Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 5

31 Aug

I have recently been pointed to a website called Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry as an excellent location to learn LDS doctrine. On this website they have many pages dedicated to what they call exposing the truth of Mormonism. Most of what they present is well thought out, and they use many quotes and documents to support it. When they are simply giving a list of quotes they don’t do too bad. When they try to interpret those quotes and explain doctrine they fail almost completely. So I am starting a new series in which I will address a selection of pages from that website.

This next page is titled “Difficult Questions For Mormons to Answer.” It is a series of questions that are supposed to stump members of the LDS church. There are 32 questions total. Most are followed by a few quotes that try to establish the subject in question. The first part of my response will be a comment on the quotes given, and this will be in green.

Now, since there are so many questions and responding to all of them will take a long time, I will be dividing this into many separate posts, each answering 1-3 questions.

 

 

Q. Why does DC 42:18 say that a murder will never be forgiven, yet 3 Nephi 20:2 says that he can be forgiven?

A. The two verses in question are given by the author, and I give them again here, though abbreviated.

DC 42:18, “Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.”

3 Nephi 30:2, “Turn, all ye Gentiles, from your wicked ways; and repent of your evil doings…of your murders…and from all your wickedness…and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may receive a remission of your sins…”

At first blush these seem to contradict each other. However, there is a subtle difference that needs to be noted. D&C is speaking of the individual, but 3 Nephi is speaking of society in general.

An individual is guilty of murder when they shed innocent blood and kill another. This act of an individual can never receive a full forgiveness and those guilty of it will never inherit more than the Telestial, or lowest glory.

A society is guilty of murder when they allow individuals to escape justice and thus allow murder to occur among them. When murders can buy their way out of justice, or are excused for any reason than the society that has allowed this is guilty of murder. If the society turns from this and begins again to bring murderers to justice and uphold the laws of God, than that society can repent of the allowing of wickedness to flourish in society. For example; when the reporter and camera man were shot on public TV what was the nations reactions. Political activists starting blaming the NRA, others wanted to talk about his mental health, and simply wanted to watch the live death of others. The killer uploaded a video of the shooting to the internet and people flocked to watch it. When this is our attitude and reaction we, as a society, are guilty of murder and in need of sore repentance.

In 3 Nephi the writer is calling the gentiles, as a society, to repentance, not the individuals.

 

Q. How could the Garden of Eden be in Missouri (according to Mormonism) when the Pearl of Great Price 3:10-14 tells us it was the area of Assyria when it mentions the rivers of Eden located there?

A. The author gives five quotes. The first four are to establish that the church does, in fact, teach that the Garden of Eden was in the Americas. As this is true I do not give the quotes here. The last quote comes from the book of Moses where it describes the Garden of Eden. I give the verse here, though abbreviated.

Moses 3: 10-14 “…caused a river to go out of Eden… it was parted…into four heads…the first Pison…compasseth…Havilah…the second river was called Gihon…compasseth…Ethiopia…the third river was Hiddekel…which goeth toward…Assyria…the fourth river was the Euphrates.”

The question makes the assumption that the Assyria spoken of here is the same as the ancient empire in the Middle East. This is not based on any actual evidence. It is simply reasoned that since the description of the garden contains the name Assyria than it must be talking of the area that that ancients knew as Assyria.

However, the truth is that the Assyria spoken of in Moses was also in the American continent (though I don’t know where). Adam, after being driven from the garden, still lived in relative close proximity to it, and his faithful descendents lived in the same basic area (read Moses 6). So, Noah would have been familiar with the area and its names, as would his three sons. After the flood, when they began to spread again on the earth, it would have been natural for them to give their new surroundings the familiar names of their old home.

So, the Assyria in the middle east is named after the Assyria that was near the Garden of Eden, which was in the Americas.

 

Q. Mormonism teaches an infinite regression of Gods. But an infinite regression of gods means that there is no first god by which his subjects were exalted to godhood. If there is no first God, how can there be a second and a third and thus there be the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression?

A. No quotes are given.

There would be no first or second or third, etc. However, there would be a next God, and a next, and so on. Much like moving through the universe, we cannot move from beginning to end (as neither exist), but we can move within it.

See my response to this logical proof.

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50 Questions: The Bible, part 3

14 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; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2


QUESTIONS 36-41

  1. How can God be an exalted man when Numbers 23:19 says that God is not a man? 

Because He is not a man, but an exalted man; In other words he is not mortal and no longer subject to the temptations of mortality.

This is kind of like saying that a person is not a child but an adult. It does not deny the process by which they became an adult, but makes a clear distinction between the two states.

 

  1. Why does the Mormon Church teach that Elohim had sexual relations with Mary to produce Jesus when both Matthew and Luke teach she was a virgin (The Seer, January, 1853, p.158)? 

I find it interesting that the First Presidency published a rejection of many doctrines that Orson Pratt and published in The Seer, and Orson Pratt himself admitted that it was not from revelation that he come to his conclusions, but from personal reasoning. (Deseret News, Aug. 23, 1865, 373; http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/deseretnews2/id/16087).

While it is true that this doctrine is not specifically rejected, and it is true that Brigham Young seemed to agree with it, it has never been part of the official doctrine of the church. Some have believed it, others have not, and neither side is said to be right or wrong, but rather that we simply don’t know.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that Jesus paid for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane when 1 Peter 2:24 says it was on the cross?  

1 Peter 2: 24

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

 

The church does not teach this. The doctrine of the atonement teaches that it began in the garden, where He took on Him the sins of the world; and then it continued to the cross, the tomb, and was finally completed with his resurrection. All of it is part of the atonement and the payment made.

Peter says He bore our sins on the tree, but He took them on Him in the garden and carried them to the cross to complete the atonement.

Also note that it is by His stripes that we are healed, which is a reference to the scourging whip before he was taken to the cross.

 

  1. Why did Bruce McConkie write that a man may commit a sin so grievous that it will place him beyond the atoning blood of Christ (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p.93) when the Bible says that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)? 

1 John 7: 7

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

 

Notice that we must be walking in the light to be cleansed. Elder McConkie taught that there are some sins that put us beyond the light. To commit those sins is to forever walk in darkness.

John also tells us that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3: 15) Clearly murder puts us beyond the saving power of the atonement, as a murderer hath not eternal life.

Jesus himself said “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12: 32) This gives us a second sin which will not be covered by the atonement.

 

So, the faithful who remain in the light, striving to live righteously, will be cleansed from all their sin. But the those who stray too far from that light will find themselves forever lost in darkness, from which there is no cleansing.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that man first existed as spirits in heaven when 1 Corinthians 15:46 says that the physical body comes before the spiritual? 

There is a difference between spirit and spiritual. The spirit came first, than the physical body. Once we are resurrected and glorified our spirit and physical body is joined and we become a spiritual being.

 

  1. Since Jesus statement, “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matthew 5:48) is in the present tense, are you perfect right now? Do you expect to be perfect soon? According to Hebrews 10:14, how are we made perfect? 

First of all, the first two parts of this question are not really asked for honest and beneficial discussion. I will say, however, that the term perfect in Matthew refers to being complete, or fully finished. This is not possible until after the resurrection, which is why Jesus tells us in Matthew to be perfect as the Father is, but in 3 Nephi says to be perfect as he and the Father are (3 Nephi 12: 48). So, since none of us are resurrection, none of us have been fully perfected yet.

 

As to Hebrews, it very rightly points out that only through Christ can anyone be made perfect. However, it also rightly states that this perfection is only given to those who are sanctified, and so I would ask how we are sanctified.