Book of Mormon Christians

by
April 13, 2009

The Nephite people of the Book of Mormon that inhabited the Americas between 600 B.C. and 400 A.D. were, at most points in history, a righteous people.  That is, they had Christ’s church established among them in which they were taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They lived by the law of Moses and kept the commandments given to them by the prophets of God. In times of wickedness, they were humbled by the Lord through sword or famine.  In times of righteousness, they prospered and were given strength to protect themselves from their enemies.  This was according to the promises made by the Lord.  “And [the Lord] hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” (2 Nephi 1:20).

There were many prophecies and scriptures that the Nephites had and all of them pointed to a Jesus Christ who had not yet come.  A prophet named Nephi, who lived around 600 B.C., wrote, “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins”(2 Nephi 25:26).  They were looking forward toward Christ much in the same way we look back at His life here on earth and look forward to His second coming.  Other prophets such as Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma and many others taught the people concerning Christ, giving their testimonies as well.  They all knew of Christ and knew that He would come to redeem His people.

Of all the stories, lessons and prophecies in the Book of Mormon, none are as powerful nor of so great importance as when Jesus Christ Himself visited the people here in the American continent. Only five years preceding His birth, a prophet was sent among the people named Samuel.  His prophecies were exceptionally plain and precise.

artbook__081_081__samuelthelamaniteonthewall____And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.  And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.  Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day… and it shall be the night before he is born.  And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld.  And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven.
Helaman 14:2-6

Prophecies and signs of Christ’s death were also given.

But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold…the sun shall be darkened…and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death…to the time that he shall rise again from the dead. Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble…and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains…And many highways shall be broken up, and many cities shall become desolate. And many graves shall be opened…and many saints shall appear unto many.
Helaman 14:20-25

artbook__084_084__jesusblessesthenephitechildren____Samuel also explained the mission of Christ on the earth and the importance of His coming.  Most people did not believe Samuel’s words but that did not stop them from coming to pass.  The night stayed lit five years later and a new star was seen.  Thirty-three years after that, earthquakes and storms leveled cities and darkness prevailed for three days.  To the survivors, however, Christ Himself appeared.

Chapters 11 through 28 of 3 Nephi contain His words and deeds among the people.  He allowed them to come to Him to be first-hand witnesses of the reality of His resurrection.  He chose 12 men to be teachers and leaders, giving them the authority and commandments pertaining to baptism.  Then, He gave to all the people the words that He gave to the Jews on the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5 and 3 Nephi 12).

Over the next few days, He continued to teach them the scriptures, heal their sick, give them the sacrament, and pray with them.  I would encourage everyone to read these words because they are such touching examples of Christ’s love for His people.  The effect that this visit had on the people was not forgotten.  For hundreds of years, the people were diligent in following the words that Jesus had given to them and it wasn’t until they had turned away from those words that they did fail, just as predicted many times beforehand.

The Book of Mormon is a remarkable book and contains many lessons that are applicable in our lives.  It also shows the sublime truth that Jesus is the Christ, and that He communicated Himself to His people here anciently.  They knew He was their Savior from death and sin and they heeded His words and were blessed.  The same holds true for us today as well.  By their testimony and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, we can know those same truths.

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36 Responses to “Book of Mormon Christians”

  1. Thanks for telling so simply and well how Christ-centric the Book of Mormon is.

  2. Maranda Tyra

    I would like to speak to all mormons and all who are considering moromonism to make sure there is an understanding. The Lord God is the only God…period. There is only one heaven, and only one way to get there, and that is through the salvation of Jesus Christ. You must ask Him into your heart and into your life to be your Savior. Only once you accept Him will you understand the plan that He has for your life. It doesn’t matter what religion you are. Baptist, Southern Baptist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, etc. God doesn’t care about religion, He cares about your heart and you know He knows your heart. There is no going to hell and getting your sins cleansed and being allowed into Heaven. You do not have to believe in any teachings other than the teachings of the Lord. I love all of you and pray that the Lord fills you will His Holy Spirit and draws you near to Him! That you would come to know Him and the personal relationship He is waiting to have with you!

  3. Dave

    Well thanks for your opinion, Maranda. It looks like you’ve heard our beliefs from other people besides Mormons. Why don’t you poke around a little bit on the site and see what we really believe?

  4. Hey Thaddeus – this is Brandon. Hope the hiking is going well.

    I have some questions regarding the Nephites and archeology. I’m not trying to just be picky or point out errors, but how big was this people group? Where were they geographically in Americas? Have they found record of them?

    One of the Nephites buried the golden book that Smith discovered…where was that? Maybe I have the story wrong there.

    Anyway…thanks for your time…just some questions I had.

  5. Thaddeus

    Brandon, good to hear from you! I haven’t really been hiking much since Goblin Valley, but with the semester just about over, I hope to change that soon.

    Thank you for asking these important questions. Lots of research has gone into Book of Mormon lands and a surprising amount of corroborative evidence has turned up, but most of the archeologists and anthropologists say we have only scratched the surface.

    The prevailing view among researchers today is that the Book of Mormon in the New World covered a very limited geography of a few hundred miles, and that Lehi’s family probably integrated with cultures already here. In just a couple of generations Lehi’s ship full of perhaps dozens of people ballooned into two great civilizations: the Nephites and the Lamanites. Later in the book the people are counted in the millions.

    There is still some dispute about where exactly the Nephites and Lamanites lived, but a growing consensus among scholars places it in Mesoamerica (southern Mexico and Guatemala). The land matches that described in the Book of Mormon, and civilizations numbering in the millions arose there. The Nephite civilization is usually matched with late Preclassic Mayans, and the Jaredites (an earlier Book of Mormon group) is identified with the Olmecs.

    Brandon, since you are in Guatemala, you are in the enviable position of looking into some of these claims yourself. I’d love to continue discussing this topic with you.

    It is generally believed that Moroni, the son of Mormon (the guy who largely compiled the gold plates) took the plates on a journey out of central America up the coast to New York, where he buried them in the hill for Joseph Smith to find later. Of course, such a serendipitous series of events could only be attributed as a miracle from God, but so is the book’s very existence.

    Moroni knew that taking the book at face value would be difficult for some people. In his last chapter, he proposes that we go to the Ultimate, Final Authority and ask Him whether it’s all true:

    “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
    “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:3-5

    I know the Book of Mormon is true because my Heavenly Father has answered my prayer. Archeology has served to back up and strengthen this original testimony, but it is hardly the final authority when it comes to religious truth. Will you also make it a matter of prayer?

  6. Hey Thaddeus –

    Thanks for addressing those questions. I am in Guatemala but what I have found researching Mayan history would not be encouraging to you. But you brought up a different point that I’d like to discuss. No matter what archeology managed to dig up (literally) it would not affect your belief in the veracity of the Book of Mormon so I don’t see any need to discuss it further.

    I have a hard time reconciling the following verses from 2 Peter chapter 1:

    “1Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
    2Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”

    Peter wrote that a long time before the Book of Mormon was translated. And God says through Peter that in the Bible we have “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.”

    He says we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness”. He says then that we were given those things “through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”

    Why do I need the Book of Mormon to live a virtuous, glorious life? This passage tells me that I have been given “exceeding great and precious promises”, and “all things that pertain to life and godliness” and that by these things I might be a partaker in the divine nature, “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”.

    Why do I need anything else? Sure there are other good, true things that are not in the Bible, but this verse in context tells me that Jesus, by my faith in Him, has given me all the things needed for a godly, holy, virtuous, wonderful life free from the corruption that is in the world. Why would God go back and add something later when He already said that what He had given us enough?

    I’ll admit, I prayed this: “I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

    I asked that “with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ”. And God led me to the verse in 2 Peter 1 and I felt a very strong burning in my chest that the things in Moroni and the rest of the Book of Mormon were indeed NOT true and that the God of the Bible is different than the god of the Book of Mormon.

    I prayed this, Thaddeus, and God manifested unto me that what you think is true is actually false and not from God.

    How do you reconcile those things?

  7. Brandon, if that is the answer God gave you, then you must follow it.

    I have reason to suspect it wasn’t His response, but that is a matter between you and God. I trust that a Christian as mature as you can tell the difference between the Holy Spirit and your own preconceived desires.

    I offer a few questions to meditate on, in private with your Heavenly Father:
    1- How much of the Book of Mormon did I read?
    2- Did I give it a fair trial, or was it rejected before I picked it up?
    3- Was it with real intent? If God had told me it was true, did I intend to adopt it or would I have rejected it either way?
    4- Do I believe that “by the power of the Holy Ghost [I] may know the truth of all things?”

    That last question is key. If the Book of Mormon teaches you nothing else, let it teach you that you can ask God and he will manifest the truth through the Holy Ghost.

    You already have a testimony of that, since you said He did make it manifest to you. Please also read an article that relates to this topic called “Ye Receive No Witness Until…

  8. Dave

    Brandon,

    I’ll endeavor to answer your question about “how we reconcile” that scripture in 2 Peter.

    You quoted Peter: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” and then pointed out that Peter wrote that well before the Book of Mormon was translated. Your argument–correct me if I’m wrong–is that the passage means that everything that came about after Peter’s statement is somehow less necessary?

    I don’t have to remind you that Peter also wrote that before the New Testament was added the Bible, or had even been fully written. At very least, your line of thinking should lead you to conclude that the Epistles of John, the Gospel of John, the Book of Revelation, and maybe Jude and 2 Timothy are all unnecessary.

    We believe that God has given His children all things that pertain unto life and godliness, whether they were the Hebrews following Moses in the wilderness, the children of Israel in the time of Elijah or Ezra, or the people in the time of Peter and the apostles. The atonement of Jesus Christ is infinite, and no one is damned solely on account of not having enough of the Bible. But when new scriptures came forth for those people, they accepted them with open arms. Why? Simply because they were the words of God, and when God speaks, you listen.

    Are you saying that if you knew the Book of Mormon contained the words of God, you still wouldn’t be particularly interested in reading them, because God has given you sufficient?

  9. Dave and Thaddeus – thanks for your comments.

    Here’s the point. If God speaks today, I will listen. I know Him because He revealed Himself. And I love Him. I am indwelt with His Holy Spirit who leads me into the truth. This is not arrogance. Its faith. But everything I ‘hear’ that claims to be the ‘word of God’ I test against the Bible, because it is sufficient.

    The Book of Mormon contradicts what the entire Bible teaches about who God is and what He does. The gospel is that we are saved by grace through faith and by nothing that we do except place our faith in Christ alone. Not our behavior. Not our efforts. Not our works. Not our church.

    That’s grace. We don’t deserve it. That’s what makes it grace. God’s tells us as He told Paul that His grace is sufficient for us. His grace is all that is needed. Not grace plus obeying a set of rules – no matter how good those rules are.

    Dallin H. Oaks says,
    “We are not saved in our sins, as by being unconditionally saved through confessing Christ and then, inevitably, committing sins in our remaining lives (see Alma 11:36–37). We are saved from our sins (see Hel. 5:10) by a weekly renewal of our repentance and cleansing through the grace of God and His blessed plan of salvation (see 3 Ne. 9:20–22).”

    If the grace of Christ is only sufficient for you after you have denied yourself ALL ungodliness, then my question is – have you? Have you denied yourself all ungodliness? If not, then his grace is NOT sufficient for you (according to the Book of Mormon). If you are only saved by grace AFTER ALL you can do, then the question is – have you done all you can? Even in light of 1 Cor 10:13? If doing all you can means “keeping the commandments” does he mean ALL the commandments?

    That was a question my friend Chris, who posted on my blog, brought up.

    To answer your question – I am satisfied with the Bible because God tells me, though the Bible, that the Bible is enough. It’s not about my being satisfied but about God telling us that what He had given us in the Bible was enough – especially when that new ‘revelation’ is contrary to what had already been taught. And God knew the Bible would contain what it contains when He inspired Peter. If someone came to you and asked you to read the Koran or pick your religious book, and pray and ask if it was correct, would you do it?

    Here’s a challenge for both of you: Set the Book of Mormon down for a month and only study the Bible. You believe the Bible is Scripture so it should not be a stretch for you. We’re told that the Bible is living and active, able to divide the deepest things within us. Ask God to teach you if there is any discrepancy between the Bible and the Book of Mormon and see what He does. Ask Him to teach you, to reveal to you the truth, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    One last thing. Thaddeus said, “If the Book of Mormon teaches you nothing else, let it teach you that you can ask God and he will manifest the truth through the Holy Ghost.”

    The Bible already tells me that. I don’t need the Book of Mormon to teach me ‘truth’ if that ‘truth’ contradicts what the One True God already taught me in the Bible.

  10. Dave

    Brandon,

    Regardless of whether you believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God (which is the real issue here, I think), I am at least glad that you are at the point where you can say, “If God speaks today, I will listen.” Bravo.

    I’ve actually been taking your challenge for a while now. Though I try to draw from all scripture when writing these posts and making lessons and things, my personal study has been almost exclusively in the Old Testament lately. I have to say: I have always found them to be just as much in harmony as the bible is with itself. I know you disagree, but then you and I clearly have different interpretations of the same passages. (Also, wouldn’t any glaring inconsistencies between the Book of Mormon and the Bible be more apparent when reading both anyway?)

    As for grace and works: I think that the Evangelical Christian world largely misunderstands what we believe. Let’s get this straight: there is nothing we can do to “deserve” our salvation. No true Christians believe they can work their way to heaven, and Mormons are no exception.

    You’ve likely been reading up on what we believe by people who are not us. If you really want to know what we believe about grace, I would highly recommend the following:

    Megan’s article, from our own site (and the excellent articles linked on that site)
    This speech, given at BYU by Dr. Stephen Robinson
    This article
    This article

    I’m probably overlooking some good ones. Thaddeus, any other recommendations?

  11. Dave,

    Thanks again for your comments.

    “…my personal study has been almost exclusively in the Old Testament lately.I have to say: I have always found them to be just as much in harmony as the bible is with itself. I know you disagree, but then you and I clearly have different interpretations of the same passages. (Also, wouldn’t any glaring inconsistencies between the Book of Mormon and the Bible be more apparent when reading both anyway?)”

    You are dead on in that we interpret passages differently. :-) And yes, reading both to look for inconsistencies is what I assumed you would do. I meant more to read the Bible and see inconsistencies from what you already knew of the Book of Mormon. I wasn’t clear there. The real issue is that of eisegesis. (as opposed to exegesis) That is when someone reads a meaning into the text as opposed to getting your meaning from the text. It is very easy to approach the Bible with a set of beliefs, and then when reading it, find support there for your particular beliefs. Look at the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They believe in the Bible, but they come to vastly different conclusions than either of us. That is because they read the Bible to find support for their beliefs. You can make the Bible support anything you want by doing that. I was hoping that by reading the Bible alone, you might see it for what it is, instead of through Mormon lenses. Basically, I know several Mormons who have read through the Bible (NT, too) and when they read the Bible for itself, began to have serious questions regarding the major tenants of the Mormon faith. I hope that makes sense.

    “Let’s get this straight: there is nothing we can do to “deserve” our salvation. No true Christians believe they can work their way to heaven, and Mormons are no exception.
    You’ve likely been reading up on what we believe by people who are not us.”

    I got that quote from here by Dallin Oaks: http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-26-23,00.html

    The context of that quote follows:

    “Some Christians accuse Latter-day Saints who give this answer of denying the grace of God through claiming they can earn their own salvation. We answer this accusation with the words of two Book of Mormon prophets. Nephi taught, “For we labor diligently . . . to persuade our children . . . 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” (2 Ne. 25:23). And what is “all we can do”? It surely includes repentance (see Alma 24:11) and baptism, keeping the commandments, and enduring to the end. Moroni pleaded, “Yea, 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, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ” (Moro. 10:32)”

    He said, “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” After all we can DO? But the Bible teaches in Ephesians 2, ” 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. ”

    He is indeed a Mormon and if you don’t believe what he taught, I’m not sure what to say.

    How do you reconcile that difference there? How do you interpret away that difference between the Book of Mormon and the Bible?

    I truly am curious about that – not just in some academic or debate sense. I have a lot of other questions too, but maybe I have overextended my visit on this particular post.

  12. Thaddeus

    Brandon,

    There are two kinds of works or deeds. Faithful works, and dead works.

    Faithful works are things that Christians do because of their faith in Jesus Christ. As James said, “Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Heavenly Father still requires us to repent, get baptized, read the scriptures, pray, etc. But we do these things because we have faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t believe obedience saves us in and of itself, but earnest effort to be obedient to God is finished by the grace of Christ.

    Dead works are not associated with Christ at all. It’s the same reason Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable. He was going through the motions of sacrifice without any thought of a Savior. Same with the Pharisees. It’s when we think our good deeds have power to erase our sins that we are in danger of hellfire.

    We do believe we must show ourselves faithful to Christ through our actions, and not merely in our words and thoughts. Jesus taught, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). The after all we can do phrase is talking about faithful works.

    If you are interested in discussing this any further, please read the articles we’ve already recommended first. It will help you see where we are coming from.

  13. bfrancisco

    Dear Brandon, I have been reading this back and forth between you, Thad and Dave and I think that it is a great discussion. It is a nice thing to to see someone who is dedicated to their beliefs, thank you.

    I want to ask three questions, why do you believe that the Bible, in and of itself, is sufficient? What do you mean by it being sufficient? Also, why can’t God give us additional scripture, or call prophets today just as he always has?

  14. Dave

    Brandon,

    First, I think you need to give people more credit. You can do that without agreeing with them. Everyone interprets the Bible through the lens of what they believe (more than that, everyone interprets their whole life experience through the lens of what they believe).

    When you read Matthew 25, where the difference between the sheep and the goats is what they have done unto their fellow men, doubtless you interpret that scripture to mean something other than “works are important to your salvation.” When you read James’ “faith without works is dead, being alone,” you may argue that James’ words apply only to the Jews, or something like that. You may argue that when Paul speaks of needing to confess the name of Christ and have faith, that those actions of yours don’t limit free grace. All written word will be interpreted; there’s no getting around it unless the author himself explains what he meant.

    At any rate, again, your questions are much better explained by those articles I linked, particularly the last two. Thanks for coming on!

  15. Also enjoying the dialog.

    These are quotes from one of the articles that you recommended:

    “I become one with Christ, and as partners we work together for my salvation and my exaltation. [I don't believe this]. My liabilities and his assets flow into each other. I do all that I can do, and he does what I cannot yet do. The two of us together are perfect.”

    “I’ll tell you what. You give me everything you’ve got and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours.” Well, she’s never been stupid. She gave me a hug and a kiss. She gave me the sixty-one cents…. I drove along slowly beside her it occurred to me that this was a parable for the Atonement of Christ. [I don't believe this either]

    “There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is that he still requires our best effort. [requires it for what?] We must try, we must work–we must do all that we can. But the good news is that having done all we can, it is enough–for now.”

    Based on these quotations from the article that you recommended, I have the following questions:

    1. What if I don’t do ALL I can. If I only do just a little effort, can I be saved? Is the grace of Christ sufficient for me if I don’t do my “best effort?”

    2. Have you done all you can? Have you really put forth your best effort? There is nothing else that you could do that you aren’t doing? If not, then is Christ’s work sufficient for you? How do you know?

    I would like to explain our thoughts on this depending on what your responses are to the above questions. I really appreciate you guys taking the time to address these issues. What I view as serious problems, you view as sound doctrine, so to me, it is important that we understand each other.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    bfrancisco – I want to address your questions: Let me first get this comment out and a response to it. I don’t want add too much to this discussion, but I want to let you know what I believe.

  16. bfrancisco

    Dear Brandon, these are all good questions. I am not going to even try to supplant Dave or Thaddeus in this conversation, but these are all questions that we deal with too. When is enough enough, am I doing all that I can, etc? As I have read over your posts a few times I see that you are really thinking and trying to understand what we believe and we all appreciate that, you are great!

    I would like to add my two cents for what it is worth. When we enter the waters of baptism we are making a covenant with God to serve him and keep his and his Son’s commandments. As with any covenant there are promises on both sides. It is understood that we will never be able to do everything perfectly, but that does not exempt us from trying to do our best. As we move from grace to grace in our understanding our abilities to keep commandments increases. At each point along the way, if we are making a diligent effort then we are perfect in Christ, that is what you quoted from Moroni 10:32-33.

    So how can we know if what we are doing is sufficient? I think it is pretty easy actually. When I lay down at night I take an inventory of the day. I ask myself is there anything that I did today that was not what Jesus would have done? If there is I get down on my knees right then and ask for God’s forgiveness, which forgiveness is possible because of his Son’s atonement in my behalf and I promise to do better tomorrow. Then I go to church on Sunday and renew my covenants with God that I made in the waters of baptism by partaking of the sacrament. I promise that I am willing to take upon myself the name of Christ (be his disciple) and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given me. In return for this, I am promised that I can always have the Holy Ghost with me. Being worthy to have the Holy Ghost with me at all times is God’s sign to me that I am perfect in Christ. Will I make mistakes again? Sure, but I quickly repent and each week take the sacrament. Thus in essence at all times, I can be clean because of the grace of God, not because of my works, but I am giving it my best with Christ’s help. Thus, my end of the covenant is upheld and by the grace of God, which is made available through his Son, I am clean and “perfect” before God. Not because I am perfect by my works, but because I am yoked to Jesus Christ and he makes me perfect.

  17. Thank you, bfransico, for sharing your thoughts.

    Oh, what a burden you bear. Reading that just makes me so sad, because the truth is that you will never
    be able to do ALL that you can do. Never. You will always (this side of Heaven) sin on purpose, make foolish choices, lust in your heart, covet, wander from righteousness. You will do those things (like I will do those things), because in essence you didn’t try hard enough. You could have done more in your efforts. You could have prayed more, read your books more, sacrificed more. If you could have done more, tried harder, then according to the Book of Mormon, the grace of Christ isn’t sufficient.

    You stated above: “As with any covenant there are promises on both sides.” This is part of the problem. This is not always true. We can look at the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 12:1-3. This is a covenant between the Lord and Abraham (and his decedents) It was not a conditional covenant. It did not matter what Abraham did, God would fulfill the covenant. The Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7:12-16 (the promised Messiah) was also a non-conditional covenant. God would fulfill (and did fulfill) His promise regardless of the obedience/works of the Israelites. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are conditional covenants laid out in the Bible, but God makes it clear at the time of the covenant what is required. The final covenant is the covenant of grace, and that is the unconditional promise of God to those who believe.

    You also stated that “When I lay down at night I take an inventory of the day. I ask myself is there anything that I did today that was not what Jesus would have done? If there is I get down on my knees right then and ask for God’s forgiveness, which forgiveness is possible because of his Son’s atonement in my behalf and I promise to do better tomorrow.” (Do you always do better tomorrow…I mean is that an appropriate promise?) As a Christian, I desire to please my Savior. I desire to obey Him in all that I do. The difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, is that the Bible teaches that I must first be transformed through the work of Christ (who we believe is God eternal, not created…not like us) in order to have any hope of living rightly. Then, I live rightly as a response to the grace I’ve been given, not as a condition of it. God will NOT remove His Spirit from me if I screw up. Even if I screw up royally, if He did, I would be screwed, b/c I have no power in myself to do good. When I screw up, or sin (which I do every time I think a bad thought, judge the heart of another, lust, get angry with my kids, act impatient on the highway, just to name a few) it is the Spirit IN me that brings me to repentance. The Holy Spirit in my life is the seal that guarantees my inheritance. It would not be a guarantee if it could be voided by my lack of trying or my sin.

    The following is an aside, and I really don’t want to get into a debate regarding this as we have plenty to discuss with the topic at hand. We believe in two judgments as described in the Bible. The first is the Great White Throne Judgment, where the lambs will be separated from the goats. That is basically where God judges those for either salvation, or damnation (Revelation 20:11-14). The second is the Bema seat (1 Cor. 3:10-15). This judgment is for those who are believers, and this is where works are judged as either gold/silver, or hay/straw. One will be consumed by fire, the other will be presented to Christ as an offering and a reward will be given. A reward from Christ! But regardless of what happens to the works, the person being judged at the Bema is saved from damnation. Now…I don’t believe (I could be wrong) that you believe this, and I don’t bring it up in order to debate this theology, only to give reason for why good works/obedience matters to the non-Mormon. No one would say that obedience does not matter. It matters very much according to the Bible (it is how we demonstrate that we love Jesus – that’s important)it is just that since we can’t be perfect (as you believe) and we can’t even do our best to be perfect (not sure if you believe) then our works don’t count as squat for our salvation. Not even 61 pennies. But they do count as a demonstration of our faith and love.

    I provide the Bible references not to “Bible bash” but only to offer Biblical support for what I am saying. Of course you are invited to look those verses up and read them in context as I am sure that you will.

    Grace by your definition, is not grace that is truly sufficient. If it was, then why must you “do all you can do?”

    I would still like Thadeus and Dave to answer the questions that I posed in the last comment I made as well, if you have time. And one final question: Every night you repent, and every Sunday you renew your vow, your promise…what happens to the Mormon who dies before the evening? Or before Sunday morning, or who had a really busy week and forgot to really repent at all for a couple of days and then dies? (I am not asking this rhetorically…I would like to know what you believe regarding this.)

    One other of the articles states that “one of the untrue doctrines found in modern Christendom is the concept that man can gain salvation (meaning in the kingdom of God) by grace alone and without obedience. This soul-destroying doctrine has the obvious effect of lessening the determination of an individual to conform to all of the laws and ordinances of the gospel.” This statement could not be more false. I do not obey because of threat of Hell. I believe in grace alone for my salvation. That makes me want to serve Him all the more. Knowing the huge debt that I have no way of paying, yet Christ paid the debt (in its entirety) makes me want to serve Him. When Christians don’t desire to serve their Lord with their whole heart, it is more often because they don’t understand the greatness of their penalty, and their utter and complete need for Him. I want to serve and obey my Lord Jesus because I love Him and for no other reason. I am motivated by love, not fear, for perfect love casteth out fear.

    Thanks again for this discussion.

    Please, if you have time, go to my blog (http://brandonandjenny.blogspot.com/2009/03/mormons-mormons-everywhere.html) and read the comment by Chris Pray. It is close to the bottom.

  18. Ben

    Dear Brandon,

    I really appreciate how you have explained so well what you believe with regard to grace. I don’t feel any burden though, I do what I do because I do love God and his Son, not because of fear or guilt. As I have thought about this subject so many times and tried to elucidate how to explain these concepts simply, I just don’t know how I can explain it any better. I think it would serve us well to realize that in many ways we want the same thing–to do what Christ would do and live a life centered on Him.

    Brandon, you are doing so much good in the world, or rather God is doing so much good in the world through you and I am so happy to see that you love God and want to serve him. I am sure that you are changing lives and helping others to find happiness in Christ and that is wonderful. It is too bad that there aren’t more people like you in the world.

  19. Brandon,

    I know you’re caught up on this “all we can do” wording. Perhaps the words in Alma 24:11 would help you:

    “And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain.”

    When I read this conversation, it seems ridiculous. We’re talking completely past each other. You point out that we can never do “ALL we can do,” in the sense that as soon as we pass up just one little opportunity to do something, and as soon as we commit one little sin, oops! We haven’t done all we can do, and we don’t qualify for salvation!

    That’s ridiculous, and no Mormon believes that. What we’re trying to say, and what Ben (if I may presume) was trying to say is that to repent before God, and to be able to witness to him that we will be willing to keep his commandments and remember him…that is all we can do. Enter into covenant relationships with God, that is all we can do.

    Now, if you happen to be Calvinist (you write like one), and you believe in irresistible grace, then yes, we disagree. We think that you actually have to do something to accept the grace of God. Faith. Repentance. Baptism. But there are a lot of Arminians out there who also disagree with you on that.

    I took a New Testament class from the man who gave that BYU speech. He would always complain that people misinterpreted his “parable of the bicycle.” They, like you, think of the little girl paying her sixty-one cents as a symbol of us contributing somehow to our own salvation. But just the contrary–the point is to show that we could never possibly hope to ever make even the smallest of dents in our debt to justice. That Jesus pays 100%. (This is from the man’s own mouth).

    Now, we do believe that salvation is dependent on our accepting it(in that we may disagree). And the “accepting” involves making and keeping covenants. But having good things be a part of accepting Jesus Christ is a far cry from being saved by your own merits.

    I personally thought that the third and fourth articles I linked to you dealt with that especially well. Did you read them?

  20. 1. What if I don’t do ALL I can. If I only do just a little effort, can I be saved? Is the grace of Christ sufficient for me if I don’t do my “best effort?”

    Jesus Christ gave himself as sacrifice to end the tyranny of condemnation under the impossibly strict law of Moses. Rather than the law judging our every fault, Jesus became our new judge and He offers mercy to the penitent (see Alma 42). Penitence is not measured with a laundry list of good and bad choices, but is a condition of one’s heart.

    Just after His ascension to heaven in Jerusalem, Jesus came to America and declared, “Ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood…and ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:19-20).

    2. Have you done all you can? Have you really put forth your best effort? There is nothing else that you could do that you aren’t doing? If not, then is Christ’s work sufficient for you? How do you know?

    Like Dave said, it isn’t a matter of doing everything we can possibly think of without missing an iota. That just takes us back to the strictness of the law. It’s a matter of doing what is available for us. “All we can do” to show Christ our broken heart and contrite spirit is to enter into prescribed covenants and honor them in our hearts, minds, and deeds.

    Effort is required to maintain our penitence. We don’t believe that once we first feel forgiveness, we are forgiven for every sin we will subsequently commit. Thus, humility before God and repentance are essential throughout life. The purpose of life is to become more and more like Christ each day. This kind of metamorphosis doesn’t happen in an instant; it takes a lifetime or more, and it’s why we’re here.

    We can feel assured that the Lord accepts our sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit as we continue feeling our sins lifted, and as we are guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Brandon, since we have very different views on this topic, would you tell us what you believe the purpose of life is?

  21. Hello gentleman (not to offend any ladies out there – just haven’t seen any post here),

    Been busy. Thank you for your answers and honesty.

    I’d like to answer bfrancisco’s question but that will take more time than I have right now so if it’s alright I will defer that until later in the week. Please excuse the delay…I’m not deflecting!

    Thaddeus – You asked, “Brandon, since we have very different views on this topic, would you tell us what you believe the purpose of life is?”

    I’d love to. But I’m going to steal from what some other’s have said. I believe the purpose of life is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and to love my neighbor in the same way. That sounds familiar, I know. I’ll also steal from the Westminster Confession (which just because I agree with the shorter catechism doesn’t make me a Calvinist). It states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

    The purpose of life is to glorify God by being in an eternal love relationship with Him.

    Dave – I did read the articles and already quoted one of them. I’m not a Calvinist. I hold some of the tenets of Calvinism, but only 3-4 of the TULIP doctrines, and not limited atonement. My wife is a Methodist and I enjoy Wesleyan theology, but I’m not going to get in a fist fight defending prevenient grace either.

    I think one of the issues between Mormons and Christians is that we say the same words but do not always mean the same things.

    For example, when we say, “God” we mean two different things.

    What I mean:
    There is only one God.
    Is. 44:6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
    ‘I am the first and I am the last,And there is no God besides Me. (Also see Deut. 6:4,Isaiah 43:11; 44:8; 45:5)

    God is a Spirit without Flesh and Bones; not a man.
    John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    What Mormon’s (from my understanding and from the literature that I have read) mean:
    There are more than one God. (Maybe only one God for this world, but God’s father was a god, and it is also possible for you, in your theology, to someday be a god)
    “And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light (Book of Abraham 4:3)”

    God is like us.
    “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).

    God is a man, or very like a man.
    “”The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s,” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10).
    “Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones,” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38)”

    When I say, “Jesus”, we mean two different things.

    What I mean:
    Jesus is the eternal Son. He is second person of the Trinity. He is God in flesh and man: God incarnate.
    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
    (See also John 1:14; Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things (Col. 1:15-17).

    Jesus was born of the virgin Mary.
    Isaiah 7:14″Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. See also (Matt 1:22-25, Luke 1:26-35)

    What Mormon’s mean (Again, our understanding, and if this is wrong, it must be clarified):
    “The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood – was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115)”

    “Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 547)”

    “Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)”

    A large reason for the miscommunication is our failure to agree on terms and their meanings. I say this with all respect to you guys as people. I am not trying to be personally critical, just critical of the texts presented in light of what the Bible teaches and in light of what the Church has taught since Christ. I have an enormous amount of respect for the diligence and the strength of your faith. As your friend (and I do consider you a friend) I feel a burden to point out what seems to me to be enormous and critical errors. Especially since these errors may have eternal significance. Please know that this entire dialog has been in the spirit of love and respect.

  22. Brandon,

    You started with asking for archaeological proofs for the Book of Mormon. Then you moved to the necessity for post-biblical revelation. Then it was grace and works. Now the trinity and the nature of God.

    I’m beginning to suspect that you don’t really want to know what we believe, and that you’re just going to go down the well-known laundry list of favorite evangelical arguments against Mormons, and try to show that our beliefs contradict the Bible. All you will do is show that our beliefs contradict your interpretation of the Bible. We can do the same. For instance, the trinity.Here is a list of 65 scriptures in the Bible that seem to indicate that the Father and Jesus are two separate beings. I have no doubt that you will interpret them differently.

    This is not a forum for arguing about whether the Bible contradicts our beliefs. This is a place where people come to find out from us what we believe, not to tell us what they think we believe and why they think it’s wrong. There are probably forums for that though. For our responses to those arguments, I recommend fairlds.org and farms.byu.edu. So we’ll probably just refer you to those sites, where all your questions are already answered.

    The quotes you posted about the nature of God and Jesus are, in fact, quotes from early church leaders (or Bruce R. McConkie). Aside from that, I don’t know anything about them. They haven’t much been elaborated on. How was Jesus fathered? I don’t know. Where did God come from? I don’t know. You’ll find that these topics are not anything like mainstream in the LDS world. I’ve watched the LDS general conference for ten hours twice a year for my entire life, and I’ve never heard any of those topics mentioned, ever. That’s not to say they’re not true, it’s just if you’re looking for some clarification, there isn’t much we can do for you. Perhaps God will see fit to clarify them.

    With regards, however, to Jesus and Satan being brothers, that statement is a little misleading. I refer you to this article.

  23. Dave,

    I seem to have offended you. That was not my intention. I was truly trying to clarify terms but in the process I stepped on some toes. I apologize if I said something offensive.

    With all respect, however, you make too many assumptions. You assumed I was a Calvinist (which I am not) and you assume I have some grand plan to debunk Mormon theology (which I do not). The progression of thoughts in your first paragraph stem from my assumption that this was a discussion and those thoughts flowed as I sought to discover what you guys really believe. You cannot dismiss me by squeezing me into a category.

    I was answering Thadeus’s questions regarding the point of life, and then I just wanted to clarify what I thought were assumptions you had made because we misunderstood one another’s meanings of the same words.

    The title of this website is “What Mormon’s Believe”. Debate and discussion are meant to bring clarity, and though you answer many of my questions very well you get defensive and throw assumptions at me to dismiss what I am saying. I am sure I often do the same thing, though I hope to avoid that.

    I have Mormon neighbors. We really love them. We’re watching their poodle while they are out of town. I want to understand better what they believe and so I came here for some dialog and even debate in order to better understand Mormonism. We do indeed talk to them about what we believe, but surely you understand that most conversation is about kids and how much it rained and when are you coming over for another movie night. So we came here because Thaddeus had very graciously commented on my blog and directed me here for further questions. Yet when I sought clarity by asking what I thought were genuine questions, I am dismissed.

    I’m not trying to be misleading. I’m trying to figure out how Mormons believe both the Bible and the Book of Mormon can stand side-by-side as equal revelation from God and I did that by trying to get some agreement on terms.

    If when I say “tree” you think of a coat tree or a parrot and I think of an Elm tree, then when I say, “Let’s go look for trees in the forest” we will not be doing the same thing. I was attempting to bring clarity to our discussion by coming to an agreement on two very important things: Who is God and Who is Jesus.

    It seems clear that we are indeed not talking about the same thing when we say those terms. If we cannot agree on those terms (the ‘definition’ so to speak of God), then our discussion may have come to an end. I hope not.

    This discussion has been wonderful for me. I hope it at least of benefit to you.

    Grace and peace to you, Dave.

  24. Brandon,

    You certainly haven’t offended me, and I apologize for making assumptions about you being a Calvinist. I definitely know what it’s like to have people assume things about what we believe, so I really should know better.

    I have had a lot of that conversation with my Calvinist friends lately, who truly do believe that it is 100% grace that saves us. Being a Calvinist isn’t a bad thing either; when I said that I was just trying to point out that if you were a Calvinist, we definitely disagree on that point. And as my Calvinist friends have pointed out, anything less than irresistible grace admits that we ourselves are required to do something in order to be saved. So I was trying to point out that in the grace and works debate, the idea that God would require something of you before he saves you is not uncommon in Christianity. I apologize if that didn’t come off right. And I’m happy to know that I was wrong when I said I suspected that you were just here to try to show us that our beliefs contradict the bible.

    I understand what you mean about terminology. Words like “God”, “Jesus”, and “saved” are loaded with theological assumptions. I think, though, I disagree with your statement that “if we cannot agree on those terms, then our discussion may have come to an end.” I think it just boils down to understanding each other. To use your analogy, as long as I understand that when you say “tree,” you’re talking about an Elm tree, I understand you completely. So we believed different things about God. As long as we both understand what we each respectively are picturing in our heads when we say things like “God” and “Jesus,” then we can have meaningful conversation without needing to agree.

    I’m sorry that you feel “dismissed.” That was most definitely not my intention. On what questions do you feel dismissed?

    I’m also glad that you feel this conversation has been a benefit to you. In what ways has it helped you?

  25. Thaddeus

    Brandon,

    For what it’s worth, it did seem like you were just looking for the chance to one-up us in an argument, by your darting from topic to topic. Especially since we see these same tired arguments frequently from evangelical Christians who have no other object than declaring our doctrines false.

    We are happy to entertain questions, but we’d prefer to do it with people who listen to our side and give our arguments full consideration.

    Which is why I’m thrilled to learn you are willing to do that! We’d love to demonstrate how our theology is fully compatible with the Bible, as long as you recognize that you and we don’t share the same interpretation of every verse.

    Like Dave said, our beliefs don’t contradict the Bible, but they may contradict your interpretation of it.

  26. Groovy. Glad we can keep chatting. Dave, I felt dismissed on my stance on grace. But that’s Ok. I know that wasn’t your intention.

    Well, we disagree on who God and Jesus are (at least I think that’s what Dave was saying).

    And our interpretation of the Bible is different. That seems clear since our conclusions are different. So…if we’re both reading the same verses and we both think we’re right, can both of us be right?

    I only assume you guys think you are correct in your interpretation of the Bible. I sure believe I’m correct. It would be really silly for one of us to KNOW we were wrong and say we were right. But I’m almost certain neither of us is doing that.

  27. Thaddeus

    we disagree on who God and Jesus are

    I would hesitate to phrase it that way. When we talk about Jesus, we are talking about the same person, but our conceptions of Him are different. We believe different things about Jesus.

    The reason I nitpick is because I’ve run into a few people who claim that “Mormons believe in a different Jesus,” but that leads naive listeners to think we worship some Jesus Jones from Connecticut or something.

    The Jesus we believe in was born of Mary in Bethlehem. He walked on water in Galilee. He was crucified on Calvary by Roman soldiers. We believe everything that is written about Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. He has a LOT in common with the Jesus you believe in. So much in common, I think it’s safe to assume we’re talking about the same person.

    We may disagree on some details of His exact nature, but we agree on who He is (in general terms). Please read an article called “Jesus the Christ” to see for yourself.

  28. Sorry for the gap here. I just have not had the time.

    I definitely agree that we’re talking about the same guy, Jesus of Nazareth. But we do not believe the same things about Him or His nature. I say that instead of ‘details of His exact nature’ because I don’t think the things we disagree on are not details at all, but come down to the very nature of God.

    There is a wonderful book named Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer and I would recommend it to you guys to read. It’s all about the attributes of God. In it, Tozer says,

    “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God.”

    The book is about thinking rightly about God, not just thinking about Him. It’s one of my favorite devotional books.

    Sorry I never got into the sufficiency of Scripture. It’s really a moot point given that we will not agree on one another’s interpretation.

    To that point, however. Do you believe there is ONE correct interpretation of Scripture?
    Our ideas about God are different

  29. Interesting to read some people here playing doctrinal ping pong. Strike one is dealing with people we don’t know in person on the Internet. I think many people see any issue as entertainment. Any situation that does not require action, that does not present consequences and accountability, is by nature, a fantasy.

    Is The Book of Mormon the word of God or not? I know it is. I’ve paid the price to know….reading, pondering, praying about it. I worked for two years solid to create a free site for anyone who wants to really understand the Book of Mormon…..plainBookofMormon.com.

    It seems that online, we find more intellectuals who want to pretend they are humble and have faith in Christ, but in the end, will be found to be egg-heads who really wanted everything their way. To be a true Christian is to be humble and teachable…..willing to do anything to further the Lord’s will. It’s the least we can do, if we love Him. He did say, “my sheep hear my voice”. And another man said, “If we don’t follow the voice of the Good Shepard, than whose sheep are we?” I like that line of reasoning. Satan is so clever, to entrap people with their own smug form of Christian living.

    I hope we can all rise above the smugness, and just do the will of the Lord, expecting His grace to save us, “after all we can do” as John wrote.

    Tim

    Tim

  30. I have prayed about whether the book of Mormon was true and God’s answer to me was “No”. In addition to my prayers,

    When the Book of Mormon has so many errors, inconsistencies and alterations that the only way to explain them away is to say “Just pray to see if it is true”, then you’ve got a real problem with what you believe. I implore all Mormons to examine what you believe critically, independent of the LDS church and your elders. You cannot go to your elders with the questions the outside world is asking. They will only tell you the same thing they’ve always told you. That’s like asking Hulk Hogan if he belives WWF is real wrestling. OF COURSE he’s going to tell you “yes” and tell you what you want to hear. He IS a wrestler.

    Step outside of the Mormon bubble and examine what you believe critically. Read and learn about all the true information that the rest of the world has access to about Mormonism. Believe it or not, you can really get access to all the original Mormon documents and files and see what has changed between then and your present day materials. If the Mormon scriptures are as perfect & true as the LDS church boasts, why all the changes over the years? If you ask me, the problem is a false religion coupled with cultural relativism.

    And don’t give me the old “so as it is correctly translated” excuse. Mormons basically took what Josheph Smith had “translated” from the tablets at face value. Furthermore, “Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics” never existed! Talk about a “so as it is correctly translated” conundrum. And I venture to say that if both the first AND second tablets had broken, JS would have produced a third tablet……tada!

    Regarding the comment “We may disagree on some details of His exact nature, but we agree on who He is (in general terms).”

    The “some details” are PRETTY IMPORTANT details. Mormons basically trample the very essence of who Jesus is, based on the Holy Bible, and it’s a slap in the face to Christians (yes…the “real true ultra super” Christians of the Holy Bible). …..(just poking a little fun at the latest “true Christian campaign headed up by the LDS church)
    Jesus WAS NOT a brother of Satan.
    Jesus IS a part of the Holy Trinity of Father-Son-Holy spirit as ONE GOD-HEAD, not three separate Gods.
    GOD was, is, and always will be the same. God was NOT created from a man. The belief God came from a man basically disempowers God in blasphemy and renders Him incapable of all that He has actually done with Creation. Man cannot do what God can do. Man cannot become a God. When Mormons claim that they become Gods, they are making the same mistake Satan did.
    Those are a couple of the “some details” that Mormons try to pass off as unimportant.

    Mormons, I implore you to step outside your “comfort zone” and really take a look at what you believe from an impartial perspective. Take a look at all the questions and evidence available that proves Mormonism is NOT christianity and is not true . Don’t hold on to something false just because you’re worried what you’re family will think or if your church will excommunicate you (that’s some loving church). It’s a tough thing to swallow your pride and humble yourselves into researching information that would prove what you believe to be wrong. Who wants to find out they’ve believed something false for so long? I know I wouldn’t, but it would be worth it if my eternity depended on it, which it does! And so does yours!

  31. Bus Gillespie

    the prolonged discussion with Brandon suggests that if God is really interested in using the scriptures to help the people understand the gospel, then more clarity is needed. Here we see a few articulate and educated individuals who can’t seem to come to an agreement on what certain scriptures say or mean. Over 600 “Christian” churches have different interpretations as to what some of the key concepts of the scriptures mean. Has God just given mankind a big puzzle to figure out, which they apparently can’t do, (In fact some groups have killed people over these disagreements)? Or is God interested enough in us lowly humans to provide some clarification through other scriptures and even some living prophets?

    As for Terry, you sound pretty mad.?

  32. pc

    “Over 600 “Christian” churches have different interpretations as to what some of the key concepts of the scriptures mean.”

    While this is true, the interpretations of scriptures of the different “Christian” churches is still based on the same bible. As a non LDS christian, the use of the Book of Mormon by the LDS church is the part that is hard for me to reconcile.

    In the end… I don’t believe it matters. As long as a person accepts christ and recognizes that he is our saviour… I think he/she is in a good place.

  33. Abdi Mohamed

    I am a Somali young man,i live in Mogadishu,I need to know where to go after death,which religion is true? Here Islam is been used to kill people,please need advice and prayer.
    I say all people who live in this world are 1 and they are brothers regardlss of colour or geographical

  34. Thaddeus

    Abdi, you are very right. We are all brothers and sisters no matter where you live or what color of skin you have. I am glad you have found this website.

    I will pray for you. You must also pray for help and to know what to do. We know that God is our Father and He loves us. He will help you find the true religion. Please read more about prayer here, and begin reading the Book of Mormon here. The Book of Mormon helps me every day to know what Heavenly Father wants me to do. I am sure it will also help you.

    I wish the Church had a presence in Somalia, but right now there are no chapels or missionaries there. Abdi, if you want to keep learning about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please keep posting comments. We’d love to hear more about you and what you are thinking about.

  35. Harmony

    I’m so sorry to read this Abdi! You are right as Thaddeus said, we are all brothers/sisters in Christ, created by an almighty loving God. I have my opinions on the Muslim Religion as well as the Mormon Religion, but I will leave that alone because I am not here to scrutinize or criticize anyone. I do agree with Thaddeus also in saying that you should Pray to God about this matter and he will surely give you an answer but you must pray in faith. I disagree on reading the book or Mormon however, your first source should be the Holy Bible which is the word of God, inspired by God.
    God bless you Abdi and may you continue your search for Truth!
    Harmony April

  36. Kathleen

    I’m going to give my 2 cents worth involving:
    “There is still some dispute about where exactly the Nephites and Lamanites lived, but a growing consensus among scholars places it in Mesoamerica (southern Mexico and Guatemala).”

    When Joseph’s statement appeared in the Times & Seasons, he’d turned the paper over to a Quorum and he was in hiding. Other statements have explanations (misquoted and/or assumptions…He said the book was the truest about “that people”, but he did not say “that people” were descended from Lehi – as was presumed by the person who loaned Joseph the book.)

    You might want to look into Joseph’s letter to Emma while on Zions March:
    “wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as proof of its divine authenticity.”

    Look into the history of the Middle Woodland Mound Builders (Depending on site – 100 BC to 200 AD or 100 BC to 400 AD) and mitochondrial DNA – haplogroup X

    http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/science/mound-builders.html

    http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/mounds/builders.htm

    You will eventually come upon the Algonquian peoples, among them the Ojibwa
    http://www.native-art-in-canada.com/ojibwaindians.html

    Nephi’s posterity would be killed. But a remnant of his brother Joseph would survive 2 Nephi 3:3 & 2 Nephi 25:21

    The Cherokee stated they came from the Great Lakes and a new study for their DNA
    http://torah-voice.org/DNA%20links%20Cherokee%20to%20Northern%20Israel%20and%20coast.htm

    Their language is similar to the Iroquois. Iroquois Federation tradition states they took part in killing the Mound Builders.

    Haplogroup X is also found among the: Sioux, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Navajo & Yakama.

    Which are descendants of Joseph and those from Laman & Lemuel? Ah, good question. Could evidence be in the type of building where they lived? Nephi & Joseph were blessed to receive as their inheritance…, but Laman & Lemuel were not. SO, could those who farmed, along with hunting and gathering, living in long houses be descendants of those who inherited; while those moving across the lands hunting and living in tepees be descendants who did not inherit?

    Christ said there were others of the isles of the seas he needed to visit. There is evidence he was in Mexico (I’ve seen it for myself). However, their DNA is not haplogroup X. They are of the tribes that came across the Bering Strait (mt-DNA haplogroups A, B, C & D). Haplogroup X – in the 14 months since I’ve been DNA tested, I’ve seen the hypothesis of how they arrived in North America change, resulting in three different hypothesis.

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