March 2014 Ensign Review by Vicky Gilpin

Ensign-March-2014

For this months Ensign review i’ve decided to pick up on the article entitled Service and eternal life by President Henry B. Eyring, First councillor in the first presidency.

The first paragraph of his article has already given me a point of discussion,

“The Savior is our example of unselfish service. His perfect life was devoted to serving Heavenly Father and all of His Father’s children. The united purpose of the Father and the Son is to give all of us the gift of immortality and the blessing of eternal life (see Moses 1:39).”

 

Moses 1:39

39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Lets translate…

Immortality

Immortality is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ, to all men,: by which they come forth in the resurrection to die no more, weather they have obeyed him or rebelled against him…” ( Joseph Fielding Smith, the way to perfection, p.329)

Eternal life…

Eternal life in the LDS Church means Exaltation…

3rd LDS President, John Taylor

“Hence, through His atonement, believers in Christ, and those who obey his laws, partake of His glory and exaltation, and are inheritors of the Godhead: whilst those who do not obey His law although resurrected cannot inherit this exaltation; they are raised from the dead, but cannot inherit a celestial glory without being obedient to a celestial law…”

 

This is I think one of the most important things that any LDS person can come to know and understand. Firstly that God is much bigger, much more powerful, and much more Glorious than you have been led to believe. God makes this point to Job in a dialogue we read in Job 38

Job 38  (ESV)

The Lord Answers Job

1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Dress for action[a] like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
9 when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’?

12 “Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
13 that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?
14 It is changed like clay under the seal,
and its features stand out like a garment.
15 From the wicked their light is withheld,
and their uplifted arm is broken.

16 “Have you entered into the springs of the sea,
or walked in the recesses of the deep?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?
Declare, if you know all this.

19 “Where is the way to the dwelling of light,
and where is the place of darkness,
20 that you may take it to its territory
and that you may discern the paths to its home?

 

The Lord goes on further with this questioning but i’m sure you’ve got the idea.
In these verses God is asking Job a series of rhetorical questions, the purpose of this being to show job how much greater God is than a mere man, who could not possibly know or do any of the things God is describing.  Secondly that although, yes God does want to give eternal life to those who love Him…

( Biblical Christianity understands the concept of Eternal Life to mean spending an eternity with God, enjoying relationship with him. This is what I am referring to…John 17:3 ‘ And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’.. )

…and trust in His Son, This is not his primary focus. Gods purpose is to glorify himself, and rightly so. For any Human to be self seeking this would be sinful, but for God, who is the most righteous, most glorious, most loving… ( I could go on for ever!) It is good and right for Him to seek His own glory, and to command our worship of Him.

John 17:1-4

 1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Speaking of His Crucifixion Jesus said, “the hour has come, Father glorify your Son that the Son may Glorify you.” Jesus is about to face the crucifixion and his first concern, his priority, is Gods glory. Again in verse 4 he says “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do” Why did Jesus heal, set people free from demons and do all kinds of miraculous signs? Yes to heal, to set them free, to help them believe who he was. But his first priority was to glorify his Father.

Lets look at another text that shows Gods concern for his Glory.

Isaiah 48:9-11 ESV

9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried[a] you in the furnace of affliction.
11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name[b] be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

Did you catch that?

For my name’s sake! For the sake of my praise!

For my own sake! For my own sake! How should my name be profaned! My glory I will not give to another!

God’s ultimate goal is to uphold and display the glory of his name. I’m laboring this point because its important to understand. God does not seek our glory but his own. At this point I want to bring up a verse which might seem to contradict what I am saying.

1 Corinthians. 15:42-44, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

These verses are speaking of our bodies, in the resurrection we know we will receive bodies, which are different, like Jesus when he was resurrected. He had open wounds yet did not bleed. He could appear and disappear, and it seemed that he was able to change his appearance so that he would not be recognised. This was Jesus’ glorified body and we will receive our own.

What about our works? wont we be rewarded, Glorified  for faithfully following God?

To Him be the Glory…

Revelation 4:10-11

10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”

Whatever reward or ‘Crowns’ may be given to us, it’s all for His glory.

The Bible does talk about rewards…

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 ESV

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

But nowhere in the bible are we told that we will  become a God. Or that we would have any glory of our own. If anyone were to look upon our glorified bodies, it would be His glory that they might see, that’s what it means to share in His glory. That like a beautiful sunset or a awe inspiring view, if we were looked upon someone might say, how awesome is God, the glory is all His, we just get to enjoy it by seeing Him for who He is and communing with Him eternally.

I’ll pick up on one more point made by President Eyring, he goes on to say…

“King Benjamin told his people in the Book of Mormon of the joy that comes from feeling forgiveness from sin through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Then he taught them that to retain a remission of their sins, they must teach their children to serve one another and they must be as generous as they could to meet the temporal and spiritual needs of those around them. (See Mosiah 4:11–16.)”

This is a topic which has been addressed several times on this blog and will probably be addressed several more. “To retain a remission of their sins.” It saddens me deeply that people in the LDSChurch are taught to believe that they are forgiven of their sins.

but then they have to retain that forgiveness. Its like me giving someone a gift, lets say a new sofa, and then saying ‘oh by the way, I’ve set up a payment scheme in your name, they have your account details, a payment will be taken each month!’ Would that seem like a gift to you?

This idea is a contradiction of Biblical Grace, Jesus teaches us about Gods grace in the parable of the prodigal Son,

Luke 15:11-32

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give methe share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’[c] 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

 

Did the Son in this parable deserve anything from the father based on his works or his actions?

No! In fact if his Father had rewarded him according to his actions he may have even rejected him completely. But his Father did not reward his actions, not at all, his Father had a heart of Grace ( undeserved kindness, ) and mercy towards him, the son repented, and sort reconciliation with the Father. This is how we are to approach God. This is what Jesus was saying through this parable. We can come to our Father in heaven who is waiting for us to seek reconciliation with Him, not on the bases of what we have done, but on the bases of his grace and mercy and in the name of His Son who he gave as an atonement for our sins.

As always I look forward to any comments or Questions

45 thoughts on “March 2014 Ensign Review by Vicky Gilpin”

  1. Bobby,
    You stated,”God’s ultimate goal is to uphold and display the glory of his name. I’m laboring this point because its important to understand. God does not seek our glory but his own.”
    To that I would respond:
    In reference to Moses 1:39, God’s Glory and our glory are not mutually exclusive. They aren’t either/or but rather two wholly interconnected/unified purposes. This oneness of purpose and glory is prayed for specifically by Jesus in his great intercessory prayer:

    1) John 17: 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves…19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be cone in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
    22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
    24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the clove wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them

    Jesus also teaches Nicodemus God’s motivation for God’s most difficult work of all – giving His Only Begotten Son (to agonize in Gethsemane, such that “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground, giving His son to be rejected, scorned, insulted, beaten, tortured, falsely accused and ultimately murdered),
    2) “John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness (selfishness) rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

    Paul teaches us of the potential given us by God, as His:
    3) Romans 8: 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    John teaches God is love and that it is always God who loved and loves us first. We then love Him and do so by also loving/serving one another:
    4) 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.19 We love him, because he first loved us. 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? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

    I believe God, as our Father, glories in loving us and our glory increases when we love him and one another in return. In this way God’s glory (what satisfies and inspires Him the most) and our Glory (if it’s unified with God’s Glory) both increase together (as one) and that is the work and the glory of God taught in Moses 1:39 and it is that perfectly shared and experienced love that has the power to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (His children) to become as Jesus instructed, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Thanks for the opportunity to respond!

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    1. Hey there Michael.

      Thanks for your comments here, I feel that this is the most fundamental difference that exists between our faiths, it is as the root of every issue. Salvation by faith, the Trinity, everything that we can often disagree on finds its root right here. So for that reason I hope you don’t mind I am going to do the responding here as I would really like to have this discussion with you, my responses may be slow here and there but I would like to spend some time on this.

      So firstly let me state what I think we agree on, I am saying this so when I get to where I think we disagree you can know that I see it in the context of these points.

      I believe that you and I love God as we believe Him to be, and that we both believe God wants the best for His people. We both want to get it right by Gods standards and not simply our own.

      Sound good? Right now for where I think we massively differ. You may of course not agree with my every interpretation of Mormonism and I will go with your stances on this, however I always look to traditional Mormon teaching as stated by general authorities to find the most reliable picture of the Mormon teachings on things. I however appreciate that there is a mass of diversity on the ground as it were on this stuff.

      In Mormonism I see an exalted man that earned His position as God, and now has a lot of spirit children that He wants to see receive all that He has. His work and His glory is to see His children exalted, everything He now does revolves around them as He has reached the fullness of His glory and power, He simply wants to pass on what He received from His heavenly Father and so on, His position is not unique, He is just one of many gods following the eternal plan of salvation with His spirit children. It would be utterly selfish for this god to be any other way, such as he received, he needs to give.

      In Biblical Christianity I see one God that exists and one God only. This God is a Trinity of persons and is all powerful, all glorious and exists by necessity by virtue of being God eternally. The glory of this God can never be fully shared as there is only one being that truly deserves it, this God always acts in this interests of upholding His glory. This is not arrogant or selfish as He is the only God. He creates His people in such a way that they can only find their satisfaction and joy in union with Him, anything else will not last.

      Thats a brief introduction. You have made some points there worth responding too, however you have not responded fully to this post so lets back up a little. I would like your exegesis on some of the verses quoted then I will happily do the same with yours.

      Firstly

      Isaiah 48:9-11 ESV

      9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
      for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
      that I may not cut you off.
      10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
      I have tried[a] you in the furnace of affliction.
      11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
      for how should my name[b] be profaned?
      My glory I will not give to another.

      Why does God say this is for His sake?

      More clearly we see here elsewhere.

      Ezekiel 36

      20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.

      21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went.

      22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.

      23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.

      24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

      Why does God feel the need to differentiate between the sake of those He is showing mercy on and His own sake in what He did there? If they are both the exact same cause? You have of course shown the prayer in John 17 there, however that does not answer this point directly, I would be interested in your thoughts on it.

      Also if Gods primary goal is the good of His people, why did He kill almost everyone in the days of Noah?

      I am not denying Gods love for the world, however I am getting into His order of priorities here shall we say, talk soon.

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      1. Bobby,
        1) You stated, ““I believe that you and I love God as we believe Him to be, and that we both believe God wants the best for His people. We both want to get it right by Gods standards and not simply our own.”
        My response: I wholly agree and appreciate the thought.
        2) You stated, “In Mormonism I see an exalted man that earned His position as God”
        My response: Not Mormon doctrine, but well meaning speculation
        3) You stated, “(God) has a lot of spirit children that He wants to see receive all that He has. His work and His glory is to see His children exalted, everything He now does revolves around them as He has reached the fullness of His glory and power, He simply wants to pass on what He received from His heavenly Father and so on, His position is not unique, He is just one of many gods following the eternal plan of salvation with His spirit children. It would be utterly selfish for this god to be any other way, such as he received, he needs to give.”
        My response: Romans 8;The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
        John 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
        God’s position is unique – He is the greatest being in all the universe and He is our Father and the depth of His love and devotion to His children is unmatched as evidenced by all of the work he has caused on our behalf (ie. creation of the world, giving of His Son).
        The origin of God is unknown.
        The worth of each Child of God to God is more than we can comprehend. Each Child of God has the potential of increasing God’s joy, therefore increasing God’s glory.
        Luke 15: 4. What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine ain the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.”
        4) The Trinity is a whole other subject that is certainly related but I’m short on time right now. You are familiar with the overwhelming evidence throughout the New Testament of 3 distinct beings, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost who are fully united in principles, purpose, devotion, love, etc, but carry out distinct roles and are distinct beings, working together in perfect harmony as one as they invite and teach us to do likewise.
        5) The LDS view is that God’s work and glory (what inspires Him most) is working on behalf of His children whom he dearly loves to invite, inspire, teach, provide opportunities to learn, mentor, assist, do all that he can do without compromising our free agency that we may learn His ways that we may become heirs and joint heirs with Christ, etc. It is the ultimate “Win-Win situation for those willing to believe and follow Him.
        6) Here’s a revealing quote by C.S. Lewis (renowned Christian Academic and Author): “The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.”
        C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 205-206.

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      2. Hi there Michael

        Thanks for the comments, I am going to respond to both here, firstly the one with the numbered points. I will try and not go on for too long, so if I miss something you want a response too let me know and I will get on it.

        1, good stuff

        2, This is such a big area. On one level I am genuinely glad to see you are rejecting the teachings of so many of your Prophets and Apostles, on another level I just don’t see how you can do that. Without making this into too big a thing can I simply ask how you measure what is doctrine and what is not? I have spoke with an LDS friend about this over email who has commented here before who very much disagrees with you. This guy is very faithful and knowledgeable. He said both you and I should read this from last years Lorenzo Snow manual:

        In the spring of 1840, Lorenzo Snow was in Nauvoo, Illinois, pre- paring to leave for a mission in England. He visited the home of his friend Henry G. Sherwood, and he asked Brother Sherwood to explain a passage of scripture. “While attentively listening to his explanation,” President Snow later recalled, “the Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon me—the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noonday, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man. I formed the following couplet which expresses the revelation, as it was shown me. . . . “As man now is, God once was: “As God now is, man may be.” 1

        This seems to be presented as an inspired moment, on what basis do you reject this? Where do you feel this leaves the law of eternal progression?

        3, I agree with those verses just not your application of them. You seem to like responding with bible verses and no explanation a lot. You may see this as a good thing however the skill of bible interpretation is to be able to articulate a consistent position based on scripture, not just quoting it. All I will say is I agree to any bible verses you quote.

        4, Yeah I am fine with leaving that there for now too.

        5 and 6, thanks for this, I think this will be expanded upon in my response to your next comment.

        My overall argument here is that Gods primary focus and the essence of His glory is the upholding of His name and the demonstrating of His greatness. He is basically totally glorious and He knows it, He created humanity so that we might look upon Him in awe and worshipfully enjoy Him forever. This is true Christianity. An LDS friend of mine put this on his facebook page and I thought it was a great point.

        I see traditional Christianity and humanism as polar opposites. Christianity says humans are fallen, sinful, and nothing without God. Humanism says that people are inherently good, have unlimited potential, and if there is a God, we don’t need him/her or we already have that divinity in us. For a long time I’ve put Mormonism in the middle. But if God is an ascended human or group of humans, then Mormonism is basically Christianity in humanist form. I dig.

        I think Mormonism ultimately exalts man, Christianity ultimately exalts God. You said this in relation to the Ezekiel verse I quoted.

        In reference to Ezequiel 36:20-38
        You asked, “Why does God feel the need to differentiate between the sake of those He is showing mercy on and His own sake in what He did there? If they are both the exact same cause?”
        My Response: In this account, God’s sake remains constant – to lead/deliver Israel to eternal life – to redeem Israel. However, Israel has profaned God’s sake (purposes). Israel has broken the covenant that had unified Israel’s sake with God’s sake. Israel is now working against God’s sake which has always been to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children.. Israel is instead seeking its own immediate, carnal, self-centered gratification and breaking its covenant with God to do so. Even still, God promises in vs 24-38 to redeem Israel (through the atonement of Christ) because that is ultimately His purpose (work and glory) – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Moses 1:39 exemplifies God’s love and Grace for His children. (1 John 4:19)

        If God’s sake is to exalt man, why in the whole world would God show mercy on man and say I do this for My sake and not yours? Your response there is full of contradiction, think about it.

        Here is what you are saying:

        Gods “sake” in this verse is to exalt man.
        God shows mercy on man but not for His own sake and not theirs.
        God is showing mercy for their sake because that is the same as His.

        This is a contradiction, Gods “sake” here has to be something other than a man focused thing, otherwise the distinction He makes is redundant.

        Psalm 5:5 says this: The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

        God hates all that work iniquity, this is all of us, we all do that. This is why God wiped out the world in the days of Noah as He looked at them with disgust. He had a purpose for them which was to uphold His name, this was by no means happening, so they went. The only reason we can be sure He won’t do it again is because He says He won’t.

        Even the atonement of Christ was primarily to satisfy the wrath of God.

        God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood,
        to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness,
        because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
        Romans 3:25

        Of course God does love us, however the love for His own glory I believe far exceeds this and motivates all that He does.

        He did it to show Gods righteousness, God’s glory and name is His “sake” and the primary reason He does anything, He will not share this glory with another, our eternity is to be with Christ, as Pauls desire in Philippians 1:21 cries out, to die is gain to live is Christ, I want to die and be with HIM. (paraphrase). Paul was not worried about any so called “exaltation” He wanted to die and be with His king forever, that is Christianity.

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      3. Bobby, In reference to Isaiah 48: 9-19:
        You asked: Why does God say this is for His sake?
        My Response: Sake is defined in the dictionary as “for the purpose of”. In these verses, God says that He has chosen/refined Israel in the furnace of affliction for His sake (for His own purpose). What is that purpose? He also said that he laid the foundation of the earth (vs. 13). For what purpose? He also said that He is Israel’s God which teacheth Israel to profit, which leadeth Israel by the way it should go and that if Israel had hearkened to His commandments then Israel would have had peace and also posterity as the sand (vs. 17,18).
        God’s purpose (sake – it’s not a hidden agenda) is to provide for us (His children), teach us and lead us along the way to eternal life, to spiritually profit us (John 3:16-17), that we may become one with God and each other as Christ prayed in John 17, and as children of God, become heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17) in all that the Father hath (John 16:15).

        In reference to Ezequiel 36:20-38
        You asked, “Why does God feel the need to differentiate between the sake of those He is showing mercy on and His own sake in what He did there? If they are both the exact same cause?”
        My Response: In this account, God’s sake remains constant – to lead/deliver Israel to eternal life – to redeem Israel. However, Israel has profaned God’s sake (purposes). Israel has broken the covenant that had unified Israel’s sake with God’s sake. Israel is now working against God’s sake which has always been to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children.. Israel is instead seeking its own immediate, carnal, self-centered gratification and breaking its covenant with God to do so. Even still, God promises in vs 24-38 to redeem Israel (through the atonement of Christ) because that is ultimately His purpose (work and glory) – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Moses 1:39 exemplifies God’s love and Grace for His children. (1 John 4:19)

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      4. Bobby, In response to your 3/28/14 response:
        2) Re: Origin of God, This is President Hinckley’s quote in 1997 with regards to the Origin of God concept that God is an exalted man: “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.”
        I agree with President Hinckley, “I don’t know…I don’t know that others know a lot about it (origin of God).”
        Thus, it falls in the category of well meaning speculation that could be true or maybe not, but it is not taught as a core belief of Mormonism. What is taught as a core belief of Mormonsim is humankind’s potential as God’s children to become “heirs and joint heirs with Christ…”
        As the great Christian scholar explained, “The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him –for we can prevent Him, if we choose –He well make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.” C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 205-206.

        I agree with C.S. Lewis. Moses 1:39 is a source of great inspiration and hope to me as it tells me that God not only has a plan for us but that He is wholly dedicated to helping us realize the fullness of that plan if we are willing. He loves us wholly and to a degree that we cannot comprehend. I know how much I love my children and I know how imperfect I am (actually, each year I realize more and more of my imperfections) . If I can love my children to the depths I do – then WOW, I can only imagine how much God must love each and every one of us. His Work and Glory is our eternal progression to godliness.

        The scriptures we discussed in Isaiah and Ezequiel make that even more clear to me. God’s sake is that we become one with his sake – that our work and glory (our thoughts, words and deeds) become His work and glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. When that happens, then we begin to see Him as He is and in continually doing so, line upon line, precept upon precept, we will become like Him as we become more and more One with Him, This is what Jesus prayed for in His great intercessory prayer (John 17)

        I think we may have to agree to disagree for now and these particulars, but I know we have a common love for and hope in Jesus Christ, as our Savior, Thank you again for a great discussion and I look forward to the next.

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      5. I would like to comment on Isaiah 48: 9-11 and Ezekiel 36: 20-24 now.

        In both passages I would point out one thing. In Ezekiel He always says this is for His Name’s Sake. Notice that it is not for His sake, but for his Name’s sake. In Isaiah He also says this in verse nine, though in verse Eleven He says it is for His sake.

        Now, I take not of this because it is significant. In both these passages Israel is said to profane God’s name. Now, no matter what we do we can never profane God himself, but we can, by our actions, cause others to have a low opinion of Him and thus profane His name.

        In these passages God is declaring that he will not allow his name to be profaned, meaning he is going to do everything required so that all people know and respect his glory. In Ezekiel he declares that, even though Israel has fallen into wickedness, he will still show his glory by bringing them back and gathering them to him. What is the reason for this? He tells in verse 23; so “the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified bore their eyes.”

        God’s work and glory is to bring us to immortality and eternal life. When we profane his name we persuade others that he is not any better than any of the false deities, and thus we prevent them from finding the truth and achieving these goals. Thus God’s glory and work are disrupted. This cannot happen, as god will not allow it, and so, in order to bring as many people to immortality and eternal life as he can, God will glorify his name and perform the works that will persuade the most people to come to him and partake of these gifts.

        In other words, God is doing this to protect His good name, because in so doing He can bring more people to eternal life.

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      6. Thanks for that, I will reply soon, before I do how do you explain psalm 5:5 and Gods actions with the flood? It saves me using them to respond to you if you have already shared some thoughts on it, thanks

        Sent from my iPhone

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  2. This is a well thought through and accurate representation of what Mormonism teaches and how the Bible answers that teaching. Mormons reading this need to consider it as thoughtfully and honestly as its writing. Thanks Vicky.

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  3. Quick apology Vicky! I saw “by Bobby” up above without reading the Title.

    It seems our key difference of thought is that your stated belief is that, “God does not seek our glory, but his own.”

    Whereas, Mormon belief, as evidenced throughout the New Testament and by Jesus’s own words and that of His apostles, is that God views His glory as eternally interconnected with our progress and success as His children, as we journey together with one another within His love towards and eventually to eternal life, if we want, to become as Paul taught, “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” or as God himself declared, “For behold, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

    Aren’t we all so blessed to have the greatest being in all of the universe so dedicated to His children’s eternal life. God is amazing! 🙂 .

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  4. I’d like to pick up on the criticism of King Benjamin’s insistence on retaining a remission of our sins only by serving and helping others. Let’s call this type of service “Charity”, and (having read 1 Corinthians 13) can you possibly believe that you’ll be exalted if you don’t do this?

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  5. What a good opportunity these comments give to investigate the differences between what Mormonism teaches and what the Bible teaches. Firstly, there is no reason in the world to believe that King Benjamin is an historical character, so the assertion that his words represent anything in the real world is wishful thinking.

    Because of the popular conception of faith as believing something in the absence of evidence, a definition popular among Mormons, there is an ignorance of the fact that faith is based on evidence. The letters of Peter, John, and Paul say as much. I think particularly of the opening words of 1 John:

    “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life…We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us.”

    Of course, faith goes beyond simple physical evidence and our own experience of God at work in our lives is vital, but that experience in the first place issues from a time when we sat and looked at and considered evidence that encouraged a step of faith. There is no doubt that these “witnesses” of the risen Christ lived and that their experience changed them radically. History shows it and there is no reason to doubt or question.

    But where is the evidence for King Benjamin, or indeed any other BOM character? Why should anyone give serious regard to words purported to have been spoken by him when no one outside Mormonism, and indeed some inside Mormonism, do not regard the book in which his story is told as remotely historical?

    As to the point raised from the King Benjamin story, I am continually puzzled by the assumption Mormons make that, because Evangelical Christians believe in a salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, we therefore do not lay great store by works. It is truly mystifying when a Mormon triumphantly quotes a verse or two from the NT that urge us to good works, as though Christians don’t know, or feel any obligation to practice what is preached in the Scripture. Of course we know about and practice works of service and charity, it is part and parcel of what it means to be a Christian. What we don’t do is trust those works to contribute in any way to our salvation. They are salvation’s fruits and not its roots.

    The 1 Cor.13 reference, then, is perfectly applicable to everyone calling themselves Christian but it is a description of the Christian life, and I fail to see anywhere in that chapter where Paul insists we must do this to be saved, or to stay saved.

    The same argument may be made about Michael’s quoting of Moses 1:39. There is no reason in the world to believe that the contents of the Pearl of Great Price is anything but the product of Joseph Smith’s imagination. There is no Bible text that puts these words into God’s mouth, or that has his faithful servants suggesting anything remotely like them.

    Finally, Vicky has addressed quite comprehensively the issues raised in these interesting comments and it is a pity that her work hasn’t been directly addressed. Instead, what has come back at her is merely assertions of what Mormons believe. I would like to see something deeper and more respectful to the careful and biblical work she has done.

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  6. Miketea

    Your argument concerning the historic claims of the Book of Mormon is nothing more than an avoidance of the subject. It would seem that you just don’t want us to use our scriptures in discussing our faith, and so are trying to avoid it by dismissing those scriptures out of hand.

    Hebrews 11: 1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
    Faith is not based in evidence. Paul tells us clearly that Faith is the evidence that we have that God exists and that the worlds were made.
    Now, John may have seen these things, and while we have a record of his existence, we do not have any proof of what he actually saw and witnessed, and so for anyone to accept his testimony is to have faith, because there is no proof, just as Paul tells us.

    Also, Michael did a very good job of addressing the actual argument made by Vicky. She made a blog concerning what the LDS believe, and for members to correct her on what she says regarding that is to directly address the work.

    Vicky

    I have to agree with Michael that you are not understanding Moses 1: 39. It clearly states that God’s glory is to bring us to glory. The more of us that are resurrected and exalted the greater the glory of the Father.
    You quote Jesus, and what does He say? “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” This is all we are saying in our doctrine. “Glorify us so that we may bring even greater glory to You. Give us power and authority that Your glory may be known throughout all eternity.”

    You also say “But nowhere in the bible are we told that we will become a God. Or that we would have any glory of our own.”

    2 Corinthians 3: 18 states “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

    We are changed into the same image and glory that God has. Paul does not say we reflect that glory and image, but that we are changed into it.

    1 John 3: 2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

    Again, we will not just reflect his glory and image, but we will be like him, and if he has glory than being like him means that we will have glory.

    Revelation 3: 21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

    If we are in his throne we are sharing his throne, and thus have the same glory.

    We take these things to be very literal in their meaning, and they clearly teach our potential to be like our Father and to share in His glory, which will in turn increase His glory.

    Speaking of rewards, it is more verses such as Matthew 16: 27 that lead us to believe we will be judged by our works. As Christ states in this verse “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
    Or Revelation 2: 3 “And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Or Revelation 22: 12, that teaches “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
    These verses state in no uncertain terms that our works will be judged, and we will receive a reward based on them. These are the verses we see other denominations denying when they claim that our works have no effect on our salvation.

    Lastly, you quote the parable of the Prodigal Son, and what you say is right. I would point out two things, however. First is that the son did do something. He came back. He made a choice and then stuck to the journey until he was back with his father. This was a great work in itself. The Father did not go out and find and the son and bring him back. The father waited, and when the son came he greeted with open arms. The same things is true for us. We have all gone astray, and if we return our Heavenly Father will welcome us back; but we still must make that journey to come back, and that journey always requires work and effort on our part.
    Secondly, if you will note, while the son was welcomed back he was not given anymore of the inheritance. He had lost his in his chosen life style, and was not going to get anymore. To the elder son the Father said “all that is mine is yours.” The eldest had proven himself faithful in the works he had done, and he retained his inheritance. The younger son, while welcomed back and given a place in his father’s house, had no more inheritance.
    This parable illustrates beautifully the LDS doctrine that King Benjamin taught.

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    1. Shemawater,

      You are quite mistaken I am afraid. This is a classic Mormon argument in which you postulate what has yet to be proven. The argument brought is, in part, dependent on the Book of Mormon being a reliable witness, which is why I raise the issue. There is not a jot of evidence for the BOM. Not a city, not a town, not a house, not a wall, not a brick, not a bone, not a coin, no reputable historian, archaeologist, biblical scholar outside Mormonism to agree with Mormon claims, not a remnant of the people of that book. Even the main people of the BOM, Lamanites, once so populous you could trip over them almost anywhere, are now mysteriously invisible.

      Ironically, there is a mountain of evidence for the reliability of the Bible, “the people of the Book.” Where can we start? Jerusalem; Jews; Israel (King Ahab); Judah (King Hezekiah); Persians (Ataxerxes, Cyrus II, Darius I, ); Assyrians (Sargon II); Babylonians (Nebuchadnezzar) just Google it and see for yourself. The BOM is not a reliable witness, no Nephi, Abinadi, Alma, no king Benjamin, so we must go to the witness that has proved reliable, the witness Mormons consistently describe as unreliable and corrupt; the Bible.

      Mormons see virtue in blind faith, an idea that is alien to biblical faith, because their blind faith in unsubstantiated Mormon claims demand they “believe” in this way. I know well what Mormons make of Hebrews 11:1 and they are as mistaken in their understanding as it is possible to be. The notion that faith is blind takes us to a place where faith is made stronger by ignorance, yet Paul says “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Ro.10:17) Faith is based on reliable testimony, not feelings, instinct, or rumour.

      When people have true information about Christ, they are better able to put their trust in him. Knowledge increases faith. I would have expected that Mormons would understand this given the Mormon teaching that, “whatever principle of intelligence we attain in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.” (D&C 130:18-19)

      The word “substance” in Hebrews 11:1 is actually hypostasis and means “nature,” “essence,” or “conviction.” What is hoped for in the text is not the hope that, in the absence of evidence, something is, nevertheless, true. The basis for a Christian’s conviction (hypostasis) is what is already known to be true and this it is that causes one to “hope” in the future fulfilment of God’s promises. This is clear from the many times Israel has been urged to remember what God has done and on that sure knowledge trust God for the future. This is the basis of Christian assurance. Not a vague hope, leap in the dark, but a sure hope in the God who has given ample reason for trusting him.

      This is important, since you seem to complain that I am not prepared to give equal weight to Mormon scripture. But how can I when there is no reason to believe? Your definition of faith is peculiarly Mormon, your scripture is peculiarly Mormon and entirely unsubstantiated. Therefore, the teaching you bring does not carry any weight, as demanded by the Bible. Every argument you bring is based on Mormon teachings from sources that are totally incapable of being trusted so this issue is key.

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    2. Shematwater Hi, just to say I have seen your comment, I think a lot of what you have said there is going to be gradually dealt with in my conversation with Michael. I guess I woudl say for now that I by no means see sharing in His glory, to mean we receive that same glory. I think we get to see Him fully, while we only now see in part, and we get to enjoy Him forever and that is what it is to share in His glory.

      I appreciate there is much more to be said here but I dont want to repeat myself too much.

      On the prodigal son, you said that it was a great work for the son to make the journey back. This is reading something into the text that is not there, the journey is never emphasises as a great work, only the mercy of the Father in receiving Him back. If you compare this with the mass material out there from Mormon leaders on how much you have to do to recieve exaltation this really is a non argument.

      You are right that the younger son was not given more, for the simple reason that he had already been given it all, not as a result of works. In fact did not the Father order the death of an animal out of celebration of the sons return? The moral of this story is so far from salvation by works its unbelievable.

      Here is what this story is showing

      Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

      We are all that prodigal son, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we are all by nature children of wrath. But when we turn from all that to God, the prodigal son story shows the joy it gives God. By grace through faith we are saved. Jesus in Luke 7:50 demonstrates this very clearly.

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      1. It is nice that you read what I said and actually listened to it.

        As to the prodigal son, The journey is not emphasized because it is not the focal point. That I agree with. However, it is very much implied in the story, and that is my point. The lesson of the story is God’s mercy, but implied in the story are other things that need to be considered.

        As to the glory and all that, my point is simply that it is not that the Bible does not say this, but that the way you understand and interpret the Bible does not teach that. I have always found the Bible to clearly teach our potential to become like our Father, and thus become gods and literally share in His glory.

        What would you say to me giving my understanding of the various verses you quote?

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      2. Go for it thanks! At work so can’t say more but feel free and ill come back to you soon

        Sent from my iPhone

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  7. Miketea

    That is not the point at all, and you know it. I am not going to argue the evidence of the Book of Mormon. It is a pointless and futile discussion. I have studied the ancient America’s, reading many non-Mormon literature, and I have always been amazed at how people cannot see the evidence of the Book of Mormon. But it is my experience that one someone doesn’t what evidence they will never see it even when it is there.

    However, that has nothing to do with the blog or the discussion. The discussion is a comparison of LDS doctrine to other Christian doctrine. Thus it is the doctrine that we should be discussing, not whether or not you accept our scripture. Your entire argument boils down to one simple idea: Because you don’t accept our scripture there is no need to discuss our doctrine. That is a dodge to avoid the central point of the blog.

    As to faith, you have no understanding of what we believe if you actually think what you have said is true. No one has ever advocated blind faith.
    “Do not question their direction! It is as simple as that. No, I am not saying to have blind faith or blind obedience.” (https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1990/10/follow-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=blind+faith)

    We are always counseled to seek out our own understanding and to learn the truth for ourselves. We should be like children, willing to submit to God in all things, but this does not me we cannot ask why we are being asked to do something. There are no examples of blind faith in the scriptures. To say we believe in Blind Faith is to not understand our doctrine.

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    1. Shem,

      It is not at all about whether I accept your ‘scripture’ but about whether it is scripture, whether the founding evidence for anything else you claim for your faith is reliable, plausible, worthy of consideration. You insist that there is evidence for the Book of Mormon but don’t present any so it seems reasonable to continue thinking the book is without foundation. That being the case, then every other claim to understanding issues of Christian faith made by you is brought into question because the foundation on which it is built is sand.

      It is a trick to make this about what I accept, or don’t accept, as though the fact that some accept it puts me on the spot. There is not a scrap of evidence to show the BOM has any historical credibility, and plenty of evidence to show otherwise. Now, if someone is so blind as to accept the book without any serious evidence that is blind faith. If you are operating on that basis then everything you say is questionable because you have shown yourself lacking in discernment and insight.

      This is important in any discussion. Mormons like to overcome objections by appearing to talk to Christians as mutually respected equals, as you have done here, but the discussion must start much further back if people are to get any real flavour of what Mormonism is really about.

      In the Christian world there is an almost universal acceptance of the fact that Mormonism is not Christianity and Mormonism is a deception. I am sorry to put it that way but, if you are being honest, you know it and I know it so lets not pretend and give people the false impression that your faith and my faith get along just fine apart from a few denominational secondary issues. We are diametrically opposed and it starts with the imposition called the Book of Mormon. Better to tell the truth and shame the devil don’t you think?

      As to faith, I know full well what Mormonism teaches, though I can’t know your own mind, but it is not your mind that is being discussed but Mormonism. Moroni’s promise, so-called, is a clear and unashamed invitation to believe blindly ( you see we are back to the BOM) and every Mormon will tell you that they “know the Book of Mormon is the Word of God” because they have prayed about it and felt a burning bosom. This is a well-trodden path Shem, and all the talk in the world about Mormonism being misunderstood won’t wash.

      The danger here is that, in accepting Mormon claims blindly, the person is now in a place where even sold, verifiable and incontrovertible evidence means nothing if it contradicts what they “know” to be true because they prayed about it.

      Mormonism presents two faces; one to the world and one to the faithful. To the latter it is all about maintaining and strengthening your testimony, based on Moroni’s promise. To the former the church presents a pseudo-academic, “be an independent thinker” message, but we all know what happens to independent thinkers in the Mormon Church who ask too many awkward questions. They are never said to have raised some good points, highlighted some issues we need to talk about. No, they are said to have ‘lost their testimonies’ become apostate, enemies of the church, and excommunicated.

      And all this comes back to the Book of Mormon which encourages and nurtures blind faith for the simple reason that there is nothing of greater substance there to believe. relevance? Nothing could be more relevant.

      Blessings

      Mike

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      1. Mike

        You really have no clue, and I don’t think speaking as equals would help. There is no reason to except anything in the Book of Genesis as Historical. Moses is not excepted as a historic figure. While Jesus is excepted as being a historic figure, there is no historical proof of the resurrection. If you except these these you do so based on personal testimony, and thus, by your own argument, you except them on blind faith.

        However, the point is that the discussion is not about what is historical or excepted or any other such nonsense. The discussion at hand is a comparison of LDS and other Christian doctrine. Anything that does not discuss that is a diversion away from it. As nothing you have said in any way addresses the comparisons being made than everything you have said is a diversion away from the point at hand.

        It would be like two people discussing the differences between apples and beans, and then you telling one that he can’t discuss the green bean because it isn’t a fruit. Who cares if it is a fruit or not if that is not what the discussion was about.

        Now, I will mention one thing here, since you have already proven yourself wrong. If we have had our prayers answered than we have evidence, and we are not acting on blind faith. You again claim that right to judge what we can or can’t use and except. I really don’t care if you accept it or not, but if God has spoken to me than that is all I need, because God does not make mistakes, while men do frequently. You dismiss all the evidence of Faith and the spirit in favor of the learning of men, and I quite honestly feel sorry for you.

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  8. This is in reply to the Noah question, as well as others. I am doing this on a new thread because the old one was getting hard to find.

    Psalms 5: 5 “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

    A worker of iniquity is not just anyone who sins, but one who willfully sins. Those who remain in sin when they are taught the truth. One who is striving to live righteously is not a worker of righteousness. Which is why in Psalms 5 David is confident that God will hear his prayers, and why in verse 12 he states “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” There are the righteous that God blesses and favors; not the perfect, but the righteous.

    As to Noah, the reasons for God top do this are clear when one considers other doctrines, though you don’t accept them either. I speak of the pre-mortal life. I get this quote from the churches institute manual “Old Testament Student Manual; Genesis – 2 Samuel” (https://www.lds.org/manual/old-testament-student-manual-genesis-2-samuel/genesis-4-11-the-patriarchs?lang=eng). It explains it very well.

    “Now I will go back to show you how the Lord operates. He destroyed a whole world at one time save a few, whom he preserved for his own special purpose. And why? He had more than one reason for doing so. This antediluvian people were not only very wicked themselves, but having the power to propagate their species, they transmitted their unrighteous natures and desires to their children, and brought them up to indulge in their own wicked practices. And the spirits that dwelt in the eternal worlds knew this, and they knew very well that to be born of such parentage would entail upon themselves an infinite amount of trouble, misery and sin. And supposing ourselves to be of the number of unborn spirits, would it not be fair to presume that we would appeal to the Lord, crying, ‘Father, do you not behold the condition of this people, how corrupt and wicked they are?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is it then just that we who are now pure should take of such bodies and thus subject ourselves to most bitter experiences before we can be redeemed, according to the plan of salvation?’ ‘No,’ the Father would say, ‘it is not in keeping with my justice.’ ‘Well, what will you do in the matter; man has his free agency and cannot be coerced, and while he lives he has the power of perpetuating his species?’ ‘I will first send them my word, offering them deliverance from sin, and warning them of my justice, which shall certainly overtake them if they reject it, and I will destroy them from off the face of the earth, thus preventing their increase, and I will raise up another seed.’ Well, they did reject the preaching of Noah, the servant of God, who was sent to them, and consequently the Lord caused the rains of heaven to descend incessantly for forty days and nights, which flooded the land, and there being no means of escape, save for the eight souls who were obedient to the message, all the others were drowned. But, says the caviller, is it right that a just God should sweep off so many people? Is that in accordance with mercy? Yes, it was just to those spirits that had not received their bodies, and it was just and merciful too to those people guilty of the iniquity. Why? Because by taking away their earthly existence he prevented them from entailing their sins upon their posterity and degenerating them, and also prevented them from committing further acts of wickedness.” (John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 19:158–59.)

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    1. Hi there Shematwater, sorry for my slow response.

      Are you saying that you do not willfully sin? We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and were by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3 reffering to before they were in Christ) I dont think there was anything uniquely bad about these people in Noahs time. As I said the only reason we can be sure that it will not happen again is because God said that it would not. The scene where this happens is particularly telling.

      Genesis 8 20 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

      21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

      Noah offered worship to God, God recieved that worship, the very reason He created man in the first place and for that reason vowed not to do that again. What we see in the days of Noah is psalm 5:5 in action. However for me I struggle with this fitting into the LDS worldview as what about the agency of those people, could they not have repented, was that out of Gods power to have them do that?

      Alma 34:32-34 says

      32 For behold, this alife is the time for men to bprepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of cthis life is the day for men to perform their dlabors.

      33 And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many awitnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not bprocrastinate the day of your crepentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the dnight of edarkness wherein there can be no labor performed.

      34 Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful acrisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth bpossess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.

      This seems clear in saying that this life is the time to prepare to meet God. Was not God denying these people of that opportunity here? How can that be just? It only takes an honest reasing of Romans 1 to see that we have not moved on much past those days as a race.

      What I am saying is that Gods primary goal and purpose or his “sake” as demonstrated when He said He was not showing mercy for ours, is the upholding of His name, the demonstration of His glory. This is not just Old Testament stuff either.

      Romans 9 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

      23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had fore prepared unto glory,

      What if God in order to show His mercy upon those that He saves endures with patience those that He does not. It seems again that the end game is the demonstration of His power and glory, not primarily the good and glory of man. This is the ultimate difference between Christianity and Mormonism.

      Does God love people? Absolutely However His primary goal in creating us was that His glory would be shown and that He would be worshipped and honoured forever as He rightfully should be. If this was an exalted man following the eternal law of progression this would be arrogant and selfish. Thankfully this is not the case, the one true God is just that and He will not give His glory to another.

      As a side note its great to see someone on the LDS side quoting some Journal of Discourses. Do you consider that set of books as reliable Mormon teaching?

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  9. Let us speak of the time of Noah for a moment, and I will use just the Bible for now.

    1 Peter 3: 20 “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”
    What is being referred here as the time when God waited while the ark was being prepared?

    We read in Genesis 6: 3 that “the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

    2 Peter 2: 5 tells us that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.”

    So, God gave the people before the flood 120 years to repent. They were taught by Noah and had their chance, and when they refused, to be just to the spirits that were as yet unborn, he destroyed the wicked in the flood.

    Going back to Peter you will also read that these same people were preached to in the world of spirits, thus giving them even greater opportunity to receive the truth. God is not unjust to anyone.

    Concerning Ezekiel and Isaiah, as I said, I agree that in these verses God is declaring His purpose to be the holding up of His name and showing His glory. My point is that the reason for doing this is bring more of us to the glory He wishes us to have. As to Romans I don’t think this is saying what you claim. What you are calling the end game seems more to be a tool of process by which the goal of sanctifying us is achieved. Why does he endure the wicked? So that they can see his glory manifest in the promised blessing to the faithful and through this be turned to righteousness and be saved as well.

    Speaking of sin and our actions, I never once claimed perfection in any way. Willfully sinning does occur, and I cannot claim to have never done so. I can state that I strive to live a righteous life, and through faith have been able to rid myself of many sins that I once had.
    However, I think you missed my point. All men sin, and all men willfully sin at some point. But a worker of wickedness is one who continues to willfully sin and refuses to repents.
    It is obvious that David did not include himself among the worker’s of iniquity when he wrote Psalm 5, and it is equally obvious that there were many others that he was not referring to, but that he later referred to as the righteous and those that put their trust is God.

    As to the Journal of Discourses, I do not consider it equal to the Standard Works or the manuals that are directly commissioned by the church. The Journals are great for learning insight on the early leaders, but unless a doctrine can be confirmed in the Standard Works or those publications that come from the church leaders I would not claim it as doctrine of the church.

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    1. Hey there, apologies for my slow reply to this.

      SO do you not believe that the book of Mormon is right in saying that this life is the time to turn to God? If this is correct you are still left with the problem that God cut a lot of His childrens life short, removing their chance to use their agency to repent later on. This is very consistent with the gospel of the glory of God that I believe in.

      You said this:

      Concerning Ezekiel and Isaiah, as I said, I agree that in these verses God is declaring His purpose to be the holding up of His name and showing His glory. My point is that the reason for doing this is bring more of us to the glory He wishes us to have. As to Romans I don’t think this is saying what you claim. What you are calling the end game seems more to be a tool of process by which the goal of sanctifying us is achieved. Why does he endure the wicked? So that they can see his glory manifest in the promised blessing to the faithful and through this be turned to righteousness and be saved as well.

      I think we are deep in contradiction territory here. God clearly says I am not doing this for your sake I am doing it for mine. You ultimately are saying, He does not mean what He is saying. Really it is all ultimately for our sake. Within the man centred gospel of Mormonism I appreciate you have nowhere else to go here. Which is why you merely share your thoughts rather than any biblical evidence to support your point.

      If you could go back to Romans 9 and tell me what it actually is saying, I think that would be a great place to start here.

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      1. Hey there, apologies for my slow reply to this, and for the length of it.

        “SO do you not believe that the book of Mormon is right in saying that this life is the time to turn to God?”

        I believe everything that the Book of Mormon teaches. That is why I also believe that “there was a space granted unto man in which he might repent; therefore this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God; a time to prepare for that endless state…which is after the resurrection of the dead.” (Alma 12: 24) This is in agreement with Job when he declares “Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling?” (Job 7:1) and when he declares, speaking of man, “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee…” (Job 14: 5) The people in the days of Noah had their time appointed, and when that time was up it was up, just as it will be for all people. This is perfectly consistent with the gospel and the justice and mercy of God.
        As to this life being the time to prepare, I believe it completely. This is the time to prepare, and some people have more opportunity to prepare than others. We are to prepare as far as we are able, because what we are able to do in this life we will not be able to do in the next, nor will we be able to do anything for ourselves, but must rely on those in mortality to do it for us. This is what Alma is talking about in chapter 34. Notice that he does not say that we have to be saved in this life. He states “if we do not improve our time while in this life” we will not be well off.
        Alma also states “that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” This means that those who sought righteousness, but were deceived by the craftiness of the wicked, will still seek righteousness after this life; and when the gospel is preached to them in the world of spirits they will embrace it and find salvation. However, it also means that those who gave no thought to righteousness and God in this life will give no thought to it after this life, and thus will not be saved.
        This is getting into other doctrine, and so I will leave it at this for the moment.

        “I think we are deep in contradiction territory here. God clearly says I am not doing this for your sake I am doing it for mine. You ultimately are saying, He does not mean what He is saying. Really it is all ultimately for our sake.”

        I think the problem is more one of understanding. I have not contradicted anything, nor have I said God did not mean what he said. I am saying that ultimately for the sake of His children as a whole. However, to accomplish this His name must not be polluted, but must stay holy and glorious. As such, at times He must act without regard to specific people in order to maintain His good name and thus provide for his children as a whole.
        Consider any father who makes a promise to some of his children. Whether they have earned it or not he must keep his word or lose much of the respect and love of the rest of his children. This is simply good parenting. It is also true that when we look on a person and judge their character we say to a great extent “They had good parents,” or “they had bad parents.”
        This is the situation that God is addressing to Isaiah and Ezekiel. Israel had become very wicked, and thus the heathens looked at Israel and judged God by their actions. God cannot let this stand. If the heathen judge God as being no better than the false gods that they worship then they will never accept the truth and this is a great sorrow to God because it means fewer will attain to eternal life. So, despite the wickedness of Israel God kept his promises, and regardless of the wickedness of individuals He will continue to keep his promises, so that when people see Israel they will know that He is God and will judge Israel by His actions rather than judge Him by Israel’s. In this way more people will come to the truth and attain to eternal life.
        So, God acted, not for the sake of wicked Israel, for the sake of His name; and He did this to further His work and His glory, which is the immortality and eternal life of his children – as many as will take advantage of what He offers.

        Romans 9: This is one of the greatest discourses on Predestination and Fore-ordination in all the scriptures. The doctrine set forth in the chapter is really very simple. For reasons not fully known (though not for anything done in this life) some people are born into circumstances more favorable than others.
        Many were chosen before this life to be born into the house of Israel. In other words they were predestined to receive the opportunities of gospel from birth. Others were predestined to be born into other circumstance so that they would be dependent on others to bring them those opportunities.
        Paul makes this argument through a discussion of the Abraham and Isaac and their children. Before anyone children were born to Abraham God had already chosen Isaac to be the one to carry the birthright and thus be the seed of promise. Abraham had eight children all together, and yet only through Isaac was that promise to be continued. The same is true of Esau and Jacob, as Jacob was chosen before they were born.
        However, he also points out that just because one is born in Israel, is no guarantee they will gain the blessings; nor is it guaranteed that a gentile would not. In verse 6 he explains that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” Later, in verses 30-32, he states “What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.”
        All who seek God through faith will attain the blessings of the gospel, be they Israel or Gentile; and those who seek not through faith will not attain those blessings. It is simply that those born into Israel have a kind of a head start, as they are born knowing the gospel, while other must seek it out.

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      2. Hey there thanks for the response.

        I appreciate we are going into different territory on my book of Mormon point there, I am happy to leave that one there and appreciate the explanation.

        On the issue of Gods glory. My argument here is that the idea that Gods glory is ultimately the good of man is not a biblical argument. I am saying that the quote from the book of Mormon is not only not in the Bible but is in conflict with it. You are working from the assumption that this Book of Mormon verse stands correct and so you are simply interpreting the bible verses I have shared in light of that. I understand this entirely however I would ask that you show me how I am wrong in seeing this contradiction.

        I am saying that when God showed mercy in Ezekiel and said I am not doing this for your sake I am doing this for mine, He was talking about the glory of His name, which for Him is a much higher cause than even us. I see this as a consistent biblical theme, again as evidenced in Romans 9. As a calvinist I very much agree that this chapter is talking about predestination. I believe that God ultimately sovereignly saves people for His glory.

        The ultimate end of Christianity is the glory of God, not the glory of man as Mormonism would suggest. If you could show me biblically that I am wrong in this I would love to take this further. Otherwise I am just seeing you bring a book of Mormon verse that contradicts Biblical teaching to the discussion, which does not help prove your point.

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      3. I thought you might be a Calvinist.

        My main point is that the Bible does not directly contradict anything I have said, or that the LDS church teaches, except as it is interpreted by others. The text itself can be seen either way and still retain its integrity.

        I did explain the apparent contradiction. It comes when you view Ezekiel and Isaiah as speaking to all mankind and not just to the wicked Israelites of their day.
        The actions God took at that time was not for Israel but to uphold His name. In that we are in agreement. I simply don’t think this is the end of it.

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      4. Hey there

        My cover is blown doh 🙂

        And my point is yes it does. Gods highest aim in the Bible is the glory of His name, not the glory of man. I repeat my invitation for you to show otherwise. Anyone can tag anything onto Gods words in these passages and say that is what they think He really means, if they have another book in their hand that they are using to guide their interpretation of it. I am saying the consistent biblical message is that we are very much loved by God, but are by no means His number 1 priority. But then the God that you and I worship is a very different God, and this is the root of that whole issue.

        Ok fair point on who God was speaking too. I think it applies to us all but I can see what you mean there. Here is some more.

        He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace. (Ephesians 1:4-6, cf. vv. 12, 14, NASB)

        Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works . . . but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:7-8)

        Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory. (Acts 12:23)

        Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord . . . For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake. (l Samuel 12:20, 22)

        Why Did Jesus come?

        God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood . . . to show God’s righteousness . . . It was to show his righteousness at the present time. (Romans 3:25-26)

        Plenty more where these came from. God is so much more infinitely significant than we are, and He knows it, we are created in such a way that we can never find true Joy anywhere but in His presence.

        Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

        Nothing, not the family, friends or anything can compare to the literal fullness of Joy that comes from God. This is why I reject eternal families, that we are the same species of God, all of that heretical non biblical Mormon belief. Mormonism reduces God and uplifts man.

        Christianity humbles man, shows Him his place before an infinite Holy God, and then allows the forgiven sinner to find their purpose. To glorify and enjoy that God forever.

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      5. Also if you have the time, please give this a watch, it will really expand on what I am saying here more. Its not “Anti-Mormon” in anyway. I am happy to return the favour if you have something you would like me to watch/read/listen too.

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  10. Sorry, as regards to the videos, I have very limited access to the internet at this time, and most of the time do not have the time to view them (and since I am frequently in public without headphones I listen to them either).

    I understand what you are saying. Quite honestly I can’t point to any verse in the Bible that directly states what I am saying. It is more a general feel and attitude of the words that leads me to believe it. When I read the Bible I see a great love for the children of God and every action is for the benefit of mankind. Yes, even the flood.

    However, I will tell you the honest truth as to why I reject what you are saying. It is because the Bible teaching a God who is worthy of our worship and adulation, and a God whose primary concern is himself is not worthy of that. I am pretty sure how you will react to this, but it is the truth.
    You say that God is not selfish, and I agree. But you then say that selfish acts committed by him, though selfish in anyone else, are not selfish in him. It is a logical contradiction. It forced us to accept something based on nothing. I believe God is unselfish, not because he is God, but because he has proven himself to be unselfish as is recorded in the scriptures.
    To put it another way, you believe He is unselfish because He is God; I believe He is God because He is unselfish. The same can be said of every good attribute. I believe He is God because He just, not that He is just because He is God.

    When it comes to interpreting the Bible I do not simply use other books. I see God, regardless of the book I am reading, to be a perfect being, and that is why He is God. If anyone makes a claim concerning Him that would make Him imperfect in some way, I reject the claim. I accept what the Book of Moses says regarding the work and glory of God because it supports the perfect God that I see taught in the Bible. I accept the rest of the LDS scriptures for the same reason.

    Now, as I said, I cannot point to any verse in the Bible and say that that verse teaches this. But I can say that in reading the Bible this is the God that I see being taught; the love of God and His regard for man and desire for their happiness is the primary theme I see in its words, and because of that I don’t accept what you are saying.

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    1. Hey there

      No problem on the video, though if you are able to download to mp3 or whatever let me know and I can get you that. This talk really takes the time to explain what I am saying in greater depth. I personally try and spend more time looking at pro rather than critical Mormon material to help my perspective be as correct as possible. If you are going to engage with people like me doing the same may help. Otherwise you will never truly grasp my perspective but rather you will just keep fighting it.

      I think it is extremely telling that you cannot find biblical support for your perspective here, but rather you “feel” that the Bible supports your perspective. I really hope that this is not lost on you.

      I am going to go step by step through your points here:

      However, I will tell you the honest truth as to why I reject what you are saying. It is because the Bible teaching a God who is worthy of our worship and adulation, and a God whose primary concern is himself is not worthy of that. I am pretty sure how you will react to this, but it is the truth.

      Naturally my reaction is likely what you think it is. However I take no personal criticism or problem with this, as sadly it is not me that you are dismissing it is God. I have shown you much more material supporting my view from the Bible none of which you have engaged with. I can only hope that you are starting to see this.

      Lets look at another Biblical text on this.

      1 Timothy 1:12-17

      12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.[d] Amen.

      What was the reason? The Bible is full of this stuff. You are certainly not rejecting me by making your last statement.

      You say that God is not selfish, and I agree. But you then say that selfish acts committed by him, though selfish in anyone else, are not selfish in him. It is a logical contradiction. It forced us to accept something based on nothing. I believe God is unselfish, not because he is God, but because he has proven himself to be unselfish as is recorded in the scriptures.

      Its a logical contradiction if God is merely an exalted man. Not if He is the almighty self existent creator of the universe, the only God that exists. That God is committing idolatry in holding anything above Himself and would be encouraging us to do the same.

      To put it another way, you believe He is unselfish because He is God; I believe He is God because He is unselfish. The same can be said of every good attribute. I believe He is God because He just, not that He is just because He is God.

      He is God because He is God. Who cares whether He displays attributes that you and I like or not, He is what He is. He is who He is (sound familiar?).

      Mormonism is permeated with the idea that you believe something because you like it, or because you feel it is good. The bible has something to say about this too.

      Jeremiah 17:9

      The heart is deceitful above all things,
      and desperately sick;
      who can understand it?

      Proverbs 14:12

      There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

      There is another side to the coin that I am showing here. My favourite preacher, the one in the talk I showed you often says this:

      “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”

      In displaying His infinite worth and upholding His glorious name God is showing us something that is more infinitely good for us than anything else. Family/friends/career/ absolutely anything wife/kids you name it. That thing is Himself. If we truly know God then this will satisfy us above anything else, glorifying and knowing Him will give us the literal fullness of joy. Nothing compares with it.

      Mormonism sidesteps this and puts family and church in His place. Hence my point still stands. Mormonism upholds man, Christianity upholds God.

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      1. “I think it is extremely telling that you cannot find biblical support for your perspective here”
        Actually, what I said is that I cannot find any place in the Bible that states it directly, but that the Bible as a whole does support it in the manner in which it is written. It is not just a feeling, but an understanding of the words used and context that leads me to believe what I do. There is no verse in the Bible as we have it today that states as directly what is said in Moses 1: 39, but the doctrine is still there.

        “I have shown you much more material supporting my view from the Bible none of which you have engaged with.”
        I believe I have addressed every biblical passage you have given. If I have not please point out which ones I have not and I will. I have not been able to view any videos, and I don’t recall anything else that you have given. However, if it is not from the Bible itself then it is an interpretation and, while it may be well thought out, it is not proof of what the Bible teaches.

        1 Timothy 1:12-17
        The KJV gives this slightly differently, and explains the reason was that through Paul an example of God’s mercy was made so that others may see it and believe, and thus be brought to eternal life. This is exactly what I was saying with Isaiah and Ezekiel, but in this case it is involving only one man so that more may be brought to eternal life. I agree that the Bible is full of this stuff.

        “It’s a logical contradiction if God is merely an exalted man. Not if He is the almighty self existent creator of the universe, the only God that exists.”
        There is no logical contradiction in this doctrine. The contradiction is only there in comparing it to your doctrine. This doctrine, that man can progress to a pinnacle of perfection is perfectly logical.

        “He is God because He is God. Who cares whether He displays attributes that you and I like or not, He is what He is. He is who He is (sound familiar?).”
        I don’t think you are quite following me here, but it is hard to explain. The Greeks believed in their gods because they were the gods, and it didn’t matter how petty or corrupt they were. This eventually led to many rejecting the gods. They didn’t reject that they existed, exactly. They rejected them as being worth notice. That is what I am talking about. God is God and nothing can change that; but if God is not a good being, if He is selfish and petty than I couldn’t care less if he existed or not, or if he was God or not. If he cares more about himself than anything else than why should I care about him?
        I believe in and worship God because He is a good being, because He has proven Himself to be perfectly just and merciful, perfectly unselfish, and perfect in all other good attributes. When I say I believe in God I do not merely mean that I accept He exists, but I believe in His intentions and His work.

        “Mormonism is permeated with the idea that you believe something because you like it, or because you feel it is good.”
        We believe what is true, regardless of whether we like it or not. Those who take the attitude you describe are not true to the faith. There are doctrines that many do not like, and yet they accept them because they know them to be true. So, the verses you give, being very true, will condemn those who seek their own desires and reject the truth because it does not seem good to them.

        “If we truly know God then this will satisfy us above anything else, glorifying and knowing Him will give us the literal fullness of joy. Nothing compares with it.”
        You know, I couldn’t agree more. My problem is that you make no effort to define what that joy is. We believe that the fulness of joy that is promises is merely a perfecting of the joy we feel in our families and with our friends. This is something we can understand. We will never fully comprehend the depth of that joy until we are back in God’s presence, for only in God can that joy be made perfect.
        What you teach is something so disconnected from everything that bring joys in our experience that to call it joy doesn’t make sense.

        “Mormonism sidesteps this and puts family and church in His place.”
        We put nothing in God’s place. The family is only made eternal through God and in His presence. Without him that joy is not possible. Hence you miss the point of our doctrine. To be accurate, we uphold man in order to uphold God, because we believe it is not truly possible to uphold one without the other.

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      2. Hey there thanks for the response. I am going to number my points just so I can keep better track of my points and hopefully if you can do this too it will stop me missing any points you make, but no problem if this does not work for you.

        1) So yet again you are sidestepping the Biblical material I have provided and just “I know I am right”. You have by no means responded to all of the verses I have quoted. To be fair I would not expect you to get through them all, but you are providing little to no evidence to support your points here, other than repeated insistence that you are correct. Please have a look through my last couple of responses and you will see the verses I have shared that show that God’s number 1 priority is His own glory and that this priority very much is at the centre of what He does and has done for us.

        2) The logical contradiction claim originally came from yourself, here is the full quote on that.

        You

        You say that God is not selfish, and I agree. But you then say that selfish acts committed by him, though selfish in anyone else, are not selfish in him. It is a logical contradiction. It forced us to accept something based on nothing. I believe God is unselfish, not because he is God, but because he has proven himself to be unselfish as is recorded in the scriptures.

        Me

        Its a logical contradiction if God is merely an exalted man. Not if He is the almighty self existent creator of the universe, the only God that exists. That God is committing idolatry in holding anything above Himself and would be encouraging us to do the same.

        You said it is a logical contradiction to say that God is unselfish in seeking His glory first but that it would be selfish for us to do so. I am saying that this is by no means the case if you believe God is the almighty self existent creator of the universe, a being far above and beyond that of humanity. However I agree that this is the case if God is merely an exalted man.

        3) I get what you are saying here. My point is that the goal is to see God for who He really is, whether that makes sense to us, or is how we would like Him to be or not.

        4) Ok the feelings thing is a different area but it certainly has its place in Mormonism.

        The Preach my gospel manual says:

        “In answer to our prayers, the Holy Ghost will teach us truth through our feelings and thoughts” (Preach My Gospel, 2004, p. 39).

        5) You are right I have not spent enough time on that, this is why I directed you to that talk, here it is in transcript. Ultimately I am saying as the Bible does that the fulness of joy that we can ever experience comes from communion with God above all else. The idolisation of the family in Mormonism robs God of the glory and man of the true joy that they can get from placing Him above all else.

        http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/god-is-most-glorified-in-us-when-we-are-most-satisfied-in-him

        Please take a look, I think I might do a post on it soon but here it is put much better than how I likely will.

        6) So out of interest and I have no idea what your answer will be. What would you say is the single most important thing in your life?

        thanks for staying with me on this, talk soon

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  11. 1) I will address all the verses you referenced in your last two posts, but anything before that you will need to remind me of or excuse. My argument is not that I am right. My argument is that the Bible in its entirety makes me view the verses you cite in a different way than you do. I have been looking through various passages to find one that most effectively shows this, but it is difficult, but it not explicit. I think it is most seen in how God interacts with his children. He has a very familiar and personal attitude to them that just isn’t consistent with the idea that He is the primary focus of His own thoughts and goals. He consistently displays the attitude that I describe when discussing Isaiah and Ezekiel, and that is why I believe what I do.
    2) I did not understand your meaning and I apologize. However, all you have done is reiterate the same contradiction. My point is that selfishness is not dependent on the nature of the being. A selfish being is a selfish being. To say they are not simply because they are “the almighty, self-existent creator of the universe, a being far above and beyond that of humanity” makes no sense. Maybe I should not have called it a contradiction, but rather a logical fallacy.
    The contradiction that I was referring to is that you say one being is not selfish even though they act in a way that you would define as selfish in any other being. I don’t know what other word to use in describing this except that it is a contradiction, or a contradictory use of the term.
    3) I get your point, and if that is how God really is than he is not a being that is worthy of my adulation and worship. That is my point. I agree the point is to learn the truth about God, and that is what I seek.
    4) Feelings have their place, yes, but not in the way that most people think. We are not talking about simple emotions. We are talking about the Spirit of God speaking directly to our spirit, which frequently causes a physical sensation, or feeling. This is usually described as a burning in the bosom. This does not mean some happy emotion, but a literal sensation of warmth that flows over your body. (Luke 24: 32 “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”)
    5) I will look at the link in the next few days and see what is being said.
    Now, I have to disagree with your assessment of our doctrines regarding the family. We give God all the glory. While we seek to keep our families, and we believe they are central to God’s plan and glory, we do not put the family over God. Anyone who does has series need of repentance.
    “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:” (Mark 9: 43-47)
    In this Christ is telling us that it is better for us to be saved than to be damned with our family or friends. If our family is wicked and refuses to repent it is better for us stay righteous and be estranged from them than to be reconciled to them and go to hell together.
    We do have a great emphasis on the Family and I believe in it, but anyone who thinks the family is more important than God is sadly mistaken.
    6) God, my eternal and heavenly Father.

    Ephesians 1:4-6
    Speaks of predestination and fore-ordination. I think I discussed this early regarding Romans 9. In the pre-existence God chose who would be born at what time and in what circumstances on the Earth. Paul is here telling the Ephesians that according to this predestination they were chosen to come to the Earth at a time and in a place where they could be partakers of the gospel. Since they have accepted the truth are now members of Christ’s church, they are the ones that shows the grace of God to the rest of the world so that they may praise the glory of God.
    Psalm 106:7-8
    Again, go back to what I said regarding Isaiah and Ezekiel. God had promised Abraham that the Israelites would only be in bondage for 400 years, and if he went back on his word His name would be tarnished and thus hinder the work of bringing others to salvation.
    Acts 12:23
    See my previous point. In this case Herod, who was a wicked and corrupt man, was being called a God by the people. He had just recently killed James, one of the apostles, and had imprisoned Peter, the leader of the church. If God had let Herod get away with this how would it have affected the missionary efforts of the saints in bringing the people to salvation.
    l Samuel 12:20, 22
    Again, the same thing I have been saying.
    Why Did Jesus come?
    Romans 3:25-26
    Read the rest of the passage: “that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” So, yes, he came to declare his righteousness, but the reason for doing so was to be just and the save those that believe in Christ. The ultimate goal as stated in this verse is the justifying of the faithful, not simply the glorifying of God. This passage actually says exactly what I have been saying the entire time.
    Psalm 16:11
    I agree that it is only in God that we have a fullness of joy, I just disagree as to what that joy consists of.

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    1. 1) Ok I am still left with nothing here but I will stand by on it. My point is that anyone can say anything says anything. But unless they can actually evidence it they are actually saying nothing.

      2) Could you explain in more depth how this is the case, maybe give me a syllogism showing the fallacy in what I am saying.

      5) Thanks for that, in my experience Mormons often say their family is more important, however I totally respect and believe that this is not the case for you.

      I am certainly not denying that God loves us and that the cross was to reconcile man to God due to Gods love of humanity. God could have done a flood part 2, killed us all and that would have been perfectly just. What I am saying is that Gods primary motivation is the upholding of His name and the demonstration of His glory. Your comments on Romans 3:25-26 dont change the fact that this states why Jesus went to the cross, notice how the justification of man is the afterthought to that.

      Of course my views on predestination are much different, they do not at all talk about being predestined to come to the earth, we can go there if you want but I am happy to stay with where we are.

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      1. 1) I am not saying nothing, and my evidence is logical reasoning. That is my point. Now, I do think that Romans 3: 25-26 states my point directly, which I didn’t realize when I made my last comment on this point. However, the passages you sight do not mandate the interpretation that you give, as I have shown. I have given my reasoning, and I can do no more than that.

        2) I know no syllogism off hand, but consider this: Two men exist.
        One is a poor man who hordes his money, never helping anyone and charging high interest on any loans. On the rare occasions that he does give many to a charity he makes a big noise about it and gets angry if they do not praise him for the gift.
        The other is a rich man who give token donations to various charities (little by comparison to his wealth), but insists that his name is always mentioned and that he be given a memorial with each one.
        Now, both these men are acting in a selfish manner. Your argument would be the equivalent of saying the rich man is not selfish because he is rich and the rich can’t be selfish.
        Now, I understand that God cannot be truly compared to mortal men, but do you see what I am trying to say. Either they are both selfish or neither of them is. You can’t describe the exact same action in two opposite ways simply because it is two different beings that are engaged in it. Either the act is a selfish act or it isn’t.

        5) In my experience most people, when asked that question, assume that it is only referring to those things that tangibly a part of their mortal existence. I know few members who would actually put their family before God, but will instinctively consider their family the most important thing in their life, because the term life invokes this life.
        Honestly, I have, to myself, frequently criticized the general membership of the church, as well as other churches, of having a temporal point of view. More people need to look to the eternities and act with that point of view rather than the one they generally take.

        “Your comments on Romans 3:25-26 don’t change the fact that this states why Jesus went to the cross, notice how the justification of man is the afterthought to that.”
        My point is that justification is not the afterthought, but is given as the underlying reason. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” In other words, the mission of Christ was to declare His righteousness, and the reason he was to fulfill this mission was so that He might be just and justify the believers. He did come to establish His righteousness, just as you say; but the reason for establishing His righteousness was to justify men.

        I have got no real desire to discuss predestination at this time either.

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      2. Hi there, I think we are in danger or going in circles here so I will make this my last or 2nd last post on this.

        I think its likely that your concept of the nature of God is totally different from mine. Your analogy in point 2 screams this out to me. For me your analogy does not work at all as we are a totally different being to God, everything about your analogy misses it. However from it I can only assume that you subscribe to the LDS idea that God was once a mortal man and now He has received His exaltation.

        If I am right and that is your view, then to be fair you are totally right to challenge me on this. If that view is correct then everything I am saying has to be totally wrong. God could not possibly seek first His own glory as He knows very well that His glory was given to Him as a result of His successful mortal probation where He lived out the eternal laws and ordnances and the grace that was given to Him by His God. This God should not be seeking first His glory. He should be seeking ours first, as the God of the Book of Mormon does.

        However I would take this further and say that this God should not be accepting worship at all. Joseph Fielding Smith said

        “The Prophet taught that our Father had a Father and so on. Is not this a reasonable thought, especially when we remember that the promises are made to us that we may become like him?” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:12).

        This God, being fully aware that He has a heavenly Father should not be accepting worship as the most high God. as various Bible verses say He is. He should not be saying He has eben God from everlasting to everlasting as Psalm 90:2 says. He should not in fact ever accept worship, He should point people to His God whom He knows is more glorious than He is.

        In fact any time anyone ever worships the Mormon God He should be utterly ashamed, as He knows that He is a saved sinner just like anyone else and He is only where He is because it was granted to Him. He could have been a drug dealer, thief, or any manner of sinner before He accepted the gospel in His life.

        Also if you become a god will you accept worship, or will you point people to your Father, who should point people to His father and infinitely so on.

        Mormons often tell me they will still worship their heavenly Father eternally, I wonder if this is true just how much this worship must be watered down now considering the LDS teaching that there are Gods without end.

        As Brigham Young said:

        “How many Gods there are, I do not know, But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were
        not passing through the same ordeals that we are passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be so to all eternity” (Brigham Young, October 8,1859, Journal of Discourses 7:333).

        So if this is your view as much as I think your God does not exist, I think you are right to argue this point with me.

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      3. God made us in His image, yeah? So isn’t Shematwater’s analogy reasonable?
        There is a difference in “degree” between us and God, but no difference in our essential nature. What’s selfish for the goose is gravy for the gander…
        Can I refer you to Psalm 8:5? Sadly, KJV doesn’t do a great job of translation here as “Elohim” is rendered as “angels”, but most other translations make a better job of it:
        “Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor” (NLT)
        THAT puts us in a more proper standing with God than: “O Lord! Ooh, you are so big! So absolutely huge. Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell you.”

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  12. If that perspective is right then totally!

    You don’;t have to like the God of the Bible if you don’t want too, but you are very much in error to assume He does not exist because you would not have Him be that way.

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  13. Honestly, I don’t think you understand the LDS doctrines concerning God, and that might be some of the trouble. But whether you are or not I think you are missing my point.

    “For me your analogy does not work at all as we are a totally different being to God, everything about your analogy misses it.”

    What my point on this is is that this is not logical. You are making God so completely foreign that there is no hope of ever knowing or understanding Him, and yet Christ declares that Eternal Life is to know God.
    If God is so far removed from us that our language can’t be used to describe Him than he becomes a fairly useless God.
    Now, I have never once said that the God you describe does not exist. I have simply stated that what you describe is a perfectly selfish being and even if he does exist I will seek out a better being that is actually worthy of my adulation.

    Your argument that even though he acts selfishly we can’t describe him as a selfish being is unreasonable and illogical.

    As to the LDS doctrine and our understanding of God, just consider this: how would your father feel if you called your grandfather your father and deferred to him instead. God is the Most High because he is our father, and we have no other. I don’t care how many other gods exist; none of the can claim to be my Heavenly Father except one, and to that one I will defer and only that one will I worship. Just as I would never hold anyone else in the place of my mortal father, I would hold no other being in the place of my Heavenly Father. This is perfectly right and just.

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    1. Thanks for that, I am gonna leave this there as my point is made and I don’t want to go in circles. But in all seriousness thanks for the discussion.

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