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Review of Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, Chapter 18: Stay on the Lord’s side of the line

During 2012, LDS members will be studying the latest manual published by their church, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith. 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.

 Staying on the Lord’s side of the line requires strict obedience to the commandments.

All safety, all righteousness, all happiness are on the Lord’s side of the line.

When I first read this last sentence, I was reminded of what eleventh President Harold B. Lee taught: “You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with your social life. . . . Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow. . . . Let’s keep our eye on the President of the Church (CR October 1970, 152-153.)” (Harold B. Lee, as cited in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 139. Ellipses in original). President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) agreed at the same general conference, saying, “Let us hearken to those we sustain as prophets and seers, as well as the other brethren, as if our eternal life depended upon it, because it does!” (Conference Reports, Oct. 1970, 152; Improvement Era, Dec. 1970, 126.)

Listening to the prophets is obviously the first step to staying “on the Lord’s side of the line.”

If you are keeping the commandments of God by observing the Sabbath day, you are on the Lord’s side of the line. If you attend to your secret prayers and your family prayers, you are on the Lord’s side of the line. If you are grateful for food and express that gratitude to God, you are on the Lord’s side of the line. If you love your neighbor as yourself, you are on the Lord’s side of the line. If you are honest in your dealing with your fellow men, you are on the Lord’s side of the line. If you observe the Word of Wisdom, you are on the Lord’s side of the line. And so I might go on through the Ten Commandments and the other commandments that God has given for our guidance and say again, all that enriches our lives and makes us happy and prepares us for eternal joy is on the Lord’s side of the line. Finding fault with the things that God has given to us for our guidance is not on the Lord’s side of the line.

Obedience to the commandments given by the leaders of the Mormon Church is crucial if a Latter-day Saint hopes to attain the very best this religion has to offer, including the Celestial Kingdom and spending eternity with one’s family. President Thomas S. Monson stated that 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 S. Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign, May 1988, 53.)

So it’s no surprise that a “do good and do better” chapter titled “Stay on the Lord’s side of the line” is included. In fact, every “Teachings” manual typically has a chapter like this. While most of the commands mentioned in Smith’s paragraph are biblical, we must ask, What is the purpose of the commandments of God? To  the Christian, the answer is to guide us to a relationship with God. Notice what Paul tells the Galatians: “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (2-6)

He continued in verses 10-14: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.’ But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for ‘the just shall live by faith.’ Yet the law is not of faith, but ‘the man who does them shall live by them.’ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree,’ that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith).”

 [The Lord has said]: “I cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;” not with the least degree of allowance [D&C 1:31]. Why? Because He knows that if we partake of sin we lose a blessing that we would enjoy if we did not forsake the pathway that leads to that blessing.

Every once in a while we hear somebody say, “Oh, I wouldn’t be so particular. The Lord is not going to be very severe with us if we just go part way.” The one who is talking that way is already on the devil’s side of the line, and you do not want to listen to him because if you do, you may be misled. Nobody talks that way who has the Spirit of the Lord. The Lord himself has said that we must keep his commandments: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated.” (D&C 130:20). The gospel of Jesus Christ is to teach us how to earn that blessing.

Notice the last three words of this paragraph: “. . . earn that blessing.” This sums up the major soteriological difference between biblical Christianity and Mormonism.

Smith quotes D&C 1:31, a verse we often cite in our evangelistic efforts. Notice, God “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.” And D&C 130:20 clearly states that, according to Mormonism, blessings (including those found in the Celestial Kingdom) are “predicated” on obedience.

While some Mormons may minimize their inability to keep the commandments, their leaders have consistently taught that keeping commandments is more important than just mere trying. President Spencer W. Kimball told of a man who wanted to make sure he had made final spiritual preparations before undergoing “radical surgery.” He wrote, “In the context of the spirit of forgiveness, one good brother asked me, ‘Yes, that is what ought to be done, but how do you do it? Doesn’t that take a superman?’ ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘but we are commanded to be supermen. Said the Lord, ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ (Matt. 5:48.) We are gods in embryo, and the Lord demands perfection of us.’” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 286.) Speaking in general conference, President Thomas S. Monson stated, “God our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the way to perfection. They beckon us to follow eternal verities and to become perfect, as they are perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48).” (“An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign, May 1988, 54.)

Latter-day Saints have been given conflicting counsel as to when they are supposed to reach this goal. President Heber J. Grant gave the impression from the words cited in this manual that perfection could be reached sometime in the future eternities. Referring to the LDS doctrine of eternal progression, he encouraged members to build

“upon the achievements of our first spirit-life, our first estate, and of our mortal life, or second estate, progressing through the endless eternities that follow, until we reach the goal the Lord set: ‘Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ [Matthew 5:48.].”  (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, 49. The manual is from 2002.)

Another church manual states, “Remind class members that while perfection cannot be entirely achieved in this life, we can make great progress toward it. The Lord expects us to do all we can toward giving up our sins and becoming perfect, and he has given us the gospel to help us do this.” (Preparing for Exaltation Teacher’s Manual, 123–24.) Some, like Kimball, have insisted that the “second estate,” or this mortality, is the time to accomplish this perfection. “This Life Is the Time” is the title for chapter 1 that Kimball wrote in The Miracle of Forgiveness. In a section titled “Dangers of Delay,” he warned church members:

“Because men are prone to postpone action and ignore directions, the Lord has repeatedly given strict injunctions and issued solemn warnings. . . . And the burden of the prophetic warning has been that the time to act is now, in this mortal life. One cannot with impunity delay his compliance with God’s commandments.” (9–10.)

Kimball explained,

“This earth life is the time to repent. We cannot afford to take any chances of dying an enemy to God.”(15)

He criticized his people for their procrastination:

“There are . . . many members of the Church who are lax and careless and who continually procrastinate. They live the gospel casually but not devoutly. They have complied with some requirements but are not valiant. They do no major crime but merely fail to do the things required—things like paying tithing, living the Word of Wisdom, having family prayers, fasting, attending meetings, service. . . . The Lord will not translate one’s good hopes and desires and intentions into works. Each of us must do that for himself.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, 8.)

I wonder, how many Latter-day Saints are really fulfilling all the commandments?

Our loving Father in Heaven gives us commandments to help us find happiness.

The Lord, in His kindness, seeing the attitude of His children, and knowing that they would need guidance, gave to us the Ten Commandments, and other commandments that have been given from time to time, to help us to find happiness. You observe people running to and fro in the world, seeking happiness but not finding it. If they would only pause long enough to accept the Lord’s advice happiness would follow, but they will find it in no other way.

Fortunately for the Mormon, the details of what is supposed to be done are detailed clearly in church teachings. Those with little ability to discern truth for themselves can therefore rely on the leaders they uphold twice a year at conference, never questioning their guidance. As I said earlier, I agree that many commands given by the church—such as loving one’s neighbor, being honest in dealings with others, and obeying the Ten Commandments—are noble and honorable. Others—such as obeying the Word of Wisdom or regularly attending temples—are rules imposed upon the Mormon people. In Mormonism, though, true happiness is not available until all of these commandments are kept.

All the happiness that has come to me and mine has been the result of trying to keep the commandments of God and of living to be worthy of the blessings that he has promised those who honor him and keep his commandments. If we will follow the advice and counsel that the Lord has given, our pathway will be one of happiness. It will be a pathway, perhaps not of ease and comfort always, but in the end it will terminate in the presence of our Heavenly Father, and glory, immortality, and eternal lives will be our portion.

Smith says “trying to keep the commandments,” which is contrary to what Spencer Kimball said was necessary. In The Miracle of Forgiveness, Kimball wrote,

“Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries to abandon sin. To try with a weakness of attitude and effort is to assure failure in the face of Satan’s strong counteracting efforts. What is needed is resolute action.” (164)

He then told a story about solider who was supposed to deliver a message to another officer.

“I’ll try,” he told the officer, to which the officer say, “I don’t want you to try, I want you to deliver this message.” “I’ll do the best I can, sir,” he replied. The officer retorted, “I don’t want you to try and I don’t want you to ‘do the best you can.’ I want you to deliver the message.” Finally, the solider said, “I’ll do it or die, sir.” To which the now-irate officer explained, “I don’t want you to die, and I don’t want you merely to do the best you can, and I don’t want you to try. Now, the request is a reasonable one; the message is important; the distance is not far; you are able-bodied; you can do what I have ordered. Now get out of here and accomplish your mission.”

On pages 164-5, Kimball explained, “It is normal for children to try. They fall and get up numerous times before they can be certain of their footing. But adults, who have gone through these learning periods, must determine what they will do, then proceed to do it. To ‘try’ is weak. To ‘do the best I can’ is not strong. We must always do better than we can. This is true in every walk of life.”

Many Mormons falsely think that good works are minimized by Evangelical Christians, as they often quote James 2:20, 26 to those who claim that is salvation comes by grace alone. Some may even be led to think that Bible-believing Christians advocate living lives of licentiousness, fully believing that works don’t matter because, after all, “once saved, always saved.” This is a twisted analysis of the Bible, the classic straw man logical fallacy, and is certainly not what Christianity is all about. Good works are the result of faith and a life lived out of love for God. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). First John 3:23 explains what these commandments are

“that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.”

Performing good works outside of a relationship with the true God of the Bible does not result in salvation. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:21,

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” The will of the Father, Jesus said in John 6:40, is to believe in Him. All who do, He declared, will “have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Contrasting the “works of the flesh” with the “fruit of the spirit” in Galatians 5:19–23, Paul explained that good fruit should be evident in every believer’s life. After all, believers are those who have “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (v. 24). To believe that one could freely sin makes no sense. As Paul wrote in Romans 6:15, “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Yet living a consistent Christian life will be a struggle because, as Romans 7:15 puts it, “what I hate, that do I.” In verse 18 Paul wrote, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (esv).

Ephesians 2:8–9 very succinctly packages the relationship between faith and salvation. It says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” When this passage is considered in light of the “twofold” definition of salvation offered by Mormon leaders, it is clear there is no logical way the Mormon understanding can fit the passage. For instance, suppose Paul was talking about “general” salvation (resurrection of the dead). Substituting the word resurrected for the word saved would result in this rendering: “For by grace are ye resurrected through faith.” But Mormonism says faith is not a requirement for general salvation, or resurrection. It is provided to all who have ever lived, regardless of their faith or actions. This, then, could not fit an LDS interpretation.

Was Paul, then, referring to “individual” salvation, or exaltation? When the word saved is replaced with exalted, it says, “For by grace are ye exalted through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” As the leaders and church manuals quoted above demonstrate, however, Mormonism teaches that many works are required for exaltation, which is inconsistent with Ephesians 2:8–9. The following verse, Ephesians 2:10, needs to be considered as well. It says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” It would be illogical to say that Paul was contradicting himself right after he said salvation is “not of works.” He is certainly not advocating a sin-however-you-want mentality. Instead, he explains that Christians were created to do good works. Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that a converted believer becomes “a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” In essence, the Christian possesses a different spiritual DNA.

A Christian who catches a glimpse of what Jesus Christ did on his or her behalf will quite naturally have a desire to serve God. Consider what your attitude would be if a kind couple gave you a gift of $10 million, an outrageous amount that most people will never earn in a lifetime. Would you naturally respond by wanting to spray-paint graffiti on your benefactors’ house, throw lye in their grass, and kick their beloved family dog? Or, since you were given a gift that could never be repaid, would you be ever grateful? If you found out they needed someone to mow their grass and feed the dog while they were away on vacation, wouldn’t you be the first to volunteer? The answers are obvious.

Jesus said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). He is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother and offers a life that benefits His people both temporally and spiritually. True believers value His friendship and willfully follow His directives, knowing they are for our good and not meant for harm. When it is understood that God justified His people freely through no act of their own and gave them a gift that can never be repaid, then the role of good works in the Christian’s life becomes clear.

A man once said to me—or remarked in a place where I happened to be—“Why, these people here seem to think I am full of the devil, but I am not.” And I said to him, “My brother, did you ever know anybody that was full of the devil and knew it?” That is one of the tricks of the devil: To get possession of you and keep you from knowing it. And that is one of our difficulties.

The Prophet Nephi, hundreds of years ago, saw what would occur, that the people were to contend with one another and deny the power of the Holy Ghost and the Holy One of Israel, and were to teach for doctrine the commandments of men. An influence is in the world today trying to make people believe that by their own intelligence and by their own power they can gain eternal life. Let me … read from Nephi:

“And there shall also be many which shall say, Eat, drink and be merry, nevertheless fear God, he will justify in committing a little sin.”

I want you to note that: “He will justify in committing a little sin.” That cunning adversary knowing that if he could only get a man or woman to do a little wrong, that far they had gone into his territory, that far they were in his power.

“Nevertheless, fear God, he will justify in committing a little sin, yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this. And do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the Kingdom of God.” [2 Nephi 28:8] Isn’t that just exactly what the devil says to the children of men today as plainly as it is written here? Oh, commit a little sin, that won’t do any harm, lie a little, that won’t do any particular damage, the Lord will forgive that and you will only be beaten with a few stripes and at last you shall be saved in the kingdom of God. That is what he says to the man or the woman who has been taught the Word of Wisdom when he says, oh, drink a little tea, that won’t hurt you; use a little tobacco, that won’t make any difference; a little liquor won’t do any harm. These are little things; he always does it a little at a time, not all at once. That is what I would like us to remember. … It is these insignificant insidious whisperings that betray mankind and that place us in the power of the devil. …

In other words, complete obedience to all of Mormonism’s laws is necessary for the Latter-day Saint. Here Smith refers to the Word of Wisdom; his view is supported by other leaders, all of whom condemn the idea that breaking this should somehow be considered a “little” sin. Sixth President Joseph F. Smith said, “But says one, ‘If I am offered a cup of tea or a cup of coffee I cannot refuse it.’ Then, according to the word of the Lord, you are too weak to be a Latter-day Saint” (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Reports, April 1880, 36). Smith’s father, George A. Smith, declared, “I know persons who apostatized because they supposed they had reasons; for instance, a certain family, after having travelled a long journey, arrived in Kirtland, and the Prophet asked them to stop with him until they could find a place. Sister Emma, in the mean time, asked the old lady if she would have a cup of tea to refresh her after the fatigues of the journey, or a cup of coffee. This whole family apostatized because they were invited to take a cup of tea or coffee, after the Word of Wisdom was given” (George A. Smith, March 18, 1855, Journal of Discourses 2:214).

And who can forget the following quote by tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith?

“SALVATION AND A CUP OF TEA. You cannot neglect little things. ‘Oh, a cup of tea is such a little thing. It is so little; surely it doesn’t amount to much; surely the Lord will forgive me if I drink a cup of tea. Yes, he will forgive you, because he is going to forgive every man who repents; but, my brethren, if you drink coffee or tea, or take tobacco, are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God, where you might otherwise have received a fulness of glory?” (Doctrines of Salvation 2:16).

For almost a century, many Mormons have abstained from caffeinated cola drinks because they felt the Word of Wisdom would have prevented them from imbibing these beverages. The grocery stores here in Utah sell much more in the way of noncaffeinated cola drinks than those with caffeine. My wife works as a sampler at a local Utah Costco—the busiest one in the state—and any time her product consists of a cold caffeinated beverage, most Mormons steer clear. She tells me that LDS mothers have shooed their children away from my wife’s cart, telling them, “We don’t drink those sinful things.” Do they not know that the Church’s Handbook 1says, “The only official interpretation of ‘hot drinks’ (D&C 89:9) in the Word of Wisdom is the statement made by early church leaders that the term ‘hot drinks’ means tea and coffee”? In a September 2012 announcement made on the LDS website, the leadership officially declared that caffeinated drinks were not included in the Word of Wisdom. (“OK, Mormons, drink up—Coke and Pepsi are OK”, Salt Lake Tribune,  It appears that determining the little sins from the big sins involves a lot of speculation on the part of the individual Latter-day Saint, as many apparently have considered participation with cold caffeinated drinks as some type of sin.

We must learn to overcome our passions, our evil tendencies. We must learn to resist temptations. That is why we are here, and in order that we may more perfectly do that, the gospel has been restored to the earth, and we have been made partakers of it, and we have the strength that comes to us as a result of the power of the Holy Ghost. We not only have the resistance of an ordinary individual, with the limitations that such an individual has who has not the knowledge of the truth—we have equal resistance with him, and in addition the resistance which comes from knowing the truth and knowing the purpose of our being.

Smith says that the power that each Latter-day Saint has is more than enough to overcome Satan’s wily plans. So, I ask the Latter-day Saint, how are you doing at this?

We can resist evil by choosing to subject ourselves to the influence of the Lord.

I have thought of that a good many times. We choose carefully the atmosphere that we breathe, that we may live in health. But sometimes, in our carelessness, we place ourselves in subjection to immoral influences that destroy our resistance of evil, and we are led to do things that we ought not to do and would not do if under the influence of the Lord. If we would only be humble, if we would only be prayerful, if we would only live in such a way that each hour of our lives we could truthfully say, “Father in heaven, I am willing and anxious to do what thou wouldst have me do,” our lives every day would be enriched as we go through this earth experience.

The problem, however, is not that Mormons don’t desire to “Choose the Right.” It isn’t that they refuse to follow God’s commands. Rather, I have found that most sincere Latter-day Saints are willing to follow God’s laws. The problem is that they struggle with sin, yet their church leaders are telling them that they must not just try to do right but actually accomplish the goal.

Paul explained the difficult situation in Romans 7:13-25. He wrote:

“Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

What Mormons really need to experience is true forgiveness, with the key that it comes through nothing they have done or accomplished. Romans 3:28 says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” And Titus 3:4-7 explains, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Justification by faith alone, the Reformers preached, and this comes only as a gift, not as a requirement. Only then can a person experience abundant living.

We choose where we will be. God has given us our agency. He will not take it from us, and if I do that which is wrong and get into the devil’s territory, I do it because I have the will and power to do it. I cannot blame anybody else, and if I determine to keep the commandments of God and live as I ought to live and stay on the Lord’s side of the line I do it because I ought to do it, and I will receive my blessing for it. It will not be the result of what somebody else may do.

How careful we as Latter-day Saints ought to be to live every day of our lives that we may be influenced by the power of the Lord, and that we may be able to turn aside from those things that have a tendency to break down our power to earn the celestial kingdom.

Once more, the onus is put onto the back of each individual Mormon to accomplish an impossible feat. However, true salvation really is the “result” of what “somebody else may do”—His name is Jesus. In fact, it is through the work of Jesus Christ that salvation is provided. Romans 6:23 says that “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “Earning” the celestial kingdom is the impossible gospel. To hear an excellent description of how Mormonism’s version of the gospel can never be kept, listen to Evidence Ministry’s Keith Walker in a four-part video series.

See that your feet are planted upon the rock. See that you learn the desires of the Master toward you, and, knowing those desires, see to it that you keep His laws and commands. See to it that the purity of your lives shall entitle you to the companionship of the Holy Spirit, because if you are pure and virtuous and upright, the evil one will have no power to destroy you. I pray that we examine ourselves and find out which side of the line we are on; and if we are on the Lord’s side, stay there, because that means eternal happiness in the companionship of the best men and women that have lived upon the earth.

Once more, the majority of those who are reading these words in this manual are faithful Latter-day Saints. (This book is not typical reading material for a Gentile audience, neither will these words be consumed by jack Mormons who sleep in on Sundays and miss their meetings.) Typically these people are genuinely trying and doing the best they can. The question is, no matter how hard they try, is it even possible to do those things that will please God and the leaders of this church? As we have clearly stated, the answer is unequivocally NO!

At this point, a Latter-day Saint might say that this is what repentance is for. However, according to D&C 58:43, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them.” These words are supposedly from the mouth of God. Thus, a person can know if he is truly repentant by both confessing his or her sins and forsaking (stopping) them as well. Once again, I ask the Latter-day Saint reader, “How are you doing at that?

If we have slipped in any way, if we have been careless; if we have listened to the tempter and gone across the line to partake of those things that the world thinks are so desirable and the Lord has said are not good for us, let us as quickly as possible get back on the other side, ask the Lord to forgive us our foolishness, and then with his help go on living the life that means eternal happiness.

Forgiveness of sins is possible, but it requires faith in the Savior and cannot involve any work on our part. Romans 4: 1-5 says, “What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.” I pray that the Latter-day Saints reading this will look closer at their Bibles and come to a realization that true salvation—not just general resurrection but glorification (similar to the LDS idea of “exaltaton” minus the connotation that we can become “gods” of our own worlds populated with our offspring) is not available through any effort on our own.

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