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Wednesday, August 10, 2011


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

By Connie Raddon

Each Ensign Magazine has a section entitled, “What We Believe”.  In the August 2011 Ensign, this section has an article called “God Sends Us To Earth As a Member of a Family”.  This is an official message from the leadership of the LDS Church. 

For references, the article cites
1.      LDS teaching manual, “Gospel Principles 2009” pg 207-11
2.      M. Russell Ballard, ‘What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest’  Ensign Nov. 2005 pg 41-44

The article begins by saying, “Our Father in Heaven has a plan for us, and sending us to earth as members of a family is part of that plan… God wants His spirit children to receive a physical body.  When parents bring children into this world, they are helping our Heavenly Father carry out His plan of salvation.  They welcome into their family each new child as a child of God.”

The Bible does not teach that families are a part of God’s plan of salvation.  God’s plan for our salvation was “…that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16   No family required – only belief.

The Bible does not teach that God had spirit children that needed to come to earth to get a physical body. 

The Bible does not teach that we need to “help” Heavenly Father carry out His plan of salvation.
All the work required for salvation was completed by Jesus on the cross.  “Therefore, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’  and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30

Notice how Jesus didn’t say, “It is almost finished… now everyone just needs a family.”  That’s how ridiculous it sounds to say that we can do anything to “help” Heavenly Father carry out his plan of salvation.

The Bible teaches that we are NOT born as children of God, but BECOME children of God when we believe in Jesus Christ.  “…but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,”  Romans 8:15-16

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”  John 1:12

The next paragraph says, “Our Heavenly Father knew that being a member of a family provides each of us the best opportunity to be loved and cared for while on earth.”

The Bible does not say anything like this. 

This statement comes from a myopic view that assumes children born into families are also born into a loving and caring environment.  Some children are much better off being born and placed immediately into an orphanage than they would be in a home that was full of addiction or abuse.

“As family members give encouragement and praise to one another, feelings of confidence and love grow.”

This statement teaches three things that are against Biblical truth:

1.       It teaches that love is a feeling.  Love might bring feelings with it, but it alone is NOT a feeling.  In Titus 2:4, we read that older women are to help younger women to love their husbands.  “so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands…”  Young women already have that “feeling” of being in love.  They must be taught, encouraged, and helped so that they can learn how to CHOOSE real love – as a behavior, not a feeling. 
2.      It teaches that we can expect our confidence and love to be built up by other people.  This is an “outside-in” perspective.  God changes us from the inside out.  All our trust and confidence should be in Him – not our families. 
3.      It teaches that our “feelings” matter.  We are commanded to love – not to feel love.  We are commanded to love no matter what other people may do.  Ephesians 5:2  “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you…”  Christ loves us even when we don’t love Him back.  That kind of love is a choice about how to behave – not a feeling that can come and go based on the weather, our hormones, our schedules, and thousands of other factors.

The article also says, “Successful families show hope and persistence in sustaining each family member in individual needs and in helping each other learn and work together in love.  Their goal is to become a joyful, eternal family unit.”

This is an impossible standard for families.  I think it’s not only unfair, but unkind for the LDS leaders to suggest to their members what their family should be doing in order to be a successful family.  In other words, if your family does not help each individual member meet their needs, and help each other learn and work together in love, your family is not successful.  And what do you call an unsuccessful family (other than normal)?  UNSUCCESSFUL.   By this LDS created standard, I do not know one single family that  is “successful”. 

After I was divorced and re-married, I was part of a blended family. Some days it was all we could do to tolerate each other and the constant rotation of living arrangements.  His kids at our house sometimes, my daughter at her dad’s house sometimes, everyone at our house sometimes, no one at our house sometimes…   

Every Sunday it seemed like at least one thing was mentioned about eternal families.  It was like rubbing salt in my wound over and over and over.  My family was broken and “UNSUCCESSFUL”… with absolutely no hope for healing.  I didn’t even know what family I would be a part of if I made it to the Celestial Kingdom.  I felt like a failure and a disappointment to God because the LDS Church had always taught me that the FAMILY was the center of God’s plan of salvation.  

Well… not mine, apparently.

The article ends with, “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God… The family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” 

The Bible says that the central plan for God’s creating us in the first place is for His own good pleasure and glory.

God will not share His glory with anyone or anything.  Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another…”

Isaiah 48:11 “…And My glory I will not give to another.”

Making the family “central” to God’s plan is replacing God with the family unit.  It is giving God less glory, and giving the family unit more.  The family unit doesn’t deserve ANY glory – and to hold it up where God should be is blasphemy.    

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 August 2011 issue of the Ensign, the LDS religion FAILS this test.

I sincerely thank my research partner, Art Haglund.