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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mormon Theology no. 15 - Baptism Essential For Salvation

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches the essential need of baptism to open the door to salvation.  In previous articles, I have shown how the LDS Church is the only Church on earth recognized by God.  In this essay, I will now show why baptism is essential for salvation, both through scripture and words of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

President Joseph Smith once defined the meaning of baptism by saying,

"[Baptism] is a sign and a commandment which God has set for man to enter into His kingdom. Those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain; for God will not receive them, neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not obeyed the ordinances, nor attended to the signs which God ordained for the salvation of man, to prepare him for, and give him a title to, a celestial glory (HC 4:554)."

This is a bold statement.  The President says that the ordinance is a sign set by God for enterance into the Kingdom of God.  Our Savior said to Nicodemus,  

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5)."

The sectarian will say that he has been born again and accepted Christ into his heart, but one must do more than just lip-service; one must be baptised.  Joseph Smith says that "Being born again comes by the Spirit of God through ordinances (HC 3:392)." 

This precisely why President Smith said,  

"In the former ages of the world, before the Savior came in the flesh, 'the saints' were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to come, because there never was any other name whereby men could be saved; and after he came in the flesh and was crucified, then the saints were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified, risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, that they might be buried in baptism like him, and be raised in glory like him, that as there was but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and father of us all, even so there was but one door to the mansions of bliss (Times and Seasons, Sept. 1, 1842, p. 9)."

This is ratified by both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  In the Bible, we see John the Baptist baptising even before Jesus has wraught His Atonement.  600 years before Christ, Nephi said this,

"And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!  And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?  Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments (2 Nephi 31:5-7)."

So here we learn that baptism is not only a sign of enterance into the Kingdom of God leading to salvation, but it is also a covenant with God that we will keep His commandments.  I know baptism is essential for salvation, and that it is only valid in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mormon Theology no. 14 - Are Mormons Christian?

An article appeared from the Associated Press which states,

"A Presbyterian church was happy to have Jeremy and Jodi Stokes as Cub Scout leaders, at least until officials there found out they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and told them they would have to step down because the church does not consider them real Christians."

Most Evangelical churches teach that Mormons are not Christians.  They are wrong, and I will say why.

First off, the Mormon Church's official name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as received through revelation (D&C 115:4).  What more evidence do you need than that?

Second, I will cite scripture which states our position.  From the Book of Mormon we read, "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy 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. (2 Nephi 25:26)"  Also from the Book of Mormon we have the words of the prophet Amulek: "And now, behold, I will testify unto you of myself that these things are true. Behold, I say unto you, that I do know that Christ shall come among the children of men, to take upon him the transgressions of his people, and that he shall atone for the sins of the world; for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Alma 34:8)"

The Bible teaches us, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)"  From the pen of Isaiah the prophet we read, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)"  He also writes in chapter 9 verse 6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Councellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

In modern times the Prophet Joseph Smith said,  

"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. (HC 3:30)"

The world's current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, has said,

"I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that . . . Jesus is . . . the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. (Ensign, May 2007, 22–25)"

I, Clark LeRay Herlin, also know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does indeed teach and preach of Him, and those that say He does not need look again!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LDS Church Responds to Human Rights Campaign Petition

From the Herald Extra website came this article:

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement through a spokesman following the delivery of a petition by the Human Rights Campaign.
My name is Michael Otterson. I am here representing the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to address the matter of the petition presented today by the Human Rights Campaign.

While we disagree with the Human Rights Campaign on many fundamentals, we also share some common ground. This past week we have all witnessed tragic deaths across the country as a result of bullying or intimidation of gay young men.  We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason.  Such actions simply have no place in our society.

This Church has felt the bitter sting of persecution and marginalization early in our history, when we were too few in numbers to adequately protect ourselves and when society’s leaders often seemed disinclined to help.  Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex. This is particularly so in our own Latter-day Saint congregations. Each Latter-day Saint family and individual should carefully consider whether their attitudes and actions toward others properly reflect Jesus Christ’s second great commandment - to love one another.

As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel.  His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.

Further, while the Church is strongly on the record as opposing same-sex marriage, it has openly supported other rights for gays and lesbians such as protections in housing or employment.

The Church’s doctrine is based on love. We believe that our purpose in life is to learn, grow and develop, and that God’s unreserved love enables each of us to reach our potential. None of us is limited by our feelings or inclinations. Ultimately, we are free to act for ourselves.

The Church recognizes that those of its members who are attracted to others of the same sex experience deep emotional, social and physical feelings. The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation.

There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle. Those in the Church who are attracted to someone of the same sex but stay faithful to the Church’s teachings can be happy during this life and perform meaningful service in the Church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other Church members, including attending and serving in temples, and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of God.

Obviously, some will disagree with us. We hope that any disagreement will be based on a full understanding of our position and not on distortion or selective interpretation. The Church will continue to speak out to ensure its position is accurately understood.

God’s universal fatherhood and love charges each of us with an innate and reverent acknowledgment of our shared human dignity.  We are to love one another. We are to treat each other with respect as brothers and sisters and fellow children of God, no matter how much we may differ from one another.

We hope and firmly believe that within this community, and in others, kindness, persuasion and goodwill can prevail."