2 Nephi 25:23 & Aaron Shafovaloff’s
And the False Statements Of the So-Called
Mormon Research Ministry
Led by Aaron Shafovaloff and Bill McKeever
Aaron Shafovaloff - 2 Nephi 25:23
& Anti-Mormon Folly
By Ronnie Bray
" ... we know that it is by grace that we are saved ... "
A Word of Explanation:
I do not hate MRM or its creative but undisciplined and ill-researched writers and their little games. However, I do take this occasion to answer their false and twisted charges about Mormonism, a faith I know something about, having been a Mormon-Christian through conviction of the Holy Spirit for 66 years.
I have little faith that anyone at MRM will listen because they have failed to listen to correction for as long as they have been in the sleazy but profitable business of churning out low-grade Anti-Mormon literature. They not only do not take correction kindly, they do not take correction at all. Such is the depth of their delusion, their lack of insight, and their disdain for those against whom they turn their lies.
My sympathies lie with those Christians that trust MRM, dipping into their bank accounts to purchase its tawdry ill-researched publications. They deserve to have their monies refunded because MRM is an habitual deceiver as this exposé will demonstrate. Whatever kind of Christian you are, you deserve much better treatment than you have received at the hands of MRM.
May God bless you with discernment to see the ugly wolf fangs dripping with innocent blood from beneath the sheep mask MRM's henchmen wear when decieving honst and decent Christians whose only fauilt lies in their trusting the uintrustworthy.
2 Nephi 25:23
I have visited MRM's webpage on which they address 2 Nephi 25:23 and find them to mimicking geysers by blowing steam and spume out of their blowholes in no particular direction. Their difficulties, all of their own making, are connected to the Scriptural phrase, ‘after all we can do.’
The roots of their difficulty is in their futile efforts to the passage mean something diffetrent than what was intended by its author and expecially how it has been, and continues to be, understood by Latter-day Saints.
When someone essays to establish a precise and unequivocal interpretation of that phrase, ‘after all we can do’ and does so by stepping outside the context and intent of the passage they will end up speaking untruths. When telling lies for their own purposes is their primary motivation we can be sure that the Devil's purpose will be fulfilled, even as the divine and truthful purposes of the Lord God are neglected and avoided. That is precisekly how Satan oplays ganmes with the sols of humanity. Let us consider the verse:
For we labour diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
Aaron Shafovaloff, speaking for the MRM, opines:
2 Nephi 25:23 is a key text by which Mormons identify and distinguish their view of grace, repentance, works, and merit. It has consistently functioned in Mormonism as a text speaking of the prerequisite conditions for receiving forgiveness, eternal life, and exaltation, although some neo-orthodox Mormon revisionists are attempting to recast it as being about receiving grace in spite of all the conditions that we can't fulfil.
Well, Mr Shafovaloff is wrong, and he is wrong at the top of his voice. Unless Mr Shafovaloff will have the Grace to allow Mormons to determine how that verse is understood and used for themm, he must abandon his pretence of knowing how Mormons use it. Neither he nor any other person that has determined in his or her mind that that they actually know how Latter-day Saints Christians understand and apply the verse in context of the normative Mormon understanding of what God has told us what he requires from faithful Christian disciples as essential pre-conditions for eternal salvation, and allow Mormons to tell HIM, if he will listen, whether it is a 'key text' for them or whethetr it is not a 'key text.' He is likely to find, if he can stay still long enough and remain sufficiently courteous to hear what is being explained to him by those that alone know what it in their hearts and minds.
It is a common practice for Anti-Mormons like Mr Shafovaloff to dictate what it is that Mormons believe. The practice of reading minds is an Occult practices used by Satan and his earthbound demons to distort spiritual truths and lead honest souls off the path that leads to the Kingdom of God.
Mormons do not complain when people tell the truth about Mormonism and Mormons. But they do complain about distortion and exaggeration that are lies so gross that the spiritual truths to which they refers become outrageous Satanic lies. Hardly the conduct of true Christians.
When an anti-Mormon manupulates scripture to make it seem that Mormons regard it in a particular way, but it is nothing more than an outright lie, that shows that the critic is a liar 'and the truth is not in him.'
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. --1 John 2:3-6
If we adopt Shafovaloff’s view that God imposes no prerequisites to candidates for salvation, then we have to abandon the Sacred Scriptures in ur Holy Bibles in favour of the tawdry scratchings of ‘Minimalist Theologians’ whose philosophies of Christianity have suffered from their paying too much attention to a diminishing number of biblical verses at the expense of the many verses that controvert their conclusions, showing them to be nothing more than textual prestidigitators.
The challenge before us, and before them, that is before Latter-day Saints and Anti-Mormon Christian Minimalists, is whether we accept the Holy Bible as a guide to faith and morals, or whjether we accept the words of liars such as those engaged in MRM and similar wicked and hateful 'ministries,' and whether we accept that the teachings of Jesus and his apostles and prophets are meant by Almighty God and his Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to be binding on those that claim they to be true and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ and his Gospel.
We must also decide whether Anti-Mormons are correct when they say that the Holy Bible is merely a collection of ' suggestions' that we are free to set aside if they do not agree with their personal theological positions.
Mr Shafovaloff continues:
“From General Conference talks that reference this verse, we glean that “all we can do” means “our own merits”, “all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs”, “[exert] every ounce of energy”, “[t]rue and complete repentance”, “repent to fully pay our part of the debt”, “giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance”, and “maximum effort”.
Despite his pathological tautology, it would have been helpful of Shafovaloff to give us substabntiove information instead of the watery soup of his vague allusions to “General Conference talks that reference this verse.” He should have provided a reference but fails to insert a single one!
The Internet carries Conference Reports in text and audio-video so that Aaron can read and see and hear “General Conference talks that reference this verse,” but he disappoints even his paying customers with references as serious scholars do even if they are nothing more than links to the “Conference talks that reference this verse.” It wld show that he is acting in good faith, even though he is lying. But he does not! Shame on you, Aaron.
Shafovaloff could have presented the LDS site link at http://www.mormon.org/faq/beliefs-on-grace as a starting point.
However, he does not provide one single reference. Had he done so, both he and his readers would know what Mormons actually DO believe concerning God’s Grace.
How unfortunate, and how unChristian that Shafovaloff only wants to tell his gullible readers and auditors what Mormons DO NOT believe about God’s Grace while he pretends to tell them what Mormons DO believe. This is an example of the Lie Direct, concerning which Saint Paul commands Christians, “From such turn away,” and he explains that is because such people:
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
They are ungodly because they deny God the power to do what he will, when he will, using who he will. Paul tells Christians to turn from these wolves in sheep’s clothing. Why? Because once their lies take hold in a believing heart, they will destroy the faith even of the very elect.
So, Shafovaloff, perhaps knowing what Latter-day Saints actually mean when they speak about God’s Grace, but perhaps not, stamps his little feet, breathless at his impotence, and continues,
“According to LDS authorities [Which and When?] and church-published literature [Which and Where?], these conditions are necessary prerequisites “to receive the fullness of the Lord's grace and be made worthy to dwell with him”, “to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation”, to “go into the celestial kingdom”, to have “the Saviour’s magnificent Atonement [pay] the rest of [our] debt”, to have God “take away our stain”, and “to get God to take [sins] away from our hearts”.
The gentleman has now met himself coming back. For if he argues, and he does argue most forcibly, that this verse is interpreted by Latter-day Saint general authorities speaking at Church Conferences to mean that Mormons believe they must earn their salvation by continuous and untiring actions, that he lists as:
1.[Earning salvation by virtue of] our own merits,
2.all we can do to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs
3.[exerting] every ounce of energy
4.True and complete repentance,
5.Repenting to fully pay our part of the debt of sin we owe to God
6.Giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance,
7.And putting forth maximum effort,
It could be argued that each of these seven issues are really the same issue, but he has expanded them into seven to make himself appear as a serious scholar, or at least as some kind of scholar. The pity is that he has no comprehension of what scholarship involves. The poor man has overworked a sentence and produced a tome of misdirection by which he stands condemned for his blundering and misleading conclusions.
It is hardly surprising, considering the gentleman’s background that he fails to find anything in Mormonism to argue against his own extremism and distortion. But then, he has not really looked. That much is clear. He appears not to have been distinguioshed in educational achievements, and it shows in his fault reasoning and crooked thinking. We are probably correct to believe he owes more to Bill McKeever than to jesus Christ.
It is even more surprising that he is blissfully ignorant and unaware of any requirements imposed on Christians by Jesus Christ, his prophets, and apostles that resembles the spirit of 2 Nephi 25:23 within the boards of his own Holy Bible. I am presuming that he owns a Bible.
Let us take Shafovaloff’s objections one by one and correct his misinterpretations by showing Mormon belief.
1. [Earning salvation by virtue of] our own merits
Do Mormons believe that salvation is dependent on their own efforts, and is it something that they must earn for themselves or else do without?
Of course they do, not, and neither does Jesus.
How then does Mr Shafovaloff insist that a person is saved by doing nothing more than resting on divine Grace?
Is he aware that when the crowd assembled on the day of Pentecost asked the apostles,
“Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Peter did not say,
“You don’t have to do one single thing. All you have to do now is to sit back and take it easy and God will do the rest for you through Jesus.”
Instead of granting them a ‘do-nothing’ licence, Peter said:
“Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”
“What!” gasps Mr Shafovaloff, eagerly thumbing through his pristine Bible to find where this verse was hidden. “He told them do DO something?” [see Acts 2:37-38]
Here was a crowd of about three thousand men of Israel, convicted by Peter’s preaching that Jesus was the Christ, their Messiah, and recognising their mistakes about Jesus, they were cut to their hearts and needed with all their beings to make themselves right before God. Hence their appeal to the Apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we DO?”
Peter and the other Apostles knew the answer to their question, and without hesitating to consult with the minimalist theologians that were, even then, troubling the fledgling Church of Jesus Christ, he spoke with authority and told them what Jesus had divinely directed him and his companions to say with the commission and power given to him at his ordination, under the hands of the Saviour of the world:
“Repent and be baptised, every one of you. And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
Bill McKeever, the informant and mentor of Shafovaloff on MRM, itemises the folly of believing what is written in Acts by listing it as,
‘a new and peculiar heretical teaching of Alexander Campbell, and one that was not any part of Historical Christianity.’ Campbellites are heretics,
McKeever writes, because of their:
“Dependence on Acts 2:38 for the sequence of saving actions, which include faith, repentance, baptism, forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and appropriate good works to demonstrate persevering to the end, upon which eternal life can be assured.”
I smiled when my spellchecker recommended I change McKeever to ‘Makeover!’
McKeever roubndly castigates Christians that rely on the sacred scriptures the words of Jesus Christ, and the words of the apostles of Jesus Christ, and tags them as heretical.
To Bible believing Christians, and that includes Mormons, it is evident that the Lord Jesus Christ directed and approved of the apostles’ actions on the Day of Pentecost, for we note that it is the LORD that added to the Church those that would be saved.
In Acts we are given a view of the events that followed the preaching of the apostles on the Day of Pentecost.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
If McKeever and Shafovaloff are correct, what Peter should have told the crowd of thousands of Jews was,
Do nothing! Only believe, and God takes care of everything for you!
The invoitati0n to discipleship, "Come, follow me!" is not a call to idleness and do-nothingness, but a call to action, even a call to suffer and die as Jesus Christ suffered and died. Jesus said that any chj ristian that was not willing to suffer and die was bnot worthy to bve even called a Christian. Clearly, McKeever and his servant Shavofaloff do not know the true Jesus or his teachings, fo they follow a non-Biblical Jesus, one that asks nothing and has not the power to save. The MRM pair have invented their own Jesus and their own form of modern day heretical Chriostianity that is not according to the Bible. Small wonder that they manufacture lies. One can only feel sorry for them and for those they influence.
But Peter did not say do nothing except "believe and then lie on your bned for the rest of your life!"
Had saying the name of Jesus aloud been the sole requirement for salvation, why would Peter have sent them by a different route? If he didn’t say ‘Do nothing,’ then what did he say to them? He said,
Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this untoward generation.’
Then they that gladly received his word were baptised: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
What? ejaculates McKeever and Shafovaloff, Peter said, ‘save yourselves’?
He did, but he was not referring to eternal salvation. He meant only that they should distance themselves from the general religious notions about salvation. The manner in which they should distance themselves if they would be saved, was to, “Repent, and be baptised […] in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” What could be clearer than that action was required on the part of any that wanted to be saved in heaven there to dwell forever with God and his Christ?
This fascinating series of events at the Feast of Pentecost was driven by the Risen Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost.
What MRM sees as an imposition, a requirement to act, is the word of God to those that the LORD would save.
We ought not to be surprised – although we always are! – that those representing themselves as ‘ministers’ turn their back on the divine Word, on the Apostles, and on the Holy Spirit of God, and then turn to distortions, criticising, and finding fault with Biblical Christianity.
Dare I suggest that these gentlemen fit the mould of those the Bible warns us when it tells us,,
“Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
This day is this scripture fulfilled in thy sight by none other than Aaron Shafovaloff and Bill McKeever.
It is unavoidable that we recognise that those that ‘should be saved,’ were engaged in activities recognised as essential for other Christians to imitate.
These are listed by Saint Luke as:
2.Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of sins
3.Receipt of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the imposition of the hands of the Apostles
4.They were also instructed to ‘Save [themselves] from this untoward generation,’ a further demand that they become positive actors in their own salvation after fulfilling the first fours Apostolic requirements of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, and receiving the Holy Ghost, including:
5.Continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine
6.Enjoying Christian fellowship
7.Breaking bread together in communal meals
8.Prayers – ‘the Christian’s native breath’
9.And all that believed were together
10.Having all things common
11.Selling their surplus possessions and goods
12.Giving charitable gifts to all men according to need.
13.Continuing daily with one accord in the temple
14.breaking bread from house to house
15.eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart
17.Having favour with all the people.
18.Being added to the church of God because then they could be saved.
Of this event John Wesley wrote:
“So their [early Christians] daily Church communion consisted in these four particulars:
1.Hearing the word;
2.Having all things common;
3.Receiving the Lord's Supper;
“Ye diff'rent sects, who all declare,
Lo here is Christ, and Christ is there;
Your stronger proofs divinely give,
And show me where the Christians live!”
[John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes on Acts 2]
Obviously they are not found in the ‘Mormon ‘Failure to Research’ Ministry [MFRM].’
We know that early Anti-Christians accused Early Christians of being a weird cult that followed a charismatic leader, a Jewish heretical cult, etc, who were transformed from being faithful Jews into something novel and unwelcome!
But that into which they were changed was that which was commanded by Almighty God and Jesus Christ. Shafovaloff and McKeever would have you believe that God and Jesus are wrong and misunderstood. They did not mean what they and their divinely commissioned servants said and wrote. In short, they were heretics. One must have a strong stomach and asbestor overalls to call God a heretic! But Aaron and Bill manage to do it without cracking their faces.
Who is right? Are God, Jesus, and the Apostolate right as they are recorded in the Holy Bible, or are Aaron and Bill right in saying that God, Jesus, the Apostolate, and the Holy Bible are wholly wrong?
Knowing MRM’s disdain for sacred writ it is with some hesitation that I repeat the divinely inspired words of the prophet Isaiah, “To the Law and Testimony!”
We search the scriptures to discover whether the call to discipleship extended to all mankind by Jesus and his representatives really is a call to McKeeverism and Shafovaloffism and non-saving idleness. If it is, then we will find it written plain. If it is not, then we shall know that MRM is a false witness.
And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother
It must be understood at the outset of this investigation that Christianity is no pipe dream, no drug-induced delusion, no pathological affectation of the mind, but a faith that requires everything from man and woman that is in them. It is a demanding faith, or it is nothing. Jesus told his followers what was expected of them.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
He repeated this saying,
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
The call to discipleship is a call to share the same fate as Jesus if necessary. It is a call to abandon all that we have if necessary. In these and other places, Jesus gave positive requirements to those that would be partakers of his Gospel of Salvation. He did not say,
“Just leave everything to me. You sit back and enjoy yourselves, Watch the parade go by and I’ll take care of you when the time comes!”
That minimalist nonsense has nothing to do with God, with Jesus, with his apostles, or with securing eternal life and salvation.
What did Jesus say was required from those that took upon themselves his name? Those that do not listen to Jesus will tell you that all Jesus said about eternal salvation was
“Only believe and do nothing else!” “Confess me as your LORD and then you can go to sleep secure that your place in heaven has been given to you for nothing!”
Jesus gave a stark warning to those that have been fooled into thinking that that is really what he said.
Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ [the Confession of Jesus as LORD] shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Jesus said those that think they are Christians but do not prove they by what they do will be cast out as evil doers. Saint Paul the apostle agreed:
It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
Jesus commends almsgiving, marking that which is done in the right spirit as leading to a reward from God.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Jesus did not forbid Christians to give alms. He encouraged almsgiving when it was done in the proper spirit.
Peter, the chief of the College of Apostles, gives a call to action similar to that given by the master.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind [ACTION!],
be sober [ACTION!],
and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ [ACTION!];
as obedient children [ACTION!],
not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [ACTION!];
because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy .
Christians are directed to imitate Almighty God. Of course, Peter, one of the most human of the apostles, knew that perfection in toto was impossible in this life. Nonetheless he directs Christians to strive to become perfect, just as Jesus did when he charged Christians,
“Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Is this, ‘be ye therefore perfect,’ a commandment that cannot be kept? If it wasn’t open-ended it would be. But, there is no time limit with the commandment, only a command to start now! It is a terminus a quo, a beginning of a process or journey, not a statim or a protinus, an order to be complied with without delay.
Perfection is not an immediate or overnight thing. It takes a lifetime and then whatever time it takes until God gets round to making as Christian perfect in the eternal world.
Does Almighty God make commandments knowing that frail humanity cannot keep them, or is it merely divine torment as the Olympian gods employed to sport with humanity for amusement? That is what Minimalist Anti-Mormons believe. Do they believe that Saint Paul is in on the joke and that he deliberately set out to mislead Christians when he wrote,
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [withstand] it”? [1 Corinthians 10:13]
2. ‘all we can do’ [means that Mormons have] to pay to the uttermost farthing and make right our wrongs.
Being a professional Anti-Mormon is no excuse for building a straw man out of fog, mist, and soot from the chimney back! I suppose that would make it a ‘fog, mist, and soot-man!’
Mormons accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Redeemer, and are conscious of the fact that someone that has no debt for a Redeemer to settle has no need of a Redeemer. Shafovaloff need only to spread his eyes wider than his tunnel-vision pejorative focus to discover what Mormons believe Jesus Christ is and what he does. It is no secret.
Today  there are around 90,000 LDS Missionaries abroad in the world teaching the First Discussion to all that will listen. The content of the First Discussion, ie, the first thing missionaries share with investigators is:
Our Saviour Jesus Christ
1. "Without the help of our Heavenly Father, we would not be able to receive any benefit from the plan of salvation. In mortal life each of us sins and does not achieve perfection. Our sins make us unworthy to return to our Heavenly Father. Additionally, each of us will die at the end of this mortal life."
2. "God prepared a way to overcome sin and death so that we would be able to return to Him. The central figure in the plan of salvation is Jesus Christ."
(Read and discuss John 3:16): "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
"It is wonderful to think of the great love for us of our Heavenly Father!"
John 3:16 is widely cited by many Protestant churches in teaching that all that is necessary for salvation is to acknowledge Christ and express belief. Many investigators understand the scripture in this light, and it may confuse some more than it helps.
If missionaries choose to use this particular scripture, it is important to ensure that investigators understand this doctrine correctly, since many other passages in both the Book of Mormon and the Bible state that we must obey God's commandments to receive salvation.
Often one can avoid doctrinal hangups and lengthy explanations by using one of the scriptures in the Book of Mormon that speak even more powerfully and clearly of God's love, but also cannot be perceived to trivialize the conditions of salvation.
3. "Jesus fulfilled his part of the plan. Through his sacrifice and and resurrection, we can overcome the consequences of sin, and all people will live again after earthly death."
"Find out: Do the investigators understand that our sins do not allow us to return to God? What do they think of Jesus Christ?"
What think ye of Christ? This is one of the great questions of all time. Regardless of what we may say, investigators must understand that the true answer to this question is best demonstrated by the way we live our lives:
"Unless we do His teachings, we do not demonstrate faith in Him." Ezra Taft Benson
4. "The plan of salvation is simple and easy to understand, but to follow it, we must choose this path."
A good scripture to share here is 3 Nephi 14:13-14:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat; Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
It is important that individuals understand that there is one narrow path requiring obedience to return to our Heavenly Father, and not a number of different paths or a "broad path" that can save us simply because we may be nice, well-meaning people. We choose the path not simply by making a one-time decision and becoming "saved," but by entering in at the narrow gate and living obediently until the end:
"And again, I would that ye should learn that he only is saved who endureth unto the end. Even so. Amen." (D&C 53:7)
Consistent righteous living requires effort and must be our first priority.
(Read and discuss John 14:6): "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
"Find Out: Have the listeners felt blessings in their life because of following the example of Christ or trying to emulate Him? What in the teachings of Christ has the greatest meaning to them?"
One can learn quite a bit about an investigator by learning which of Christ's teachings are most meaningful to him or her. Is the investigator's answer a vague generality, or is it something specific and meaningful? Is it sincere and from the heart? What is the investigator willing to do to emulate Christ? Share a few Book of Mormon scriptures with the investigator which demonstrate the teachings most meaningful to them. Then, share how (specifically) it is meaningful to you. This is a great place to build on common beliefs and strengthen the investigator's testimony at the same time.
5. "By His perfect example and His teachings, Jesus taught us how to fulfill this plan. If we have faith to do what Jesus Christ taught, we will obtain peace in this life. Additionally, we will be able to become more like Him and our Heavenly Father. We will be able to return to Them and live with Them after this life."
Could it be any clearer, Mr Shafovaloff? Mr McKeever? I found that lesson material in less than sixty seconds using Google.com. The reason you didn’t find it is the same reason that the rustler cannot find the sheriff! You are running away from truth and justice.
3. [exerting] every ounce of energy
Latter-day Saints are the first to acknowledge that if it were possible to make a truly superhuman to constantly exert ‘every ounce of energy’ in worshipping and serving God, it would never be sufficient unless God sent a Saviour to make up what individuals lack. Latter-day Saints believe with all their hearts, all their might, and all their minds that God sent a Saviour, a Redeemer, who has paid for us what we are cannot pay for ourselves.
It is Jesus that ransoms sinners from death, and every Mormon knows that! This is acknowledged by Latter-day Saints in a key scripture from the second chapter of Mosiah in Book of Mormon:
20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
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.
Being an unprofitable servant means that no matter what we do we could not extricate ourselves from the debt we owe to the LORD for his gift of eternal life. There is not sense of having to pay the ‘uttermost farthing,’ or ‘right all our personal wrongs.’ If we could do that, then we would have no need for a Saviour.
I have yet to meet a Mormon that believes they can save themselves except by the Grace of God and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. In gratitude for these gifts, Mormons worship God and do all they can to be obedient to the LORD Jesus Christ. That Shafovaloff and McKeever find cause for derision at our doing so speaks volumes about their characters. Nevertheless, nothing they can invent will ever beat the truth.
The fate of the ‘unprofitable servant’ in the parable of the talents is said by Jesus to be consignment,
“ … into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 25:30]
The title, ‘unprofitable servant,’ is identified in the parable and in the outstanding Bible commentary, ‘Barnes' Notes on the Bible,’ thus:
“The spiritual meaning of the parable may be thus summed up:
1. The servants of God are not all endowed with equal gifts and talents.
2. All, whatever may be their ability, are bound to employ their talents in promoting his honour, and in a proper improvement of them.
3. By employing their talents in a proper manner, they improve and strengthen them.
4. They will be judged according to the improvements which they have made.
5. All sinners look on God as a hard master, and as unreasonable and tyrannical.
6. People will be judged not merely for "doing wrong, but for neglecting to do right."
7. If the servant who kept the talent entire without injuring it, and who returned it to his master as he received it, was nevertheless judged, condemned, and cast away, what must they expect who abuse their talents, destroy by drunkenness and lust the noble faculties conferred on them, and squander the property that might be employed in advancing the interests of morals and religion!
Clearly, the Reverend Dr Barnes is at odds with MRM’s Anti-Mormon Ministry in its understanding of the Sacred Scripture, to which, they allege without supporting evidence, they look to find out what they must do to be saved. Shall we follow the noble Bible scholar whose life was spent teaching Christians how to be better Christians, or shall we follow Shafovaloff and McKeever into the dirty, muddy ditch through our voluntary blindness?
4. True and complete repentance,
What is ‘true and complete repentance’? Is it that course which, when followed assiduously leads a person out of his sins and enables him or her to stand purified and righteous before God? The use of the word ‘true’ is an identifier that someone is using dishonest thinking. Either repentance is ‘true’ or else it is not repentance.
When Jesus calls his people to repentance, as he frequently does, does he call them to ‘true’ repentance or to an inferior, sub-standard imitation of repentance?
Is a repentance that is not complete really repentance? Should Latter-day Saints and other Christians try to use fake repentance in an attempt to play a clever and devious trick on Jesus and hope he doesn’t notice?
That suggestion from the Brothers Grim is reminiscent of the pagan Omar Khayyam’s ‘Rubaiyat’ in which he excuses his insincere contrition:
Indeed, repentance oft before I swore.
But, was I sober when I swore?
And by and by comes Spring with rose in hand
And my threadbare penitence apieces tore!
Of course, the subject of the poem is a drunkard that loves wine more than he loves truth, even when his salvation is at risk.
The words of Christ concerning repentance ring in the ears of Christians that are not seeking for paltry excuses to do nothing after they have come to Christ. We look at some examples. If we find that they are given to us by an Insincere Saviour who does not mean what he says, then we will be right to ignore them and follow Shafovaloff and McKeever. Otherwise, we should ‘trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy with Jesus than to trust and obey.’ That hymn has been sung by Christians for more than a century. I sang it often as a young Methodist lad and find it correct according to the Bible.
Hymn No. 467. Trust and Obey
Text: John H. Sammis, 1846-1919
Music: Daniel B. Towner, 1850-1919
1.When we walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
2.Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.
3.But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favour he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey.
4.Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.
Latter-day Saints join wholeheartedly with Mr Sammis, in believing Jesus when he said it takes more than calling on his name to be saved.
‘When we do his good will, he abides with us still’
Yes, Lord! Jesus told us he demanded obedience to the ‘will of the Father’ unless one wants to be turned away by the Lord, weeping and gnashing one’s teeth in the bitter disappointment of failure to be saved
“Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [Matthew 7:]
If all that was necessary, as minimalists teach, then why wouldn’t those that had called, “Lord, Lord,” be saved? They are not saved because in addition to calling on the name of the Lord they must also “do the will of my father!” Even Jesus could not make it plainer.
Balaam’s shaggy donkey got it, but if someone is not as smart as a dumb ass, then they won’t get it even though Jesus and his apostles go out of their way to explain it to the dumbest of us.
One of the things Jesus taught as the will of his Father for Christians is that they should repent.
Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. [Revelation 2:5]
“I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.” [Revelation 2:21]
"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"[Mark1:15]
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” [Matthew 3:2]
“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. [Revelation 3:3]
“Repent therefore! Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” [Revelation 2:16]
So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. [ Mark 6:12]..
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. [Acts 17:30].
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out [Acts 3:19]
Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Acts 8:22
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you .shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [Acts 2:38]
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near ... Matthew 4:17
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." [Luke 13:5]
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. [Revelation 3:19]
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:6
[They] cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. They did not repent of their deeds. [Revelation 16:11]
Who will argue against repentance after becoming a Christian when Jesus speaks so often and so fittingly of repentance as a principle that full-hearted Christians must obey? Will you follow Jesus, or will you follow false teachers? Will you do as Christ bids you and repent?
5. Repenting to fully pay our part of the debt of sin we owe to God
We have dealt with this at No. 4 above. Crooked thinking invites us to believe that a debt that is not paid ‘fully’ is not paid. Crafty use of semantic traps are the hallmark of the dishonest. The scribes and Phjarisees were experts at trick questions and MRM bnow uses them so they have more in common with the enemies of Jesus than they do wit Jesus. Worth remembering!
God does not require ‘full’ payment from those that are unable to pay, and that includes every person ever born into the human family. There is always a shortfall in our account with God, but our Redeemer redeems us from that and make sus whole. Hence he is our Saviour.
Those that ‘come unto Christ’ are ‘perfected in him.’ Proper repentance is what God requires, but, as Nikos Kazantzakis reminds us,
God is a potter. He works in mud!
6. Giving all that we can give and doing all that we can do in our present circumstance,
Does Shafovaloff object to the teachings of the Holy Bible? If so, then he should explain in detail why he does and what he find objectionable in the command Christ made to his disciples.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Since Shafovaloff obvioulsy ha snot reached the standard of Christian discipkleship, and conitnued to deal in lies, why is he so ready to to show himself an hypocrite? One cannot help feeling sorry for the poor fellow.
What is the difference between what Jesus insists we Christians must do – thou shalt – and what Shafovaloff objects to by saying that Latter-day Saint Christians must be found,
Giving all that [they] can give and doing all that [they] can do in our present circumstance.
Obviously, it is Shafovaloff’s case that Christians must reinterpret the ipsissima verba of Jesus as,
Thou shalt NOT love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, but only with a partial heart, nor with all thy soul, only with that little part of your soul that you can spare, and certainly NOT with all thy mind, because you have to reserve most of your mind for your own pleasures, and certainly NOT with all thy strength, for your strength is needed for your personal projects: this is the first commandment.
Shafovaloff changes the message of the Holy Bible. He denounces the following injunctions from God’s Holy Word and turns them on their heads to mean the opposite of what they actually say.
But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thysoul.
What a turnaround from MRM! They do the same with the following,
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Paul said he could do all that was require of him as a Christian, but not from his own strength, although he did not make any effort to diminish his own effort in his service to God and Christ.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Shafovaloff and McKeever want to run away from the duties and demands laid on Christians by God and Christ. Saint Paul,. Who probably had more to put up with than they ever will, did not shirk his Christian duties and his obedience to their commandments. He faced whatever God sent his way.
7. And putting forth maximum effort.
This is no different than,
6. Giving all that [they] can give and doing all that [they] can do in our present circumstance.
Perhaps they think that by saying the same thing using different words they will make it seem as if another unduly heavy load is laid on Christians.
The hallmark of an Anti-Mormon is his ability to distort ‘anything at all’ into ‘anything at all.’
The hallmark of a Christian is his determination to discover the will of God and to obey the Divine Will as far as he is able.
The Christian knows that he or she cannot obey God to the fullest extent of his demands, but is aware that whatever they lack will be paid in full by a Redeemer prepared for us before the world was made.
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
Jesus Christ is Lord, Saviour, Redeemer, Advocate, and much more to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. No Latter-day Saint has ever heard another Latter-day Saint proclaim from the pulpit or teach in class what Shafovaloff, supported by McKeever, claim which is:
“Brothers and sisters, we have to save ourselves. Jesus cannot save us and God will not save us, so we have to save ourselves!”
How telling that Shafovaloff quotes only one verse from the Book of Mormon, and not one from the Holy Bible, and then turns that single verse, as he supposes, into a sword with which to chop off the heads of Mormons. Let me feel. No. My head is still fixed onto my neck.
The prima facie evidence is that Shafovaloff has not read the Book of Mormon. I do not say he has never held on in his hands, for most people have, but whether they have read it is a different matter.
And so we will look at 2 Nephi 25:23 against the rest of the Book of Mormon and see whether they produce enough light to illuminate even such a dark and hostile mind as that possessed by Aaron Shafovaloff, after all he can do.
Shafovaloff claims that Mormons must save themselves and therefore do not need the Saviour Jesus Christ. He arrives at this conclusion by reading 2 Nephi 25:13:
2 Nephi 25:23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
Before introducing material from the Book of Mormon that contradicts Shafovaloff’s interpretation of this verse it is appropriate that we consider the words prior to, ‘it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’
They address the desire to be subjects of the saving Grace of God.
1.For we labor diligently to write,
2.to persuade our children,
3.and also our brethren,
4.to believe in Christ,
5.and to be reconciled to God
All these phrases lead inexorably to the conclusion that it is by grace that we are saved, So, where’s the confusion?
Clearly, the answer is that the confusion about this verse and its intention is the confusion manufactured in the fertile but prejudiced minds of critics such as were condemned by the Lord in Isaiah.
For the terrible one is brought to nothing, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproves in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nothing.
It is a common deception to manipulate scriptural texts from their context and force them to mean something opposed to what the writer intended. Anyone that is anxiously engaged in writing to persuade their families and their neighbours to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God because it is by grace that we are saved is not urging people to save themselves by their good works, charity, and faith, but is urging them to become dependent on God and Christ for their salvation and solidly acknowledging that it is the Grace of God that saves us.
What could Aaron Shafovaloff have found about salvation and grace if he had taken the trouble to read the Book of Mormon for himself with an aim to read what it says rather than to find a few words on which he could build a false structure for no better purpose than to express his hatred of Latter-day Saints? Some choice verses are listed to enlighten him and others like him that will not see. My Nanny would say, “None so blind as those who will not see!”
1 Nephi 6:4 - For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved. [Not, ‘and save ourselves]
2 Nephi 25:26 - And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
Frank acknowledgement that we cannot remit our own sins but look to our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Moroni 10:33 - And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
We are made perfect by God’s Grace, not by our own efforts, and are cleansed by the blood of Christ’s infinite Atonement and not by our own efforts.
Mormon 9:12 - Behold, he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
Jesus Christ redeems us from our fallen condition, hence he is our Redeemer. We cannot redeem ourselves.
I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world. And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ’s Atonement. We cannot atone for our own sins.
And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed. And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
It is the power of Christ that saves. Christ is the Redeemer and Saviour. No verse in the Book of Mormon says otherwise.
Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.
The Lord, who is Jesus Christ, is the Saviour and Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel. If man could redeem and save himself, and atone for his own sins, then there would be no need for a Saviour and Redeemer to atone in their behalf.
For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; yea, all are hardened; yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement which it is expedient should be made.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ was planned to save all that would ‘come unto Christ.’
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.
Jesus is the only Saviour. Without him all mankind would be lost.
Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
Without the Atonement of Jesus Christ all humanity from the first to the last would remain unsaved and unrisen. Jesus is Saviour. No man can save himself.
Is anything required of believers? Yes, the Lord had said so very specifically on many occasions that obtaining salvation through him and his Atonement is by responding to an active call to serve God, Christ, and our fellow men, wherever they may be found. These ‘good works’ are not the means of salvation but are signs that the professed Christian really is a Christian through and through and is not just along for the ride.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew Henry comments on these verses and those following:
Christ here shows that it will not be enough to own him for our Master, only in word and tongue. It is necessary to our happiness that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, that we love one another. This is his will, even our sanctification.
Let us take heed of resting in outward privileges and doings, lest we deceive ourselves, and perish eternally, as multitudes do, with a lie in our right hand.
Let every one that names the name of Christ, depart from all sin. There are others, whose religion rests in bare hearing, and it goes no further; their heads are filled with empty notions.
These two sorts of hearers are represented as two builders [one wise and one foolish].
Despite these passages, no Latter-day Saint believes for one moment that he or she is capable of doing all that is necessary to secure their salvation. It is evident from the Scriptures that when Jesus says no one can be saved who refuses to take up his cross and follow him, even to his death if necessary, as many have done.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
If becoming a disciple of Christ does not involve action, doing, obedience, service, and other good works for which we shall be judged, why then will we be judged if we fail to do them?
By the ‘cross’ […] is meant all sorts of afflictions, reproaches, persecutions, and death itself; and particularly the ill will, hatred, and persecution, of near relations and friends, which must be expected by such, who bear a faithful testimony for Christ.
John 3:19 - And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds [works] were evil.
Revelations 20:12-13 - And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
A Non-Latter-day Saint Bible Commentator says:
Here is enforced again the lesson with which the Apocalypse opens in the epistles to the seven Churches, viz. that the reward will follow according to the works .
Another Non-Latter-day Saint Bible scholar offers:
the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works; that is, they were sentenced to everlasting condemnation and death, according to the just demerit of their wicked works; for no other are done by wicked men, nor can any other be in the books, since they are without God and Christ, and destitute of the Spirit, have no principle of grace to act from, nor any good end in view in any action of theirs. So the Jews say,
"All the works which a man does in this world are "written in a book", and they come into thought before the holy King, and they are manifest before him.''
Further opinion from a Protestant source:
We are justified by faith, but judged according to (not by) our works. For the general judgment is primarily designed for the final vindication of God's righteousness before the whole world, which in this chequered dispensation of good and evil, though really ruling the world, has been for the time less manifest. Faith is appreciable by God and the believer alone.
But works are appreciable by all. These, then, are made the evidential test to decide men's eternal state, thus showing that God's administration of judgment is altogether righteous.
Hopefully Shafovaloff and McKeever will see that when they attack Latter-day saints for believing they must be obedient to God and Christ, they are also attacking millions of non-LDS Christians that follow the Bible. It must be noted that these commentary excerpts and scriptural passages are not introduced to show that works save a Christian, but to demonstrate what the Holy Scriptures say about the essential place of works in a Christian’s life.
It is undeniable that while good works are a necessary part of a Christian’s armoury, they do not save, and no Mormon thinks they do, although the scriptures are clear that those that fail to demonstrate them will be turned away by none other than Jesus Christ himself.
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
This is the sentence of condemnation for those that hear Jesus but do not do the things he teaches. There was no confusion in the Early Christian Church.
He taught that they should obey the commandments which God enjoined from the beginning, and do away with their former covetousness by good works, and follow after Christ.
God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man, while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged (condemned) because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who have obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured with immortality.”
A Latter-day Saint of 36 years standing wrote the following in response to a question about the Mormon position of Grace and Works.
There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, we can do of our own merit that would get us into Heaven. Only through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ (i.e., grace) can one be saved. It is true that we do place an emphasis on good works, but we have never taught that it is possible to save oneself by performing good works alone.
I have learned that most Christians believe the same thing that Mormons do in this regard. Most Christians also stress the importance of good works, but they generally don't come right out and say that you must do good works to gain salvation. Instead, they say something like "If you don't repent and follow Christ's teachings, then you aren't really a Christian, and you therefore haven't truly been saved."
I hear this all the time on various Christian radio programs. Of course, I'm not saying that most Christians believe in salvation by works--what I'm saying is that they believe one must repent of their former sins and live righteously so that the grace of Christ may take effect... just like Mormons teach.
Extra help for Aaron Shafovaloff is readily available in the Latter-day Saint King James Bible dictionary that defines grace thus:
It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life.
It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means.
This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.
Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings.
However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
Who will shy away from doing all things that Jesus asks of us to show ourselves commended? Aaron Shafovaloff and his boss, Bill McKeever, might be reticent to show their obedience to the teachings of the One they claim as their Saviour, but no Latter-day Saint Christian ever will be. Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, they believe what Jesus Christ says, they trust Jesus Christ, they love Jesus Christ, they obey Jesus Christ, and they follow Jesus Christ even unto death if needs be.
The final word is Elder Bruce R McConkie’s testimony of Jesus Christ given at General Conference in April, 1985. It can be watched and heard at:
“I feel, and the Spirit seems to accord, that the most important doctrine I can declare, and the most powerful testimony I can bear, is of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
[It was in that talk that Elder McConkie first read in public the words he had written of the hymn “I Believe in Christ.”]
I believe in Christ; he is my King!
With all my heart to him I’ll sing;
I’ll raise my voice in praise and joy,
In grand amens my tongue employ.
I believe in Christ; he is God’s Son;
On earth to dwell his soul did come;
He healed the sick; the dead he raised.
Good works were his; his name be praised.
I believe in Christ; oh, blessed name,
As Mary’s Son he came to reign
’Mid mortal men, his earthly kin,
To save them from the woes of sin.
I believe in Christ, who marked the path,
Who did gain all his Father hath,
Who said to men: “Come, follow me,
That ye, my friends, with God may be.”
I believe in Christ—my Lord, my God!
My feet he plants on gospel sod;
I’ll worship him with all my might;
He is the source of truth and light.
I believe in Christ; he ransoms me.
From Satan’s grasp he sets me free,
And I shall live with joy and love
In his eternal courts above.
I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I’ll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: “Ye shall obtain.”
I believe in Christ, so come what may,
With him I’ll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men.
With great emotion, Elder McConkie spoke of the “three gardens of God—the Garden of Eden, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Garden of the Empty Tomb.” He taught us that Eden was “a paradisiacal state,” one in which there could be no death, no procreation, and no probationary experiences. It was from such a state, he explained, that Adam and Eve stepped down to become the “first mortal flesh on earth.”
“Thus, Creation is father to the Fall; and by the Fall came mortality and death; and by Christ came immortality and eternal life.
If there had been no fall of Adam, by which cometh death, there could have been no atonement of Christ by which cometh life,”
With trembling in his voice, Elder McConkie concluded,
“And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King.
This I know of myself independent of any other person.
I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.
But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”
To which marvellous and defining testimony every Latter-day Saint feels to say with the dying apostle, Amen!