Most of these discussions cover a lot of material. In the interest of time I’m going to do my best to give a brief, but thorough synopsis, for each lesson. If you would like to read through all the material for this and other lessons, you can do so by following the link below.
Discussion 2 – The Gospel of Jesus Christ
In this discussion investigators are taught the ‘first principles and ordinances of the (Mormon) gospel’, which are faith, baptism, repentance, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. It’s also during this discussion, the investigators are encouraged to make a commitment to the Church, and set a date for their baptism.
There are seven principles covered in this discussion they are:
Salvation from Physical Death
Salvation from Sin
Faith in Christ
Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of Sins
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
Obedience to the Commandments of God
Salvation from Physical Death –
Missionaries are to explain to the investigator that “Jesus Christ overcame this obstacle (physical death) for us. His physical death came when he died on the cross.”
“Resurrection is a free gift to each of us, regardless of whether we have done good or evil in this life.”
It’s important to note here that in Mormonism, there is no biblical view of ‘hell’. This means the wicked aren’t sent to a place where they will be punished for eternity because of their disobedience and sin. In Mormonism, there are three levels/kingdoms of glory those who rejected Jesus will be sent to the lowest kingdom in their heaven the Telestial Kingdom.
This of course, is contrary to what the bible has to say in regards to where those who choose to follow Jesus, and those who choose to reject Him spend eternity.
Acts 24:15- And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Salvation from Sin –
Next, the investigators are taught how sin separates them from God.
“We are forgiven when we accept Christ, repent, and follow his commandments. In this way, we are cleansed of our sins.”
Ah, yes, and no – Yes, when repent and ask for forgiveness we are forgiven, and yes, it’s important for us to put our faith, and trust in Jesus Christ. However, that’s not what “cleanses” us from our sin.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (emphasis mine)
I never really noticed the problem Mormons have with discussing the blood of Jesus Christ being shed for us, cleansing us from sin until I left Mormonism. Also, it’s important to note, in regard to their quote above, the blood of Jesus isn’t enough to allow them to enter God’s presence. They must also follow all the rules and commandments of Mormonism.
Faith in Christ –
“When we have faith in Christ, we love him. We accept his atonement and his teachings. We do all that he has asked us to do. We follow the example of his perfect life and trust in him.”
What does it mean to them, to have faith in Jesus? If they had faith in Jesus why do they need Joseph Smith?
Throughout these discussions investigators are taught things Jesus never taught, and other things that contradict God’s word. How is this having faith in him? If they had faith in Jesus they would be trusting in him, and him alone. They would be trusting in God’s word, and rejecting any false teaching. Sadly, this isn’t what Mormonism does.
“To repent, we admit to God that we have done wrong. We feel sorrow for our sins and ask God to forgive us. We do all we can to correct the problems our actions may have caused. If we sincerely repent, we turn away from our sins and do them no more. We no longer have any desire to commit the sins.”
I can agree with this statement to a certain point, we should absolutely repent when God convicts us of our sin(s). However, according to the Doctrine and Covenants, another book in Mormonism, states –
D&C 82:7; “And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.” (emphasis mine)
How can they ever have forgiveness, or know that they’ve been forgiven?
It’s interesting this little doctrinal tidbit isn’t mentioned in the discussion.
Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of Sins –
“Through the ordinance of baptism, we enter a covenant (or agreement) with God. We promise to accept Christ, become his followers, and keep his commandments to the end. Our Heavenly Father promises that our sins will be forgiven if we keep our part of the covenant.”(emphasis mine)
Okay, wow, that is a mouthful. First, baptism isn’t a covenant, it’s an ordinance, one of the two ordinances Christians should participate in. When Christians are baptized it’s a reflection of the change of heart God has created inside of them.
Second, God knows we are imperfect beings. Even after we become followers of Jesus Christ he knows we will mess up sometimes, and sin. However, he is always faithful to forgive us of our sins, we don’t have to stop sinning for Him to continue to pour his love and forgiveness too us.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost –
“Jesus taught that we must be baptized of the water and also of the Spirit. In this way we are spiritually reborn. We begin a new spiritual life as disciples of Christ. This new life begins when we receive the Holy Ghost.”
In Mormonism, after you have been baptized by someone who holds their priesthood, they lay their hands upon your head, and command you to receive the Holy Ghost. Looking back now and asking a spirit, or ghost, to enter someone seems more than a little creepy to me.
For the Christian, we know that we receive the Holy Spirit at the moment we are saved. When salvation occurs, the Holy Spirit becomes your guide, and is sealed to you for eternity.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your 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.” Ephesians 1:13-14
Obedience to the Commandments of God –
“Only by obeying the commandments of God can we find lasting peace and happiness in this life. When we obey the commandments, we show our faith and love for our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We also become worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.” (emphasis mine)
Strict obedience to the doctrines of Mormonism is a must. You’ll often hear Mormons talk about ‘enduring to the end’ in obedience. You know, if I had a long list of ‘commandments’ I had to obey (or else), I’d have a bleak view of life as well.
Fortunately, the Christian’s view of obedience is a different story. We know we are saved by grace after nothing that we’ve done. We know we have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us from error, and we have the assurance that he will never leave us.
Obedience isn’t a word that brings dread to our hearts, it’s something we are able to do because of the Holy Spirit.