Saturday last I spent at Manti, and only spoke with a single individual. His name is Timothy Martin of Watchman Fellowship, an anti-Mormon group which is also "anti" other non-traditional Christian and non-Christian groups. So they make their living attacking other faiths.
Tim spent much of Friday and then Saturday explaining to me that as a Mormon, we are bound by the teachings of the D&C and Book of Mormon to keep the commandments, and that ANY sin results in ALL of our past sins being heaped upon us in a flood of condemnation for our gross disobedience. Though I showed him this was NOT the teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, who on page 361 of his book Miracle of Forgiveness notes we continue to repent and receive forgiveness throughout out lives for our day to day follies, and likewise are totally forgiven of those major sins of which we completely repent, he persisted. He claimed that since God cannot look upon any sin with any degree of allowance, our daily sins would necessarily exclude us from salvation. He ignores the most obvious statements from the scriptures, which he said were the only measure of official LDS doctrine even if LDS leaders, including Joseph Smith, said that the context of such requirements to "keep the commandments" was not perfection in execution but the attitude and desire and general commitment to live the commandments and repent in those circumstances of failure. He said we essentially made a mockery of the weekly sacrament, since we committed to living all of the commandments during the sacrament. I pointed out the sacrament prayer says we are "willing to" keep his commandments, but it is understood that we all continue to fail though we intend to do our best not to sin. Thus we believe it is by grace we are saved after all we can do (2 Nephi 25:23), that all we can do is have faith in Christ to forgive us and repent of our sins (Alma 24:10-11), that we are obligated to keep the commandments and repent as we commit sin (1 John 1:5 - 1 John 2:6).
That we must get to a point of not only not sinning, but having no desire to sin is undeniably part of LDS doctrine. Such a state is not only rare, but virtually impossible to see how a mortal could reach that state. Thus Joseph Smith spoke of the path to exaltation as one which is like a ladder which cannot be reached until long after we leave this life. However, that need to keep the commandments and repent as we fail does not bring upon us ALL of our past sins, nor negate the covenant between Christ and ourselves. He is our Saviour. He does not expect us to be perfect in actual deed, but the Bible describes seven people as being "perfect" in the keeping of the commandments. Did they "sin"? Of course they did. But they are described as "righteous" and "perfect".
So are we, as we live the covenant we have with Jesus, which includes exercising faith, living the commandments, and repenting of our sins. "Be ye therefore perfect (Gk: Telios: Complete), even as your father in Heaven is perfect."
So Tim through an interesting test at me. During the course of the conversation he mentioned that I am someone who has apparently studied LDS doctrine and history and Greek. I said I have. As he left, literally the last thing he said to me was, "Bob, what does the greek word "gar" mean?" I said, "Why do you ask? In what context?" He replied, "Just what does it mean?" "I said 'because'."
Technically it can mean a lot of things, in various contexts. For, And, Because. Actually a bunch of words used to translate it. But what was the point of asking. I can only guess that it was his version of a 'pop quiz' because I routinely respond to people throwing out "the original Greek" that I too have studied Greek. In fact I took 1st year Greek TWICE from Salt Lake Theological Seminary. I also quickly tell people I am no Greek scholar, never pretend to be, and frankly am not that good at it. But what it allows me to do is use the tools of the trade with understanding. I have a very limited vocabulary and couldn't teach the grammar to save my life. But that is not the same as saying I don't "get it". I do.
Had I answered incorrectly, I suspect there would be a comment about my Greek abilities being a hoax. Since I got it correct, I am guessing we won't be hearing about it. But these conversations are never about the "real" Greek. If they were, they wouldn't be Trinitarians. OK, that is opinion. But ignoring the meaning of John 1:1-2 in the Greek is a much bigger problem than whether I am an expert.