Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

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.

 

Little Known Propaganda: 8 – Temple Work For the Dead

8 Sep

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

 

FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)

 

First of all, I can’t believe this is little known to the rest of the world. The temples have been in the public view for decades and the church is not shy in stating its doctrine on Salvation for the Dead. In addition there was the controversy of the baptism of Holocaust victims that was finally resolved in 1995. Given the original blog post was in 2008 it is hard to believe that at that time people were not at least acquainted with the fact that the temples are used to do the work for the dead.

 

As to the doctrine itself, it is in the Bible for those who care to actually let the Bible speak for itself. For instance, as support for the doctrine of the resurrection Paul asks “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15: 29) Clearly the early saints were doing baptisms for the dead, and Paul is reasoning that such a practice is not logical unless you also believe in the resurrection.

Then we have the teachings of Peter. He declares that Christ “preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah…” (1 Peter 3: 19-20) Later he explains that “for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4: 6) So, Christ preached to the dead in prison so that they may be judged on the same merits as those who were alive, and thus attain the eternal life that God offers to all men.

This brings us to the prophecy that Christ was anointed to “…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61: 1) As Peter says that the spirits of the wicked at the time of Noah were in prison, it is not a leap to see that Isaiah was prophesying that Christ would begin this work among the dead.

Other prophesies are also found in the Old Testament. Isaiah 42: 7 says that Christ is called “to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Isaiah 49: 9 not only says that Christ will “say to the prisoners, Go forth” but that they will have “their pastures…in all high places.” So, not only can the dead get out of prison, but will be equal to others in salvation.

Zechariah 9: 11 declares that by the covenant of the atonement God declares that he has “sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

Another prophecy that speaks to this is found in Isaiah 24: 22, where it is said that the wicked at the time of the second coming with “be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

Now, Luke quotes the prophecy from Isaiah 61: 1 (Luke 4: 18). John also tells us that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5: 25). Paul tells us that Christ’s atonement made him “Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14: 9) and that the Prophets “without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11: 40)

 

All of this establishes a clear understanding that those who have died will be taught the gospel as spirits and will have the opportunity of coming out of the prison they were sent to and gain salvation. This is done through vicarious ordinances, which Paul references in his argument for belief in a literal resurrection.

 

Now, there is the quote from Psalms that is given above, and it seems to contradict this doctrine. However, when it is looked at and truly understood there is no contradiction.

First, let us look at the context of the quote.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” (Psalms 49: 6-10)

What this is saying is that those who trust in their worldly wealth cannot prevent their brother from dying, for all people die. Secondly, as a kind of aside, it points out that it also can’t save the soul, as it is the wrong power. It has no bearing on those who rely on the power of God to save their brother.

 

Then we look at all the quotes that I gave above. They clearly show that it is not us that saves our dead, but the power of the atonement. God anointed Christ to this power, and while we perform the ordinances, it is the power of his atonement that actually saves. So, no one does have the power to save their brother, but they do have the power to bring them to Christ, who then saves them.

Little Known Propaganda: 7 – God Married

31 Aug

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

FACT #7. Mormons today believe God the Father is married and past leaders have taught both God the Father and Jesus Christ are polygamists.

Apostle Orson Pratt makes these unbelievable statements:

“…the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist…the Messiah chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of Wives under the Christian dispensation…God the Father had a plurality of wives…the Son followed the example of his Father…both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time…” (The Seer, p. 172)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that God the Father and Jesus Christ are married or polygamists.

 

We need to clarify a few things here. The first is that the seer was never an official source of LDS doctrine, and as such we once again have the author basically lying about his sources in an attempt to make his claims credible. The seer was the personal opinions of the author and the church even had retractions printed about this very quote, as well as other things. There is no official source of church doctrine that makes any claims that God is a polygamist, or that Christ was.

Now, the doctrine of a heavenly mother is there, but it is something that we simply do not have any information on beyond her existence. Anything that anyone has ever said on the subject is personal opinion as nothing has ever been officially revealed. It must be understood that we do not worship or pray to our heavenly mother. We acknowledge her existence and nothing else. Why this is the case is not known.

As to Christ, there is no official statement that I am aware of that even says he was married. It is a logical conclusion that many draw based on other doctrine, but never stated directly.

 

Finally, let us consider the Bible on these points.

First, the Bible frequently refers to us as the children of God. For a few examples see the following verses: Numbers 16:22; Deuteronomy. 14:1; Psalms 82:6; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hosea 1:10; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 5:48; Matthew 6:9; Acts 17:29; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 12:9.

So, we have a heavenly father. Does not the very title of father indicate that there is also a mother? So, if you take these verses literally than the Bible clearly indicates that there is a mother in heaven.

 

As to Christ, that is more direct, and yet more elusive. First, it was the culture of the day that Rabbis be married. There may not have been any formal law requiring it, but it would have been expected. As Christ is called Rabbi and is seen in the cultural sense of a religious teacher, it is not a stretch to say it is likely that he was married. Now, there are those who point to groups like the Essences who stayed celibate, but there is no indication that Christ was ever part of that group. It is thus speculation to associate him with groups like these and has no basis in demonstrable fact.

There is also the argument that the wedding at Cana was Christ wedding, which is why Christ’s mother went to him when the wine ran out. The fact that she is portrayed as the hostess indicates that it is at least the marriage of one of her children, as she would not have hosted the wedding of someone else child. Then, if it was the wedding of a different child (most likely a son) then she would have gone to the groom before going to Jesus. Jesus would have understood the propriety of such action and would have expected it. However, she goes to Christ first, thus indicating that he was the groom and thus the Lord of the Wedding Feast.

Now, there are those who believe he was married to Mary Magdalene. For this they turn to how Christ interacts with her, primarily the fact that he appears to her first after his resurrection. It would seem that he did so even before he went up into heaven to see Heavenly Father, for he states that he had not yet ascended to his father. Also, when she saw him he tells her ‘touch me not’ (JST says ‘hold me not’) indicating that Mary basically tried to hug him.

So, while Christ’s marital status is never directly discussed, there is amble support for a belief in his married in the Bible. As it never says he wasn’t married it becomes a matter of personal belief, and not all that important.

 

So, while it is true that it is church doctrine that there is a heavenly mother, we know nothing regarding her. As to Christ being married, it is not official church doctrine, and is left to the individual to believe or reject. However, the idea of either one being polygamists is not part of official doctrine and never has been.

Little Known Propaganda: 5 – God man and man God

1 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

 

FACT #5. Mormonism continues to teach that God the Father is a glorified, resurrected Man, and men and women may become Gods and Goddesses.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this claim: “God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 643[pg 229 in the pdf link, halfway down the second column)

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught: “…you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you,…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346 [pg 346 on pdf link)

The Lord Himself answers this teaching by pronouncing: “… I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

 

There are a few things to understand about LDS doctrine regarding this.

First, one must understand that the LDS use the word God in three different ways.

  1. The supreme authority that we worship; a title used only in reference to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  2. Any being that lives in an exalted state, possessing all good attributes in their fullest and most perfect sense.
  3. The entities that false religions worship as gods are called gods, but do not fall into either of the first two definitions.

 

So, while we believe we have the potential to become gods, we mean this with reference to the second definition. We believe that we can possess all the same power and attributes that our Heavenly Father possesses. Thus we will gain the power to create; we will gain the power to have spirit children and have them progress through mortality to exaltation; we will have all knowledge and power that is possible to have.

However, what we will never have is the authority to rule in heaven, and thus we will never be a God in reference to the first definition. That distinction belongs only to the three members of the Godhead.

There are a number of Biblical verses that we believe support this doctrine.

Gen. 3:2, Ps. 82:6, Matt. 5:48, John 10:34, Acts 17:29, Rom. 8:17, 2 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 4:7, Eph. 4:13, 1 Jn. 3:2, Rev. 3:21

This is not a comprehensive list, but the ones that are clearer and together they illustrate the point.

 

As to God being an exalted man, that is also in the Bible, but let us just consider what the doctrine actually says.

First, as it says in Acts 17: 29, we are the offspring of God. We are not merely something he decided to create one day. We are his literal children, sons and daughters of God, and (as Paul says in Galatians 4: 7) if we are sons and daughters then we are heirs of God. An heir inherits what his Father has, and, in this case, that is perfection and exaltation.

When we understand our relationship with Heavenly Father then it becomes a simple matter to see the nature of God. As we are his children, and the scriptures say that all things reproduce after their own kind (Genesis 1), then it becomes simple reason to believe that God is also a man, as we would be after His kind.

 

Now, this is not to say that we are the same as God. After all, you would not say that a baby is the same as a fully grown man. The difference in ability, knowledge, and intelligence that is apparent between a baby and their father is comparable to the difference between us and God. Just as a baby must grow through experience and life to become an adult like their father, so to must we grow through experience and life to become a god like our Heavenly Father. And, just as no child can replace their father, we cannot replace God. Actually, a son can become a father, which then elevates his father to a grandfather, thus bringing greater glory to him. The same is true of us and God; when we become gods we only bring greater glory to our Heavenly Father.

 

Christ said in John 5: 19 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”

If Jesus could only do what the Father had done before him, then it follows that the Father was born into a mortal world, just as the Son was. It is also logical that the Father was the savior of that world, just as Christ was the savior of ours. This is taught by Joseph Smith in the same sermon that the author cites above. Joseph Smith taught “The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 346 on pdf link)

 

In all honesty, no one in the church really understands what happened before this earth. The full truth has not been revealed, and so we generally don’t talk about it much. God was once a man, just as we are. That is about the extent of the doctrine.

 

As to the verse from Isaiah, I wrote a post about the “First and the Last” some time ago which explains this verse.

Little Known Propaganda: 4 – Christ and Satan Brothers

20 Jan

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

 

FACT #4. A basic tenant in Mormonism today is that Jesus Christ is the brother of Satan.

Milton R. Hunter explains it like this: “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer,… this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.” (The Gospel Through The Ages, p.15)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Lucifer attempted to become the Savior: in fact, Jesus created all the angels including Lucifer, so they can’t be brothers. Colossians 1:16 indicates that Jesus created “all things,” whether “in heaven,” or “in earth, visible or invisible.”

 

First of all, the book the author cites, “The Gospel Through the Ages,” is not an official source as far as I can tell. So, once again we have the author claiming to use official sources, and then turning to unofficial sources to try and prove his point.

 

Second, the basics of any religion are those things that all else are dependent on, but which are not dependent on other doctrine themselves. For instance, Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. This is a basic tenant as it stands on its own as well as upholds other doctrine (actually, all other doctrine).

 

The basic tenants of the LDS church are summed up brilliantly in the 13 Articles of Faith. These articles list the main points of doctrine, on which all other doctrine rests; and while these doctrine are woven together none of them require any of the others for their support. If you read the link I provided you will see that the idea that Jesus and Satan are brothers is not to be found.

 

However, even though these articles are fairly exhaustive, they do not quite list everything that I would consider a basic tenant. They are those doctrines that non-members are frequently first exposed to, and are the issues that were of the greatest importance at the time that Joseph Smith wrote them. There are a few other doctrines that are basic as well.

 

There is the doctrine of the pre-earth life, which teaches, in simple terms, that we all lived as spirit children of God before coming to this earth. This is the basic tenant, from which flows the purpose of this existence; the reason and necessity of the fall, as well as the atonement; as well as many aspects of the next life; and other doctrines that I will not list here.

For our discussion the more important aspect of this doctrine (one might say the deeper meaning of it) is that it is all inclusive; meaning all those who have ever or will ever be born on this earth, as well as those spirits that were cast out of heaven for rebellion, who shall never be born.

 

So, we have a basic doctrine in the per-existence, which leads to the deeper doctrine that we are all spirits and are part of that eternal family and the progeny of divine parents. Coming out of this we have the additional doctrine that Jesus Christ was the eldest of all the spirit children of God.

(On a side note: Despite what many critics try to claim, there has never been any revelation regarding to order in which any other person was born as a spirit. We know that Christ was the eldest, but that is as far as our knowledge, and thus our doctrine, goes on that point.)

Now, if all those spirits that were cast out were also spirit children of God, than it logically follows that Satan, who was their leader, was also a spirit child of God. And, as Christ is the eldest spirit child, than the two have the same divine parents, and thus we conclude that, yes, they are brothers.

Of course this conclusion can also be derived from the Bible. I don’t think anyone will argue that Christ is identified as God’s son. However, in Isaiah 14: 12 Satan, then called Lucifer, is identified as “A son of the Morning.” This phrase is repeated again in modern scripture (2 Nephi 24: 12; D&C 76: 26, 27), and means that he was among the older spirits.

However, none of this is the basic doctrine, but is simply incidentally to the basics, and is not really all that important. Understanding this is not essential to our eternal salvation. The basic doctrine is, but this reasoned conclusion is not.

 

On a final note, the author refers to Colossians 1: 16 as proof that Satan was created. However, that verse never mentions Satan. True, it mentions ‘all things’ in heaven and earth, but let us look at this logically.

First, is not God in Heaven? As we all agree that God did not create himself, we have logical proof of at least one thing in heaven that he did not create. So, Paul could not have meant to include all things that exist in his statement to the Colossians. His meaning is more in line with what Lehi said to his sons in 2 Nephi 2: 15 “he had created…all things which are created.” By this we know that there were some things that were not created, but simply are, like God, eternal. God has told us that “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93: 29).

So, as Satan is a spirit, possessing intelligence, he is also among those things that “was not created, neither indeed can be.” As such Paul’s statement, which applies only to things that were created, does not apply to Satan.

 

(I have also written commentaries on the Articles of Faith. You can read them here: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen)

The Revelation of John – chapter 18: Babylon Is Fallen, Is Fallen

19 Jan

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues, Whore, Kings

Chapter 18

Chapter 17 described Babylon. This chapter now describes the judgments that God has decreed against her.

Verse 1 

I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

John sees another angel. Honestly, I have lost count as to how many angels John has seen in his vision. Obviously the events of the last days will bring all of God’s servants into the actions. While we are given no indication as to who this new angel is, their power and glory indicates one who holds a very high position of authority in heaven.

Verses 2-3

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication…

The angel announces the fall of Babylon, and explains the reason for it. The final fate of Babylon is to be a foul and evil place, where only devils dwell. The reason for this is the corruption that was described in chapter 17. Verse three is very reminiscent of that chapter. Notice here that Kings, and merchants have partaken of this corruption, meaning political and economic groups.

Verses 4-6

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins…For her sins have reached unto heaven…Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works…

I believe the voice is the voice of God, though it is not identified as such. God issued a similar call to the saints today. “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean…gather ye out from among the nations…from one end of heaven to the other…Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness…” (D&C 133: 5, 7, 14)

The admonition to double unto her according to her works rinds me of the Law of Moses and the restitution that it required for many crimes. This could be God calling his people, not only to abandon the evil of Babylon, but to condemn it in others.

Verses 7-8

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously…for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day…and she shall be utterly burned with fire… 

The pride of Babylon, or the culture of corruption, will cause the judgments to come swiftly against her. In one day does not literally mean 24 hours, but rather a very brief period of time. Notice also that Babylon will be burned. This is common imagery for the events of the last days. In the parable of the Wheat and Tares the tares are burned. In D&C 64: 24 the Lord says that all the proud and those who remain in Babylon will be burned. And of course, the wicked will be burned at the second coming.

Verses 9-19

And the kings of the earth…shall bewail her, and lament for her…Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!…And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more…The merchants of these things…and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning…weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city…for in one hour is she made desolate.

Here we read that all those who partook of the wickedness of Babylon and supported the culture of corruption will mourn its destruction. Both the kings and the merchants mourn (including seafaring merchants), again showing how pervasive the culture had become. Verses 12-14 give a long list of merchandise that is basically all encompassing of every fine thing that could represent the pride of the world.

President Harold B. Lee warned “we are going through some of the severest tests today and we don’t realize perhaps the severity of the tests that we’re going through. … Today we are basking in the lap of luxury, the like of which we’ve never seen before in the history of the world. It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any test that we’ve ever had” (“First Presidency Devotional” [unpublished Christmas devotional for Church employees, Dec. 13, 1973], 4–5

Among the list of goods included are “slaves and the souls of men.” If we take this literally we see a reference to human trafficking (slavery). We also see an allusion to the practice in many religions of promising salvation for money, or the trafficking in souls. This reference can also be seen as a symbol of the addictive nature of the corruption of Babylon, causing men to be slaves to it, both body and soul.

Verse 20

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 

Those who are aligned with God and heaven has suffered greatly at the hands of Babylon, but now they can rejoice, for God has brought vengeance against her.

Verses 21-23

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down…And the voice of…musicians…shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman…And the light of a candle…and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more…for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Another angel, this one of great strength, now declares that all those things that made Babylon enticing no longer exist. The culture, the industry, community, the families; all are gone.

Verse 24 

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The only thing that is now found in Babylon is the guilt that she carries for the death and persecutions of the saints and the prophets.

Little Known Propaganda: 2 – No Salvation Without Joseph Smith

13 Jan

This is my second response 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

FACT #2. Mormonism teaches there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church and no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this statement:  “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)

The Bible, on the other hand, teaches salvation is in Jesus alone:  “Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

 

First, Mormon Doctrine is not an official source, as the compiler of the list claims. It is the independent work of Elder McConkie. You can read the report by David O. McKay that lists several things that the church did not sanction which the book contains.

However, that is incidental to the point being made. The obvious claim here is that the LDS place a greater emphasis on Joseph Smith than on Christ. While it is true that we believe one must accept Joseph Smith as a prophet to be saved, we also believe that one must accept Moses as a prophet, and Abraham, and Peter, and Paul, and all the other prophets. We can’t reject any prophet sent by God and expect to be saved.

Now if we read the entire quote from Mormon Doctrine we see a list of things that are needed for salvation. The very first one on the list is the Atonement of Christ. Others include the gospel, priesthood, miracles, angels, and other things mentioned frequently in the scriptures.

Salvation is made possible through Christ, and there is no one else who could have satisfied the law and brought about a forgiveness of sin. But a man cannot be saved in ignorance (D&C 131: 6) or without faith (D&C 63: 11; Heb. 11: 6). When there is faith there are miracles and angels (Moroni 7: 37), and where there is knowledge there is the priesthood (D&C 84: 19; 128: 11). So, all of these things must be present for salvation to be possible, but all of it hinges on the atonement.

Earlier in his book Elder McConkie makes an entry on the atonement, where he says “it is the most important single thing that has ever happened” and that “it is the foundation upon which all truth rests.” (pg 60).

Furthermore, in the Book of Mormon (much more official than Mormon Doctrine) it states “…that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3: 17) This is stated three other times in the Book of Mormon, though in different words: 2 Nephi 25: 25; 31: 21; Mosiah 5: 8. Every single one of these verses is cross-referenced with Acts 4: 12, which is the verse the compiler uses to try and prove our doctrine wrong.