Tag Archives: Heavenly Father

Little Known Propaganda: 12 – Personal Relationship With Jesus

8 Feb

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11

FACT #12. Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie has warned his people against a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

McConkie made these shocking statements at a speech given at BYU:

“… gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. . . . Now, I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. . . .But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught.” (Church News, week ending March 20, 1982, p. 5)

In opposition to this, Jesus gives us a personal invitation:

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

 

I have read the talk that is being quoted here, and I will agree that this is likely unknown to the vast majority of the world. I think the best way to address this is to simply let Elder McConkie explain himself. So, we will first see the quote in its context. After all, the quote given is actually taken from three different parts of the talk, and are separated by a great deal of further explanation.

 

“There are yet others who have an excessive zeal which causes them to go beyond the mark. Their desire for excellence is inordinate. In an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous.”

So, Elder McConkie is, first of all, speaking of an over the top Zeal that is truly fanaticism, which is never healthy.

“I say perilous because this course, particularly in the lives of some who are spiritually immature, is a gospel hobby which creates an unwholesome holier-than-thou attitude. In other instances it leads to despondency because the seeker after perfection knows he is not living the way he supposes he should.

“Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed…”

Here we are told why it is perilous. It causes arrogance and pride in those who seek it, or such depression that it hinders their functioning. The Bible tells us that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16: 18) Is it any wonder that we are warned against such actions?

Please note that we have not even touched on the second part of the quote given, and we have gone through three paragraphs. We now skip down four more paragraphs before we get to the second part of the quote.

“Now I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. It will seem to them as though I am speaking out against mother love, or Americanism, or the little red schoolhouse. But I am not. There is a fine line here over which true worshipers will not step.”

So, again, we have Elder McConkie speaking against an improper relationship. There is a proper, personal relationship we can have with Christ, but once we step over that line to seek an improper relationship, that is when we are in danger.

“It is true that there may, with propriety, be a special relationship with a wife, with children, with friends, with teachers, with the beasts of the field and the fowls of the sky and the lilies of the valley. But the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability begins to replace sense and reason.”

And here we get the full point of all of this. The personal relationship with Christ becomes improper when we seek that over the other members of the Godhead. When our devotion to Christ overshadows our devotion, veneration, and worship of the Father we have stepped over the line and are in peril.

Then, jumping down four more paragraphs, Elder McConkie tells us this.

“Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.”

When we try to remove the reverence between us and God in a desire for a personal relationship with Christ we dishonor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we maintain that reverential barrier we strengthen ourselves spiritually.

 

I think this is sufficient to show the true intent of Elder McConkie’s words. He is not saying we shouldn’t have a relationship with Christ, even a personal one. He is saying that we should not have an improper relationship that removes the reverential respect and excludes the rest of the Godhead from our devotions. I honestly don’t see how any Christian could even disagree with this, let alone complain about it.

 

On a final note, none of this contradicts anything in the Bible. The specific quote given tells us to come to Christ, which we should do; but we should do so with reverential respect, never forgetting that He is the Son, not the Father.

 

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Response to CARM: A logical proof

22 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.

The first page I will address is titled “A Logical Proof that Mormonism is False.” It attempts to do what it says; give a logical proof to prove the church wrong. I am not going to quote it in its entirety here, but you can use the link to read the full article. I will summarize it here.

 

The doctrine that the author focuses on is that of the endless generations of gods; more specifically, the belief that there is no beginning, or first generation. As Joseph Smith said, “There never was a son without a father.” The author calls it eternal regression.

After identifying the doctrine that he wishes to focus on he rightly identifies the logic that truth cannot contradict itself. I have no problems admitting this.

His explanation of the doctrine that follows is a bit simplistic, but good enough for the purpose at hand. As he points out, the doctrine teaches “that as far back as you look in time” the cycle of father and children (or generations) “has always been occurring.” He also puts it thus: “from an infinity of time in the past, the Mormon plan of exaltation…has been in effect.”

This is what he claims is logically impossible. Why? As he says “Because you cannot cross an infinity.”

I want to concede this point. One cannot cross an infinity. The reason being there is no beginning or end.

Using this point the author makes the following argument:

“…in order for us to get to the present state of this god on this planet, there would have had to be an infinite number of exaltations in the past. But, this cannot be because in order to get to the present, you would have to transverse an infinite number of exaltations. But that is impossible since you cannot transverse an infinity. Therefore, the Mormon system…is impossible, and Mormonism is proven false.”

 

Now, in conceding the point that one cannot cross an infinity I in no way agree with the reasoning here presented. For his argument to stand one of two things have to also be true. Either it must also be impossible to move in an infinity at all, or the doctrine must mandate that we have, as he said, traversed the entirety of eternity.

Unless the author can prove the second option than he must prove the first. As he can’t prove the second we must look to the first option.

The question then is, “Is it possible to move within an infinity?”

Let us look at an example of an infinity that we move on every day; the number line. In the following illustration we see a standard number line.

Number LineNote that a standard number line continues in both directions to an infinity. As we all know, you can always add one more to any number. It is also true that you can always take one away. These two facts make the number line an infinity.

Now, according to the article, since a number line is an infinity than “in order for us” to be at any point on it “there would have had to be an infinite number” before that point. “But, this cannot be because in order to get to [that point], you would have to transverse an infinite number [before it]. But that is impossible since you cannot transverse an infinity. Therefore [number lines are] impossible.”

This reasoning would, of necessity, be applied to all number lines, including the well known timeline. This is shown below.

TimelineSince a number line is infinite, and since a timeline is a number line, than a timeline is also infinite. In other words, something can always come next and something has always come before. By the author’s reasoning then, no timeline could actually exist because it is an infinity.

However, since we know that number lines do exist (including timelines), and that they are actually infinite, the logical proof presented is proven false. After all, if something actually exists than it must logically be possible.

 

Now, the author does try putting their reasoning another way. “If there is no first cause, then there can be no second, no third, etc., and there could never be a sequence of these events to occur.”

What this really means is that without a beginning you cannot have a sequence of events. This is again proven false by simply looking at the number line. It has no beginning and yet is a sequence, and a sequence of events when used as a timeline. Thus we have an example of there being no beginning and yet a sequence exists.

Given the number line, while it is impossible to traverse an infinity, it is possible to move within one. As such it is logically possible for us to be where we are and yet still have an infinite number of creations and exaltations in the past.

On a final note the author makes the assumption that Mormons (who obviously can’t argue with his logic) will simply reject the given proof. The assumed response is that Mormons will say the doctrine is a mystery in an attempt to dismiss the proof. The author does say that “Mysteries are fine, but they cannot suffice as an explanation if they contradict logic. In other words, if a principle is blatantly illogically, it cannot be true.”

I would agree, and since I have demonstrated that the principle of the doctrine is perfectly logical and does actually occur in our observable existence, then we can say that the full doctrine is a mystery and still logical, and leave it at that.

Response to CARM: A logical proof continued

The last part of the article claims to give the truth that replaces what the author has proven false. The basic concept is that there has to be an uncaused cause; something that simply exists. The claim is that since the idea of an infinite past is illogical than this idea of an uncaused cause has to be the truth. As I have shown that an infinite past is logical than we are no longer under the necessity of accepting the idea of an uncaused cause. So now we can examine this concept.

To look at this we must consider the law of cause and effect. It is rather simple; for every event there is a preceding event that caused it, as well as a following event that is caused by it. In this way all events can be traced through a series of causes and effects back through time. According to this law of logic there cannot be a cause which does not produce an effect, nor can there be an effect without a corresponding cause. As such, the author is claiming that logic necessitate that we accept as true something that directly contradicts the laws of logic.

The author also gives a few scriptures that they claim support this doctrine. I am not going to comment on them at this time as my purpose is simply to speak on the logical proof presented and the alternative given.

 

On a final note let us remember that the author stated that “Mysteries are fine, but they cannot suffice as an explanation if they contradict logic. In other words, if a principle is blatantly illogically, it cannot be true.” Keep this in mind.

They also said “Saying it is a mystery means nothing if the proclamation of that mystery violates the laws of logic.”

So, with this in mind let us consider the illogical doctrine that the rest of Christianity adheres to; the trinity. This concept claims that God is a single entity that exists as three. It is described as three in one, one as three, but any way you look at it the doctrine is claiming that a plurality is in fact a singularity. The argument is the 1 = 3 and 3 = 1. The most common response when one is asked to explain how this is possible is to simply call it a mystery. Yet, as the author at CARM says, “Saying it is a mystery means nothing if the proclamation of that mystery violates the laws of logic.

 

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.