Former BYU Professor, Lynn Wilder

For discussion, ex-BYU Professor Lynn Wilder discusses her recent conversion to Evangelicalism.  I thought the best moment came in the last 2 minutes where she talked about why she is “going public” with her conversion. Her story sounded very similar to Gloria’s and reaffirmed to me that the best thing Evangelicals can convince Mormons to do is to read the New Testament.

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125 thoughts on “Former BYU Professor, Lynn Wilder

  1. Ooo, I like the part (3:30) when she and he essentially say, “I couldn’t be a Mormon once I was no longer an ignorant idiot.” Classy!

    6:35 – She should feel that way about her new religion. Good for her.

    7:28 – My church teaches that if you leave “your dog will bite you”? I need to go to church more often, because I keep missing out on all this stuff my church teaches. /sarcasm

    9:33 – I didn’t understand what you found compelling about the last part. Her explanation wasn’t clear to me.

    PS: She was an Associate Professor, not a Professor.

  2. i’m with you, brian.

    i must be pretty ignorant, because i sure haven’t noticed any of the “if you leave your dog will bite you” teachings, either.

    darn.

    at around 7:00, she talks about surrendering herself to God, as if it weren’t possible as a Mormon. well… that seems a bit funny to me, seeing as that’s exactly what every endowed member of the church promises anyway.

    it appears that she found the “god” of mormonism difficult to become acquainted with, and very impersonal (with him being all “legalistic” and what have you).

    i don’t really seem to have that problem. do any of you other members of the church?

  3. btw, what’s the dude reading at 6:30 instead of listening to his guest bare her soul about God?

    trevor: Unfortunately, I think many members of the Church are caught up in legalistic language when they talk about God (particularly atonement, sin, and judgment), so I think it is a real problem. Dr. Wilder is mistaken if she thinks that’s what LDS scripture teaches, but coming from that perspective I think her concern is valid.

  4. Legalism is at least partially in the eye of the beholder. To the Mormon woman who has to wear special underwear, refrain from drinking coffee, tea or alcohol, abstain from premarital sex, and can’t wear sleeveless shirts or shorts above the knees, Islam is legalistic.

    To the evangelical who wears Victoria’s Secret every day, drinks coffee and tea, wears slightly shorter shorts and tank-tops, but refuses to get drunk and abstains from premarital sex, Mormonism is legalistic.

    To the atheist who sleeps around freely, drinks whatever she wants and wears whatever she wants, evangelical Christianity is legalistic.

    And to the Muslim woman who’s wearing a burqa day in and day out, she’s clearly just fulfilling her sacred duty to her religion and it’s appalling that our women show so much skin.

    I can definitely see how someone who’s making an exodus from Mormonism to evangelical Christianity would feel that Mormonism was too legalistic and works-oriented. Sometimes it is.

    Concerning the interview:

    ~ The thing about leaving Mormonism “because you got the Internet” was tasteless.

    ~ The “your dog will bite you” thing was a joke aimed at the cautionary tales that cycle among Mormons concerning apostates. Come on, we’ve all heard them. “You can leave the church but you can’t leave the church alone,” “you can’t be truly happy outside the church,” “people only leave because of sin.”

    ~ She explained at the end that she’s “going public” with her conversion because she’s concerned that her BYU students who had a good experience with her while she was teaching at BYU might have been influenced into remaining Mormon. She’s hoping they’ll hear her out and re-think Mormonism. I didn’t quite understand if she spent a significant amount of time carrying on as a Mormon after converting or if she’s simply concerned about students who had a good experience with her prior to her conversion.

    ~ I think it must have been very difficult to abandon a tenured position like that. Some professors work a really long time for tenure. So I applaud her for doing that.

    ~ There was a Baptist professor in the Education Department at BYU where Ms. Wilder worked; I met her while I was there. I’m genuinely curious if they knew each other and if she had an influence on her conversion at all.

  5. I also think the “Because I got a library card” was also classless.
    Classical brain-off Evangelicism.

    Further, Ms. Wilder cites many falsities about Mormon Doctrine.
    “David wasn’t saved”

    She implies, incorrectly, and deceptively, that LDS do not read the New Testament.

    She implies, incorrectly and deceptively, that LDS follow the Law of Moses. Additionally, she doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the Law of Christ (mercy) and the law of Moses.

    Tim,
    Do you recognize that posting such falsities makes you personally look bad?

  6. I’m confused about why neighborhood parents are saying their kids can’t hang out if all her kids are RMs.

  7. PM said:

    Further, Ms. Wilder cites many falsities about Mormon Doctrine. “David wasn’t saved”

    Well, D&C 132 says he “he hath fallen from his exaltation,” so it’s not lot she had no basis for making that statement.

  8. I didn’t find the video all that powerful, but I nonetheless found it interesting. I can understand some of the things she went through, as I went through some things similar in my conversion process.

    Trevor said:

    it appears that she found the “god” of mormonism difficult to become acquainted with, and very impersonal (with him being all “legalistic” and what have you). i don’t really seem to have that problem. do any of you other members of the church?

    I don’t have that problem, but I can see how it can happen. There definitely are those in the church who take a legalistic approach to things, and those who lose sight of the fact that the mission (or at least a mission) of the church is to draw us to Christ, not to draw us to the Church. It’s too bad that that’s apparently the crowd she got got caught up with.

  9. Eric,
    D&C certainly doesn’t say David fell from his salvation.

    I would expect someone who had been a member for 30 could this simple distinction I learned when I was like 13.

  10. My thoughts on the video…

    –Agree that the library card/internet comment was in poor taste.

    –I have heard it repeatedly taught that David will inherit nothing better than one of the TKs. And PC, I know we Mormons like to differentiate salvation from exaltation (though we often use the terms interchangeably as well), this teaching most certainly does imply that Jesus’ work wasn’t enough to bring David all the way back.

    –Let’s not lie. There’s a prevalent strain of Mormon thought that is very legalistic. In response to your question, trevor, yes, I’ve had that problem.

    –Dude’s hair is crazy out of control.

  11. PM said:

    D&C certainly doesn’t say David fell from his salvation.

    It depends on how you define “salvation.” All I was saying is that the ex-prof wasn’t making up a doctrine out of thin air. And whether it’s official doctrine or not, as KL suggested it certainly is very commonly believed in the church that David will never enter the celestial kingdom. I’m just not willing to call the woman a liar over this issue, debatable as the veracity of her statement may be.

    Tim said:

    Her story … reaffirmed to me that the best thing Evangelicals can convince Mormons to do is to read the New Testament.

    Yes, that would be a good thing for evangelicals to convince us of. But that’s hardly necessary; most of us already do it, and it’s certainly encouraged by church leaders. Obviously not all have the same experience, but when I read the New Testament I see LDS doctrine affirmed through and through.

  12. No Eric,
    She wasn’t making a doctrine up out of thin air.
    She was promogulating a false doctrine.
    I don’t care who she heard it from, the D&C states very clearly what was lost and what was not lost.

    Maybe it’s just because she only took “Special Ed classes in college” that she doesn’t know how to read the D&C, but if an Evangelical hears this, and feels justified in their non-Christian judgements of Mormonism, because of her utter stupidity in not knowing Mormon doctrine, and insisting on promogulating it, she is putting forth a false-witness.

    Let’s give an example that’s just as dishonest.

    “So I was sitting in this Evangelical Sunday School, listening to people talk about how our works and personal righteous don’t save us, and how we shouldn’t even try to do the right thing, but should just knowing sin and rely on Grace instead. And I was sitting there, with James open, reading about the relationship of dead faith and living works, thinking, “Man, these people don’t really believe the Bible. Maybe they should read it, but they’re really just ignorant fools who don’t own library cards.”

    There, now we’re even. And now I’ve sunk to Tim’s level. Darn. The point is, I’m under there impression that there are few knowledgable Evangelicals who would agree with this characterization, just like there are few knowledgable Mormons who would agree with her statement. It’s dishonest. And a good match for an newly-apostate Mormon–new Evangelical.

  13. Reading the new testament does make you re-think Mormonism. But reading it carefully, and critically also would make you re-think Evangelicalism.

    There is no question that the Mormon church can be a turn-off for someone who wants Evangelical style worship and understanding of praise, grace, etc. The name of Jesus does not take nearly as prominent place in the services. Mormons talk about a lot of other stuff and take it for granted that people understand that it all relates back to Jesus. Some just go with the flow of the culture.

    I think that Evangelical converts like Wilder and McCraney were looking for a different kind of social/spiritual experience. That sort of worship experience IS present within Mormonism but not quite as common. I can’t say that that the “evangelical” sort of spirituality is the best, the most “joyful” or fulfilling, but some prefer it, and some get dragged down by the church culture, etc. and get their spirituality trampled on.

    What leaves a bad taste in my mouth regarding people like McCraney, especially, and to some extent Wilder, is the failure to recognize the actual power and sincerity of the spiritual experiences within Mormonism, and the black-white mentality. Its seem that they think that If their new spirituality is good, then Mormonism must be corrupt and wrong. Then they set up caricatures of Mormon worship, thought and spirituality and ridicule them, when ultimately they are subject to the same type of criticisms by different-believing Christians (such as Catholics and Orthodox).

    I have heard many who have had nearly identical experiences as Wilder when they converted to Mormonism. Instead of ridiculing the legalism or failure to talk about Jesus enough, they ridicule the incoherence of the Trinity, and the seemingly over simplistic doctrines of salvation of the Evangelicals.

    Wilder and McCraney are caricaturizing Mormon spirituality, just as many Mormons do the same of Evangelicals. This sort of dishonesty or self deception turns me off when I hear it from Mormon and Evangelical converts alike.

    Therefore, Wilder’s experience and her “testimony” while sincere, gives me absolutely no real information about whether Mormon understanding of God or whether the LDS Church is a representative of God’s kingdom, or whether its theology is right or wrong on any important issue, it just confirms that all spiritual experiences don’t lead to Mormonism (or away from it).

    This is, in fact, a very important realization but it cuts both ways in this discussion.

  14. PC, you’re splitting hairs.

    “Salvation” is a term that can appropriately be used interchangeably with exaltation. Search “saved” or “salvation” in lds.org. There are hundreds of hits of GAs using this term to mean salvation in the CK. It is neither dishonest nor misleading for her to use the word salvation in this context.

  15. Jared: “Wilder and McCraney are caricaturizing Mormon spirituality, just as many Mormons do the same of Evangelicals. This sort of dishonesty or self deception turns me off when I hear it from Mormon and Evangelical converts alike.”

    Amen, bro. When I hear it I think, “Somebody’s compensating….”

    Jack: that’s sort of what I thought she was trying to say about going public. It just wasn’t clear. And I think your comments on legalism and perspective are very helpful. The question then is “Is my legalism, such as it is, distracting or impeding me spiritually?”

    psychochemiker:
    Do you recognize that posting such falsities makes you personally look bad?”

    Not in my eyes. It makes Tim look like someone who realizes that an assistant professor at BYU converting to Evangelism is a HUGE story that should interest all of his readers. On the contrary, NOT posting this would show negligence on Tim’s part—speaking in terms of his bloggerness, but not reflecting in any way on him personally.

    As for your comments at 1:35 PM, no you have not “sunk to Tim’s level.” Your argument requires that a person must only “promogulate (sic)” perfectly correct doctrine or else that person is bearing false witness. Well, I’ll make sure to tell my 5-yr old to keep her mouth shut lest in her childhood stupidity she ignorantly repeat any false doctrine and invite judgment from psychochemiker. Actually, better extend that to all of us (except you, of course) unless we’re 100% certain of our theology.

  16. Regarding legalism- What some Evangelicals don’t seem to get is that, Legalism, per se, is not bad for spirituality, it absolutely can foster it and keep people in a life that will allow for it. A pre-occupation with legalism may damage it, but so will a pre-occupation against legalism.

    There is plenty in the New Testament supporting a lifestyle guided by strict rules. Denying this seems like over-reading Paul and under-reading Matthew and James. Wilder rejoices in the freedom from the “chains” of legalism while others rejoice in the structure and freedom they get from having “standards” that press them into being better people. It strikes me as naive and self-serving to attack either position because you didn’t like the way it worked in your life.

  17. Katie: I don’t think psychochemiker is totally splitting hairs. You must admit that even a brief and moderately careful treatment of LDS scripture—as could be expected of someone with Dr Wilder’s intelligence and profession—should raise the issue of salvation/exaltation. At the very least, Dr Wilder is being sloppy with her accusations (and her host doesn’t mind).

    On the other hand, the salvation/exaltation distinction doesn’t completely resolve Dr Wilder’s concern. D&C 132 can certainly be read as suggesting that David carried some amount or degree of sin which could not be forgiven—and that, I think, is the real concern. I would have preferred to hear Dr Wilder give at least a nod to this nuance while making her larger point. Her shortcuts reveal to me that she’s less interested in being correct and more interested in making Mormonism wrong. (Which is not an unreasonable response when leaving a church.)

  18. “sinking to my level”?!?!

    First off, I was not in the video. I did not set it up. I did not provide questions. I did not script the answers. This is Shawn McCraney’s property. If there is something you didn’t like about the format or the content you should direct it at him or Lynn Wilder. I posted it as a topic of discussion for this blog. It’s the same as if I directed you to read an article in Newsweek and return here to discuss it.

    I did not post this because I thought it was a magic bullet that would “make all dem Marmons come to Jeebus”. But rather because the motivations for a BYU professor’s conversion to Evangelicalism is at the heart of our ongoing conversation.

    I’m not at all surprised that many LDS would not find her story or explanations compelling. (I don’t feel compelled by the opposite version) On the other hand, I’m quite certain that the majority of ex-Mormon Evangelicals would find a great deal of similarity to their own conversion. Listening to her story is a good way to understand why a Mormon might leave the LDS church for a Protestant one.

    I knew some would be threatened by the interview. I was surprised that some would feel so threatened that they would need to jump on her being an associate professor as opposed to a professor or would get after the “your dog will bite you” line as not being taught in the church. Take a deep breath and don’t nit-pick.

    As far as the “library card” comment. It may surprise you to discover that a great many ex-Mormons did not feel that the LDS church was upfront with them about the life of Joseph Smith or the origins of their faith. The church encourages its members to do their own study but few actually do. When some members do go about studying for themselves they find that things weren’t the way they thought they were. This is a very common theme in ex-Mormon conversion stories. You should expect to hear it. It was meant as a way of describing her own ignorance. Once she actually “went to the library”, as the church encouraged her to do, she learned things that changed her mind. The “inoculation” debate comes up frequently enough on the bloggernacle that I would assume the consensus is that there are a number of ignorant Mormons as Ms. Wilder found herself to be. (please note: I am not saying Mormons are ignorant or that all or most are ignorant)

    As far as what is or is not “official Mormon teaching” on David losing his salvation. I learned long ago to stop using my hammer to hang jello. I have zero idea what the church “officially” teaches about it. But safe to say, if she’s sitting in a LDS ward in Provo, Utah, then I think we can safely assume that she heard someone in the LDS church teach that David lost his salvation. That doesn’t mean it’s correct. It doesn’t mean you or the General Authorities agree with it. It doesn’t mean it can be found anywhere in the LDS canon. It doesn’t mean anything other than she heard someone teaching it. She was living in a place with enough educated and leadership Mormons that it if it was considered an egregious misstatement somebody to correct it would have been on hand to do so.

    I’ve heard more than one Mormon express that to lose exaltation would be similar to going to hell for them. So I, as an outsider, can see how the words “salvation” and “exaltation” have easily been interchanged and confused by Mormons in the chapel. The explanation for how she heard someone saying such a thing seems apparent to me.

    As far as the New Testament is concerned. I affirm it is part of the LDS canon and Mormons are encouraged by their leaders to read it. With the great number of LDS scriptures and church duties it probably doesn’t get the attention in the life of Mormons that Evangelicals think it deserves. Mormons probably feel we read too much of the New Testament and should focus more of our attentions on the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants.

  19. Tim: I’m going to read your defensive comment as mostly a reaction to psychochemiker’s attack and not to my comments.

    You’ll note, I hope, that I had 3 concerns: 1) the implication that staying in Mormonism requires ignorance, 2) the dog will bite you comment, and 3) that her reason for going public was not stated clearly.

    re 1, I think you present the issue more fairly than Dr Wilder. Of course we’re used to that kind of story: lots of Mormon converts say the same sort of thing (“I started really reading the scriptures and things my pastor was teaching didn’t seem to fit…”). What bothered me about how she said it—and whenever Mormon converts say it—is the implication. It’s one thing to say, “I didn’t leave Mormonism until I was 45 because that was when I learned that Joseph was a polygamist and that really bugged me,” and an entirely different thing to say, “There’s no way that an intelligent person could remain Mormon after learning that Joseph was a polygamist.”

    re 2, I thought it was lame, but not so bad that I’m going to keep arguing about it. I was already in the “note time and make comment” mode as I watched the video, so I jotted it down.

    re 3, I’m criticizing her for being unclear, not criticizing her reasons, etc. In other words, “Can you restate that?”

    re my “nit-pick” about her being an Associate Professor: in my profession (academics), that’s a significant distinction. I have on several occasions witnessed an assistant or associate professor correct someone who refers to him/her as a “professor.” It may seem strange, but it is mildly off-putting to be “falsely promoted” like this. Thus, I offered the correction as a favor to Dr Wilder, not as a nit-pick.

  20. (You’ll also note that I praised her in my first comment. Hardly something to do if I feel “threatened.”)

  21. Trevor said:
    at around 7:00, she talks about surrendering herself to God, as if it weren’t possible as a Mormon. well… that seems a bit funny to me, seeing as that’s exactly what every endowed member of the church promises anyway.

    I think a number of Mormons have surrendered themselves to the will of the LDS church and obedience to the prophet rather than the will of Christ. I’ll extend grace in accepting that what the church and prophet mean is to ultimately surrender themselves to Christ through the church and prophet, but that nuance was lost on Dr. Wilder and perhaps many others.

    Brian, thanks for clarifying your comments.

    Jared, your thoughts on legalism have inspired a new post within me.

  22. I don’t think we’re all using the term “legalism” in the same way.

    Jared C. and to some extent Jack equated legalism with having strict/high/specific/whatever standards of conduct, but as I use the term “legalism” you can have such standards without being legalistic. I tend to equate legalism with judgmentalism and/or seeing the rules as the ends rather than a means.

    In any case, I’ll look forward to see what Tim has to write on the matter.

  23. My dashboard dictionary defines legalism as “excessive adherence to law or formula”. The first definition that comes up on Google “define:___” is “strict conformity to the letter of the law rather than its spirit”

    On these definitions I think it’s safe to say that some Mormons are very legalistic and others are not very legalistic at all.

    Although there are various ways of framing what behavior is legalistic or not, I think it would be misleading to suggest anything other than some are, some aren’t.

  24. TT,

    I’m confused about why neighborhood parents are saying their kids can’t hang out if all her kids are RMs.

    In fairness to her she said “I had a neighbor who was worried that her kids could no longer talk to my kids.” At least one of her kids played a part in her deconversion/conversion process. It’s not uncommon in Mormon culture to keep a distance (not shun) from those who leave the church, and those kids may have been directly involved in the process. The kids may have been living at home post mission.

  25. Eric, I submit that if you have rules, you will ultimately make judgments based on those rules, its almost unavoidable in societies and groups. I think one of the reasons Mormons are considered more legalistic is because they have stronger group ties. If you have strong, important rules, you are going to have many who are focused on the rules over other concerns, that is just the way it is.

    What rubs Evangelicals the wrong way is not necessarily having rules, but the idea that you can “do good” and “get better” on your own by “keeping the commandments”. However, I would submit that both groups, at least in theory, believe that “keeping the commandments” is an end in itself. For evangelicals probably more so, since many don’t think what you do on earth is going to “qualify” you for a greater reward in heaven, they live like believers” because thats how God wants them to live.

    Mormons often seem more (overly) practical in their approach. You hear a lot about a sort of “blessings” economy within the church, “Do X so you can the blessings.” Here the rules are not at all the ends, but rather the means to a practical result. Correct principals yield good results.

    Ultimately I think that the amount of focus on rules is interdependent on other parts of religious life things (like knowledge of spiritual things or depth of “personal relationship” with God and should be kept in balance. I think strange things happen when either focus gets out of balance with the other. i.e. if you think God is directing your life then you may feel like you can break or disregard all kinds of rules if he is on your side. Likewise, if you feel like you are great at keeping the rules, you may simply ignore personal spiritual life, since you are so damn good, thus sapping the feeling and spirit out of your religion.

  26. Jared C — I agree pretty much with what you just said. My difference is over the way you used the term “legalism” earlier.

    As I’m using the term, the opposite of legalism is antinomianism. The latter definitely isn’t a problem in the LDS church (although it can be with some strains of evangelicalism). And you’re right; we’re called to some sort of a balance between the two dangerous extremes. Paul wrote about that quite a bit.

  27. No one keeps the Commandments. Indeed, no one can get past the first one.

    Those that believe they are keeping them are really in trouble. Now they have pride to contend with on top of their delusion of obedience.

  28. Old Adam,

    I agree, that is why I have completely given up any effort to comply. I am a confirmed breaker of at least 7 out of 10.

  29. 7 out of 10 is pretty good!

    I have broken them all.

    St. Paul tells us that if you have broken one, then it is as if you have broken them all. Game over.

    Jesus tells us that not one jot or tittle of the law will be done away with untill the fullfilling of the New Creation (He comes back).

    So I do my best to live by them, although I fail everyday, and although I know my righteousness depends not on my ability to keep the law, but rather it rests in Jesus and what He has done for me on the cross, and in my baptism.

  30. St. Paul tells us that if you have broken one, then it is as if you have broken them all. Game over.

    Well, I guess I can kill that SOB that crossed me last year and be none the worse for it in God’s eyes. That is the best news I have heard this week.

  31. ” I guess I can kill that SOB that crossed me last year and be none the worse for it in God’s eyes.”

    Since the righteousness that you need, is not derived from what you ‘do’, or do not ‘do’…you are correct.

    Do you think God’s grace and mercy is so chinsey that he couldn’t forgive a murderer?

    David, the man after God’s own heart was a murderer.

    Be prepared to pay a heavy price (though) in the here and now. God’s law will not be mocked.

  32. Besisdes, since you feel that the guy you hold such disdain for is a SOB, you have already committed murder (in God’s eyes) anyway.

    Jesus tells us on the Sermon on the Mount that if you are angry at your brother (anyone) you have committed murder in your heart.

  33. I am absolutely counting on God being able to forgive murderers (hence my contemplation of murder) And I am not mocking God’s law, I am just humbly recognizing that I can’t possibly do good. . . so I might as well get some short term benefit out of my wretchedness.

  34. There is no escaping the perfect demand of God’s law. We all stand guilty before it.

    Gotta run. Going to a wedding today.

    Talk to you later.

  35. Jared,

    (one for the road!)

    As believers, and ones who are forgiven, we do not want any benefit for ourselves at the expense of the neighbor.

    And when our old Adam/Eve gets the best of us…and we do ‘get even’, or whatever….as you rightly say…we are forgiven.

    Ciao!

  36. Jared: “I am just humbly recognizing that I can’t possibly do good.”

    I can’t tell how much chain-pulling is going on here. Do you really believe this?

  37. Tim,
    Thanks for taking time to share this interview with Lynn Wilder with us.

    She shares/cites the passage from John 6:44:

    ” No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” .

    I would have to agree 100% with Ms. Wilder.

    You see the same thing happened to me.

    I share that on my blog for those who wish to read.

    I was not “looking” to leave the LDS faith — but the Lord truly did draw me out.

    I believe the greatest threat to the LDS church is the Bible – especially the teachings of the New Testament. You get mormons digging deep into the Bible and something is going to happen to them — that is the power of God’s word.

    I began a 2 yr study of the Bible — from Genesis to Revelation. I was not looking to leave mormonism. I used the KJV LDS published bible. It changed me from the inside out. After completing the reading, I left. I came home from church one day after teaching RS and told my husband ” I was done”.

    God did that work. There were not Christians there witnessing to me. No fancy soul winning preaching, not flyer or tract…….. Just God and His Word and the Holy Spirit.

    I loved it when Ms. Wilder declared:

    ” The God I came to is so much more awesome than the god I left.”

    Amen to that!

    That is precisely how I feel.

    ” He turned my life upside down”.

    Amen to that — Jesus wrecked my life. 🙂 He absolutely drew me, purchased me and turned my life upside down!

    ” So worth it… so freeing… so free of the chains”…….

    She shared how about Marley and how she felt the chains come off……

    I had a similar experience — I felt like scaled were coming off my eyes….. literally shedding scales….. I kept tellling my husband ” I can see, I can see……”

    I just get choked up thinking about it.

    To all the LDS here, Jesus is real.

    He is truly the ONE true GOD.

    There is none else.

    He is the beginning and the end.

    He is ardent in His persuit.

    He is a faithful suitor, and woos and draws us to Him.

    I am so thrilled for Lynn. She is a classy, smart , deep woman. I would love to meet her one day. I rejoice with her, and say Praise God we are free — free at last our chains are gone!

    Praise His Holy, Holy Name!

    Gloria

  38. Gloria said:

    To all the LDS here, Jesus is real.

    Do you really think LDS believe otherwise?

  39. Eric: when Gloria says, “You wouldn’t ask that if you understood what I was saying,” I think what she means is that you need a library card. Yes, classy—just like Dr Wilder.

  40. He is a faithful suitor, and woos and draws us to Him.

    gloria’s comment was accidentally posted here instead of the polygamy Jesus thread.

  41. I come back to the internet and find something like this.

    Thanks Tim. On my radar screen, I had completely missed all that God is doing with the Wilder family.

    I like her son Micah’s testimony, too.

    And I like your testimony, Gloria. Glory to Father, Son, and Spirit.

    (P.S. I think I might enroll in BYU-I for some classes here in the future. Adventurous days are ahead.)

  42. Pingback: I’m back « Heart Issues for LDS

  43. Is Lynn’s Wilder’s son “micah” from the christian band : Adam’s road? I think that is what it is called.. I heard their testimony and conversion to Christianity on Shawn’s show too. Amazing.

    gloria

  44. Brian,

    Can’t seem to write or say anything these days without pulling some chain. (my own or someone else’s)

    I think Steve’s Position, is the example of the anti-“legalism” that I find a bit absurd. I was just trying to point out of some of the absurdity with some of my own.

  45. Gloria said:

    To all the LDS here, Jesus is real.

    To which I said:

    Do you really think LDS believe otherwise?

    To which Gloria said:

    You wouldn’t ask that if you understood what I was saying.

    Oh, of course, I knew what you were saying. But I couldn’t resist asking anyway.

  46. Jared: got it. What does it say that I couldn’t quite tell that you were trying to sound absurd?

    Mephi: nice. Polygamous Jesus always wins.

  47. I think that there is something to the phenomena where you feel like you are “breaking out” of mormonism’s chains.

    But, likewise, I think its very possible to have very similar spiritual experiences within Mormonism. I meet Mormons all the time who say the same types of things.

    So, is this “awesome God” only speaking to these newly minted Evangelicals? Or are the Mormons who talk this way also his favored children?

    Does the fact that some people don’t find this sort of experience in LDS church say something about the church or the people?

    Does the fact that some people read the New Testament and find the amazing confirmation of Mormon thought and the “Awesomeness” of God who is willing to give his children all that he has, including a literal place on his throne, and willingness to give all his children a chance at that?

    The fact that these people did not get the they type of spiritual experience they have within their Evangelical Churches, when it is, in my opinion, indeed present and possible within Mormon Churches, is a strong indictment Mormon religious culture. If we believe the Church is true, we have to assume that the church did fail them to some extent, by being dry, uninspiring, too businesslike, etc. i.e. no what some people desperately need.

  48. Brian asked: “What does it say that I couldn’t quite tell that you were trying to sound absurd?”

    well, it says that its believable that I think that I can’t really do good. . . and when you consider my overall performance, its not at all an absurd thought.

  49. Questions for my LDS friends:

    (1) Do you believe it’s possible for an LDS person to err and submit her life to the Church instead of submitting to Jesus Christ?

    (2) What do you think are the consequences of such an error?

    (3) How would you go about correcting such a person and setting him on the correct path?

  50. My sense is that people who come to know the New Testament intimately join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so I heartily endorse the suggestion in the original post about convincing everyone, whether Mormon or not, to read the New Testament. One thing the New Testament does NOT contain: the doctrine of the One-Substance Trinity.

    As to Wilder’s material, it is very crass indeed. If that’s how she rolls, then God be with her on her journey. I’m sorry for you Evangelicals, though, if she is representative of the level of dignity that your interpretation of Christ’s religion engenders.

  51. John F,

    Hello. Speaking for myself, and for many other former LDS who have embraced Biblical Christianity, the reading of the New Testament was without a doubt a *key* factor in our conversion process. I am currently involved with a fabulous ministry that reaches the LDS and JW’s for Christ, and beyond a doubt, the reading of the book of John, and the writings of Paul ( especially the book of Romans & Galatians) were huge factors in bringing them to their knees before the throne of grace.

    For further info on this ministry: http://www.irr.org

    Kind regards,
    Gloria
    PS. as for ms. Wilder’s remarks — Praise God! The body of Christ welcomes her with open arms! Lovely, classy, strong woman.

  52. Gloria, an unbalanced emphasis on Romans/Galatians, to the exclusion or de-emphasis of Matthew 5-7 or James, is detrimental to Christian religion and to true religion, undefiled before God. Moreover, the interpretation your religious tradition gives Romans, in particular, is not the only possible interpretation and is certainly not a necessary interpretation on the face of the text.

    My sense is that those who read the New Testament and equally value its parts are just as likely to end up as Latter-day Saints, particularly if they pray about it. The LDS interpretation of the New Testament just as readily follows from the face of the text and it has the added benefit of not prioritizing Paul over Jesus Christ himself, Peter and James.

    If you did not give proper attention to the New Testament when you were a Mormon then that is unfortunate. Luckily, many other Mormons are not in the same boat as you and regularly read and study the New Testament and are strengthened in their faith in the Restored Gospel in doing so. Additionally, Latter-day Saints have the Book of Mormon, which contains a record of Christ’s dealings with the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere after his Ascension in Jerusalem, among other things. The Book of Mormon and the New Testament join together to give a broader understanding of what the Atonement of Jesus Christ means for all of us as spirit children of God.

  53. John F.,

    Reading the scriptures and placing equal value or weight on every line in every book of epistle is a big problem these days. It leads to a flat, wooden interpretation, that does not allows for a legalistic theology to overide a balanced approach of Law and Gospel.

    The inability to properly distinguish God’s Law from God’s Gospel is the culprit in so many of the problems that infect people in churches today.

    Would we give the same value to the book of Ruth as we would the book of Romans?

    Hardly.

    We Lutherans (anyway) have a canon within the canon. The books in the Bible that clearly state the problem (with us and our rebellion from God) and then the books that clearly speak to the solution (the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus) hold far greater value for the life of the Christian.

    The Gospels, Paul’s Letters, 1st Peter are in the forefront of clearly showing us that we need a Savior, and then handing over to us the Savior that we need.

    We don not throw the other books out, but we take them behind those with a strong Christ centered message.

    The book of Mormon only adds to the confusion of Law and Gospel and leads one to a legalistic, self focused religion, wherein one’s obedience to the law is gain towards some sort of reward. This view is antithetical to the overall message of Holy Scripture.

    Thanks, John.

  54. theoldadam-

    Have you read the Book of Mormon? If not entirely, which books, or verses?

    The Book of Mormon only leads to “legalistic, self-focused religion, wherein one’s obedience to the law is gain toward some sort of reward” if you ignore half the Book.

    One can read the Bible and come away with the same legalistic mess of a theology (as many have done). You have, by your own admission, simply chosen to emphasize some parts of the Bible over others. In reading the Book of Mormon, you have clearly switched the parts that you emphasize to say that it is legalistic where the Bible is not.

  55. Tomchick,

    I opened the Book of Mormon (at random) when my wife and I were staying at a Marriott Hotel in Anaheim. I honestly do not remember if it was Nephi or Moroni or where it was that I was reading.

    I started in on a passage that disparaged infant baptism.

    I happen to believe that God is the One who does the baptizing, and therefore the age of the person does not matter. Anyway, I digress. So right waya a red flag popped up for me.

    Then I went a little further and read how we can work on our obedience and move in the direction of perfecting ourselves.

    That pretty much did the trick for me. That message is the opposite of the Bible’s message, which tells us that “all our righteius deeds are as filthy rags” and that our only righteousness is from Christ Jesus.

    Although I read no further, I did read the posts of a Lutheran pastor in Utah who was reading the Book of Mormon and then commenting on it and making comparisons to what the Bible says.
    (you can read these for yourselves here):
    http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/search/label/Book%20of%20Mormon

    The Bible does contain Law, that is for sure, but the purpose of that Law is twofold, to expose our sinfulness, and to help us to live together without chaos reigning.

    The mistake many make, when it comes to God’s Law, is that they use it to try and become better Christians, or for righteousness.

    That’s not going to happen. In fact St. paul tells us in Galatians, that if you want to play that game, you had better keep the law perfectly. And in the playing of that game, you “sever yourself from Christ.”

    Thanks, Tomchik.

  56. As a general rule, Matthew 5-7 should have priority over anything Paul wrote. Martin Luther didn’t like the Sermon on the Mount because it interfered with his preferred interpretation of the Gospel through the disproportionate lense of Paul’s writings. This is also why he dismissed James — the emphasis on the necessity of the works of a disciple of Christ as a means to bring the supposed faith of a disciple to life just didn’t square with what Luther wanted the Gospel to be based on his emphasis on certain Pauline writings.

    The tension between such an approach and the LDS approach, which harmonizes the relationship between faith and works in exactly the same way that the New Testament does, as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount and in Peter’s and James’ writings, should be obvious. Indeed, this tension is what has driven your comments, oldadam. Tomchick was wise to point out the inadequacy of just reading a few verses from the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is extremely sophisticated in how it harmonizes both aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — faith and works. In any event, unless you subscribe to the dark doctrines of Calvinism, even you believe in at least one “work” that you yourself must do to “qualify” for salvation: you must accept Jesus Christ as your Savior in your heart. If you don’t do this, you don’t “merit” salvation, even in your own framework of approaching the Gospel.

    For Latter-day Saints, by contrast, the works required are those established in the New Testament: one must accept Christ in one’s heart by having faith that he is the Son of God and the Savior of the world; based on this faith, one must live according to an attitude of repentance in which one tries to live in accordance with the commandments of God and is willing to repent when one acts contrary to those commandments; provided one has faith and is willing to live a repentant life, one must be baptized by immersion for the remission of sins by one holding proper priesthood authority; finally, one must receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by those in proper authority. All of this is strictly biblical, stemming from specific verses in the New Testament and in harmony with the entire message of the New Testament — that one must truly become a disciple of Jesus Christ (by virtue of the choices one makes). When one does these things, the Atonement makes one whole and provides salvation and exaltation to those who believe in Christ. One thus has the potential to become joint-heirs with Christ of all that our Heavenly Father has, which is God’s ambition for his children, whom he loves.

    I am grateful to belong to a religious tradition (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that fully embraces the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the other teachings and parables of Jesus in the Gospels and the writings of Peter and James while at the same time appreciating the amazing missionary work and epistles of Paul and his acolytes.

    On a separate note, the Book of Mormon really is a rich trove of spiritual knowledge and strength and endorses the Gospel of the New Testament entirely.

  57. John f.,

    Where did you ever get the idea that martin Luther did not like the Sermon on the Mount?

    He loves it as an expression of pure Law.

    Meant to cut us off at the knees and leave us no where to go (with our little religious, become righteous by what we do projects) and the oly place to go then is to the foot of the cross and the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus.

  58. theoladadam –

    The passage you read is very near the end of the Book of Mormon. You missed the context of the passage (the writer specifically says in an earlier chapter that we must rely on the merits of Christ who is the author and the finisher of our faith) and I’m guessing you didn’t read 3 more chapters to read him talk about the sufficiency of Christ’s grace.

    It’s like if I opened the Bible and read a verse that says we will be judged according to our works, and then fliipped and read Hebrews 5:9 that says Christ is the author of salvation to all them that obey Him. I might automatically think the Bible encourages a very legalistic theology and only those perfectly obedient to Christ will be saved, when that is in fact no the case.

    The Book of Mormon, like the Bible, has many passages that can be interpreted as legalistic. Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon also contains many passages emphasizing Christ’s grace and the importance of our submitting our lives to Him. Taken as complete books, both the Book of Mormon and the Bible teach that without Christ we are nothing and our works amount to nothing.

    I find it unfair and highly offensive for you to tirade against my beliefs based on a few verses you read out of the Book of Mormon and the opinions of a pastor (whom I’m guessing you haven’t met) without actually seeking understanding yourself from the primary text.

  59. If you’re reading Matthew 5-7 as an expression of Law, you’ve got it all wrong. If anything Jesus is teaching in that sermon how inadequate the law really is.

    I highly recommend “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard.

  60. theoldadam-

    Reading a comparison written by someone who has a vested interest in proving Mormonism false and whom you haven’t even met is not the same as reading the Book of Mormon.

  61. The Sermon on the mount is pure Law. Re-presented by Christ in order to show us that we can never rise to the level of perfection that it demands.

    He even tells us that “we must be perfect as our father in heaven is perfect.”

    Pure law, designed to expose our need for a Savior.

  62. Tomchik,

    I have never read the entire Communist manifest either, but I know the ideas held within that document are false.

    The theology in the Book of Moemon is nothing new. It is old worn out, ascend to Heaven by your efforts. It’s nothing but self-centered religion, that makes salvation a co-op project.

    No thanks. I’ll rely on Christ’s grace for me…alone.

  63. theoldadam,

    I get that you don’t want to be a Mormon. I respect your position. But when you haven’t read the BoM and you start criticizing its contents as “old worn out, ascend to heaven by your efforts” theology, you lack credibility IN THE EXTREME.

    I’m hardly the poster child for true-believing Mormons. But even I can tell you that you are painting an extreme–and categorically false–caricature of what the Book of Mormon stresses theologically.

    And yeah. I’d say if you’re going to engage in a discussion on the Communist Manifesto, you darn well better have read the thing if you want to talk intelligently and credibly on the topic!

  64. “The Sermon on the mount is pure Law. . . . Pure law, designed to expose our need for a Savior.”

    I don’t understand this at all. This seems another way of dismissing what Jesus is teaching.

  65. Katie L.,

    Have you read the entire Communist Manifesto?

    Do you believe Communism is untenable?

    I haven’t read every single word in the Bible, either. But I’veread enought o know that it is true.

  66. Jared,

    Right after The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus was confronted by a leper who said to Jesus (parahrased) “Lord, you can heal me if you will”

    Jesus said, “I will”.

    That is the gospel. Made whole by Jesus, totally. Not by keeping the law or being righteous.

    The Sermon on the Mount let’s us have it right between the eyes:

    “If you even look at woman in that way, you have comitted adultery”

    “If you are angry with your brother, you are comitting murder in your heart”

    “Your righteousness must EXCEED that of the scribes and Pharisees to enter the Kingdom of heaven”

    “be perfect…”

    Get the point? he is laying down the law, unmitigated, in it’s full force..that we would have nowhere to go, could rely on nothing…except for Him and His forgiveness for our righteousness.

    The Sermon on the Mount = the Law The encounter with the leper immediately following = the gospel.

  67. “I have never read the entire Communist manifest either, but I know the ideas held within that document are false.”

    I haven’t read the Bible, but from what I have heard it has all kinds of crazy stuff, Just not believable. . . no point in bothering with that, I know enough already.

  68. So it is permissible to look past the weaknesses of the Bible to embrace its broader message.

    Yet somehow it is impermissible to give the Book of Mormon the same treatment…

  69. The overall message of the Bible is that we need a Savior (because we are fallen by nature and will not live the way God demands that we live)…but God, in Christ Jesus, loves and forgives us anyway that we might live with Him forever in Heaven.

    The Book of Mormon is different. It denies original sin. it denies that we are incapable of living the way God demands us to live. It denies that jesus was (is) God Himself. It promotes a co-op effort that does not trust completely in what God has done for us, but instead relies on ‘our douing’ to complete the picture.

    Very differnt theologies, indeed.

  70. I have a Mormon friend that actually believes he is keeping the 10 Commandments. (even though St. Paul tells us quite clearly that if you have broken them one time, it is if you have broken them all)

    I say to him, “that’s too bad (that you are keeping the Commandments) because Christ came for the sick. “The healthy do not need a physician.”

    Jesus said that Himself.

  71. if you haven’t read the Book of Mormon, you really haven’t earned the right to tell Mormons what it says.

  72. Quite simply, you are wrong. The Book of Mormon is much more in line with your first paragraph than your second paragraph.

    I am honestly shocked that you think you can intelligently discuss / condemn the Book of Mormon when you have only read a few verses.

    If you think that you can reach Mormons by this approach, you are mistaken.

  73. theoldadam-

    You’re Mormon friend has nothing on me. I’m perfect. Perfect because Christ’s grace covers my sins so it’s as if they don’t exist.

    The Book of Mormon taught me that.

  74. OK. Fair enough.

    I would like to see you talk to Bror Erickson, who has read the complete Book of Mormon and discuss his comparisons with him.

    But I do know what the Bible says, and you are quite welcome to take it or leave it.

    The bible says that “all our righteous deeds are filty rags.”

    It says that no one will be able to stand before God on the basis of how they have kept the Law. “Every mouth will be stopped. Taht there are none that are righteous, no not one.”

    But that in Christ Jesus, we are forgiven. Totally, completely, nothing to add to what he has done on the cross.

    That’s the Good News of the Bible. That’s the gospel, and that is all anyone really ever needs.

    If there was just one thing that needed to be added to that, then it really wouldn’t be Good news after all…would it?

  75. Tomchik,

    You guys are mired in legalism, while orthodox (small o) Christians are free.

    Try drinking a beer in the presence of your Bishop and see if I am not right.

  76. Tim ,

    I agree. We need to be able to have at least read and studied the beliefs to be able to understand the doctrines. Christians need to have a working knowledge of the book of mormon to understand Mormonism, and not just rely on the anti-websites out there to get their info. They need take a serious look at their canonized books ( including the D & C and PofGP) and be comfortable enough to speak their “language” and doctrine. Same goes for Mormons — they need to be familiar with the bible, have read the teachings of Paul on grace to understand where we are coming from. If we fail to do that, well then we will sound pretty ignorant and we will miss the opportunity to understand one another, which is why we have forums like this in the first place.

    Keep up the good work,
    gloria

  77. I think you are missing the entire point of Mormonism oldadam. The LDS Church is on a mission, its an army, its not just the group of the saved.

    Mormons can and do believe everything you say about Grace 100% and still see the importance of keeping the Word of Wisdom.

    In fact Jesus is going to save all of us from death and hell, and give everyone a chance to accept his healing not matter what kind of screwed up ignorant lives we have lead. That is not something that Evangelical Christianity believes. For you there is no salvation for the un-evangelized, or those who don’t accept Jesus in this life. That seems like crappy news to me.

    So from a LDS perspective I both understand your desire to focus on grace alone and be happy in it as well as see the doctrine as essentially incomplete and painfully ironic. God loves us so much that he will heal us, if we ask, unless we don’t get a chance to ask in the right way, or we don’t know the right person to ask….then we are screwed.

    The “mormon Jesus” seems to offer so much more salvation and so much more freely than the “Evangelical Jesus”.

  78. Try drinking a beer in the presence of your Bishop and see if I am not right.

    When I was 19, I went on a mission trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with my local Presbyterian church (it was part of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.). I was in a gift store looking around when I accidentally knocked over a bottle of liquid with a Señor Frog figurine on it, breaking off one of its legs. Embarrassed, I quickly offered to pay for the damaged bottle and returned to our condo with it.

    I guess I was really naive; I thought it was just a novelty item with colored water in it. When I got back to the condo, I examined its contents and was surprised to read that it contained “Margarita Con Tequila.” The bottle contained about 6-8 oz. of liquid.

    The realization dawned on me that I had just purchased my first alcoholic beverage legally at the age of 19. I left the bottle on the counter and joked about it to the other men and women when they came through the condo.

    My pastor was not amused when he found out. “Jack, you’d BETTER get rid of it!” he growled at me. I never had any intention of drinking it, but he didn’t even appreciate that I was joking about it. I don’t know what his problem was. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, so I wasn’t actually breaking any laws.

    He was mired in legalism, obviously.

  79. Jared,

    Thanks for you thoughtful explanation.

    I’m not an Evangelical, though. I’m a Lutheran who believes that Christ died for and forgave the sins of the whole world. That is accessed through faith, which is a gift of God through the hearing of His Word and also the Sacraments.

    We believe there will a last judgement for all people. Christ will decide who is in and who is out. Not us.

  80. theoldadam,

    And what would happen if you were to, say, read a pornographic magazine in front of your pastor?

  81. Well, OldAdam, it seems to me that you are practically a Mormon. . . or at least jack-Mormon like me. Welcome brother!

  82. Bridget,

    That’s a funny (now anyway) story. And it does go to show that legalism can rear it’s ugly head anywhere.

    I know some legalistis Lutherans. And that is hard to do.

    But where there are humans, there is often a desire t make ourselves right with God on the basis of what do, or don’t do.

  83. I could read a porongraphic magazine in front of my pastor without being kicked out of the church.

    I’m sure he would tell me that it isn’t the best thing that I could be reading.

    All things are lawful for the Christian. But all things are not profitable.

    Jesus tells us that it is not what goes into our mouths that defile us, but what comes out.

    Remember, Jesus’ first miracle was to make 180 gallons of great wine for a wedding feast.

    Gotta go… be back later tonight. You can rip into me with impunity for anout 4or 5 hours 😀

  84. “All things are lawful for the Christian”

    Do the other Christians here agree?

    I’m not sure what that means.

  85. You caught me right as I was stepping out the door…

    “All things are lawful.” St. Paul tells us this. No sin we could comitt will be held against us (by God, for those in Christ) (we are to consider ourselves dead to sin.” -Romans)

    We could comitt murder, as did David, and Paul and Moses.

    But in this life there is a price to pay, because as Jesus said, “not one jot or titte of the law will be done away with until the new Kingdom is ushered in.

  86. “All things are lawful for the Christian. But all things are not profitable.”

    Wait, are you trying to tell me you don’t think Pornography is profitable?!

    I hear there is a ton of money in it, and al for the taking if you don’t have the religious/legalistic hangups Mormons do about it.

  87. “are you trying to tell me you don’t think Pornography is profitable?!

    I hear there is a ton of money in it, and al for the taking if you don’t have the religious/legalistic hangups Mormons do about it.”

    😀 😀 😀

    Good one!

    Gotta run…I’m late!

  88. Tomchik said:

    “All things are lawful for the Christian.” Do the other Christians here agree?

    No, and neither did Paul.

    The reference is to 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23. In most modern translations (at least in the four I looked at), the saying is in quotation marks. Apparently Paul is quoting something that he had heard many times from the Corinthians. After quoting it, he doesn’t directly refute it or endorse it; instead, he goes on to suggest that there were some who were using that saying as a form of rationalization.

    In chapter 10, he’s speaking in the context of Christians eating meat that had been given to idols. Some Christians at the time thought this was a terrible thing to do, while others thought it was OK. Paul goes on to say, in essence, that there’s nothing wrong with doing eating meat given to idols (i.e., it’s a lawful thing to do), but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it. And in chapter 6, very shortly after Paul quotes this saying he tells the Corinthians in no uncertain terms that they shouldn’t engage in sexual sin.

    So to use Paul as support for the belief that “all things are lawful” is taking him woefully out of context.

    Paul makes pretty clear in 1 Corinthians that those who engage at least in certain types of sin will not inherit the kingdom of God. He says that point-blank. And he seems to say that those who have true faith in Christ, who have been justified, who are righteous, no longer engage in that kind of behavior.

    So, no, not all things are lawful for the Christian. And neither did Paul say so.

  89. I will agree with theoldadam on one point –

    One who has true faith in Jesus Christ and is born again will not have any sin he commits held against him at the judgment day because he is under grace.

    However, I believe that one may fall from grace, so it is important for us to stay in the path of discipleship!

  90. Thank you Eric,

    I was Going to say that neither did Calvin. He, Calvin not Paul, says “All things are lawful for me, must be understood as spoken in name of the Corinthians…” John Owen said “So foolish ofttimes are the minds of men, so liable to be imposed upon, so common is it for their lusts, seduced and principled by the craft of Satan, to turn judgment into wormwood, and to abuse the most useful effects of divine grace and bounty!”

    (John Calvin. Commentary on Corinthians – Volume 1 (128))
    (John Owen. Pneumatologia (22). Joseph Kreifels.)

  91. ” For sin shll not have domininion over you, but you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin? Because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid!” Roman 6:14-15

    Just because we as believers are under the perfect law of liberty and grace, we are not free to sin. We are free from the *law* = the law of moses and all that it entails.
    But no christian is free to go and gorge themselves on sin… the Holy Spirit would compel them differently.

    For example, I do not keep the “sabbath”, but I do go to Church on Sunday to worshp the king. Not because of some “law” but because I love the lord my God with all my heart and soul.

    I “do” drink coffee, am free to drink wine and eat out occassionally on Sundays. because as a believer, I am free from the legalism of man made religions and rules. The bible declares we are not to be judged by what we eat, drink or what we do on Sundays. Col. 2:16

    I don’t keep endless geneologies as the Bible tells me, even though for thousands of years the Jews did. I am not a Jew, and am not under the law of Moses.

    I am an adopted child of God, purchased , redeemed and cleanses in the blood of the Lamb.

    Jesus died so I can be free of the law of moses ( the school master that the Jews needed). Why would I wish to entangle myself again with the yoke of bondage? That is precisely what Paul told the church of Galatia.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  92. Gloria – I like much of what you said. What role does the “law” play in your life? (and I’m not talking about the law of Moses)

  93. Big difference in using our Christian liberty to be free from legalism and abusing our Christian liberty to be free to sin. I recently re-read a talk by Bruce C. Hafen given at BYU years ago. He spoke of the bondage of sexual immorality:

    “I want you to know that it isn’t easy for me to paint such an extreme picture. I am usually a pretty calm and reasonable guy. But on this particular subject of sexual morality, I honestly believe our society is within the grip of the evil one, even in the moment when so many Americans feel more “free” than ever before. There is a reason why the scriptures record the word devilish after the words carnal and sensual. We read in the Pearl of Great Price that “Satan came among them, . . . and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish” (Moses 5:13). And then when Cain slew Abel, he said, “I am free” (Moses 5:33). Cain was never more in bondage than when he said, “I am free.” In exactly the same way, the American people have never been in greater moral bondage than in this time when they glory in being “free” to pursue pleasure in any form they fancy as if there will never be any tomorrow.”

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6874

  94. Tim, Tomchik,

    I think that Islam has a much better picture of Jesus than does Mormonism.

    Islam seems to understand some things about God much better than LDS.

  95. theoldadam,

    John f.,

    Where did you ever get the idea that martin Luther did not like the Sermon on the Mount?

    Martin Luther dismissed the Sermon on the Mount as “the devil’s masterpiece” (ein Meister Stuck des Teuffels, German spelling as in original) (“Das heißt ein Meister Stuck des Teufels”, D. Martin Luthers Werke (Weimar, 1906), vol. 6, pg. 10). Why would Martin Luther have said something so shocking about the words of Jesus Christ himself? Because Christ’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount weren’t compatible with what Luther wanted the Gospel to mean, based on Luther’s own selection and elevation of a few verses from Paul over the rest of the corpus of scripture. Luther called the Sermon on the Mount “the devil’s masterpiece” because, as he surmised in the essay, “the devil so masterfully distorts and perverts (verdrehet und verkeret) Christ’s true meaning through his Apostle [Matthew] especially in the fifth chapter”. (See the discussion of this, which includes the above quote, in John W. Welch, The Sermon on the Mount in the Light of the Temple, pg. 36 (London: Ashgate, 2009)).

    In taking this approach, and also in dismissing James as an “Epistle full of straw” (ein rechte stroern Epistel) because it teaches the importance of works together with faith for the disciple of Jesus Christ, Martin Luther is treading in very dangerous territory. Why did he think that Jesus was wrong and Paul was right? This question assumes that Jesus contradicts Paul. If that is the case, one should follow Jesus, not Paul. But, luckily, Jesus doesn’t contradict Paul. Instead, Luther was misinterpreting Paul — Paul’s writings, when understood properly, don’t actually contradict Christ’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount. But the content of the Sermon on the Mount, which Latter-day Saints find enlightening and view as a “constitution” of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, does indeed seem to contradict Luther’s preferred interpretation of Paul. We must therefore conclude that Luther was in error, not Jesus Christ or the Apostle Matthew. Luther did not see it this way, however, and because he perceived that the Sermon on the Mount contradicted what he wanted the Gospel to say, he posited that the Apostle Matthew had distorted Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount! In reality, Luther was just incorrectly seeing a conflict between Paul’s writings and the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. (If there really were such a conflict, the safe bet would be to side with Jesus and not Martin Luther — by the way, I also think one should side with Matthew over Martin Luther, assuming that Matthew somehow erred in recording Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, as Luther implied). But this conflict isn’t really there

    Paul doesn’t actually teach the kind of Gospel that you are representing here, theoldadam. In my studies of the Old and New Testaments, the Latter-day Saint interpretation of Paul’s teachings shines as the interpretation that most fully incorporates Paul’s actual message into a whole or unity with the teachings of Christ and the other Apostles contained in the New Testament. Not surprisingly, in the Latter-day Saint interpretation of Paul’s writings, those writings do not conflict with or contradict Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or James or Peter. Rather, they are in harmony one with another, and with the Acts as well.

    The “works” that James mentions, and without which James teaches that faith is dead, include the commandments that Jesus gives those who would be his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere in the Gospels. They also include the specific acts required by Jesus as a sign of one’s faith — baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost, acts that are specifically discussed in the Gospels and in the Book of Acts. But, as Paul correctly notes in his writings, it is not these acts themselves that save anyone but rather Christ’s grace (lest anyone start imbuing the acts themselves with actual saving power, as the Jews had been accustomed to and as Roman Catholics would later come to do, which is what led Martin Luther to militate against “works” in the perhaps overzealous way that he did). Christ’s grace is what saves us but we choose whether to accept Christ or not and thereby whether we receive that grace. As children of God, we are autonomous individuals who live in the fallen world in which mankind has become as God, “to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22). As such autonomous children of God, we must choose for ourselves whether to accept Christ’s Atonement in our lives.

    This message of salvation by the grace of Christ — which grace we choose of our own free will to accept or reject — is also very straightforwardly the message of the Book of Mormon from beginning to end: despite any and all works that we could possibly do, it is only by the grace of Christ that any of us are saved (2 Nephi 25:23) because, when we accept Christ and love God with all our heart, might, mind and strength (as commanded), then his grace is sufficient for us and this grace makes us perfect in Christ (Moroni 10:32). To reiterate, the Book of Mormon teaches that the grace of Christ, and not anything that we ourselves do, perfects us in Christ. However, consistent with what Jesus and the Apostles taught in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon teaches that we must choose for ourselves whether to accept this grace and in so doing, allow it to perfect us in this manner by the choices we make. We show the choice we’ve made to accept Christ by doing certain things that Christ commanded us to do.

    For Calvinists, it’s the idea that we choose for ourselves whether to accept or reject Christ that is objectionable. For some Lutherans, such as yourself apparently theoldadam, it is the idea that Jesus Christ does indeed require some “works” on our part in order to show that we have accepted him and that we’ve become his disciples. On the most basic level, these works include accepting Jesus Christ in our hearts. Even you believe that this step (of accepting Jesus Christ in your heart) is required. This is a work and it is also known as having faith in Jesus Christ. Other fundamental biblical works that are required are baptism by immersion by one holding proper authority and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It is my conviction that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints alone puts the correct emphasis on the biblically required works and how they relate to our faith (which is itself also a work).

    One thing for sure is that the New Testament does not give you or anyone else license to sin and feel absolved from accountability for those sins. It is true that you will obtain forgiveness for your sins if you accept Christ’s Atonement in your life and have a broken heart and contrite spirit about the sins you have committed (because your sins have contributed to the suffering that Christ endured in his atoning sacrifice). But it is also very clear that the New Testament requires a posture of repentance of those who claim to be disciples of Christ and, although someone living a repentant life still messes up and commits plenty of sins, for which one can rely on the healing power of the Atonement, someone living such a life as a disciple of Christ does NOT have the attitude that there is no law for them. That is simply a misunderstanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  96. John F.,

    Luther did not say that Jesus’ words were of the devil.

    Only that people use them as gospel, and not the law, as they were intended.

    That you would actually think you are capable of living up to those high (perfect) standards that Jesus highlighted, and that you would give anyone the impression that they could attain these perfect standards…is of the devil.

  97. It does seem devilish to tell people to try to be perfect or to tell them to be perfect, especially when its impossible.

    I can’t remember though, was it the devil that told men to be perfect? have to check on that.

  98. When I preach kingdom principles of Matthew 5-7 in the I-1-15 Corridor, here is a typical response:

    “Good grief, no one is perfect.”

    I don’t think most people in the intermountain West really feel the pressure of Kingdom preaching.

  99. I guess I can’t say I find this especially compelling. But it is hard to describe why. Hmmm. I can say I find her to be sincere and I can respect that. I guess her evidentiary support for leaving the LDS faith seems ….light? But the bottom line is she left.

    I guess I find highlighting such conversion a bit distasteful (“Prominent BYU Professor leaves faith!”) regardless of which way they go. I served as a missionary in a central California town where a prominent Lutheran family had been converted to the LDS faith. Some in the area made a bit too much of holding these converts up as an example to their Lutheran neighbors. “They were lay ministers in the Lutheran church in town and THEY left”. That just didn’t sit well with me. Actually one mission companion tried to foist me in the face of Presbyterians similarly. It never got much more than a slammed door or chuckle. As it should have.

    I suppose it sounds silly in the age of the internet to ask folks to show a little restraint and be less conspicuous about their lives but that’s just how I see it.

    It’s not unlike how my wife at times seems to wish I bear a tearful testimony wherein I describe a previous life of debauchery or a conversion that nearly tore my family apart. Both may be true but neither approach seems especially sincere or relevant to me. Ultimately I converted because of a faith in Christ. The rest is just drama.

  100. I found quite by accident on another site some information. Someone commented on the article I had just read. The commentor mentioned that he served his mission with Micah Wilder. Evidently Micah Wilder has not been truthful, as most ex LDS are not truthful (David Tweed of mormonthink got caught lying about why he was excommunicated, Shawn McCraney was exed for adultery, Michael Quinn was a practicing homosexual)
    as to why they leave the church and other circumstances and lie about why they were exed. Micah Wilder, with some other missionaries, would hang out all day with some non members and goof off as well as do stuff no missionary should do. Micah Wilder did not do any missionary work as a LDS missionary.
    Because of all the well known ex LDS who have been less than forth coming with true facts about their excommunications and/or reasons for leaving the LDS faith I find it hard to believe anything they have to say. These ex LDS lie and blow a lot of smoke. I also notice how prideful they are.

  101. These ex LDS lie and blow a lot of smoke.

    Damn them! Those LDS are bringing their smoke-blowing ways into the fold of True Christianity!

  102. On another site Ms. Wilder spoke as if the LDS religion never studies the Bible nor reads the Bible. Also she said her son Micah was being sent home early from his LDS mission for reading the New Testament. What?! Pleeeaase!! Wow. Good thing I never got caught reading the Bible when I was serving a mission-what a disgrace if anyone knew I read the Bible.
    Micah Wilder was sent home early from his LDS mission because he and other missionaries got caught hanging out with people all day and playing video games and general goofing off – he was not doing missionary work.
    Ms. Wilder has spouted so much false information about LDS beliefs. Makes me wonder what she really did learn while a LDS member, and obviously she did not and does not understand anything about LDS beliefs. I also noticed how quickly, as she keeps speaking and giving interviews, she has picked up the parroting of phrases used by all LDS critics and ex LDS people.
    Recently Ms. Wilder wrote an article and I researched what she said. Glad I never had her teach me, for someone who supposedly taught history she sure got her information wrong. Of course her supporters will not question anything she says on anything. Also interesting is some of the people who commented on the article she wrote also got their facts wrong (like ALL racial Jews are dark skinned people) knowing no one will question their superior knowledge.
    I have been around many, many, many converts to the LDS religion and never heard once any convert making fun of or slamming their former religion in any way.
    How many people grow up with rules set by their parents/parent/guardians? Why did your guardian have rules? Was having rules to obey legalistic? Can some LDS members be legalistic? Yes, but so can people of any religion. I had a Baptist college room mate who came back from a church meeting one evening and started to smash and destroy all of our music, mine included. She was freaked out about how evil music was, having learned this at her meeting. The music industry put subliminal diabolical messages hidden in the lyrics, which can make people do evil without knowing they are doing evil, and it can lead to devil worship. True story.
    FWIW – just because LDS believe differently about Jesus does not mean we believe in a different Jesus. It chapps my backside to hear ex LDS say LDS believe in a different Jesus and say “the Mormon God”. You know, Jews say Christians believe in a different God from the God they believe in, also.
    If all one needs is just to profess a belief in Jesus and nothing else to be saved, then why in the heck did people take the time to write down all the stuff the Apostles and Jesus taught, which is now called the Bible with many “books” in it, if those thing were not important? Like Baptism, follow the commandments, take the Sacrament, repent, confess your sins, etc? Does not make sense. If those things were not important then we would not have, or need, a Bible with all of that information. Instead we would have a very thin book telling us about the birth of Jesus, the miracles He performed, and then at the end all it would have to say is “to be saved all you have to do is shout to Jesus that you believe in Him and in the Cross”. Where in the Bible dooes it say that God chooses whom He will save and choose whom He will damn regardless of how good or bad a person is? Talk about a man made belief, which Ev’s accuse Mormonism of being (man made). The hypocrysy.

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