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Book of Mormon Section, Continued....

(A falling away, and a later restoration, was predicted, seen and written about) These are just a few samples...

"They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things they will do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me." (John 16:2-3, KJV)

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:3-4, KJV)

"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." (2 Peter 2:1-2, KJV)

"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 3-4, KJV)

Among historians who lived immediately after apolistic times was Hegesippus, who "flourished nearest the days of the apostles". Eusebius wrote of the conditions marking the close of the first century, and cites Hegesippus: "[Hegesippus] relating the events of the times, also says, that the Church continued until then as...pure and uncorrupt...whilst if there were any at all that attempted to pervert the sound doctrine of the saving gospel, they were yet skulking in dark retreats; but when the sacred choir of apostles became extinct, and the generation of those that had been privileged to hear their inspired wisdom had passed away, then also the combinations of impious error arose by the fraud and delusions of false teachers. These also, as there were none of the apostles left, henceforth attempted, without shame to preach their false doctrine against the gospel of truth. Such is the statement of Hegesippus." (Eusebius, Eccles. Hist., Book III, chap. 32)

Of the fifth century, Mosheim wrote: "The sacred and venerable simplicity of the primitive times, which required no more than a true faith in the word of God, and a sincere obedience to his holy laws, appeared little better than rusticity and ignorance to the subtle doctors of this quibbling age....Several of these ancient writers, uncorrupted by the times in which they lived, have ingenuously acknowledged, that true piety and virtue were smothered, as it were, under that enormous burthen of ceremonies under which they lay groaning in this century." (Mosheim, Eccles. Hist., Century V, Part II, chaps. 3:1 and 4:1; English version written in 1819 by Archibald Maclaine) (Spelling "errors" were taken from the source document.)

John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, commented on the early decline of spiritual power, and the cessation of Divine gifts and graces within the church: ""It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause thereby heaped riches and power and honour upon the Christians in general, but in particular upon the clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased, very few instances of the kind being found. The cause was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon the earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church--because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left." (John Wesley's Works, Vol. VII, 89; 36-27)

(Did you come to the above section through the "predictions" link? If so, click on this link to return to the Biblical history you had been reading.)

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Problems With the Book of Mormon?

Click on this link to read Problems With the Book of Mormon?.

PLEASE NOTE: After I put that on the Web, people began e-mailing various other questions to me. Most of them have been standard questions. A few have been invitations to read more anti-Mormon propaganda. You may e-mail me with various comments, questions and requests. I welcome them because they often help me to learn. However, please understand this-- If I busied myself answering all those things, I would never have time to do anything else. I must prioritize my time for home, family and work, and must pace myself, like anyone else. If I don’t rush to find an answer for you, it’s because I already have enough “irons in the fire”. All of us have a direct line our Heavenly Father. If you are willing to research and weigh all sides of an issue, willing to study the scriptures and pertinent writings, willing to ponder and pray with faith on the Lord nothing wavering, sincerely seeking the will of God in your life, Father will show you the answer in His own time and in His own way. You can run on someone else’s testimony for only so long. The time comes when each of us must stand the trial of our faith on our own two feet, or crumble under the opposition. The Lord tries the faith of His people--the scriptures tell us so. After the trial of our faith comes the blessing. After we have exercised our faith, we can be brought to know. That’s the pattern.

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Mormons and Salvation

Are Mormons automatically ‘saved’? --
Mormons are not 'perfect'. They are not automatically 'saved'. That idea is contrary to the doctrine of the LDS Church. To explore this, first read the LDS Third Article of Faith:

"We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., in his writings Doctrine of Salvation, wrote extensively on this topic. For example:

"CHURCH MEMBERSHIP ALONE WILL NOT SAVE. We are not going to be saved in the kingdom of God just because our names are on the records of the Church. It will require more than that. We will have to have our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life; that is the evidence we have kept the commandments. Every soul who will not keep the commandments shall have his name blotted out of that book.....The fact that they are members of the Church will not save them. Every man and every woman will have to answer for the deeds done in the body.....we must not get the understanding that because we are members of the Church it is all well with us, and our salvation is secure...It is not so. We must continue to the end; we must obey the commandments..." (bold added by webmaster)

Do Mormons believe they are ‘saved’ by “being good”?--
No. Double NO. I admit this is sometimes misunderstood even by some Mormons. However, no one is saved by “being good”. Salvation comes through grace, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Salvation by “being good” goes against LDS doctrine. Let’s examine a few pertinent verses from the Book of Mormon:

“(21) I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another--I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants....(23) And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. (24) And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? (25) And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.” (Mosiah 2:21-25)

“...yea, remember that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, who shall come; yea, remember that he cometh to redeem the world.” (Helaman 5:9)

It is plain to see that, through all that we do, we can not save ourselves. We still fall short and are unprofitable servants. It is only through Jesus Christ that we are saved.

So, what is the purpose of works? Why “be good”? One mainstream Christian radio ad campaign, in the spring of 1998, stated that being good is saying thank-you to God. While that sounds nice, I have a problem with it’s over-simplicity. The Bible says nothing about works, or “being good”, as how we say thank-you to God. Now, that could be inferred from the text. However, I think it overlooks a deeper, more beautiful concept.

One: James 2:14-26 looks at how faith and works work together. Works (“being good”) is faith in action. A person who truly believes in something acts accordingly. When a person truly has faith in Christ, their faith moves them to act according to the teachings of Christ. A person who claims “I believe in Christ,” and then lies or steals shows shallow faith. A person who claims “I believe in Christ,” and then lives Christ’s teachings of love and service is “putting their actions where their mouth is”. Thus, faith without works is dead. Thus, by works, faith is made perfect.

Two: In the Bible, Jesus plainly says, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15, KJV).

Thus, “being good” is more than simply saying thank-you to God. By “being good”, we show our faith in Christ and let our light shine for all to see. By “being good”, we show Jesus Christ that we love him.

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The Mormon Stand on Chastity

The Bible clearly states that God expects people to practice chastity. Procreation outside of marriage is a sin. Examples:

”For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; (1 Thes. 4:3-4, KJV)”

”Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators,...nor adulterers,...nor abusers of themselves with mankind,...shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10, KJV)”

The LDS Church has always stood firm in expecting chastity from it’s members. Even when “free love” was the in-thing, and many mainstream Christian churches were watering down God’s decree against fornication to please their members...The LDS Church stood firm for abstinence, chastity, and the sanctity of marriage.

Observant people are now seeing the negative effects of “free love” and promiscuity on society. It’s good to see many mainstream Christians returning to the God-given decree of chastity. See Stanford True Love Waits Student Group and True Love Waits--Thru the Roof! for examples. It’s good to see those Christians, and others, returning to the standard that the LDS Church has always embraced.

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Women and the LDS Church

Here are samples of what the Holy Bible and Book of Mormon say about women:

1 Corinthians 11:11-12 "Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also of the woman; but all things of God."

Alma 32:23 "And now, he imparteth his word by angles unto men, yea, not only men but women also...."

Here is a quote from "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", an official proclamation by the LDS Church, from the First Presidency and Council of Twelve Apostles of the Church:

"...fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." (bold added by webmaster)

Personally, I, a woman, have never felt an atmosphere of sexism in the LDS Church. I have never been made to feel like a second-class citizen in the Church. In fact, I have heard many LDS men cheerfully and openly acknowledge that women are often more spiritually in-tune than they are, are more willing to serve others than they are, and are valuable partners. As I heard one LDS woman put it, “Why shouldn’t I treat my husband like a king -- He treats me like a queen!” On the other hand, I HAVE been treated with sexism and as a second-class citizen by non-LDS men....

This next part contains information about the LDS Relief Society, and quotes from LDS Melchizedek Priesthood Study Manuals:

The Relief Society is the LDS organization for women. It began in the spring of 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois. The men working on the Nauvoo Temple needed shirts. In response, Sarah Kimball and Margaret Cook decided to combine their efforts. Sister Kimball provided the materials, and Sister Cook would sew. They decided to ask neighbor women if they would like to join the project.

The women met together and decided their efforts would be more successful if they formed a ladies' society. They asked Eliza R. Snow to write a constitution and present it to the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Joseph Smith said the constitution and bylaws were the finest he had ever seen. But he said there was something better for them. He invited them to meet with him and a few brethren the following week. The purpose was to organize them into a society patterned after the organization of the priesthood.

A small group of women accepted the invitation. They gathered the next Thursday, March 17, 1842, in a room above Joseph Smith's store. The meeting started with a hymn and a prayer.

Joseph Smith said the object of the society was to help in meeting the needs of the poor, "--searching after objects of charity, and in administering to their wants." Later he told the women they were not only to relieve the poor, but to save souls.

Emma Smith, Joseph's wife, was chosen to be president of the society. Her counselors were Sarah M. Cleveland and Elizabeth Ann Whitney. Eliza R. Snow was the secretary. Elvira A. Coles was the treasurer. They were blessed and set apart by Elder John Taylor.

The group named themselves the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo. In time the official title became the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Relief Society at Nauvoo was the beginning of a worldwide sisterhood that would number in the millions within 150 years. The Relief Society is organized in every nation where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized.

The Relief Society's goals are accomplished through three departments: welfare/compassionate service, education, and homemaking. Welfare/compassionate service is under the direction of the Relief Society President, education under the direction of one of her counselors, and homemaking under the direction of the other counselor. Through these departments, the Relief Society sisters are encouraged to be self-reliant, to assist people in need, to study the scriptures, apply the gospel in their lives, and strengthen their families. Under the direction of the bishop, the Relief Society plays an important role in providing temporary assistance to the poor and needy, and in providing help during emergencies.

The Relief Society provides women with the opportunity to lead and serve others, throughout the levels of LDS Church leadership. LDS women also provide leadership and service in the Primary and Young Women's programs.

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Here are some quotes on women, straight from LDS Church priesthood study manuals:

Melchizedek Priesthood Manual Study Guide 2, Lesson 26 "Teaching Your Sons to Honor Womanhood". The following quote consists of excerpts from pages 103-106. "Understand that your sons will be more inclined to honor womanhood when they see that you honor womanhood in the home and elsewhere....... Luke 1: 26-35. What evidence of God's favor of women in general and of Mary in particular does this passage provide?....... President Joseph Fielding Smith said: 'There is nothing in the teachings of the gospel which declares that men are superior to women.'......... Ephesians 5:25-29. Paul taught that men should honor women in what ways?....... Proverbs 6:20-22. How should a mother's counsel be regarded?....... John 19:25-27. In what ways did the Savior teach us to honor womanhood?....... President Heber J. Grant said: 'Without the wonderful work of the women I realize that the Church would have been a failure. The mother in the family far more than the father, is the one who instills in the hearts of the children, a testimony and a love for the gospel of Jesus Christ.'........ What can you do to demonstrate to your children or other young people that you truly honor womanhood? What example do you show? Where can you improve?"

Melchizedek Priesthood Manual Study Guide 4, Lesson 22 "Presiding Righteously in the Home". The following quote consists of excerpts from pages 72-74 "Even though certain basic roles assigned to men and women differ, husbands and wives are equal partners...... President Spencer W. Kimball said: 'When we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners or limited partners in that eternal assignment. Please be a contributing and full partner'...... President Gordon B. Hinckley said: 'To men within the sound of my voice, I say, if you are prone to dictate and exercise authority over her, if you are selfish and brutal in your actions in the home, then stop it. Repent. Repent now, while you have the opportunity to do so.'...... What can you do in your home to better fulfill your priesthood obligation to meet the needs of your family? How can we be servants and blessings to our wives and children?"

[Note: The Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guides, such as the ones quoted from above are published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They are "lesson manuals" used by LDS men during Sunday priesthood lessons. The Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guides include several lessons about honoring and cherishing women, such as "Building a Happy and Successful Marriage" (Lesson 21, Guide 2), "Encouraging Your Wife's Growth and Development" (Lesson 11, Guide 1989), and "Thou Shalt Love Thy Wife with All Thy Heart" (Lesson 7, Guide 4).]

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