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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”