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  1. A Gospel that Crushes? Good day to you. I’ve introduced myself in several forums on this website already, and I’m glad to be a part of this community. If we haven’t “met” yet, hello! I’m a middle aged, seeker who has been praying for and thinking through LDS views since I was visited by missionaries 10 years ago during my college years. In between raising a family and working, my time to devote has to be balanced; but I have read the BoM through completely, prayed and sought God, and continue to attend church. I’ve recently joined these forums to have some questions answered. Most recently, I stumbled across the book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness” by the Apostle/Prophet Spencer Kimball, and felt like I ought to read it. It has pressed me greatly on the nature of the gospel, but I’m just not sure in a good way; hence, this post. I’ve really tried to keep this as brief as a I can; but I obviously failed so to respect your time, here’s this post summed in the form of a question, “Does the LDS gospel crush your spirit?” If you want to know where I’m coming from, read on. I. Apostle’s Authority: First off, what about the author? Can I trust him, or was he in error when it comes to the gospel? From my limited understanding, Spencer Kimball was an apostle under Harold B. Lee, and became the 12thpresident of the LDS church. As an apostle at the time of writing “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” he was a member of the highest levels of the church with some of the highest authority (under the prophet of course). It is my understanding that apostles and prophets can even be considered to voice scripture at general conferences and in their writings on the LDS website? From this I take it that one better heed what an apostle/prophet has to say. However, some have told me that these men are just that, fallible men. I’m sympathetic to that, for even the prophets of the OT had moral struggles (e.g. Moses and anger). No one is perfect except Christ indeed. So a crucial question then, how does one know if an apostle or prophet is speaking doctrine or just as a man? Well, I asked this community and they suggested two tests: Scripture consistency, and the Law of multiple witnesses. This is helpful, and what’s more, seems to suggest that the press I feel from Kimball in his book is all the more valid. In other words, what he says regarding the gospel is trustworthy. Consider the two tests; briefly: 1. Scripture – Kimball offers a copious amount of scripture for some of his main points indicating scriptural support and consistency (see section II); and, 2. Law of multiple witnesses – a quick Google search lead me to find that this book was affirmed often by both active apostles and prophets throughout the several decades it was in print (e.g. Richard G Scott in the 1995 and 2004 General Conference, the Seventy Bruce Hafen, prophet Thomas Monson in his work “On the Lord’s Errand” written in 1985, Apostle Richard Evans in 1970, and the Apostle Boyd Packer in Ensign Magazine in 1974). The book, moreover, apparently sold over 1.6 million copies and was recommended by some church manuals (i.e. Teachings of the president of the church,”). It seems, from my cursory Google searching on LDS, that this book meets multiple witnesses. Moreover, when an apostle speaks to something as central as the gospel, if would seem dangerous for an apostle to speak in error. If an apostle where to err on something so foundational as the gospel, think of the ramifications! II. A Gospel that Crushes? If the author is trustworthy, then we can turn to the content of the work, “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” itself. I read this book in the course of a week and a half and afterwards, felt that my soul was deeply crushed. If what Kimball says about the gospel is true, then it seems to me that no one can be saved (see Kimball’s four points below). Below is what I take to be central points that Kimball makes, with scriptural affirmations, about how forgiveness is bestowed. a). In order to be saved, one must keep the commandments; that is, faith alone is not enough. Kimball quotes the following passages: 2 Nephi 25:23, “… for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do,” 3 Nephi 27:19-20, “…therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end,” Romans 2:6, “will render to every man according to his deeds,” and, Romans 2:13, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” He summarizes: “However good a person’s works, he could not be saved had Jesus not died for his and everyone else’s sins. And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does no comply with the works of the gospel,” (p. 207). b). God never issues a commandment that cannot be kept; that is, every commandment in scripture is possible to be followed by humanity. Kimball quotes the following passages: Matthew 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” 1 Nephi 3:7, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for 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.” Kimball notes, “But to carry the analogy further, my bull, had he been human, might have disciplined himself. Then with no right in the nose he would have controlled his own actions. So it is with human sin – self-control, self-mastery, can be substituted for the domain of sin, and the sinner can move by his own agency toward God rather than under the control of sin toward Satan,” (p. 28). Further, “While changing one’s life from evil to good is admittedly not easy, we cannot emphasize too strongly that every person endowed with normal faculties can do it,” (p. 175). c). One cannot be forgiven without true repentance; that is, if one does not keep a commandment they must repent. Kimball quotes the following passages: Moroni 10:32, “32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”, 2 Nephi 25:23 (as aforementioned), and, “Alma 11:37, “37 And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” Kimball notes,“In my years since then I have repeatedly heard people praise the Lord for his mercy in having forgiven the adulteress (in reference to Matthew 7:7). This example has been used numerous times to show how easily one can be forgiven of gross sin. But did the Lord forgave the woman? Could he forgive her? There seems to be no evidence of forgiveness. His command to her was, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ He was directing the sinful woman to go her way, abandon her evil life, commit no more sin, transform her life. He was saying, Go, woman and start your repentance,” (p. 165). He concludes, “To every forgiveness there is a condition. The plaster must be as wide as the sore. The fasting, the prayers, the humility must be equal to or greater than the sin. There must be a broken heart and a contrite spirit. There must be ‘sackcloth and ashes.’ There must be tears and genuine change of heart. There must be conviction of the sin, abandonment of the evil, confession of the error to properly constituted authorizes of the Lord … there must be a new consecration and devotion to the living of all the laws of God. In short, there must be an overcoming of self, of sin, and of the world,” (p. 353). d). True repentance does not allow for repeated sin but forsaking that sin; that is, if a sin must be forsaken again (a second, third, fourth time) then the sin by definition was never utterly forsaken in the first place. True repentance means not repeating the sin. Kimball quotes John 8:11, “… go, and sin no more,” D&C 82:7, “7 And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God,” and, D&C 58:43, “43 By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” Kimball notes, “In other words, it is not real repentance until one has abandoned the error of his way and started on a new path,” (p. 163). He continues, “Old sins return, says the Lord in his modern revelations. Many people either do not know this or they conveniently forget it … Each previously forgiven sin is added to the new one and the whole gets to be a heavy load. Thus when a man has made up his mind to change his life, there must be no turning back. Any reversal, even in a small degree, is greatly to his detriment,” (p. 169, 170). He insists, “Discontinuance of sin must be permanent. The will to do must be strong and kept strengthened,” (p. 176). Remember, “Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. HE would never require anything from his children which was not fro their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal,” (p. 209). Finally, “’Yes,’ I said, ‘but we are commanded to be supermen. Said the Lord, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matt. 5:48) We are gods in embryo, and the Lord demands perfection of us,’” (p. 286). Sum: If salvation necessarily requires human collaboration in keeping the commands of God, if those commandments are truly follow-able by humanity via their will, if one cannot be forgiven without repenting when one fails to keep a commandment, and if true repentance means forsaking sin and never returning, then this gospel crushes. Just reflect on your own life for a moment; I grantee you haven’t done this. The mere presence of just one “habitual” or “frequent” sin cancels out your repentance and places the whole of your sin back on you. Kimball notes that humanity has been given the possible condition (keep commands) with allowance of repentance once, then never to return. Yet, in human experience, this is impossible and places a burden of effort so high that is too heavy to carry. It seems to me that this is the very reason why Christ came to die for us, for alone he was perfect and alone he is our rescue. We couldn’t do it. III. Making it Personal If this is all correct, then how am I (and you?) doing with this understanding of the gospel? There seems to be only three options available in response: a). “I’m not doing what Kimball says” – in that case, you are not forgiven and lost in your sin. b). “I am doing what Kimball says: – this seem ludicrous given the sheer breadth of potential sins of omission and commission, and depth of our fallen state. Are you really free from forgetting tithing, missing meetings, breaking the Sabbath, failing in family prayer, breaking the Word of Wisdom, lust of the mind and eyes, cursing, serving in the church, angry outbursts, hatred and frustration with those that disagree with you, selfishness and pride? As the saying goes, no one is perfect except Christ. c). “I’m kind of doing what Kimball says” – this is a catchall category. Statements like, “I’m doing the best I can, “I’m trying,” etc. I get this answer more than those who deeply want to follow Christ. However, Kimball has a lot to say to this in his book, and none of it is sympathetic. i. I’m trying – Kimball says, “One Church member of my acquaintance said, as she drank her coffee: ‘The Lord knows my heart is right and that I have good intentions, and that I will someday get the strength to quit.’ But will one receive eternal life on the basis of his good intentions? Can one enter a country, receive a scholastic degree, and so on, on the strength of good intent unsupported by appropriate action? Samuel Johnson remarked that ‘hell is paved with good intentions.’ The Lord will not translate one’s good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must dot that for himself,” (p. 8). And, “Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin. To try with a weakness of attitude and effort is to assure failure in the face of Satan’s strong counteracting efforts. What is needed is resolute action. A story will perhaps illustrate this. An army officer called a solider to him and ordered him to take a message to another officer. The solider saluted and said, ‘I’ll try, sir! I’ll try!’ To this the officer responded: ‘I don’t what you tor try, I want you to deliver this message.’ The solider, somewhat embarrassed, now replied: ‘I’ll do the best I can, sir.’ At this the officer, now disgusted, rejoined with some vigor: ‘I don’t want you to try and I don’t want you do ‘do the best you can.’ I want you to deliver this message.’ Now the young solider, straightening to his full height, approached the mater magnificently, as he thought, when he saluted again and said: ‘I’ll do it or die, sir.’ To this the now irate officer responded: ‘I don’t want you to die, and I don’t want you merely to do the best you can, and I don’t want you to try. Now, the request is a reasonable one; the message is important; the distance is not far; you are able-bodied; you can do what I have ordered. Now get out of here and accomplish your mission,’” (p. 164). Finally, “But adults, who have gone through these learning periods, must determine what they will do, then proceed to do it. To ‘try’ is weak. To ‘do the best I can’ is not strong. We must always do better than we can,” (p. 164-65). ii. I can do it later in the afterlife – Kimball, “It is true that repentance is always worth while. But spirit world repentance cannot recompense for that which could and should have been done on earth,” (p. 315). He also cites Alma 34:32-35. iii. Baptism and membership cover me – Kimball notes, “Numerous members of the Church will be disappointed. All will fail of these blessings who fail to live worthy lives, even though the temple ordinances have been done for them,” (p. 246). Why is this? He continues, “Remember this: exaltation is available only to righteous members of the Church of Jesus Christ; only to those who accept the gospel; only to those who have their endowments in holy temples of God and have been sealed for eternity and who then continue to live righteously throughout their lives,” (246). His entire first chapter deals with this point of view, specifically pages 7-14. iv. God is gracious and will forgive me (despite what Kimball has said about this) – Kimball says, “The Lord’s program is unchangeable. His laws are immutable. They will not be modified. Your opinion or mine does not alter the laws. Many in the world, and even some in the Church, seem to think that eventually the Lord will be merciful and give them the unearned blessing. But the Lord cannot be merciful at the expense of justice,” (p. 249). And, “There are many people who seem to rely solely on the Lord’s mercy rather that on accomplishing their own repentance. One woman rather flippantly said, ‘The Lord knows my intents and that I’d like to give up my bad habits. He will understand and forgive me.’ But the scriptures will not bear this out. The Lord may temper justice with mercy, but he will never supplant it. Mercy can never replace justice. God is merciful, but he is also just,” (p. 358). Finally, “Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for asking. There must be works – many works – and an all-out, total surrender, with a great humility and a ‘broken heart and contrite spirit.’ It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when,” (p. 324-25). IV. Sum: So, now you know where I’m coming from. Maybe you feel crushed too from all of the works and requirements asked of you just to be saved. So, to sum, I ask, “Does the LDS crush your spirit?” Because I think there is a better understanding of salvation, and that is simply that Jesus paid for your sins on the cross because you couldn’t do it yourself. And that is a gift to you, and it is a gift that will transform your soul and make you want to follow Jesus like you, perhaps, you never have before. Sincerely, Tele
  2. Hi all, I need some advice I've been a member of the church for the last eight months . I have recently found my attention is seriously wavering in the gospel principles class. I studied theology at university and read through the gospel principle manual fully by myself . We have been blessed with a lot of new converts recently so we're going over the Beginning lessons mostly . I I keep zoning out during these lessons I have heard them several times before as I also teach young women . I am thinking of going to gospel doctrine and I think this will be more challenging and stimulating so this will help me to grow So this is where I want your experience guys what is normal in your words and how long will you in the principles class
  3. So it finally happened...I got asked to prepare a lesson plan and Power Point presentation on Mormonism. The lesson will be part of a three day conference on Christian religious group faith practices in correctional settings. The audience are all chaplains. So, these were the highlights: Introduction: What three words come to your mind when you think of Mormonism? I then ask if words like polygamy, homophobia etc. Come to mind. Then I ask if any have seen The Godmakers, or read Walter Martin's works on the faith (rhetorical questions). The point: The prevalence of anti-Mormon media is one reason that the term LDS is preferred these days. History/Beliefs: I mostly quote from to briefly highlight Joseph Smith's founding of the church, the claim to living prophets, and the Great Apostasy/Restoration. I then use to briefly cover the belief in the possibility of godhood, the literal nature of our being children of God, and the understanding that we have an eternal intelligence. I conclude by pointing out that there are no dietary restrictions (other than the WoW), and the need to accommodate sacred garments. It's so hard to summarize a faith group in 15 slides and 20-minutes. Hope I did y'all justice.
  4. In my ward, a young man who was excommunicated because of homosexuality and apostasy Now he calls the members, and tells them that the church is a lie. He has already called me. Last night he stood before my door, with a young man, holding hands and kissing. For me a provocation. I asked him to leave, but he gave me a book, written by an evangelical priest (Rüdiger Hauth), who writes about what is going on in the temple. I did not want the book, and this morning I found it in the mailbox! I took the book to my apartment and thrown it into the trash can. The dog (I have a German shepherd and a Poodle), has brought out the book from the trash can, and has given me (the shepherd). I have three questions: How should I deal with this former member? Should I read the book or send it back to him (he was my home teacher)? . Can you pray for me so that I am strong enough to make the right decision? I thank you all!
  5. I am 20 years old and married. My sister has a baby and her and her fiance live with my parents, as do me and my husband because we are going through a move. My husband wants kids so badly and he is so good with them but I have absolutely no desire. No matter how cute or sweet a baby or kid is, I still can only get myself to be around them for a short time. Everyone is pressuring me saying I have to have kids and I feel absolutely guilty that I want nothing to do with them. I am repulsed by them and I honestly think I would be a bad mom. I think most kids are spoiled little brats and when I see my sister let my 1 year old niece get away with everything, it angers me even more. I want to want kids for my husband but I have absolutely no desire and I don't know what to do. I have never had the urge to have kids and I have never liked babysitting since I was of age to and I avoided babies like the plague. I don't know what to do, I don't think I will ever change my mind...
  6. Let me start of by pointing out I didn't title this post "politics and religion", although this discussion will certainly have political implications. I'm also not sure how to word my question, so please try not to get hung up on the wording I use, because I'm sure it could be asked in a better way. What can and should government do to "promote" The Gospel of Jesus Christ? I don't think promote is the best word to use. Let me be a bit more specific, I'm not asking if government should advertise/publicize the gospel. I'm also not sure the other definitions of promote quite fit either, but to "further the progress of" is the closest to what I'm trying to ask. By government, I don't mean any specific government, I mean to speak more generally. But I want to stay in the context of the realities of the world today. So obviously the governments we currently live in will affect the discussion. I'm hoping to keep this as specific and direct as possible. I think things that have an indirect affect are far too numerous and subjective. I think it would be helpful to list some gospel principles. Below are listed (alphabetically) some I think "might" apply to this discussion. Agency Charity (Pure Love of Christ, not giving to those in need) Forgiveness Fasting Faith Hope Law of Chastity Obedience Prayer Repentance Sacrifice Service (giving love, time, talent and or money to those in need) Tithing I specifically left off items that I feel certain government can't and or shouldn't be involved with in any way, such as baptism or The Gift of the Holy Ghost. Of course there are probably some on that list that shouldn't be, and most likely I missed some too. Finally I want to expose my motive for this post. I feel I may be too confident that my political opinions are correct, and think this could be a way to challenge that and learn something. At the very least I would like to be more able to make the case for my political opinions being consistent with the gospel in an intelligent and respectful way. Chris W
  7. A recent study says church-going extends life by five months. That’s nice. Forgiveness of sins, entry into heaven, escape from hell, and eternal life with my Creator—that’s love realized! Thank you, Jesus!
  8. Hi everyone, I have been married for almost 5 years and have no children. I was raised in the gospel and my husband is a return missionary who was also raised in the church. My husband recently came out to me with the his belief that there is no God. He has struggled for the last few years, with the catalyst (I believe) being his younger brother coming out as gay and leaving the church. My husband also suffers from mild depression and I think that this trial has made it harder for him to feel the spirit. While he hasn't stopped wearing his garments yet, I know that is the next step for him. I still have a testimony and am feeling heart broken. I can see all the things that I wanted for our lives getting flushed down the toilet. I am afraid to have kids with him and kids are something that I desperately want. He has changed so much since we got married I am terrified of how much more he could change in the next 5 years. I just feel so discouraged and sad. It seems that when it rains it pours because I have recently seen many LDS couples around me filing for divorce. We are looking into meeting with an LDS counselor. I would greatly appreciate any advice, support, and prayers during this time because I am feeling so lost and scared. Sincerely, J
  9. "FULFILLING OUR DUTY TO GOD" Below are some important topics pertaining to the church. These topics are from the book, "For the Strength of Youth." Fulfilling Our Duty to God ------------------------------------- *AGENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY Your Heavenly Father has given you agency, the ability to choose right from wrong and to act for yourself. You have been given the Holy Ghost to help you know good from evil. While you are here on earth, you are being proven to see if you will use your agency to show your love for God by keeping His commandments. While you are free to choose for yourself, you are not free to choose the consequences of your actions. When you make a choice, you will receive the consequences of that choice. The consequences may not be Immediate, but they will always follow, for good or bad. Wrong choices delay your progression and lead to heartache and misery. Right choices lead to happiness and eternal life. That is why it is so important for you to choose what is right throughout your life. You are responsible for the choices you make. You should not blame your circumstances, your family, or your friends if you choose to disobey God's commandments. You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances. You are also responsible for developing the abilities and talents Heavenly Father has given you. You are accountable to Him for what you do with your abilities and how you spend your time. Do not idle away your time. Be willing to work hard. Choose to do many good things of your own free will. *GRATITUDE The Lord wants you to have a spirit of gratitude in all you do and say. Live with a spirit of thanksgiving and you will have greater happiness and satisfaction in life. Even in your most difficult times, you can find much to be grateful for. Doing so will strengthen and bless you. In your prayers, before you ask for blessings, pour out your heart to God in thanks for the blessings you have already received. Thank Him for your family, for friends and loved ones, for leaders and teachers, for the gospel, and for His Son, Jesus Christ. You can also express gratitude to the Lord by the way you live. When you keep His commandments and serve others, you show that you love Him and are grateful to Him. Express appreciation to everyone who helps you in any way. *FAMILY Being apart of a family is a great blessing. Your family can provide you with companionship and happiness, help you learn correct principles in a loving atmosphere, and help you prepare for eternal life. Not all families are the same, but each is important in Heavenly Father's plan. Do your part to build a happy home. Be cheerful, helpful, and considerate of others. Many problems in the home are created because family members speak and act selfishly or unkindly. Concern yourself with the needs of other family members. Seek to be a peacemaker rather than to tease, fight, and quarrel. Remember that the family is the most sacred unit of the church. Honor your parents by showing love and respect for them and by being obedient. Be willing to help in the home with chores that need to be done. Participate in family activities and traditions, including family prayer, family home evenings, and family scripture reading. These traditions strengthen and unify families. Set a good example for other family members. Strengthen your relationship with your brothers and sisters. They can become your closest friends. Support them in their interests and help them with problems they may be facing. *DRESS AND APPEARANCE Your body is God's sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others and influence the way you and others act. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and can exercise a good influence on those around you. Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval and that modesty is important only when it is convenient. Immodest clothing includes short shorts and skirts, tight clothing, shirts that do not cover the stomach, and other revealing attire. Young women should wear clothing that covers the shoulders and avoid clothing that is low-cut in the front or the back or revealing in any other manner. Young men should also maintain modesty in their appearance. All should avoid extremes in clothing, appearance, and hairstyle. Always be neat and clean and avoid being sloppy or inappropriately casual in dress, grooming, and manners. Ask yourself, "Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord's presence?" Someday you will receive your endowment in the temple. Your dress and behavior should help you prepare for that sacred time. Do not disfigure yourself with tattoos or body piercings. If girls or women desire to have their ears pierced, they are encouraged to wear only one pair of modest earrings. Show respect for the Lord and for yourself by dressing appropriately for Church meetings and activities, whether on Sunday or during the week. If you are not sure what is appropriate, ask your parents or leaders for help. *DATING In cultures where dating and courtship is acceptable, dating can help you find lasting friendships and eventually find an eternal companion. Date only those who have high standards and in whose company you can maintain your standards. A young man and a young women on a date are responsible to help each other maintain their standards and to protect each other's honor and virtue. You must honor the sanctity of the priesthood and of womanhood. Do not date until you are at least 16 years old. Dating before then can lead to immortality, limit the number of other young you can meet, and deprive you of experiences that will help you choose an eternal partner. Not all teenagers need to date or even want to. Many young people do not date during their teen years because they are not yet interested, do not have opportunities, or simply want to delay forming serious relationships. However, good friendships can and should be developed at every age. When you begin dating, go in groups or on double dates. Avoid going on frequent dates with the same person. Make sure your parents meet those you date. You may want to invite your dates to activities with your family. Plan dating activities that are positive and inexpensive and that will help you get to know each other. Do things that will help you and your companions maintain your self-respect and remain close to the Spirit of the Lord. *SEXUAL PURITY Physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred. It is ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love between husband and wife. God has commanded that sexual intimacy be reserved for marriage. When you obey God's commandment to be sexually pure, you prepare yourself to make and keep sacred covenants in the temple. You prepare yourself to build a strong marriage and to bring children into the world as part of a loving family. You protect yourself from the emotional damage that always comes from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of a marriage. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage. Satan may tempt you to rationalize that sexual intimacy before marriage is acceptable when two people are in love. That is not true. In God's sight, sexual sins are extremely serious because they defile the power God has given us to create life. The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost. Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must only be expressed in marriage. Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person's body,with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. In cultures where dating or courtship is acceptable, always treat your date with respect, never as an object to be used for your lustful desires. Stay in areas of safety where you can easily control your physical desires. Do not participate in talk or activities that arose sexual feelings. *REPENTANCE The savior gave His life for us and suffered for our sins. This great sacrifice is called the Atonement. Through the Atonement, you can receive forgiveness and be cleansed from your sins when you repent. When you do what is necessary to receive forgiveness, you will know for yourself the power of the Atonement and the love God has for you. You will feel the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which will bring you great strength. Satan wants you to think that you cannot repent, but that is absolutely not true. The Savior has promised you forgiveness if you will do what is required. The sooner you repent, the sooner you will find the blessings that come from forgiveness. Some people knowingly break God's commandments, expecting to repent before they go to the temple or serve a mission. Such deliberate sin mocks the Savior's Atonement and invites Satan to influence your life. Repentance for such behavior is difficult and can take a long time. If you sin this way, you may lose years of blessings and spiritual guidance. You may become trapped in the sinful behavior, making it difficult to find your way back. You always need to confess your sins to the Lord. You should also confess your sins to those you have wronged. If you have committed serious sin,such as immortality, you need to confess them to your bishop. *HONESTY Be honest with yourself, others, and the Lord. When you are honest in every way,you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others. You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect. When you are honest, you will be trusted by the Lord and by those around you. Dishonesty hurts you and usually hurts others as well. When you lie,steal,shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and become less able to do good things. Be honest in your job, giving a full amount of work for your pay. Don't rationalize that wrong is right, even though many people around you may think there is no harm in being dishonest. Being honed requires courage and commitment to do what you know is right. *TITHES AND OFFERINGS The law of tithing is an important commandment that you should obey throughout your life. A tithe is one-tenth of your income. Paying tithing shows your gratitude for all that God has given you. It is a way to help build God's kingdom on earth. Tithing is used to build temples and meeting houses, translate and publish the scriptures, provide Church materials to members, do missionary work, perform temple and family history work, and support seminaries and institutes. Your attitude is important in paying tithing. Pay it because you love the Lord and have faith in Him. Pay it willingly with a thankful heart. Pay it first,even when you think you don't have enough money to meet your other needs. Doing so will help you overcome selfishness and be more receptive to the Spirit. At the end of each year, schedule a time for tithing settlement with your bishop. This is a meeting in which you review your contribution records and declare whether you have paid a full tithe. Obey the law of the fast by fasting once each month (if health permits), usually on the first Sunday of the month. A proper fast day observance includes not eating or drinking to help care for those in need. Begin and end your fast with prayer, asking for special help with a specific need. *PHYSICAL HEALTH The Lord has commanded you to take good care of your body. To do this,observe the Word of Wisdom, found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Eat nutritious food,exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. When you do all these things, you remain free from harmful additions and have control over your life. You gain the blessings of a healthy body,an alert mind,and the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Never use tobacco products, such as cigarettes, snuff,chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipe tobacco. They are very addictive and will damage your body and shorten your life. Also, do not drink coffee or tea,for these are addictive and harmful. Any form of alcohol is harmful to your body and spirit. Being under the influence of alcohol weakens your judgement and self-control and could lead you to break the law of chastity or other commandments. Drinking can lead to alcoholism, which destroys individuals and families. Any drug,chemical, or dangerous practice that is used to produce a sensation or "high" can destroy your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. These include hard drugs,prescription or over-the-counter medications that are abused, and household chemicals. Never let Satan or others lead you to think that breaking the Word of Wisdom Wil make you happier or more attractive. *GO FORWARD WITH FAITH The standards presented in this article (pamphlet) will help you make correct choices. Review them often and ask yourself, "Am I living the way the Lord wants me to live?" To help you become all that the Lord wants you to become, get on your knees each day and express to Him the desires of your heart. He is the source of all wisdom, and you need His help. He will hear and answer you. Read the scriptures daily. They are a powerful strength to your testimony. Remember and keep the covenants you made when you were baptized and that you renew each week when you partake of the sacrament. You young men should keep the covenants you made when you received the priesthood. Keeping these covenants now will help you prepare for the temple covenants you will make in the future. Be true to the Lord and to His Church in all circumstances. The authorities of the Church will lead you in paths of happiness. Be grateful for your membership in God's great kingdom. Be humble and willing to listen to the whisperings of the Spirit. Place the wisdom of the Lord above your own wisdom. Above are some of the most important principles and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This article was designed to teach new-comers the central teachings and beliefs of the church as well as the lifestyle and cultural backgrounds. It should also benefit members by strengthening their faith and reminding everyone to read the scriptures daily and to be strong as we endure to the end. FOR THE STRENGTH OF YOUTH Fulfilling Our Duty to God Scriptures related to the topics at hand: AGENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY "Wherefore,men...are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men,or to choose captivity and death", 2 Nephi 2:27). (Matthew 25:14-29) GRATITUDE ("He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious", D&C 78:19). (Luke 17:12-19) FAMILY ("Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith,prayer,repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work,and wholesome recreational activities" ("The Family:A Proclamation to the World"). Also look up: (Ephesians 6:1-3) DRESS AND APPEARANCE ("Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?...The temple of God is holy,which temple ye are" 1Corinthians 3:16-17.) (Alma 1:27) DATING ("The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. But this very attraction becomes as a powder keg unless it is kept under control. is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating" -President Gordon B. Hinckley (2 Corinthians 6:14) SEXUAL PURITY ("The sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and women, lawfully wedded as husband and wife")- The Family: A Proclamation to the World (Genesis 39:1-12);(D&C 38:42) REPENTANCE ("He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more")-D&C 58:42 (Alma 36:6-24) HONESTY ("Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness")-- (Exodus 20:15-16) (Alma 27:27) TITHES AND OFFERINGS ("Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, . . .and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the Windows of heaven,and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it") -- (Malachi 3:10;3Nephi 24:10) (D&C 119:3-4) PHYSICAL HEALTH ("All saints who remember to keep and do these sayings. . .shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;and shall run and not be weary,and shall walk and not faint")--- (D&C 89:18-20) (Daniel 1:3-20) SERVICE TO OTHERS ("By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another")--- (John 13:35) (Luke 10:25-37) Hope everyone enjoys this article. Took me a full 4.5 hours to complete!!! Enjoy!!!!! ------------------------------------- ***THE END*****
  10. Hello - my name is Greg Batty and I've been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all my life. My wife, Ann, and I have two pretty amazing children who are actually adults now. That's a hard one to wrap our heads around. Just like you, we have had a lot of adventures that we have loved, as well as rough times we are glad to have weathered. Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have been able to learn some pretty amazing lessons from all the experiences that combine to make up our personal journey. Because of the Atonement, we have been able to start again when we blew it. Because we know God as our Father, the Savior as our Brother, and the undeniable truth of their teachings, we want to share some of our lessons learned in case it could help to make your journey just a little better. Many of our thoughts and new understandings are on our site at Some of the things we've been working through are some intense neurological issues, my struggle with being Bipolar, and not allowing my same-sex attraction to cause any pain in our family. We've certainly got a lot to still learn, but I can honestly say that in spite of all our problems, we are incredibly happy. Isn't that what the gospel is all about?
  11. well then... that really helped my decision to not stay
  12. How do you live the Gospel in your daily lives? Read the scriptures, pray, service etc... But really from family life, to your community, to repentance, how do you put these things into practice? What are some of the specifics you do? How does this make the lives around you better? Does it change your life? When and how do these things help you become converted unto Christ? When did you feel it yourself? Do you ever feel that sometimes you lose a sense of perspective and balance and need to reorient yourselves? We each have life's roads to travel and I think sharing a bits of wisdom from our travels would be an uplifting thing. Right now I'm not sure how I put these things into practice, and I think I could particularly do better in my family life and repentance. In the community, taking part in community service is great! From helping with events, parades, festivals, fund raising for schools, serving on school boards, musical performances, volunteering for scouting events, gasp! jury duty. I personally love these types of things, and the connections I form. One of the more recent things I have done was volunteer at a scout camp for a day. It was an absolute joy, of course it was also hard work. I think the common goals shared and then the hard work helps bring people together in a way that wouldn't happen otherwise. There is value in both sides I think, having fun in an event and bringing an event to others! What do you think?
  13. I’ve talked to many Mormons over the past few years, but I’ve always been skeptical of their claims, including the doctrine of testing a faith or religion with prayer. I was recently talking to a few missionaries and they encouraged me to read Alma 32 to help understand the doctrine. Verses 27-43 helped explain the doctrine, but they also raised more questions. Three of the verses, 27, 33 and 36, describe planting and watering the seed as an experiment. If this is a valid experiment and a reliable way to test if something is true or not, couldn’t it be used to test similar doctrines or claims of truth? Let’s say, hypothetically, that a Mormon used the model of testing truth described in Alma 32 and Moroni 10 to test the Protestant claim that the true Gospel was never lost and never needed to be restored and they receive what sounds like a “No” response. What do they do next? What does Alma say we should do if a seed doesn’t grow? Alma 32 38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out. 39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof. So if a seed doesn’t grow, it’s because the person praying didn’t nourish it and their ground is barren. Moroni 10 isn't as clear as Alma 32, but the same implication is there. If someone doesn’t get a “Yes” response to the prayer, it’s because they didn’t have a sincere heart, real intent and faith in Christ. So how does the Mormon get an answer about the Protestant claim? It sounds like this model is saying they should keep praying about it with a sincere heart, real intent and faith in Christ. Is this really a reliable experiment and model for testing truth? What kind of experiments predicts the result before you even start and then blames you if you get any other result? Have you applied these verses to the RLDS church or any other LDS splinter group? If it’s a valid way to support the LDS church, can’t it be applied to those other groups? If you have applied it to those groups, what response did you receive?
  14. How did you decide for yourself that the LDS church was true? I've had trouble believing my whole life, and I'm 20, so there is a lot of pressure from people around me to go on a mission. This is a song I wrote to my grandmother, whom I always talked to about the church. Share your thoughts and let me know your story! She
  15. I was listening to the introduction to the Book of Mormon while driving yesterday. The first paragraph states: "The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel." There are several other places where the Book of Mormon is indicated to contain the fullness of the gospel as well. (D&C 20:9, for example) So the thought I had, which I felt might be interesting to discuss, was: If the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel, where does that leave things that are not in the Book of Mormon? Take, for example, Eternal Marriage. Nothing in the Book of Mormon, right? But would it be accurate to say that eternal marriage is not part of the gospel? Hardly. I know there are reasonable ideas to be had concerning this. I have a few. I also haven't done any level of research into it. Yet. But I thought it would be interesting to pose the question without any conjecturing to begin with. Just to add to the conversation: The version I have on mp3 (which I presume is pre-2013 changes) is slightly different (see bolded): "The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel."
  16. Hey All, New member here, first post. I was married for 18 years, and I've been divorced almost five now. I'm finding that as more time goes by, I am starting to feel somewhat disconnected to the gospel. I still have a strong testimony and have continued to attend church regularly, but I don't know how else to explain it except I'm feeling disconnected to some degree. I know my eternal salvation is up to me and I alone am responsible for it, but I recognize I'm not as motivated as I was when I was with a spouse and working toward an eternal partnership. I've dated quite a bit and had one relationship that lasted a year, but there is so much pain, fear, and hurt out there that I haven't been able to find someone that is in the same place I am, where the connection is there for both, and they are ready to move forward with a relationship. Yes, I can be alone. Yes, I am happy. But there is nothing to prove about either one of those things. I miss having someone to lift me up when I'm faltering and my wanting to be my better self so I can do the same for them. Someone to laugh with, share my day with, and experience the gospel with. My life experiences with my divorce and after, have just produced a kind of shift that is difficult to even explain. I have three great kids, but my two oldest are off two school now, and that may have much to do with my growing restlessness. It is what it is. I'm generally a glass half full kind of gal, and I'm not one to sit on my pity pot very often, so this is why I'm more concerned about how I'm feeling. For me, it doesn't get easier the longer I'm without a companion, it is seeming to get harder. If any of this makes sense, then fabulous :) I"m not sure I have a question so much as wondering how others have dealt with this kind of situation.
  17. Hello, I am Günter and live in Berlin, Germany. I am a member of the church since 1987 and am married and father from three wonderful children. I love the Gospel and the church. And I know that God lives and Joseph Smith was his prophet; and that Thomas Monson is the mouthpiece of God in our time. I know, that the Book of Mormon is true. And, that all of us are blessed if we live after the Gospel.
  18. So I have been friends with this girl for a while now. Her name is Sarah, and in the months that we have known each other, we have become really close friends and I have developed great love and trust in her. I really respect her especially for her morals that are extremely similar to the church. She is a non-member and we have had many discussions about the gospel. I've told her about the plan of salvation and resurrection. She asked me if it bothers me that she isn't really into religion and stuff and it really doesn't bother me. I just told her that I would love nothing more than to share my happiness with her. She really respected that. I really want to share the gospel with her, but I definitely don't want to shove it down here throat. I just want to know what I can do besides carry on with our friendship. When is it a good time to give her a book of mormon. I love her a lot and I really want to share the gospel with her. She has such great potential. What can I do?
  19. Guest

    I need Help

    Hi, My name is Elder Darion Bevan. I am a missionary serving in the California Santa Rosa Mission. I know that there are a couple other missionaries on this site that have posted stuff. I am here to re-inforce what they have said, this is a new program of the church in its very early stages. So far it has been a very big success, the word of the lord is spreading rapidly through it, to those who might not have ever been able to here. My simple request is that anyone and everyone would do all they can to help us and get this info spread. Come check out our websites and our blogs and more importantly invite your friends. A really big thing that would help is to become a follower to my blog. I just created it and don't have many followers and the more I have the more visible my blog would be to the world. so please, missionary work is nothing without you members, even on the internet. My blog Moderator edit: It has been mentioned that it is against site rules to include links to blogs within the body of your posts. You can include the link in your signature if you wish.
  20. Hello all! I have some questions about some doctrinal points my dad and I have been discussing lately. I would appreciate some expert answers or links to expert answers. The questions are as follows: Why did the old testament god ask Joshua and the israelites to kill everybody innocent or not? Why did the soldiers have to cleanse and isolate themselves for awhile after killing people? Was that a form of repentance? If so, why did they have to repent if God told them to do it in the first place? When an alcoholic or other such addict dies, can he posses a human body in attempts to regain the feeling of being under the influence of thier addiction? Are the spirits in prison, paradise, and the 1/3 of the hosts of heaven cast out with satan, mingling in the spirit world? If so, why? What rules are there in the spirit world, if any, that might impede the spirits from possessing, haunting, or interacting with the physical world? When people say that they have felt a cold hand on their body, is that a spirit actually touching them, a physical reaction due to your spirit trying to connect with the spirit world, or is this all just phooey? Again if any of you would like to answer these questions please tell me how you got the answer (like a talk reference or LDS book/manual reference)? Here is another: Can anybody tell me who gave a talk about something to do with molecules and the science of miracles (It had something to do with how Christ walked on water by in a sense talking to the molecules of the water and that those molecules responded because they recognized the authority of the voice. There were other examples of miracles in this manner too)? Thank you all :) dashb78
  21. about January 16, 1838 Norton Township, Ohio. Fleeing mob violence in Ohio, Joseph Smith traveled to Dublin, Indiana, where he tarried nine days. He was then given $300 from the sale of Brother Nathan Tomlinson’s farm, which allowed him to continue his journey. Sources: History of the Church 3:2–3 January 16, 1834 Chardon, Ohio. Joseph Smith visited his sister Catherine’s husband, Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury, and spent the night. Sources: History of the Church 2:4 January 16, 1839 Liberty, Missouri. Joseph Smith wrote a letter to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young from Liberty Jail. Sources: Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, 423–25 January 16, 1841 Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith taught that men have power to resist the devil; he explained the consequences of murder; and he spoke on Adam, the priesthood, and several parables from the New Testament. Sources: Jan Shipps and John Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 516–17 January 16, 1844 Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith attended a city council meeting and forgave Francis M. Higbee for writing a slanderous letter on January 10. Sources: History of the Church 6:178
  22. (Emphasis added) "During the days of Joseph's youth, the region around Palmyra became embroiled in religious fervor. Preachers and ministers of every sect fervently cried, 'Lo, here!' and others, 'Lo, there!' Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist. 'In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions,' Joseph Smith wrote: 'I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?' (Joseph Smith--History 1:10; see also v. 5). "This is a universal question that seekers of religious truth ask. This is the question investigators will ask of themselves and of our missionaries. In the heart of one who is sincerely seeking the truth, this question is the beginning of spiritual knowledge. "After Joseph offered a humble prayer for guidance in the woods near his home, he said: 'I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. " '. . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!' (Joseph Smith--History 1:16-17). "From that day forward, Joseph Smith learned line upon line. He turned himself to diligent study of God's word, but he did more than that; he sought knowledge and inspiration from God Himself. Joseph communed with angels. He spoke with the great and righteous personalities of ancient times. President John Taylor (1808-87) said that Joseph Smith seemed to be as familiar with these ancient prophets and patriarchs as we are with one another. Abraham, John, Adam, Peter--Joseph knew them as you know your good friends." (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "The Restoration and Faith," Ensign, Jan. 2006, 35) * To restore: to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored once again; His church has been restablished as it had been established by the Lord Himself, after the same pattern: Prophets, Apostles, revelation, etc,...