General Conference

GENERAL CONFERENCE OCTOBER 2008

SATURDAY SESSION

    

    

     Every six months the LDSChurch (Mormon Church) broadcasts its General Conference from Salt Lake City, Utah. Many people are able to watch this from the comfort of their own homes on T.V or via internet connection; others travel to their local chapels to view the Conference. The Conference is broken down into two, two-hour sessions usually on the first weekend of April and October.  Church members tune in to listen to the current prophet; his counselors and other General Authorities give them advice and counsel for the next six months.

     In fact, the talks the church leaders give are in Conference issues of the church’s magazine, the Ensign. This special issue of the Ensign is thought to be as good as scripture to the LDS. They are counseled to place it right next to their standard works and study it as they do their scriptures. When the new Conference issue comes out, they are to replace the old with the new.

     As I listened to the talks the leaders of the LDSChurch prepared for the Saturday Session of General Conference I was heartsick. I prayed for strength to get through each talk. They were so completely unbiblical and blasphemous. Below you’ll see that I’ve pulled out a few tidbits from each talk to give you an idea of what the LDS consider “continuing revelation.” 

   Elder L. Tom Perry spoke on having “the Spirit,” and what you can do to keep the spirit. He said;

 

“When we are modestly dressed we invite the spirit of the Lord to be a shield and protection for us.”

 

     How does the way one dress affect the Holy Spirit? There are many cultures who do not dress as the LDS do with their white shirts, ties, dress slacks, conservative dresses, and dress shoes. Yet Christian Missionaries are able lead these individuals to the Lord and the Holy Spirit take up permanent residence inside them. Once these people are born-again having the Holy Spirit inside them they become on fire for the Lord, and are a vital asset in witnessing to their people. These people do all this with no white shirt, or fancy dress; they do it coming to the Lord as they are.

     Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke on faith and spirituality. On the Book of Mormon, he said.

 

“The Book of Mormon is powerful, spiritual nourishment.”

 

     Notice he said “the Book of Mormon,” not the Bible or even the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  I will probably never get over how quick the LDS are to praise the Book of Mormon. At the same time, they only use the Bible when they can take verses out of context to facilitate their own agenda in claiming their doctrines are biblically based.

     The Word of God is the only source of spiritual food. It is the unequivocal written authority of God. It contains the standards by which the Christian is to live and govern their lives, in every aspect of their lives. The Bible is the “spiritual food,” that sustains us. We read this in Job 23:12 it says;

 

“I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”

 

     As well as Jeremiah 15:16;

 

“Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”

 

     Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis also spoke on the Book of Mormon as well as the Mormon Church. He said that he felt sad for those who refuse to read or accept it. Saying that we will never be able to “participate in the spiritual banquet it offers.” He says that, “Those who make such a choice are like spoiled children who refuse to even taste the tenderly prepared meal for them by their loving mother.”  I will never completely comprehend the arrogance of Mormons who make such comments. Who is this man to judge those mature Christians who have unwavering faith in God and his word? To compare those individuals who can spot false religions a mile away to “spoiled children” is mocking God!  His adoration for the Book of Mormon didn’t stop there.

      In his praise and worship of the book, he said (emphasis added);

  

     “When you know that the Book of Mormon is true you know that Joseph Smith was called by God to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. You know that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son. You know that there is only one faith and one valid baptism. You know that prophet of God lives on the earth today and that he has all the keys of the Priesthood and the right to exercise them as Peter did anciently. You know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only name whereby you can receive salvation. You know that God lives and loves us. You know that his plan of salvation is prefect and you have a desire to perform the ordinances obey the commandments and endure to the end. “

 

   With this in mind, there are a couple of issues that need to be looked at within the context of his quote.  The first, “You know that there is only one faith and one valid baptism.”  I’ve read the Book of Mormon many times and this was not the message I got from it. In fact the Book of Mormon doesn’t have any of the major factors that are part of Mormon doctrine.  Some examples are God having a body of flesh and bone, the pre-existence, temple endowments, eternal marriage and pregnancies, the ability to become gods and goddesses, and the eternal progression of God.

     The second item of interest is when he said through Book of Mormon, “You know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the only name whereby you can receive salvation.” I know through God’s word that Jesus is his Son, that through His work on the cross I have salvation, so why do I need the Book of Mormon if I learn these things through the Bible?

     Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge said a few things that were contradictory. On one hand he said;

 

      “We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind everyone living or dead may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”

 

     Question, if they are dead, how can they be obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel?  Then in reference to Jesus Christ, he went on to say;

 

“There is only one way to happiness and fulfillment He is the way. Every other way, any other way, whatever other way, is foolishness.”

   

     Which is it? Are the LDS saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances or does Jesus Christ save them?  They want to have it both ways, they want to be bound to laws and ordinances, and say that they are saved because of Jesus Christ.  Being subject to the LDS laws and ordinances makes them feel righteous and worthy and gives them a false sense of superiority over the Christians. They think that their obedience makes God look upon them with a fondness that is only reserved for the LDS elite.

      If Jesus is “the only way,” then you don’t need ordinances or laws. In Galatians 2:21 we read;

 

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

 

     The LDS can’t have it both ways, either the law saves them, or they are saved by grace. Elder Gerald Causse spoke of a time when he and his wife where away and left the children with a babysitter. After a prayer the babysitter asked the daughter what was the difference between their religions. The daughter said;

“It’s almost the same, except that we study a lot more than you do!”

 

     I should not have been surprised by the pride and joy in Mr. Causse’s voice as he said this, but I was. It made me sad the LDS are teaching their children to be just as prideful and arrogant as they are. His daughter’s comment tells me that he knows nothing of Christianity. He has no idea how much any of us study the Word of God, and he is telling his daughter that we don’t study as much as the LDS do.

Next we have Dallin H. Oaks who spoke on the LDS Sacrament. He asked two questions in this message in regards to having the spirit of the Lord with us.  I find the answers he gives to be troubling.

      The first question is:

 

“How can we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide our choices and keep us on the path?”

 

     He then answers his own question by saying;

 

“By participating weekly and appropriately in the ordinance of the sacrament we qualify for the promise that we will “always have his Spirit to be with [us]”

 

      The second question is:

 

“How can we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide our choices so that we will remain “unspotted from the world” and on the safe path through mortality?”

 

     His answer: “We need to qualify for the cleansing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”  In James 1:21 we read;

 

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

 

     This verse tells us that we are saved and made clean by the word of God. Partaking of wonder bread and water will not make us “unspotted from the world.”  In the Christian world, the idea that we have to “qualify” ourselves first “for the cleansing power of the Atonement” does not exist. We read in Romans 3:24-25 that grace is a free gift, the scripture reads; “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ: When God hath set forth to be a propitiation (atonement) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God:”  

     Once we are saved the Holy Spirit never leaves us, he is sealed to us. We learn this in Ephesians 1:13-14; “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of you salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

     The LDS believe that through their religion they can establish Zion on earth. In the Gospel Topics section of the LDSChurch’s web site, Zion is defined this way; “Zion is often used in this way to refer to the Lord’s people or to the Church and its stakes.”   The LDS believe that they are the only true church of Jesus Christ and believe that God wants them to “build up” Zion here on earth.  

     In his conference talk, Elder D. Todd Christofferson spoke on Zion.  In reference to bring about Zion, he quoted Joseph Smith as saying;

 

“We are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory.”

 

     Even today, the LDSChurch has the idea they are righteous and they are the ones who are commissioned by God to teach the rest of us heathens about Him and how to behave.  Mr. Chistoferson said; “The Lord calls upon us to be beacons of righteousness to guide those who seek the safety and blessings of Zion:”

     I know that God doesn’t play favorites we as are all sinners, and yet he still loves us. Acts 10:34 says;

 

     “Then Peter opened his month, and said, Of a truth I perceived that God is no respecter of persons”.

 

     The Holman’s Bible Dictionary’s definition of Zion says:  Zion was understood, also, to refer to the heavenly Jerusalem, the place where the Messiah would appear at the end of time. The glorification of the messianic community will take place on the holy mountain of “Zion.”

     Zion was an area in Jerusalem called the City of David as found in 2 Samuel 5:6-9. It’s also figuratively used in reference to God’s Kingdom as we see in Psalms 125:1, and Hebrews 12:22.

     Given the knowledge that we are all sinful, imperfect beings it would be virtually impossible for any group of people to have a Zion here on earth. The early members of the Mormon Church tried to do that, and failed. They failed because they were only human, and their sinful nature got in the way.

     The final speaker for the Saturday Session was Elder David A. Bednar. One topic he touched on was prayer, and the importance of having a regiment of regular morning and evening prayer. He spoke on something that I don’t think the LDS think much about; at least I never did when I was LDS.  In his talk to spoke on the LDS doctrine of everything being created spiritually before it was created physically. He said;

 

We are promised that if we pray sincerely for that which is right and good and in accordance with God’s will, we can be blessed, protected, and directed.”

 

     Mormon scripture is filled with these if, then statements. These statements teach that only if we do this, then God can bless us. I’ve never found any such statements in the Bible, only that God free gives to all of us. Romans 8:32 reads;

 

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

 

And in 1 Corinthians 2:12; “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God: that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”

 

     The LDS believe that everything has a spirit this includes, people, animals, birds, plants, and trees. He said that “In the third chapter of the book of Moses we learn that all things were created spiritually before they were naturally upon the earth.”  This idea is far from Christian and boarders on the occult. The book of Genesis is very clear when it talks about the creation of God’s creatures and all his creations. He spoke things into existence.

     Finally, we see the end of the Saturday session with the children’s choir singing “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” I never thought much about the words of this song I when I was LDS.  As I heard these little children sing the verse “The wicked that fight against Zion will surely be smitten at last,” my heart broke.  I don’t know if these children fully understand what they are saying in this verse.  Do they know they are saying that people who are not LDS, who try to witness to the LDS and bring them to Jesus Christ, are going to be destroyed?  When you try to witness to the LDS that is exactly how they see you; you are fighting against their religion.

     I will continue to witness to them and try to lead them to Jesus Christ. I know that people are being saved from Mormonism every day.  God the Father wants all of us to come to know His Son, and become a part of his family.

 

In Christ,

Melissa Grimes (melissa@lifeafter.org)

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