which is in heaven is perfect.
No unfaithfulness, improvidence, hatred of God, lack of natural affection, high-mindedness, flattery, lustfulness, infidelity, indiscretion, backbiting, whispering, lack of truth, striking, brawling, quarrelsomeness, unthankfulness, inhospitality, deceitfulness, irreverence, boasting, arrogance, pride, double-tongued talk, profanity, slander, corruptness, thievery, embezzlement, despoiling, covenant-breaking, incontinence, filthiness, ignobleness, filthy communications, impurity, foolishness, slothfulness, impatience, lack of understanding, unmercifulness, idolatry, blasphemy, denial of the Holy Ghost, Sabbath breaking, envy, jealousy, malice, maligning, vengefulness implacability, bitterness, clamor, spite, defiling, reviling, evil speaking, provoking, greediness of filthy lucre, disobedience to parents, anger, hate, covetousness, bearing false witness, inventing evil things, fleshliness, heresy, presumptuousness, abomination, insatiable appetite, instability, ignorance, self-well, speaking evil of dignitaries, becoming a stumbling block....
If you're like most Latter-day Saints, you are probably hoping with all your might that when you die you will be good enough to gain exaltation in the celestial kingdom.
You might say that planning for eternity is much the same as planning for a long vacation. You begin by designating your destination before making a list of those things you think are necessary in order to arrive at your goal. I think you are probably well aware of the frustration in setting out on a journey only to find you didn't have enough money or gas or finding out your reservations are invalid. How are you doing when it comes to your goal of reaching the celestial kingdom? Are you going to have "enough" of what it takes to get there?
First of all, the Doctrine of Covenants 88:22 states, "For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory." If you are going to reach exaltation, you must abide by the celestial law. "What exactly is celestial law?" you might ask. Apostle Orson Whitney said, "It does not mean any one thing; it means all things. It is the fullness of obedience: it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Conference Report, October 1910, p.53).
President Brigham Young said, "If you obey this law, preserve it inviolate, live according to it, we shall be prepared to enjoy the blessings of a celestial kingdom" (Discourses of Brigham Young, pg. 404).
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, "To enter the celestial and obtain exaltation it is necessary that the whole law be kept. . .Do you desire to enter the celestial Kingdom and receive eternal life? Then be willing to keep all of the commandments." (The Way to Perfection, pg. 206).
Let me ask you:
Are you fully obeying every law God has given you?
Are you living by every word that proceeds from God's mouth?
Are you preserving the law inviolate (unbroken)?
Finally, if you desire to obtain exaltation in the celestial kingdom, are you keeping all the commandments?
If you are not doing these things, you cannot know if you will ever make it to your desired goal. In fact, if you are not keeping the celestial law, at best you are only keeping a terrestrial law. The most you would then be able to hope for is entrance into the terrestrial kingdom. Once there, you can forget any chance of eventually achieving celestial glory since there is "no progression between kingdoms. After a person has been assigned to his place in the kingdom, either in the telestial, the terrestrial, or the celestial, or to his exaltation, he will never advance from his assigned glory to another glory. That is eternal" (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.50.)
"I CAN DO IT LATER"
Perhaps you are thinking that God will allow you to make up for your disobedient acts after you die. That doesn't seem likely. Elder Bruce McConkie stated: "One of the great purposes of this mortal probation is to test and try men, to see is they will keep the commandments and walk in the light no matter what environmental enticements beckon them away from the straight and narrow path" (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 229).
Speaking of "mortal probations," President Joseph Fielding Smith said that if you refused to comply with the provided laws, and ordinances during this lifetime, you will be "assigned, after the resurrection, to some inferior sphere." (Doctrines of Salvation 1:69)
This concurs with Alma 34:32-33, which states:
"For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. . .And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed."
It seems clear that waiting until after you are dead to get things right would be a foolish decision.
"What About Repentance?"
Repenting of your sins sounds like the logical remedy, but doesn't the fact that you have to repent prove that you are not obeying celestial law? Why repent if you are already obeying? Every time you repent, you do nothing more than admit your disobedience and how short you have fallen of the requirement for exaltation.
Furthermore, have you really repented according to the definition given by LDS leaders? Spencer Kimball said that the "repentance which merits forgiveness" is the kind in which "the former transgressor must have reached a 'point of no return' to sin wherein there is not merely a renunciation but also a deep abhorrence of the sin - where the sin becomes most distasteful to him and where the desire or urge to sin is cleared out of his life" (The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp.354-355).
Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin."
Spencer W. Kimball
Have you reached the point where the desire or urge to sin is cleared out of your life? If not, how do you know if you have truly repented? In the pamphlet entitled Repentance Brings Forgiveness, President Kimball taught:
Have you permanently forsaken sin?
President Kimball also said that "living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sin and assures one of exaltation" (Miracle, pg.208). Are you living all the commandments? If not, how do you know you are forgiven?
1 Nephi 3:7 states:
"I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."
If keeping all the commandments is really possible, why aren't you keeping them?
"But I'm Trying!"
Trying your best seem commendable. . .except for the fact that it is not good enough! President Kimball wrote,
"Trying is not sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin."
He went on to say, "To 'try' is weak. To 'do the best I can' is not strong. We must always do better than we can" (Miracle, pp.164-165).
Indeed, some say "I do my best and Jesus does the rest." That might be a catchy saying, but the fact is, if you are obeying celestial law, there is nothing left for Jesus to do.
When you were baptized a member in the LDS Church, you promised to keep all of the laws and commandments of God. You failed, so each week at sacrament service, you again commit to keep the commandments. Each week you fail. Even more disconcerting is the fact that if you are a temple Mormon, you are aware of the promise made by Lucifer when he said, "If they [you] do not walk up to every covenant they [you] make at these altars in this temple this day, they [you] will be in my power!" Yet you continue to promise and continue to fail. Kimball said folks like you are covenant breakers (Miracle, pg. 57) and as such likened you to the wicked man of D&C 3:12-13. Let's face it, if Mormonism is true, you are doomed to failure and, accordingly, doomed to damnation.
If the men quoted above are really prophets and apostles of God and are to be believed as authoritative, then you, as a Mormon, have plenty to fear. You know yourself better than anyone else, and if you are honest, you know you will never live up to the requirements these men have set forth. It is impossible!
What Christians Believe:
That is why Romans 3:19 says that those who try to appease God by following the law are guilty before God. They cannot do it. Could it be that what these men have taught is not true? Could it be that the Bible offers a better way? It seems so.
The Bible declares that we are all sinners and incapable of saving ourselves. Jesus did not die just to make our resurrection possible, rather, He came to take away all (not merely "some") of the believer's sins (Col. 2:13).
It is our sin which separates us from God. Once that barrier has been removed, those people are declared righteous before God, thus making them eligible for all the blessings He has in store for those whom He has called. It is Christ's total obedience, not our partial obedience, that saves true Christians in God's sight (Rom.5:19).
When we come to Him by faith, His righteousness is "imputed" (or "added") to our account (Rom. 4:1-8).
Only the righteousness of Christ will satisfy the demands of an all-Holy God. Nothing less will do. It is only when we rely on this biblical fact that we can have the assurance of God's forgiveness. As long as you insist that your exaltation is dependent on your good works and individual righteousness, you will continue to be frustrated and bear the heavy burden of guilt.
Earlier I likened preparing for eternity to that of a long journey. Of course, the major difference is that while unseen circumstances might ruin a trip and force you to start over; there is no such luxury of starting over after death. To make the wrong preparations for eternity will be the worst mistake of your mortal life. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).
You already know you aren't living up to the requirements of Mormonism. Why not place your trust in Jesus Christ alone? For centuries He has been saving those like you who know they are unworthy but who come to Him in faith.
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2)
I know it must seem strange for a self-proclaimed Pagan to be teaching Mormons what true Christianity is all about, so I will explain my reasonings for my post.
For many years as a Mormon, I tried to keep all of the rules, maintain my testimony, fulfill many different callings and be as obedient as possible. One day I happened to read, "The Miracle of Forgiveness" by Spencer W. Kimball and it threw me into a great depression. Suddenly I knew that no matter what I did, how I lived, what I refrained from eating or drinking, or how much money I tithed to the church, ultimately my thoughts would condemn me, and I wouldn't attain the highest kingdom, at the rate I was going, I would have been lucky to squeak past into the telestial kingdom. This was during a great trial for me, and I couldn't set aside my personality (aka being human) in order to become acceptable to God. I knew that I would fail, again and again, every day, and every hour, in my attempts to become "perfect". And that was very depressing to say the least.
I was afraid. I worried about hell and Satan for a long time. I had paranoia about going to church and admitting that I had held a wicked thought during that week, or some other instance of being unworthy. I tried to double my efforts and keep my humanity in check. I was so desirous of acceptance that I whittled away at my own personality so that I could conform with those around me, who had obviously figured it out.
I decided that I needed to find out more about the plan, so I set about studying the structure of this church, and the role my own works would play in obtaining forgiveness for my "sins". My studies led me to fair.lds and FARMS, (now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies).
The apologetic papers I read at these sites led me to learn about topics I had never even heard of from within the Mormon church. I never knew about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, I didn't know that Joseph himself had practiced polygamy, and even had convinced a fourteen year old girl to sacrifice her virginity to him to ensure her family's place in the celestial kingdom.
I never knew that the temple ordinances were very close to Freemasonry. I didn't know that Joseph used a seerstone in a hat to "translate" the Book of Mormon.
These items of discovery, and many others led me to the realization that fear is a great motivator for conformity. The military does it all the time, and so do religious organizations. I decided that I was not going to live a life based on fear of what would happen if I didn't conform to an ideal. I learned that the true basis of Christianity is to believe that the sacrifice of Jesus was enough, and anything I did on my own behalf to try to 'work out my own salvation' was like saying that the sacrifice was insufficient.
This is what Christians believe. They don't try to be perfect, because they know they can't be. They count on the sacrifice of Jesus to fill in the gaps, not their own works. They are grateful for the gift. Mormons not only try to replace Jesus' gift through their own works and suffering, they even go as far as to negate the sacrifice, thereby denying the gift has any powers to save them from their own sins. Now they, as members, become subject to their leaders and must show human men in positions of authority that they have become humble enough, have suffered enough, and have worked hard enough to "obtain forgiveness".
Christianity is between you and God, not between you and 'proper authorities'. Teaching people that you must strive for and obtain perfection in order to be deemed worthy and acceptable to God is like asking each member to become their own version of Jesus, complete with suffering for your own sins. This negates the gift. It is not Christian.
For myself, I have moved beyond Christianity. It simply doesn't make sense to me. But that doesn't mean I want the whole world to become pagan like me. I am not trying to tear down an entire religion, I am simply exposing all things so that informed decisions can be made.
Would I have joined the church if the missionaries had told me:
+ Joseph practiced polygamy and married some girls as young as 14.
+ Joseph used a seerstone in a hat to dictate the Book of Mormon.
+ Joseph became a 33rd degree Mason and used the rituals he learned to mold the temple ordinances practiced in the temples.
+ Blacks were the cursed seed of Cain.
+ Adam is the same as our Father God.
+ Blood Atonement is necessary to obtain forgiveness of grievous offenses, such as adultery.
Be honest with yourself, and really ponder these points.
If you were to check out the Mormon church's official website today, you would come across pages and pages that make the LDS church appear as mainstream Christian as the rest of the denominations. From an outsider's viewpoint, it would seem that the LDS church is really no different than most Christian churches, and that's what they WANT you to think. You will not find any of the doctrines I mentioned above on ANY of the pages of the official website, and I feel that this is dishonest to say the least. It's only after a slow deliberate process of indoctrination that the new members become accustomed to the different teachings of Mormonism, and by then they are so convinced that it is the Lord's church restored, they don't take the time to reason out the differences between original Christian teachings and those of the LDS church.
The whitewash on the website alone is enough to convince me that the LDS church is marketing themselves as mainstream Christian, a philosophy that would make the likes of Brigham Young roll over in his grave. He went to great lengths to SEPARATE the LDS church from Christianity, calling all other churches an abomination. ( Including Methodists, which Joseph Smith joined even AFTER having the "first vision"[or the fourth one, I forget which] ). The original church NEVER claimed to be Christian, they claimed to be BETTER than Christian. Now the push is to appear more mainstream, deny the "peculiar teachings" and shake off the "peculiar people" look. I see it as a trap for future generations. They need to be very clear about their teachings from the beginning, not bait and switch, and THAT is why I am attacking the LDS church.
Those that remain members by avoiding all opposing viewpoints and information contrary to the teachings of their leaders are ASKING to be told what to think, how to live and what to believe. They don't WANT to learn on their own, ask the questions that must be asked, and think things through logically because they have been told that to do so invites SATAN, the great trumph card of the brethren and the "jake brake" of reasonable conclusions.
What's in it for the church? Money and Power, the twin towers. One cannot stand without the other. The more people leave the church, and expose its teachings to others, the more PR the church has to do in order to discount the claims of "apostates, intellectuals, and feminists" that leave the church in droves every year. That's the basis behind the revamp on the official site, and that's why people like me have blogspots like this.