LDS Church

Starting at the Finish Line: The Gospel of Grace for Mormons

In the world of Christian apologetics to the LDS community exists a number of books written from several different angles. For author John B. Wallace of Starting at the Finish Line, the target audience for Starting at the Finish Line is clearly marked throughout: those who are current believers in his former religion. Wallace, who is a practicing dentist in Southern California, hopes to reach out to “transitioning Mormons,” the “primary focus of his personal ministry.” Thus, his book aims to communicate with Latter-day Saints in a way that they can understand as delineated by someone familiar with their situation and worldview. A review of the book.

Top 10 List of Topics Most Discussed in Church Manuals

Since 1998, the LDS Church has producing manuals that the adults cover in Sunday classes during the second and third Sundays of each month. During 2013, they are going through Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow. In 2014, they will cover Teaching of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith. What were the topics most covered by the church? This article takes a look at the Top 20, and the one topic covered more than any other might just surprise you.

Chapter 18: Church Leadership and Selfless Service

Chapter 18: Church Leadership and Selfless Service

During 2013, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.

Teachings of Lorenzo Snow

Chapter 12: Tithing, a Law for Our Protection and Advancement

During 2013, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow. We will evaluate this book regularly, chapter by chapter, by showing interesting quotes and providing an Evangelical Christian take on this manual. The text that is underlined is from the manual, with our comments following.

Chapter 3: Lifelong Conversion: Continuing to Advance in the Principles of Truth

In Mormonism, receiving a “testimony” is vital for each individual Latter-day Saint. Using what they believe is precedence from James 1:5 and Moroni 10:4, LDS missionaries typically encourage potential converts to pray about the Book of Mormon. It's truth will be seen by the person who is sincere with good intent by way of a good feeling about the Mormon gospel. However, the missionary will not tell the potential convert just how much has to be assumed to “get to the starting point” in the first place.  

Eternal Life

Eternal Life. Gaining exaltation in the highest level of the celestial kingdome and living forever in the family unit. Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explained, "Only those who obey the fulness of the gospel law will inherit eternal life ... Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint heirs with Christ, members of the Church of the Firstborn; they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fulness of the Father. They are gods" (Mormon Doctrine, p. 237).

Elohim

Elohim. God the Father. The literal father of Jesus Christ. According to Apostle James Talmage, "Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh ..." (The Articles of Faith, pp. 466-467). Elohim was once a mortal man who progressed to the level of God and is a "Being who has attained His exalted state" (Ibid., p. 430).

Elder

Elder. The lowest ordained office of the Mormon Melchizedek Priesthood (Priesthood and Church Government, p. 111). Only male members are allowed to hold this position. By this office Mormons feel they have the authority to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church, etc. This is also the official title used by male missionaries.

Cross

Cross. According to 15th President Gordon B. Hinckley, "the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of a Living Christ" ("The Symbol of Our Faith," Ensign, April 2005, p. 3). Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith explained the reason why Latter-day Saints don't wear jewelry depicting the cross: To many, like the writer, such a custom is repugnant and contrary to the true worship of our Redeemer. Why should we bow down before a cross or use it as a symbol?

Creation

Creation. Joseph Smith taught that matter is eternal and God had no power to create out of nothing. God reorganized already present elements, which have no beginning or end and cannot be destroyed (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 350-352). “Since Mormons believe that the elements are eternal, it follows hat they deny the ex nihilo creation” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism1:400).

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