50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 3

6 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2

QUESTIONS 19-21

19.  Why do you baptize for the dead when both Mosiah 3:25 and the Bible state that there is no chance of salvation after death? 

Mosiah 3: 25 “And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.”

To understand this one must look back to verse 22.

“And even at this time, when thou shalt have taught thy people the things which the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, even then are they found no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee.”

And then in verse 24

“And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.”

What King Benjamin is saying in verse 25 is being applied only to those to whom the King is speaking. We thus get the understanding that once one has had the truth preached to them then they get no more chances. We are not given to understand that one who has not received the truth will never get a chance to.

As for the Bible, I would say it carries the same basic meaning. Else why did Christ preach to the dead (1 Peter 3: 19-20, 4:6) and why did they baptize for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29).

20.  Since the word grace means a free gift that can’t be earned, why does the Book of Mormon state “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23)? 

Grace does not mean a free gift. It means kindness, or favor, such as a grace period in which the payment of a debt is deferred. The meaning does not carry the idea of being free. It can be if the one giving it makes it free, but the giver can put conditions on it.

Now the meaning of this particular verse is frequently misunderstood. Most people want to claim that the ‘after all we can do’ means that grace is not given until certain requirements are met. This is not the case however. We are saved after all we can do, but it is all through grace. We receive grace that we may do what is needed, and if we act on that grace, then grace does what we can’t to bring us to salvation.

21.  Does the LDS Church still regard the Pearl of Great Price as Holy Scripture even after several prominent Egyptologists proved it was an ancient funeral scroll? 

No one has proven anything, except that a few small fragments of ancient scroll were funeral text. What they haven’t proven is that these fragments came from the scrolls that Joseph Smith translated. Since Joseph Smith had several dozen feet of scrolls and less than one dozen feet survive it is impossible to prove anything.

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