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Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 2010 - Is Jesus Christ Enough?

Is Jesus Christ Enough?

John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The Bible teaches over and over that the only way to salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. The Old Testament shows how God led His people under the law. They needed priests to atone for their sin. The New Testament shows how Christ fulfilled the law, and become our one and only high priest, doing away with the need for any other intercessors between us and God. We have all of God’s Word in the Bible, and it contains all we need to know for God’s truth and salvation. It is the plumb line we use to determine truth.
The LDS church leads people away from salvation by teaching that Jesus Christ is not enough. It teaches that we must rely on our own strength and willpower to obey the commandments – then Christ’s grace can make up the difference. It has minimized grace and put its members back under the bondage of the law by teaching them that they must obey laws and ordinances to have salvation. This is in direct opposition to what the Bible says: Gal. 3:24-25 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

The LDS church also emphasizes study of the Book of Mormon over the Bible. Again, leading its members away from God’s Word where they can find salvation and peace.

These are examples found throughout the September 2010 issue of the Ensign.

These first quotes are from the “First Presidency Message”:
By President Henry B. Eyring, First counselor in the First Presidency
  •  “He [God] gave us the gift of His Beloved Son as our Savior to provide the path and to teach us how to follow it”. pg 4 (Henry B. Eyring, Sept 2010 Ensign)
The Savior’s purpose was not to provide a path that we then needed to follow. He lived a perfect life – a path that is impossible to follow. The purpose of Jesus Christ was to redeem us sinners and justify us before God. John 3:16-17 “ 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

The Bible does not say that ‘whosever believeth and follows the path provided by him…”. Nor does it say that ‘the world, by following His teachings might be saved.”

The teaching of Henry B. Eyring is that we must follow the path by our own strength. We do the work, (obeying the commandments), following the example of Christ.

The teaching of God, however, is that we must completely surrender our own strength, wisdom, and effort to Jesus Christ. He, then, transforms us from inside our heart, living through us – by no strength of our own. He did so much more than provide a path. Using the “path” analogy – Christ showed us the path, paved it, and then picks us up a carries us the full length of the path, because we are unable to walk it without constantly stumbling.

  •  “The Prophet Joseph Smith was inspired to translate the record of prophets that is the Book of Mormon. It is our sure guide on the way home to God.” pg 4 (Henry B. Eyring, Sept 2010 Ensign)

Eyring just explained that the Savior provided the path. If the Savior provided the path, why is the Book of Mormon ‘our sure guide’? The LDS church teaches that the Savior is not enough. They teach that the Book of Mormon is the sure guide on the way home to God. This is not what the Bible teaches. John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” It doesn’t say ‘no man cometh unto the Father, but by me, and future books and prophets that I have yet to send.”

The Bible teaches that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone – and not additional sources.
  •  “Joseph Smith said of that precious book, ‘I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man could get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.’” pg 4

Here is a link to an article by Sandra Tanner that shows the 3,913 changes that have been made to the Book of Mormon. The way Joseph described translating the golden plates, every single word was perfect before he moved on to the next word. When I was Mormon, I was not aware that there had been ANY changes. Most of these changes are grammatical changes. (But if Joseph confirmed every word to be perfect, it doesn’t make sense that even simple changes in spelling and grammar could occur.) There were also some very significant changes. The following is quoted from the article mentioned,
“One of the most significant changes was made in 1 Nephi 13:40. It was stated in this verse that the purpose of the Nephite records was to make known that Christ is the Eternal Father. In the first edition we read as follows:

"... These last records ... shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior ... " (Book of Mormon, 1830 edition, page 32)

In the 1964 edition it reads as follows:

"... These last records ... shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior ..." (Book of Mormon, 1964 edition, 1 Nephi 13:40)”

Here are more ways Eyring reinforces the unbiblical doctrines of 1) relying on ourselves, and
2) books outside the Bible as God’s word. (pg. 4-5) (Henry B. Eyring, Sept 2010 Ensign)

  •  “The precepts of the Book of Mormon are the commandments of God we find in it. Some are direct commands from the Savior through His prophets as to what we are to do and what we are to become." 
  • “The Book of Mormon gives us the Savior’s example to increase our faith and determination to obey His command to follow Him.” 
  • “The book is filled with the doctrine of Christ to guide us.”
  • “…can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?”
  • “The book makes plain that we must receive the Holy Ghost as a baptism of fire to help us stay on the strait and narrow path.” 
  •  “Wherefore, IF ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” (2 Nephi 31:20) 
  •  “When our natures are changed by the power of the Atonement and through our faithful obedience to the commandments, we will be filled with the love of God.”  
  • “The Book of Mormon also gives us confidence that we can become so purified in this life that we have no more desire to do evil.”

The Book of Mormon is mentioned 23 times in this issue of the Ensign.
The Bible, only once.

Here are some more examples of how the LDS church teaches to rely on ourselves, our own works, and the Book of Mormon in addition to Christ and the Bible. These examples are found in the rest of the articles in the September 2010 Ensign.

  •   “I thank God for the matchless gift of His divine Son and for that beautiful experience of learning of Him and trying to become more like Him.” (pg 9)
  •  “His message was one of peace, love, and obedience to God’s commandments…He also taught that ordinances such as baptism, are necessary for us to return to our Heavenly Father.” (pg 10)
  •  “Marriage between a man and a woman is essential to His eternal plan and our eternal possibilities.” (pg 15)
  •   “When we cross a line and engage in immoral behavior… we lose that influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives…” (pg.16)
  •  “…we must be pure in heart to have the guidance of the Holy Ghost.” (pg. 16)
  •   “Teach them [youth] to focus on the temple and on being worthy to make and keep covenants.” (pg. 20)
  •   “…true joy comes from obeying…” (pg.25)
  •   “Focus sisters on increasing their faith and personal righteousness.” (pg. 35)
  •   “HOPE in the ordinances of the gospel” (pg 36)
  •   “I’ve tried to live my life this way [doing the Lord’s work]. I think that’s why the Lord has blessed me so much.” (pg 49)
  •   “But we knew that if we were faithful and paid tithing, doing what the Lord required, somehow things would work out.” (pg 51)
  •  “But it was also our commitment to studying the Book of Mormon and fasting that changed our lives.” (pg 51)
  •   “Sacrifice Brings Forth Blessings” (pg 52)
  •  “The scriptures, prayer, my journal, and the temple became my primary links to daily strength.”(pg 60)
  •   “… and I promised to live as close to the Spirit as I could so I would be worthy of His guidance and wisdom.” (pg 61)
  •  “I know Heavenly Father keeps His promises when we obey His commandments with all our heart.” (pg. 70)

On May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46), Brigham Young issued a challenge: “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter Day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.”

I have accepted that challenge from Brigham Young.

In the September 2010 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion fails this test.