Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Perfection and "Gar"

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.


Anonymous said...

You should watch "The Impossible Gospel" on YouTube and write a response to that.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

I just started writing a response to "A Struggle To Peace", a booklet by Richard and Cindy Benson which Leonard said was a trigger in his leaving the LDS Church. As soon as I finish that, which will take a few weeks, I will review "The Impossible Gospel". I have written a very lengthy response to what is probably a similar piece by a lady named Christy Harvey, so I will try to put that out.

Good suggestion.

Anonymous said...

I've written responses to it, though mine is very lengthy and since then I've discovered even more that sets it right. There are two videos: Getting Them Lost and Getting Them Saved, though they are basically the same thing. Looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

Try out "Teaching the Trinity to Mormons" too.

John said...

you are such an angry man I guess what Shawn is doing is getting under your skin. The Church is nothing more than a corporation who tries to figure out new ways to sell their product that is why they have made so many changes to their doctrine throughout all the years and the lattest being the new gospel principles book


Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Please feel free to read Aaron Shaf's site as much as you please. But there are no changes to doctrine in the new Gospel Principles book, only a change of explanations. As I and others pointed out to Aaron, I find the changes neither meaningful nor significant to the overall debate of LDS views of doctrines, especially the doctrine of Exaltation. Since all road lead to exaltation, so to speak, and also to an understanding of the importance of knowing God and Christ are separate and distinct beings, yet one in purpose, none of the changes affect that reading, though they change some of the examples and background material.

As for anger, well, it makes me so angry, I will just invite you over for pizza and playing XBOX 360, two fun things I enjoy. That is my way of going the extra mile. Come on down. Cuz we all know, only angry, militant people go the extra mile. Not those forgiving, fake-Christian Mormons.

Thanks for the comments, and it is a real offer to come hang out and have some fun.

John said...


I disagree I think taking the mother goddess references out totally changes things. Let me tell you how I see it. The LDS Church needs to figure out how to make the church seem more main stream with out making huge changes that would surely effect current membership, the church has continually made minor changes that make them look Christian on the outside but by making these changes may not be Doctrinally because they will teach it somewhere else and that somewhere else is what I am talking about. Once you get someone in and make them feel warm and like they belong then you slowly put my and more conditions on them to be a good Mormon. at this point, probably a year after they are doing what is required to be a good Mormon you give them more and more and if they don’t then they are not a good Mormon. Of course the church does not come out and tell you, your bad but it is implied. And by this time the convert is so exposed to the Mormon culture they feel they must stay or face horrible consequences and loose all their friend, so most people just choose to go along. Being suppressed and not knowing where to turn. These changes you say are not significant but I say they are a deception to get more people trapped in the Mormon life style. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and his true church is his body and that we can have a personal relationship with him. I am not angry with you for telling me that my beliefs are wrong. Why do you get so angry when people tell you yours are wrong? If your religion was true then certainly it could hold up to the test, but the only thing you really have to go on is Joseph smith and some other men who wanted to have many wives’s and power over man.
I love you and the savior wants you to come to him and ask him what is the way. Do not be afraid it will surely hurt when you find out you have been deceived for over thirty years but through Christ you will be healed. It is a process. Ask him to release you from all this anger and he will show you the truth.