Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Accusation: Mormons don't understand the Spirit or the Atonement

Following are some random accusations towards Mormon beliefs on the ministry of the Spirit and how the Atonement works accompanied by my responses. This is a continuation of the same correspondence mentioned in the posts on 9/30/08 and 10/05/08.

We were born in sin and have a natural instinct or desire to sin but He also gave us a conscience and when we do something wrong He “reminds us” or “tells us” in that little voice. The closer we are to Him the louder that voice is. It’s not a feeling because feelings are not the voice of God but a true knowledge.

-I assume that you will agree with me that the fruits of the spirit are granted to those who are close to God. I also assume that you believe the Spirit is a teacher (John 14:26).
Paul defines the “fruits of the spirit” as “love, joy, peace, longsuffering...” -Gal. 5:22. I don’t know what your particular experiences have been, but when I learn something from the Spirit (who is a teacher), and experience the fruits of the spirit, I experience love, joy, peace, etc.; which, are feelings. I do not think you believe love, joy, and peace aren’t feelings.
So, often when the Spirit teaches something, there are feelings involved.

When we sin we need to confess it and ask for forgiveness. Not like a revolving door like “I’ll sin now and confess later and everything will be alright.” God knows our hearts.

-I absolutely agree. One of my favorite biblical verses on this subject is Heb. 6:1 - “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (*there’s that “perfection” word again); not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God...”

The “restored gospel” is full of do’s and don’ts. Mostly do’s. You can’t “buy your way into heaven” by going to church, paying tithing, and doing temple work. You can’t get a better seat in heaven by having lots of children, becoming a missionary, or being a bishop.

-The Church of Jesus Christ does not teach that people can buy their way into heaven. The only “buying” that ever happened in the gospel is Christ buying us with his sacrifice (1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23, 2 Pet 2:1). People who have not studied the truths that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches do not realize that the Book of Mormon harmonizes with the Bible in stating-

“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 Nephi 10:24

We know that if we believe the Lord, we strive to keep his commandments, and he will reward us as He sees fit. Without the atonement of Jesus Christ, we would all be lost, no matter how righteous we were.

“yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement...”
-Alma 34:9

God loves all of us and desires a true relationship with us. He is a great friend, and wonderful father. You can get to heaven if you accept Him as your personal savior.

-I absolutely believe if we accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and do what he asks us to do, we can return to live with Him in heaven.

Best Wishes,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Accusation: Marriage is not a commandment

I'm sorry but Gen. 1:28 says nothing about marriage being a comandment. It says to be fruitful and increase in number and to rule over the earth and the fish in the sea, etc. Yes, procreating does seem to reference marriage but it doesn't actually say that one needs to be married and no where does it say that doing anything that was mentioned was a commandment.

I appreciate that you care enough about this subject to take the time to express your opinions.
“God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it”
I think we can all agree that when God says to do something, that constitutes a commandment. He commanded man to have children. How could he have children without having sexual relations? Having sexual relations outside of marriage is called fornication, which is a very serious sin.
It would appear to me that in order to keep God’s commandment (be fruitful, and multiply), man would need to have sexual relations with his wife (who he was married to), otherwise it would be fornication.

God does not say that people HAVE to be fruitful and multiply, let alone be married.

As we just established, when God says “do this,” or, “do that,” or, “be fruitful, and multiply,” it is a commandment. A command is to “give an authoritative order” (Oxford American Dictionary), hence, it is something you “have” to do. If you do not, it is sin that needs to be repented of.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
-James 4:17
I can see that this subject is one that you care about, so the most helpful thing might be to turn the page of our bible (from Gen 1:28) and read Gen. 2:22-25-

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

I don’t think the Lord could be more clear than this. This is obviously not a commandment to only Adam and Eve because Adam and Eve were the first of the human family, therefore they could not leave their father and mother. It is a commandment to all of us, in every age.
In fact, one of the signs of the “latter times” is that “doctrines of devils” would be taught, including “forbidding to marry” (1 Tim. 4:3). So the devil doesn’t want us to get married. Why is that?

If he did, then what happens to people who are infertile and cannot have children? Are they not keeping God's commandments because they cannot have children? This argument just simply does not work.

Ahh.... This is another beautiful truth that the true gospel of Jesus Christ simply explains. If we are physically unable to keep a commandment, how could a just God condemn us for not doing so? He doesn’t. It’s the heart and the motive that count.
I think Paul’s words will work here: “for where no law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15).
Another scripture I like (which does not necessarily refer to marriage) will fit nicely here as well:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” -Doctrine & Covenants 124:49

I do agree that God punishing those who could not keep his commandments would not be a good argument. But people cannot use this as a cop-out to half-heartedly “try” to keep a commandment and then quit because they think they can’t do it or don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices.

I hope that helped answer your comments/questions. I promise you, from personal experience, that following the Lord’s plan is where true happiness is found.

Best Wishes,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Question: Why don't Mormons believe all you have to do is say you believe in Christ to be saved?

Why is it so hard for one to believe that God loves us enough to die for us and that all He asks is that we believe in Him?

-The truth that God sent his only begotten son, that whosoever should believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) has caused many to stumble. Many of Christ's early disciples left him because he taught them things which were “hard” (John 6:60). Many “christians” error today, because they suppose that a mere verbal profession of belief is all that is necessary to achieve salvation. Jesus Christ himself defined what a believer should do:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” -John 14:12

Remember, devils also believe in Jesus as the Son of God; think of Legion who proclaimed the divinity of Jesus (Mark 5:7), and the spirit that the sons of Sceva tried to cast out, stated, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?” - Acts 19:15

If we truly believe in and love Jesus, we keep his commandments. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” -John 14:15.

“3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” -1 John 2:4

So, yes. With everything in context, all that God asks of us is to Believe in His Son.

Communion is a way for us to renew our commitment to give Him our lives in return for the Him dying for us.

-Agreed, mostly. I know you did not mean this, but it’s not realy a barter. It’s not that “he did that, so we will give him this.” We all owe the Lord everything that we are, and “communion” is a reminder of this.

He does not ask us to become perfect, He says to turn away from sin.

-Actually, he does “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” -Matt 5:48. That wasn’t just him asking us to be perfect, he commanded it.

Best Wishes,

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