by Sharon Lindbloom
21 August 2017
Today (21 August 2017), LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson celebrates his 90th birthday. President Monson’s service to the Mormon Church has spanned his entire adult life. According to the Deseret News, “He was called as a bishop at age 22, a mission president at 31 and as an apostle at 36.” At the age of 58 Thomas Monson was called to be a member of the First Presidency, the highest governing body in the Church. And in February 2008, at the age of 80, Mr. Monson became Mormonism’s 16th Prophet and President.
Thomas Monson is an old-school, orthodox Mormon. His teachings and expressed beliefs generally conform to the time-honored doctrines of Mormonism. What follows are a few of his comments that communicate some of the things on which President Monson – revered by Latter-day Saints as a prophet, seer and revelator – hangs his hope of heaven.
President Monson affirms that he does not fully trust the Bible:
“The Bible, as it has been transmitted over the centuries, has suffered the loss of many plain and precious parts.” (Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas Monson, “Letter Reaffirms Use of King James Version of Bible,” Church News, June 20, 1992, 3)
President Monson affirms that he does fully trust the Book of Mormon:
“Many versions of the Bible are available today. Unfortunately, no original manuscripts of any portion of the Bible are available for comparison to determine the most accurate version. However, the Lord has revealed clearly the doctrines of the gospel in these latter days. The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.” (Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas Monson, “Letter Reaffirms use of King James Version Bible,” Church News, June 20, 1992, 3)
President Monson affirms that people will “see the light of heaven” when they follow the latter-day prophets.
“If you want to see the light of heaven, if you want to feel the inspiration of Almighty God, if you want to have that feeling within your bosom that your Heavenly Father is guiding you, then follow the prophets of God. When you follow the prophets, you will be in safe territory.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Follow the Prophets,” Ensign, January 2015, 5)
President Monson affirms that one must be worthy before one can hope to receive divine help:
“Though the task seems large, we are strengthened by this truth: ‘The greatest force in this world today is the power of God as it works through man.’ If we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. That divine help, however, is predicated upon our worthiness.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Your Eternal Voyage,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2000, 46)
President Monson affirms the LDS doctrine of exaltation to Godhood, and that exaltation must be earned:
“It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings must be earned.” (Thomas Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Thomas Monson, Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1988, 56)
President Monson agrees with 11th LDS President Spencer W. Kimball that one qualifies for the Celestial kingdom, not by relying “solely on the Lord’s mercy,” but by “repentance [that] is adequate,” including the total abandonment of sin (see Miracle of Forgiveness, 358-360):
“President Spencer W. Kimball has always been a prolific worker. He spent several summers working on a book which he later entitled The Miracle of Forgiveness. As one reads the book, particularly the first portion, one wonders if anyone will make it to the Celestial Kingdom. However, in reading the final portion, it is apparent that, with effort, all can qualify.” (Thomas S. Monson, On the Lord’s Errand: The Memoirs of Thomas S. Monson, 1985, 342)
President Monson affirms that the purpose of life is to prove, by obedience, a person’s worthiness to dwell eternally in the presence of God:
“As Latter-day Saints we know that we lived before we came to earth, that mortality is a probationary period wherein we might prove ourselves obedient to God’s command and thus worthy of celestial glory.” (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection, 142)
My birthday wish for Thomas Monson is that he would abandon the false idea that his good works have qualified and earned for him a place in Heaven, that He would embrace the one true God (John 17:3), and that he would rely solely on the Lord’s mercy and grace for forgiveness of sin and eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).
Mr. Monson, may this birthday be your best one yet, marked by a glorious new birth from above. May this day not be remembered as your 90th birthday, but as the beginning of your first year as a true child of God.
“But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God, who were born,
not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
— John 1:12-13 —