Friday, 25 September 2009

The Mormon God’s Dysfunctional Family

You know those moments when you look at something you’ve looked at a thousand times before and suddenly see something new?

I was looking at a blog I found via the Google Blog Alerts service and it told the familiar story of the Mormon “Plan of Salvation”; you can read it here. There really was nothing surprising until I started thinking about what people might think if a family they knew conducted themselves the way the Mormon “family of God” do in this story.

People from abusive backgrounds have problems enough with the idea of God as a Father but this story would put anyone off the idea forever! As I recount this story think about what the typical dad would do as his kids are growing up and compare it with this “exalted man.”

According to Mormonism “God created our spirits” and we lived with him in a pre-mortal existence (Mormons say “pre-existence” but it is not possible to pre-exist, i.e. to exist before you exist. The noun “existence” has to be have the prefix “pre” otherwise the word makes no sense whatsoever).

Mormons traditionally have believed that more than “creation” went on back in the pre-mortal existence and have a hymn that celebrates the existence of a heavenly mother. The picture of the nuclear family unit, then, is complete. There he is, with his wife and children, “literally our loving Father in heaven”. Well, let’s see if that is true.

In heaven we were taught the “gospel” and decided whether we were going to be obedient or rebellious – Now I am a dad and I can tell you that whether my children were going to be obedient or rebellious was never a great priority with me. It seemed to be more important to know whether they learned to love, cared about others and felt secure and appreciated in the family. I didn’t give them a “gospel” to test them but told them the gospel to bless them. After all, they are my children and not my cattle.

In order to progress and grow further it was necessary that we left our heavenly home and came into the great wide world. That sounds familiar enough. All my children have left home to make their way in the world. But what would you think of me if I hid from them and only communicated with them through third parties and ancient texts, or agents I sent out to tell them “your dad told me to tell you…”

But that is what the Mormon God does. He tells his family his plan and when some of them don’t like it he just throws them out and makes them pariah’s! The rest are sent out into the world and, here’s the weird part, he makes them forget him and then sends messengers to teach them all over again who he is even though they knew in the first place!

He has them pass on a formula for finding out who their dad is and what he wants (Js.1:5) and gives them a list of commandments to follow so they can go back to him. That’s like your son or daughter arriving at university and looking blank when someone asks, “So what does your dad do?” Would you want to go back after being treated like that?

Actually, the university analogy is popular with Mormons, this life being a learning experience, the Mormon Church being a sort of tertiary college and the temple being a university. First student asks, “So what are you studying at university?” Mormon replies, “I came to find out who my dad is.”

Finally, this dad stands at his front door with a clipboard, tick box and pen, checking to see, on their return from university, if they come up to his exacting standards, have straight A’s etc. before he allows them back into the house where they were “born”. Can you imagine an earthly dad standing at the door and asking his children, “Can I see your temple recommend?”

Now compare this with the Christian gospel.

In the beginning God created everything, including man (Gen.1&2) We are not “the literal offspring of God” but creatures of God’s making, created in His image and to be stewards of His creation, but created nevertheless. There is no pre-mortal existence, only mortality, where we live, and eternity, where God dwells.

Mankind rebelled against God by simply but tragically choosing to put man’s will above God’s, thus losing the role of steward over creation and bringing creation crashing down in ignominy with him. From the beginning God has promised and worked for the redemption of man and creation and every act of God is bent to this purpose so that God may have his will and receive the glory due his name. The condition we now find ourselves in and the work of God to effect our rescue are described in Paul’s letter to the Romans:

Ro.3:10 - There is no-one righteous, no matter how good we are or how hard we try.

Ro3:23 - All have sinned and fallen short. It is impossible for us to measure up to God's standard.

Ro.5:12 - Death came to all men, because all sinned. It is our nature to sin.

Ro.5:8 - Because of God's love for us, he sent Christ to die for us - while we were still sinners, not because we had done anything to earn it.

Ro.6:23 - The wages of sin is death - wages are what you earn as a result of what you do. The gift of God is eternal life - you do not earn a gift, or deserve it. God gives the gift because He loves us. We do not need to work for it, only accept it.

Ro.10:13 - Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, regardless of who they are or what they have done. You only have to call.

Ro.10:9,10 - True, heart-felt confession of faith in Jesus is what it takes to be saved, not works.

There is no exam to find your grades, no test to see if you will be obedient or rebellious, only the simple yet profound question of whether we have trusted in Jesus and the finished work of the Cross.

23 comments:

Seth R. said...

Mike, if God is really perfect, wouldn't rebellion against him - by definition - equate with a bad state of affairs for his kids?

I don't think your analogy to yourself as a dad really works here.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

Of course, rebellion against God equates as with bad state of affairs for his kids but your comment begs the question.

As a dad my children have rebelled against me over the years, I can think of one especially hurtful series of decisions and events that broke my heart. Nevertheless, as a Christian, I responded with grace and maintained that relationship as best I could, never closing my door, turning my back, or otherwise leaving any of my children to struggle alone. The outcome has been a steady restoration of relationship and a growing and maturing to be admired even if at such great cost.

Now, if I, being a sinner, know how to give good things to my children and show them grace, how much more does God know how to give good things to his children? (Mt.7:11) The picture of God as the Father of the Prodigal Son (Lk.15:11-32) is more Scriptural.

The point, of course, is that the the parallel with earthly fathers implied by the unbiblical claim that "God is literally our loving Father in heaven" is what makes my comparison possible.

In the Bible account the whole business of alienation from God results directly from sin and rebellion while the Mormon picture is of a Father who, for no conceivable reason that I can see, continuously tests his children's loyalty, even to the point of sending them into the world (which is very reasonable) and hiding from them to test how much they care and how hard they will try to obey him 'by faith'.

The Mormon God appears to be continuously hiding and testing his children, even before they have done anything to deserve having him withdraw his goodwill, while the God of the Bible has chased his children from Creation to this present day in order to win them back. Consider the two account side-by-side and the contrast is stark. And that is why I am a Christian, not because I strived to win my way back into his favour but because he gave the best that heaven had to win me back.

Seth R. said...

Mike, the implication of your words is that God will force people into heaven even if they ultimately don't want to be there.

This is the problem with extremist Protestant notions of "grace-alone." It utterly removes any human element to our relationship with God, makes it entirely a one-way affair, and results in a rather pointless and circular cosmology.

It is impossible to even have a relationship at all with a grace-alone God.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

I think you miss my point. I am not suggesting that there should be no consequences to people's sin, or that those who choose to "reign in hell" should be compelled to "serve in heaven" (to use the old Hell's Angel's battle cry). My point is about relationship as seen from the Mormon perspective and the Christian.

You have used the word "relationship" twice and yet fail to see that it is the Mormon view of man's relationship with God that makes this picture of a dysfunctional family possible.

You are arguing from two mutually exclusive points of view and conflating them to make your point. Let me explain.

My problem is not that God should punish the disobedient. It is, rather, that the relationship of man and God in Mormonism is that of "literal" father and child, and the father, with no sign of rebellion from the child, sends the child into the world and then hides "to test their faith". Every father wishes to see their child's mettle tested but he usually wants to be there when it happens. If Mormonism insists on such a literal father/child relationship then one would expect this same attitude from God to his "literal" children.

Now I agree that faith isn't faith until it is tested but where the Bible makes clear that man placed himself into that testing situation by his rebellion Mormonism shows God putting his children, undeservedly, into a situation of testing before the fall.

The Mormon view of the fall is positive, i.e. that man "fell upwards toward the goal". So whichever way you look at it man, according to Mormonism, is where he is, not because he disobeyed God, but because he obeyed him. God sent him out into the world and man went. Man "fell that men might be", making the wiser choice. Yet the Mormon God continues to hide and test his children.

Any discussion about "grace alone" cannot be entered into where there seems little call for grace since man obeyed God and sought the greater good to follow God's plan. If anything is free of real choice it is Mormonism because, even when man fulfils the Mormon God's will, he can't do right.

The nature of grace is that it is undeserved but in the Mormon picture Adam deserves more than he is getting since his dad threw him out, moved house so he couldn't find his way back, put him in an impossible situation and forced him to choose "transgression" - "that men might be" and still isn't satisfied.

Seth R. said...

Aren't you forgetting that under Mormon cosmology, we all CHOSE to come to this earth under our current conditions?

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

I haven't forgotten at all but your comment rather works against you. Consider where "here" is and what it was that created the "conditions" under which we live according to the Bible.

The parable of the Prodigal tells the story of two sons, one of whom insists on getting his inheritance against his father's better judgement and intentions, and then goes out into the world and squanders it on fast living.

The Mormon story tells of a son who was sent out into the world with his father's blessing to gain a body and be tested.

The parable tells how the son, finding himself in straightened circumstances, remembered his father's house, realised how foolish he had been and determined to return.

The Mormon story tells how God is anxious that his children forget their life with him so that they may be tested to see how faithful they would be to him.

This sounds suspiciously like the folly of Shakespeare's King Lear who promised the greatest portion of his empire to the one of his three daughters who loved him most.

The parable tells how the father was clearly looking anxiously for his lost son's return and, "while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him."

In the Mormon story, far from watching anxiously for his wayward children's return, God is ticking check boxes to see if he will let them back in his presence.

It is not a question of whether you are impressed with the Mormon system but whether the Mormon system accords with what God has said in His Word.

Mormonism wants to have all the trappings of Christianity as represented by words like sin, rebellion, judgement, etc. but tells an entirely different story to the Bible to explain those terms.

Mormonism doesn't add up because if a person "chooses to come here" and with his father's blessing he has not sinned. If God's plan is that "men should be" only through a "transgression", which in Mormonism is not the same as sin but in my dictionary is, then man can hardly be said to have rebelled and God can hardly judge.

Perhaps the way to understand this is to allow the Bible to speak for itself instead of placing a matrix of Mormonism over it and allowing that to tell you what it says.

Seth R. said...

Guess it depends which parables you like Mike.

I happen to like the Parable of the Talents.

How about you?

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

Only a Mormon would pick and choose which parables best fit his preconceptions :)

I regard every parable as of equal worth and I do not see how the parable of the talents lends weight to your argument.

Christians have always believed, because the Bible teaches it, that believers are required to be productive and fruitful. The only reason Mormons think we don't believe this is because the Mormon Church has taught them the lie that we believe we have our ticket to heaven and can't be bothered with all that obedience business. Never was there so heinous a misrepresentation of what Christians believe than this.

The difference is that, while Christians bear fruit by abiding in the vine (John 15), Mormons are cut adrift to jump through hoops to prove they love their dad, King Lear.

Comparing the picture in the paarble of the Lost Son with the Mormon picture there is a stark contrast and it cannot be denied.

I would be much more interested in how you reconcile the Mormon message with this parable than whether you can come up with some passage that appears to justify the erroneous Mormon teaching that "we are saved by grace after all we can do", not like those lazy Christians.

Seth R. said...

I think that people often misread 2 Nephi 25:23.

They read it as a call to do everything that is humanly possible for you to do. Of course we know that no flawed human being ever really does "all they can do." So what is going on here?

First off, I think that the wording of the verse is grammatically awkward and it's possible that it was simply obscured in meaning in translation. This happens a lot when translating a document from one language into another - as the Bible illustrates with its often tricky Greek-to-English translations.

A more grammatically correct reading of the verse would be "after all we can do, it is by grace we are saved." Mormon scholar Robert Millet has proposed exactly this reading of the verse.

You also have to read this passage in light of other Book of Mormon passages.

First, I'd recommend reading the verse in light of 2 Nephi 2:3-9 - where a prophet - Lehi - is saying farewell to his family and gives one of the Book of Mormon's keynote addresses on the Atonement. Lehi makes it clear that "salvation is free" on condition of belief in Christ.

Also look at the language of 2 Nephi 10:24:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved."

Another fairly clear endorsement of grace as the key to salvation.

And then King Benjamin's speech in Mosiah 3:17:

"And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent."

In fact, I'd recommend most of King Benjamin's speech on this subject. Especially Mosiah 2:17-25 (I've never seen a clearer statement that it is only by grace that any are saved - not even in the Bible!). There's also a portion of that many people typically read as a laundry list of stuff you are supposed to be doing in Mosiah 4:12-16. This is wrong.

Note the key word in verse 12 - "if."

If what?

If you go through the conversion process to Christ that Benjamin has been talking about. IF you do that, THEN all those good works flow forth as a result.

Final scripture for you - Alma 24:11-12:

"And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do, (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain—

Now, my best beloved brethren, since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren."

This is where a group of converts accept the Gospel and bury their weapons.

Did you catch the key phrase in verse 11?

"all we can do"

What was "all" they "could do?"

To repent.

Period.

Hope you'll take another look at these verses and reconsider what the Book of Mormon is asking you to do.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

I don't doubt that this is the way you understand grace and the text but there are several problems with your presentation.

First, this is your view and not Mormonism. (Don't forget that, when it comes to Mormonism, you are rather teaching your grandmother to suck eggs when you seek to teach me) How anxious Mormons are on their web and blog pages to make clear that nothing they write is officially Mormonism. What, then, is officially Mormonism? Official Mormonism is what is taught my prophets of the Mormon Church.

Now I respect your views but they are just that, your views. When you do quote an authority it is, again, someone's "interpretation", albeit a BYU professor. What does Mormonism teach about this verse?

You also attempt, with the help of Robert Millett, to do the impossible. You try to put it all down to a misreading of the verse which, in turn, is down to the vagaries of translating from one language into another. This is not only impossible but unorthodox (according to Mormon orthodoxy).

It is impossible because you cannot possibly know, let alone show, that this is the case since you have no access to the original "Reformed Egyptian" text from which this verse is translated. You are guessing! It is unorthodox because the official account of the "translation" does not allow for such inaccuracy.

Since JS declared the BOM the most correct book that would bring people closer to God than any other your suggestion is especially remarkable. It is rather like a Christian saying that John 3:16 is misunderstood by Christians who understand it to mean that God loves us.

You also must take into account the fact that this text is routinely pressed into service alongside James 1:5 to make the point that salvation is gained by a combination of grace (which effects general salvation that, in turn, equals resurrection) and works (which, combined with grace, achieves personal salvation).

Finally, I would still like to see you address the original question and reconclie the mormon scheme with the Parable of the Lost Son.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

I don't doubt that this is the way you understand grace and the text but there are several problems with your presentation.

First, this is your view and not Mormonism. (Don't forget that, when it comes to Mormonism, you are rather teaching your grandmother to suck eggs when you seek to teach me) How anxious Mormons are on their web and blog pages to make clear that nothing they write is officially Mormonism. What, then, is officially Mormonism? Official Mormonism is what is taught my prophets of the Mormon Church.

Now I respect your views but they are just that, your views. When you do quote an authority it is, again, someone's "interpretation", albeit a BYU professor. What does Mormonism teach about this verse?

You also attempt, with the help of Robert Millett, to do the impossible. You try to put it all down to a misreading of the verse which, in turn, is down to the vagaries of translating from one language into another. This is not only impossible but unorthodox (according to Mormon orthodoxy).

It is impossible because you cannot possibly know, let alone show, that this is the case since you have no access to the original "Reformed Egyptian" text from which this verse is translated. You are guessing! It is unorthodox because the official account of the "translation" does not allow for such inaccuracy.

Since JS declared the BOM the most correct book that would bring people closer to God than any other your suggestion is especially remarkable. It is rather like a Christian saying that John 3:16 is misunderstood by Christians who understand it to mean that God loves us.

You also must take into account the fact that this text is routinely pressed into service alongside James 1:5 to make the point that salvation is gained by a combination of grace (which effects general salvation that, in turn, equals resurrection) and works (which, combined with grace, achieves personal salvation).

Finally, I would still like to see you address the original question and reconcile the Mormon scheme with the Parable of the Lost Son.

Seth R. said...

I briefly mentioned Robert Millet. He was not the grounding of my argument.

My grounding was the Book of Mormon.

Do you not consider the Book of Mormon "Mormon Orthodoxy?"

If my read of scripture is correct, please tell me why I should care if the broader Mormon culture has a different view (if they do indeed have a different view)?

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

Just a note to direct you to my other blog at http://mikes4tea.blogspot.com/2009/09/why-i-left-mormon-church.html

I posted my testimony at someone's request and the ensuing discussion is very telling in light of our own exchanges here.

Note especially the comments of "A Drop of Gold" that highlight the typical Mormon view of what I believe and the unChristian but all-too-typical dilemma of "Jack Mormon".

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

You have taken a familiar Mormon text that I have interpreted in the familar Mormon way and, on the strength of the arguments of Robert Millett, have interpreted, even "translated" it, differently. You may have "only mentioned" him but your argument depends upon him.

You cannot take the familiar understanding of this verse, give it a different spin, then write as though there is nothing uncontroversial about what you have done.

Neither can you, as I have pointed out, depend upon the argument of problems of translation as an explanation for common misunderstandings of the verse you casually rewrite and reinterpret because you haven't the original text to show such vagaries exist.

When a Christian scholar challenges translation and interpretation he/she will go back to earliest texts and copies to accumulate evidence to make their case. This avenue is closed to you.

It is rather ironic since Mormons routinely argue that traditional biblical translation work depends on "copies of copies of copies" (you must have heard it. Perhaps you've said it yourself) This is another Mormon misrepresentation, this time of Bible translation work, but the irony is in the fact that you haven't any copy from which to draw your conclusions. It is pure speculation.

Further, where is the "official" Mormon version of this understanding. Mormons always challenge people like me to "cite official sources" and use "olny the standard works".

Finally, while I appreciate your going to the trouble of carefully constructing your argument form BOM texts the "official" footnote to 2 nephi 25:23 is Jacob 4:5. In this one verse the BOM states the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches about the righteousness of Abraham. In the BOM here there is a clear teaching of righteousness by works, using Abraham as an example, while the Bible clearly teaches righteousness by faith using Abraham as an example (Rom.4)

Seth R. said...

Is my reading of the Book of Mormon correct or not?

That's really all I care about here Mike.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

The question here Seth is not whether you correctly interpret the BOM. According to official channels and everything every Mormon I ever met told me, as well as my own experience as a Mormon teacher of fourteen years, your interpretation is incorrect.

However, the issue is, does the Book of Mormon and, more importantly Mormonism as a religion, teach a message that accords with the Bible? If you look at the reference in Jacob and in Romans you will find a stark contrast.

The Jacob reference, in accord with my understanding of 2 Nephi 25:23, speaks clearly of BOM people believing in Christ and keeping the law of Moses, as Abraham did. But the Bible explicitly states that Abraham did not have the law of Moses.

Jacob boldly states that their obedience to the law of Moses was counted as righteousness, as it was counted as righteousness for Abraham. But the Bible explicitly states that Abraham's faith, 500 years before the law as given, was counted to him as rigtheousness.

Paul goes to great lengths, in Romans and in Galatians, to explain the role of the law and the faith of Abraham and there could not be more stark contrast between what Mormonism teaches and what the Bible teaches.

This is the most vital issue anyone could address. It concerns how we do business with and get right with our Maker. Your interpretation of the BOM is not correct, in my opinion, but Mormonism's interpretation of Christianity is disastrously wrong if Jacob is the measure of what Mormonism teaches.

Seth R. said...

I don't see what's so particularly "disastrous" about it Mike.

In my experience Mormons - as a people don't seem to have any particular neuroses that their Protestant neighbors don't equally have.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

This is what I call the typical Mormon, "Why can't we all be adult about this and just get along" defence.

A few comments ago it was important enough to instigate a serious discussion of BOM texts to challenge my original post. It was interesting and enlightening and I appreciated your effort.

Now that I have responded in kind, considered your points, and come back with my own understanding it isn't worth getting out of bed for.

The issue here is not anyone's neurosis but how we should understand our respective faiths in regard to the most important question we could ever discuss.

This is not an unfortunate disagreement fuelled by our respective prejudices and neurosis but a serious discussion regarding eternal issues. Mormon missionaries take this message around the world and expect people to pin their eternal hopes on it so I don't see how getting it right is no big deal.

How are we saved? Grace? Works? Grace and Works?

How do you respond to the charge that you cannot use the translation/interpretation defense?

How can you arrive at a revision of the text when you haven't access to the original documents or even substantial early copies and the Mormon leadership, who alone speak "officialy", have nothing to say on the subject?

How do you reconcile the Jacob text with the pivotal and defining texts in Romans and Galatians that cover the same ground?

How do you reconcile the 2 Nephi verse with Paul's declaration that we are "saved by grace not works"? (Ro.3)

Seth R. said...

Maybe Mike. But you wouldn't believe how many times I've been round in circles with Protestants over the whole grace vs. works debate.

My experience is that for every Mormon who is trying to work his way into heaven, there is a Protestant who is also focusing on good works in an attempt to prove to himself that his conversion to Jesus all those years ago was actually genuine.

I tried asking this question of an Evangelical last month, and all I got was a bunch of irrelevant quotes from Romans.

If I were to join your Church Mike, what guarantee would I have that my conversion was "genuine" enough to qualify me for Christ's grace?

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

You wrote:

"My experience is that for every Mormon who is trying to work his way into heaven, there is a Protestant who is also focusing on good works in an attempt to prove to himself that his conversion to Jesus all those years ago was actually genuine."

If you have failed to find someone who would explain this to you, believe me, I understand your frustration. The problem is that some believers know what they believe in their own way but seem incapable of stringing together a few sentences to make it clear to others.

It is the perennial problem of people being, frankly, too lazy to grapple with the difficult parts of being a Christian. My favourite anecdote in this respect is of the people who say to me, "I have the JWs around my house six times a year but never know what to say to them"

I reply, "Then you have had six opportunities to learn!" But as soon as the door is shut they breathe a sigh of relief and get on with really important stuff - like grooming the dog, washing the dishes and catching their favourite TV programme.

Of course, it does depend on what you mean by the "Protestant who is also focusing on good works in an attempt to prove to himself that his conversion to Jesus all those years ago was actually genuine."

Mormons typically believe I subscribe to the idea that, since I am "saved by grace alone", then I don't need to work. When they see my efforts it confuses them because they expect me to be spiritually indolent. But, to a Christian, works naturally follow as a fruit of salvation. To us, "Faith without works is dead" because true faith issues in works.

Perhaps what you are seeing is not Christians trying to prove something but producing the fruit of their salvation. If that is what you are seeing then you are witnessing real Christianity in action.

Of course, there are always those "Christians" who are not saved and stories abound of preachers being "converted" in their pulpit and people who thought themselves Christians for years being converted in their pews. Wesley is a good example.

John Wesley was on a ship to America in 1735 to "preach the gospel" when he met with and was influenced by Moravian Christians (truly remarkable people) and here he bagan to realise his gospel of works (based on Anglican ideas of that time) might need to be reconsidered.

Back in London, he attended a Moravian Church in Aldersgate St. and heard a sermon based on Luther's preface to Romans. Wesley recorded later:

"About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust Christ...an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Yo ask, "If I were to join your Church Mike, what guarantee would I have that my conversion was "genuine" enough to qualify me for Christ's grace?"

I would not seek to have you join my church but to join with Christ. There is no salvation in joining a church. Church is where those who have joined with Christ come together to encourage one another and praise him.

You could not qualify for his grace. It is the nature of grace that it is a gift and cannot be earned, even by the quality of your faith. How would you know?

I knew because I felt compelled, a sort of holy dissatisfaction with my life that drew me to God.

I knew because there was a sudden and remarkable rush of knowledge and understanding fo those things I only thought I knew for years.

I knew because the Holy Spirit confirmed to me what he had made clear from the Bible. A Bible I had read for years and yet that I seem to have just read for the first time.

I knew because, like Wesley, for the first time I was convinced that Jesus had taken away my sin, the barrier that stood implacably between us, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

I asked God and he made me know.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

I don't know if you are still following this but I came across this quote by Boyd K Packer:

"Our critics' belief, based on the Bible, holds that man is saved by grace alone. Theirs is by far the easier way. Our position, also based on the Bible, but strengthened by other scriptures, holds that we are saved by grace 'after all we can do," and we are responsible by conduct and by covenants to live the standards of the gospel."

(The Peaceable Followers of Christ Ensign, April 1998)

It seems he subscribes to my understanding of text and insists that "we are saved by grace, after all we can do"

Myself, I find it insulting that he should speak so distainfully of my faith and the self-sacrificing Christians who adhere to it.

Seth R. said...

The problem Mike, is that we are all overcompensating for each other. Or for the faults we perceive the other to have.

It makes our rhetoric perhaps more extreme than it needs to be.

Mike's 4 Tea said...

Seth

There is always that problem but, frankly, rather that than the false premise that "actually, we are not so different"

Remember, while you have your own understanding of Mormonism, I have my own not inconsiderable experience to draw on and Packer's application of the verse is very clear it seems and chimes with what it meant to me as a Mormon.

Perhaps you could unpack further what you think has been lost in translation and interpretation because I can't quite see how it could be understood in any other way.