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Monday, December 17, 2012

2012 Conference - Priesthood Session


“See Others as They May Become” by Thomas S. Monson
We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present
but as they may become.”
Compared to the Bible by Connie Raddon


Color Key:
Quotes from the LDS Ensign in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.
All my own words are black.

The November issue of the Ensign contains all of the talks given by the leadership of the LDS Church during October’s General Conference.  This talk was given by the president of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, during the Priesthood Session.  It is found on pg. 68-71.

The Bible is based on the theme that we are all sinners, and therefore unworthy of God’s blessings because His standard is perfection – absolute and complete perfection. 

Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

Even our good works and obedience is not acceptable to God because it is tainted with sin. 

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;”

This makes us unworthy of living with Him in heaven, and even unworthy of every good thing God offers.  The only thing we deserve is death – both physical and spiritual.

Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”


God provided a solution to our problem in Jesus Christ. 

Romans 6:23b “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus lived perfectly.  Then as a perfect sacrifice for sin, he atoned for all our sins. 

2 Cor. 5:21a “For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be in for us…”

If we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, then God counts all our sins as completely paid for, and grants us Christ’s righteousness instead of our own.

2 Cor. 5:21b “…that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”



Mr. Monson’s talk is based on a very different theme from the Bible.  He talks about how we can work hard to change ourselves into something righteous.  Since he is talking to the men, he talks about how they can make themselves worthy to hold the priesthood, and even be the incentive for other men to make themselves worthy. 

(I have bolded the words that Mr. Monson uses to keep church members in the bondage of their own works.)

“If you feel that you do not yet have the depth of testimony you would wish, I admonish you to work to achieve such a testimony.  If it is strong and deep, labor to keep it that way.”

“…there are countless individuals who have little or no testimony right now, those who could and would receive such a testimony if we would be willing to make the effort to share ours and to help them change.  In some instances we can provide the incentive for change.”

“We need to bear in mind that people can changeThey can put behind them bad habitsThey can repent from transgressions.  They can bear the priesthood worthilyAnd they can serve the Lord diligently.”

“…they had turned their lives around and had fully qualified to become elders.”

(Speaking about men who are not active)  “It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to live as they should.  We can help them to overcome their shortcomings.”

“When our lives comply with God’s own standard, those within our sphere of influence will never speak the lament, ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.’”


All this “worthiness” is credited to the efforts of men.  No credit is given to God. 


The Bible teaches that we cannot “qualify” by keeping God’s commandments. 

“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”  Galatians 2:16

(“Justified” means to be declared free of blame – in other words, God declares us righteous.)

“…for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”  Galatians 2:21



The teachings in the November 2012 issue of the Ensign
are NOT Biblical, and therefore,
NOT consistent with Christian beliefs.


Brigham Young issued a challenge on May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46):  “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 November 2012 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.



Resources used for this article:
The Word of God (The Bible)
The LDS magazine, “The Ensign”

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Covenants


“Understanding our Covenants with God
An Overview of our Most Important Promises
No particular author noted, but sent from the leadership of the LDS Church
…sacred covenants are to be revered by us, and faithfulness to them is a requirement for happiness.  Yes, I speak of the covenant of baptism, the covenant of the priesthood, and the covenant of marriage as examples.”
… President Thomas S. Monson
Compared to the Bible by Connie Raddon


Color Key:
Quotes from the LDS Ensign in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.
All my own words are black.

This article is found on pg. 22-25 of the July 2012 issue of the Ensign.

First of all, I want to explain what the Bible says about covenants…

In the Bible, God makes two covenants with man that relate to receiving eternal life.  (He does make others, but they are not directly regarding our eternal life.)

The two major covenants God makes with man are commonly known as the Abrahamic Covenant (the Old Covenant), and the Covenant of Grace (the New Covenant).  Another word for “covenant” is “testament”.  This is why we have two parts to the Bible – The Old Testament, and the New Testament – they describe each of the two “covenants”.

THE FIRST COVENANT:

God promises Abram that he will have a great number of descendants, he will inherit a great land, and through him, the families of the earth with be blessed.

Gen 12:1-3 “Now the Lord had said to Abram:  ‘Get out of your country, From your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The sign of this covenant is circumcision:

Gen 17:11 “and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.”

This covenant (testament) is fulfilled when Abraham does become a great nation (the nation of Israel), his nation inherits the land of Canaan, and finally all the families of the earth are blessed because Jesus Christ came (through the lineage of Abraham).

God gave His “covenant” people many things.  One was “the law”.  After God brought them out of slavery in Egypt with Moses leading them, He gave Moses the 10 Commandments for the people.  God knew that the people could not keep these commandments.  In fact, they were breaking most of them at the very moment God was giving them to Moses!  So, God instituted the Levitical/ Aaronic Priesthood.  The purpose for this priesthood was to sacrifice animals at the temple to cover the sins of the people in the sight of God.  This did NOT take away the sins, only COVERED them.  It was a picture of the greatest sacrifice yet to come – that of Jesus Christ to not just cover, but take away our sins.

THE SECOND COVENANT:

Hebrews 8:6-13 (which quotes from Jer. 31:31-34)
“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
Because finding fault with them, He says: ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah –
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand and lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:  I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people. 
…For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more’. 
In that He says, ‘A new covenant’ He has made the first obsolete.  Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

So in this new covenant (testament), God no longer has his laws written on stone (like the 10 commanements), but puts them in the minds and hearts of those who believe in Him… and they shall be His people.  

This is the new covenant of grace – that our righteousness comes by our faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, and NOT by our own works.

The sign of this covenant is the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13-14
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Romans 8:16
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Now, let’s take a look at the Ensign article to see how the covenants within the LDS Church fit in with these two covenants of the Bible.

“In the Church, an ordinance is a sacred, formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood.  Some ordinances are essential to our salvation.  As part of these ‘saving ordinances,’ we enter into solemn covenants with God.”


As a Mormon, I did every ordinance and entered into every covenant that was possible for a woman to have – baptism, washing/ anointing, endowments, and marriage sealing.  Every covenant I made basically boiled down to keeping all the commandments (the law) and consecrating my life and blessings to the Church.  Look at what the Bible says about that.

Ephesians 2:14-15
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances…”

Abolished… hmmm… abolished….  That means “to do away with”.  And yet the LDS Church has disregarded what Christ did, and continues to burden its members with rules and laws and commandments, and unnecessary covenants.

“When we receive these saving ordinances and keep the associated covenants, the Atonement of Jesus Christ becomes effective in our lives, and we can receive the greatest blessing God can give us – eternal life.”

The Bible says that receiving eternal life has nothing to do with covenants or ordinances, but only our belief. 

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24 “He who hears My word and believe in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”


BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION

“Baptism by immersion in water, performed by one having authority, is the first saving ordinance of the gospel and is necessary for an individual to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When we are baptized, we covenant to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, to always remember Him, and to keep His commandments.”

“We are baptized because we believe and have been saved by His blood, not to believe or be saved by His blood.  To the Christian, water baptism is an outward, public pronouncement of an inward faith, symbolic that we are willing to be buried with Christ (thus turning our back on the former things of our life) and being raised with Him unto a new life.  It is the public profession of our faith.” 1

But the Mormon Church continues to claim that baptism is mandatory for eternal life, or in other words, claiming that we are saved by our works, in addition to grace.

“The ordinances of baptism and confirmation are the gate through which all who seek eternal life must enter. (see John 3:3-5)”

The Mormon Church leaders use this verse incorrectly.  They say it means that we must be baptized by immersion in water, and also receive the Holy Ghost – both ordinances to be performed by Mormon priesthood authority.

Here is what the verse ACTUALLY says:

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’  Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’

Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

The explanation comes in verse 6 – “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
So being born of water does not mean to have a baptism in water – it means “born of the flesh”… as in… being born.  When we are born, we come out of the water that we lived in for 9 months. 

Being born of the Spirit is what Christians refer to as being “born again”.



THE SACRAMENT

Those who have received the saving ordinances of baptism and confirmation partake of the sacrament each week to renew those covenants.

Remember – baptism and confirmation do NOT save – only Jesus saves. 

The “sacrament” that the LDS refer to is the Lord’s supper – taking the bread and wine to remember Him.  (The LDS use yeast-risen bread, and since they believe drinking wine is a sin, they use water – completely destroying the symbolism of both. Yeast represents sin – so the bread used is WITHOUT yeast – like Jesus was without sin.  The wine coming from grapes represents the fruit of the vine – Jesus is the vine. Using grape juice still creates this symbolism, but Mormons don’t even do that.)

Here’s a quick question you may ask a Mormon – “Why do they need to renew those covenants each week?  Did the covenant expire?  Did they break their covenants?  (Just wondering)

The ordinance of the sacrament is an opportunity each week to renew sacred covenants that allow us to be partakers of the Savior’s atoning grace with the same spiritually cleansing effect of baptism and confirmation.

So this is saying that the covenants that are being renewed are what allow us to be partakers of grace. 

What does the Bible say allows us to be partakers of grace?

John 1:17  “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

LDS covenants are basically promises to keep the law – so they mix up the law with grace.  The law came through Moses – but grace comes through Jesus Christ alone – not Jesus plus ordinances and covenants.

Romans 11:6  “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.  But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”

The Bible clearly says that grace and works (keeping the law) cannot be combined to earn our salvation.

The Bible also says that grace is a free gift – not based on our covenants, or worthiness. (The following verse is comparing the fall, or offense, of Adam to the gift of grace from Jesus Christ.)

Romans 5:15 “But the free gift is not like the offense.  For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.”


THE OATH AND COVENANT OF THE PRIESTHOOD

When men live worthy to obtain the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods and “[magnify] their calling,” God promises they will be “sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.”  They become heirs of the promises made to Moses, Aaron, and Abraham. (See D&C 84:33-34)

Once again the LDS Church makes being “worthy” a requirement for something that is crucial for salvation – the priesthoods.  I won’t go into detail here about the priesthood, because I have in several other articles – but just as a quick review… 

The Aaronic Priesthood was based on being a descendant of Aaron in the tribe of Levi – NOT on personal worthiness.  Also, this priesthood is made obsolete when Christ made the FINAL sacrifice for sin. 

The Melchizidek priesthood is only held by Jesus.  He offered the final sacrifice and  was the final sacrifice.  He alone is our high priest now.

Holding the Melchizedek Priesthood is necessary for men to qualify to enter the temple.

The purpose of the temple was for sinners to receive atonement for their sins.  If people had to be worthy, or “qualify” to go to the temple, there would have been no point in having a temple.  So the LDS temples are clearly NOT a restoration of God’s temple in the Bible.  They are created and used for completely different purposes.

By receiving all of the saving ordinances of the priesthood, all people can receive the promise of “all that [the] Father hath”  (See D&C 84:35-38)

“Incredible blessings flow from this oath and covenant to worthy men, women, and children in all the world,” taught Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

As a Mormon, when I really thought about this, it caused me stress!  The Church always taught me that I had to be “worthy” – without clearly defining how much I had to do to achieve the point of “worthiness”.  The Church also promised “incredible blessings” – with absolutely no explanation of what they were.  So I believed that if I wasn’t receiving the blessings I thought I was worthy of, something was wrong, and I usually blamed myself.  I figured I was not worthy enough somehow – even though I was doing everything I thought I should.   I would remember sins I had committed, and figured that God hadn’t completely forgiven me yet.  What a horrible burden to carry!



THE SEALING
The temple ordinance referred to as “temple marriage” or “being sealed” creates an eternal relationship between husband and wife that can last beyond death if the spouses are faithful.

In Matthew chapter 22, the Sadducees were trying to stump Jesus about the resurrection by asking him a hypothetical question – If a woman’s husband dies, and she marries his brother – then that brother dies so she marries the next brother, and on and on until she has married all the brothers, whose wife will she be in the resurrection?

Matthew 22:29-30 “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven’.”

Mormons:  You are also mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures – there is no marriage beyond death.  So please stop putting the burden on people of being faithful to all their covenants in order to receive something that Jesus Himself said does not exist.



The teachings in the July 2012 issue of the Ensign
are NOT Biblical, and therefore,
NOT consistent with Christian beliefs.


Brigham Young issued a challenge on May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46):  “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 July 2012 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.


1 “Where Mormonism Meets Biblical Christianity Face to Face” by Shawn McCraney pg. 65

Resources used for this article:
The Word of God (The Bible)
The LDS magazine, “The Ensign”
Research partner, Art Haglund

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Honor and Order of the Priesthood


“The Honor and Order of the Priesthood”
by President Boyd K. Packer (President of the Twelve Apostles)
The authority and power of the priesthood form the foundation of all that we do in the Church.”
Compared to the Bible by Connie Raddon
  
Color Key:
Quotes from the LDS Ensign in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.
All my own words are black.

This article is found on pg. 21-25 of the June 2012 issue of the Ensign.


The entire basis of the LDS Church is that it is a “restored” gospel.  They believe Mormonism is the religion that Christ established and was quickly lost from the earth after He died; until it was restored through Joseph Smith.  The priesthood is also believed to have been restored from the time of Jesus.  The problem is this:  The Mormon priesthood has absolutely no resemblance to the Biblical priesthood, and therefore, is NOT a restoration, but an invention.

The first words in this article are “The authority and power of the priesthood form the foundation of all that we do in the Church.”

In the Bible, the purpose of the priesthood was for a high priest to represent the people to God and make sacrifices to atone for their sin.  The high priest was the only one authorized to make sacrifices to God on behalf of the people.  Exodus 28-29 explains that only men in the tribe of Levi can be priests. Priests serve in the temple – setting things up, cleaning, etc.  Only men in the Levi/Kohath/Amram/Aaron line could be high priests.  High priests were the ones who performed the sacrifices.  Those were the only “offices” of the priesthood.

The LDS Church has created more “offices” – such as “deacon”, “teacher”, and “elder”.  These were not a part of the Biblical priesthood.  Also, every worthy male member over the age of 12 can hold the LDS priesthood, regardless of whether or not they are a descendent of Levi. 

Once Christ completed the FINAL sacrifice for sin, there was no more need for a priesthood.  Hebrews 10:12 (referring to Jesus) “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;”

Jesus is our High Priest – and he is the only High Priest. 


An Invitation to Prospective Elders

Mr. Packer speaks to “prospective elders” (those men who are over 18, who for whatever reason have not been given the Melchizidek priesthood yet).  “The office of an elder is a calling of dignity and honor, spiritual authority and of power.”  Remember, there is no such office in the Biblical priesthood.  Everything about the Biblical priesthood pointed to Christ – it held no dignity, honor, authority, or power for the individual who held the priesthood – all the glory was to God - for His mercy and forgiveness.

Packer encourages young men who may have left the church to return so they can hold the priesthood.  “If you will return to the environment where spiritual truths are spoken, there will flood back into your minds the things that you thought were lost…If you make your pilgrimage back among the Saints, soon you will be understanding once again the language of inspiration…Soon you will feel complete and adequate in His church and in His kingdom.  Then you will know how much you are needed here and how powerful your voice of experience can be in redeeming others.”

First of all, Packer claims that returning to an “environment” with “the Saints” is what will help someone understand spiritual truths.  That is just not true.  The only “environment” where one can learn truth is in the pages of the Bible.  God wants us to fellowship with other believers so we can love, serve and encourage one another – not for understanding truth. 

Second, if anyone can feel complete and adequate in God’s kingdom, I don’t believe that they have any idea just how holy God is and how worthless, INcomplete, and INadequate they are without being in Christ.  Think of how Isaiah felt when he had a vision of the Lord.  The first words he said were “Woe is me, for I am undone!  Because I am a man of unclean lips…” 

Third, Packer says that the prospective elder’s voice of experience can be powerful in redeeming others.  Only Christ can redeem.  If He uses our voice to preach the gospel to someone, all the glory is His.  I think that Packer’s words only serve to puff up the pride of those who take him seriously.


Callings in the Priesthood

The Bible explains that we are given spiritual gifts, and then led directly by the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 12:4-11  “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit…For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues and to another the interpretation of tongues.”

The Holy Spirit can inspire each one of us to use our particular gift the way God wants us to.  There is no need for a man, a “priesthood leader” to stand between us and the Holy Spirit. 

However, Packer explains how callings (assignments) come through priesthood leaders – not directly from the Holy Spirit.

“A call is more than an invitation or a request.  It is a call from the Lord through His chosen servant…We do not call ourselves to offices in the Church.  Rather we respond to the call of those who preside over us.”


 The Importance of Ordination

Mr. Packer explains how the LDS priesthood is passed on.  “The priesthood is conferred through ordination, not simply through making a covenant or receiving a blessing.  It has been so since the beginning.”

The priesthood was NEVER conferred through ordination.  Remember, the priesthood was received by being born in the tribe of Levi.  There was no laying on of hands, or giving a blessing, or making a covenant. 


The Power of the Priesthood

The “power” of the priesthood was God’s power to forgive sins.  There is no reference in the Bible to the “power of the priesthood”.  Yet Mr. Packer places a burden on LDS men by telling them that they are responsible to be righteous in order for the power of the priesthood to be used. 

“…power in the priesthood comes through faithful and obedient living in honoring covenants.  It is increased by exercising and using the priesthood in righteousness.”

This is what keeps the LDS people under the control of the Church leadership –they must obey their leaders in order to have this power.  This can fill a person with pride in their self-righteousness, or fill them with shame and guilt because of their unworthiness…  let me explain.

Let’s say an LDS Priesthood holder gives a blessing to someone who is sick, and through his priesthood power promises them that they will be healed.  If instead of getting better, they die – whose fault is it?  The priesthood holder – because either he was unworthy, so his priesthood power had no effect, or he was unworthy to be in tune with the Spirit, and promised something he shouldn’t have.  On the other hand, let’s say the sick person got better.  This would be external proof that the priesthood holder was indeed worthy and righteous.  Who gets the glory then?  He does.  Of course God gets credit, too, but not completely because it’s shared with the “worthy” man. 

“The power you receive will depend on what you do with this sacred, unseen gift.  Your authority comes through your ordination; your power comes through obedience and worthiness…

Power in the priesthood comes from doing your duty in ordinary things:  attending meetings, accepting assignments, reading the scriptures, keeping the Word of Wisdom”


True Servants of the Lord

“We do not hear of the priesthood keys being exercised in other Christian churches.  It seems odd that we are described by some as being non-Christian when we are the only ones who have the authority and the organization that He established.”

I don’t know how to make this any more clear.  Mr. Packer, you are described as being non-Christian because your religion has not only created an entirely different “priesthood” than the one God established in the Bible, but it has also denied the finality of Christ’s atonement.

Hebrews 7:27  “Christ does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”

Christians understand that the priesthood was inherited by birth as a Levite, and was done away with once Christ came.  They also understand that there is only one high priest alive at a time, and that since Christ is the final High Priest, no one else can be a High Priest (unless they don’t believe Christ is risen from the dead.)  So you either deny that Christ’s atonement was complete, final, and sufficient to justify those who believe, OR you deny that Christ is raised from the dead because you allow others to hold the office of a high priest – (or maybe both?).  Either way, those beliefs are NOT Christian.



The teachings in the June 2012 issue of the Ensign
are NOT Biblical, and therefore,
NOT consistent with Christian beliefs.


Brigham Young issued a challenge on May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46):  “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 June 2012 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.



Resources used for this article:
The Word of God (The Bible)
The LDS magazine, “The Ensign”
“Where Mormonism Meets Biblical Christianity Face to Face” by Shawn McCraney

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thomas S. Monson's Conference Address April 2012


“The Race of Life” by Thomas S. Monson
Where did we come from?  Why are we here?  Where do we go after this life? 
No longer need these universal questions remain unanswered.”
Compared to the Bible by Connie Raddon





Color Key:
Quotes from the LDS Ensign in blue.
Quotes from the Bible in red.
All my own words are black.

The May issue of the Ensign contains all of the talks given by the leadership of the LDS Church during April’s General Conference.  This talk was given by the president of the Church, Thomas S. Monson.  It is found on pg. 90-93.

Mr. Monson explains that the LDS Church provides answers to three questions:
1.      Where did we come from?  LDS Answer:  A previous existence as literal spirit children of God.
2.      Why are we here?  LDS Answer:  To be tested to see if we will qualify for the blessings of heaven.
3.      Where do we go after this life?  LDS Answer: We want to earn a celestial glory to be in the presence of God.

For this article, I want to focus on the second question, “Why are we here?”  Monson repeats the concept many times that we are here to become worthy for what God holds for us in the next life.  He doesn’t always say the word “worthy”, but he uses terms and phrases that mean the same thing such as “qualify”, “become perfect”, “successfully cross the finish line”,  and “earn”.

“How grateful we should be that a wise Creator fashioned an earth and placed us here, with a veil of forgetfulness of our previous existence so that we might experience a time of testing, an opportunity to prove ourselves in order to qualify for all that God has prepared for us to receive.”

First, our Creator actually “CREATED” the earth.  To say He “fashioned” the earth implies that He merely molded it, or gave shape to it. 

The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Gen 1:1

Second, there was no “veil of forgetfulness” because we did NOT exist previous to our earthly existence.

Third, and on the topic of Monson’s “worthiness”, our purpose here is not for a “time of testing” or to “prove ourselves”.  If that is the case, then everyone has failed.  Absolutely no one will qualify for presence in God’s glory. 

“There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.”  Romans 6:10-11

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 6:23

“By obedience to God’s commandments, we can qualify for that “house” spoken of by Jesus when He declared:  ‘In my Father’s house are many mansions’.”

We cannot “qualify” by keeping God’s commandments.  We get into that “house” spoken of by Jesus by grace alone – being justified through our faith alone.

“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”  Galatians 2:16

(“Justified” means to be declared free of blame – in other words, God declares us blameless.)

“…for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”  Galatians 2:21

Monson also says, “God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the way to perfection.  They beckon us to follow eternal verities and to become perfect, as They are perfect.”

Mr. Monson misquotes the Bible here when he says “become perfect”.  The Bible says, “BE perfect”, not “become”.  This is not a process, but a command to be perfect right now.  How do we do that?  Not by our own works, that’s for sure.  Jesus is the only person who lived perfectly.  When we are born again, not only are we forgiven of all sin through Christ’s atonement, but his righteousness is applied to us so God can look at us and count us as perfect.  Right now.  When God “justifies” us, it is like declaring us to be perfect.  Keep that in mind when reading these verses:

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1

See how this says we have already been justified?  We are already seen as perfect… we don’t have to “become” perfect, or “become” justified.

“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”  Galatians 3:24

Monson continues, “…and I do not overlook the holy scriptures, which contain the word of the Lord and the words of the prophets – provided to us to help us successfully cross the finish line.”

In 1 John chapter 5 is God’s witness to us that if we believe in the Son, we have eternal life.  God does not witness to us that he will provide help for us to achieve eternal life, He says that those who believe HAVE IT now. 

“It is the celestial glory which we seek.  It is in in the presence of God we desire to dwell.  It is a forever family in which we want membership.  Such blessings are earned through a lifetime of striving, seeking, repenting, and finally succeeding.”

When the Bible speaks of “eternal life” or being “saved”, it is referring to living in the presence of God, with all the blessings of heaven.  The Bible says these blessings cannot “be earned” like Monson says.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9



The teachings in the May 2012 issue of the Ensign
are NOT Biblical, and therefore,
NOT consistent with Christian beliefs.


Brigham Young issued a challenge on May 18, 1873 (as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 16 p. 46):  “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 May 2012 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.



Resources used for this article:
The Word of God (The Bible)
The LDS magazine, “The Ensign”