Missionary Lesson 2 Revisited

The topic on this lesson is the plan of salvation. I can't think of a more important issue (The LDS false view of God would be a close runner-up). The complete lessons are on line at Preach My Gospel if you google that phrase... but this will simply point out some of the main places where the lessons do not agree with the Bible.

The lesson begins with a retelling of the story in Genesis, of Adam and Eve's sin. I quote from the lessons now:

"In the garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve their agency. He commanded them not to eat the forbidden fruit, or the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Obeying this commandment meant that they could remain in the garden, but they could not progresss by experiencing opposition in mortality. They could not know joy because they could not experience sorrow and pain."

WHAT? They could not know joy unless they sinned? What the Bible says is that in God's presence is fullness of joy, and they had that. So they did NOT have to sin to have joy. Now it also said they could not progress and further on it says they had to sin to progress in becoming like God. Think about that. We do not become more like God by sinning. Something is backwards here. This makes GOD the author of sin in that no matter what they did, they would lose out. This is not how God deals with us.

Another quote now: "It also made it possible for them to make wrong choices and to sin. In addition, they could now have children."

God commanded Adam and Eve to reproduce BEFORE they ever sinned. He does not tell us to do something that is impossible to do! They did NOT have to sin to have children! Sin brings evil into our life, not blessing.

Now the lesson moves on to the actual plan of salvation. After a discussion of Christ's atonement, we read this:

"Only through the Savior's grace and mercy can we become clean from sin so that we can live with God again. This is possible through exercising faith in Jesus Christ, repenting,being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, striving faithfully to keep His commandments to the end of our lives.    To fulfill the plan of salvation, Christ paid the penalty for our sins."

I agree that only thru Christ's grace can we be clean from sin. But the next sentence is a denial of the concept of grace! Grace refers to a gift or undeserved favor. If Christ is giving us something we don't deserve...why is there a life-long payment process required in order to keep it? It sounds like doubletalk to me. I don't like gifts that come with my required monthly payment plans attached.  Yes, we should repent, and yes, we should be baptized to show we have been saved (see my article on this - click here) and true salvation DOES bring the Holy Spirit into our life. I would not argue these at this point. But the "striving" to keep the commandments has been watered down here. What is required according to other writings is "KEEPING" them, not just trying to. (See my article on Mission Impossible Salvation for more on this)

What the obedience requirement says to me is that a DOUBLE PAYMENT is required (first from Christ, then from you) . It also in effect NULLIFIES GRACE because it is no longer undeserved favor ...but deserved favor... II Nephi 25:23 says you only get grace after all that we can do. It doesn't say "all you CHOOSE to do", mind you, but all you CAN do. I seldom ever do all I can do... almost always just do all I choose to do... How about you? So where would someone like me end up?

That is the next part of the lesson. Here the 3 degrees of glory are explained, and I will not go into it HERE because that is the topic of my home page.  A full study there shows what the Bible teaches, and that even according to LDS scriptures, (such as D&C 101:64-66) the 3 locations do not exist. I have put the following question from Rev. 20:15 and 21:24-27  to many many Mormons... and have yet to be given an answer that makes any sense: "What other options can there be besides "name in book" and "name not in book"

 

Regarding the LDS plan of salvation, I can only say that if they don't have the DESTINATIONS right.... how can they have the REQUIREMENTS right? If the telestial and terrestrial glories are myths... just WHAT set of requirements is the right one for the one heaven that DOES exist? 

We must first come back to the BIBLICAL definition of grace, and be willing to accept God's forgiveness and a relationship with Him as a gift. This is just what we are told in Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 11:6 separates the concept of grace from the works that we do. We need to keep them separate in our mind too. One thing I have done is write out a list of 125 scriptures that indicate that the ONE indispensable requirement for entering into God's new covenant of salvation by grace is to BELIEVE IT... to simply BELIEVE that Christ paid it all on the cross. Yes, I DO strive to obey God, but not to GAIN this gift of eternal life that I have received by faith -  I do it out of love and thankfulness that it is mine...permanently..... by grace (undeserved favor). Eph. 2:8-10 clarifies the two ideas of grace and works. It shows we are saved by grace through faith apart from works, but after we are saved, the change produced in us will give us a desire to do good works. Note that I didn't say, "We will then be required to obey all commandments til we die". It just says we will do good works. (There's a big difference between the two.)

If you can't understand how it can be that people who still sin can be guaranteed eternal life... check out the article on Imputed Righteousness 

I see the Missionary Lessons as "selling" what God wants to give us freely.  "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."  Romans 3:24