Mormon First Presidency 2016 Easter Message

 

No Business like Joe BusinessOne does wonder who exactly writes these public statements from the Mormon First Presidency. Everything has to correlate with everything else these days. Mormon leaders can’t be seen to contradict other Mormon leaders; those days are long gone. The whole exercise must be pretty depressing if your a thinking Mormon, and there are an increasing number of those these days. Maybe it would be more honest if they made a short statement:

We, the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, approve this message.

Then publish the message they approve:

“Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Messiah of the New Testament. He died and was resurrected, and He lives in glory with our Eternal Father.

As a result of our Savior’s atoning sacrifice, death, and resurrection we become the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace. In a world of trouble and uncertainty, His peace can fill our hearts and ease our minds. Jesus is in very deed “the way, the truth, and the life” for God’s children everywhere (John 14:6).

At this Easter season we give our sure witness that Jesus is the Christ. Though He was crucified, He rose triumphant from the tomb to our everlasting blessing and benefit. He stands as our Advocate and Savior. He has done for all mankind that which no other could have done. God be thanked for the gift of His Beloved Son, our Savior, the Redeemer of the world, the Lamb without blemish who was offered as a sacrifice for all mankind.”

Thomas S. Monson
Henry B. Eyring
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Be that as it may, this is the ‘official’ first presidency Easter message for 2016. Mormons insist they should tell their own story, that critics have no business telling it for them. They may have a point. You have to read it through Mormon eyes, otherwise you will make the mistake of taking it at face value, of concluding its biblical, Christian, and chimes with what you will hear in church Easter morning. You shouldn’t, it isn’t, it doesn’t. So let’s allow Mormons to tell this story for themselves. Then lets allow God’s word in the Bible tell its own story.

The Eternal Family of God?

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the Messiah of the New Testament. He died and was resurrected, and He lives in glory with our Eternal Father.

Mormon ‘Scripture’ declares:

‘The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.’ (Doctrine & Covenants 130:22)

Mormon apostle, Orson Pratt, preached:

‘The Gods who dwell in the Heaven have been redeemed from the grave in a world which existed before the foundations of this earth were laid. They and the Heavenly body which they now inhabit were once in a fallen state… they were exalted also, from fallen men to Celestial Gods to inhabit their Heaven forever and ever.’ (The Seer, Mormon periodical, 1853, p.23)

Mormon apostle Bruce R McConkie wrote:

‘Implicit in the Christian verity that all men are the spirit children of an Eternal Father is the usually unspoken truth that they are also the offspring of an Eternal Mother.’ (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p.516)

The Mormon hymnal contains these words:

In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare!

Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me I’ve a mother there.

(Hymns, 292)

Mormon President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

‘The fact that there is no reference to a mother in heaven either in the Bible, Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants, is not sufficient proof that no such thing as a mother did exist there’

(Answers to Gospel Questions, vol.3, p.142)

Milton R Hunter, of the First Quorum of the Seventy observed:

‘The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.’

(Gospel Through the Ages, 1945, p.15)

Mormon apostle James E Talmage wrote:

In that august council of the angels and the Gods, the Being who later was born in flesh as Mary’s Son, Jesus, took prominent part, and there was He ordained of the Father to be the Savior of mankind.’

(Jesus the Christ, 1976, p.9)

Mormon apostle Bruce R McConkie wrote:

‘The Only Begotten of the Father. (Moses 5:9). These name titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.’

(Mormon Doctrine, p.546,547)

Mormon president Brigham Young preached:

‘When the time came that his First-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came himself and favored that Spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Savior was begotten by the Father and his Spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me.’

(Journal of Discourses, 4, p.218)

Not what you expected? Let’s press on.

The Atoning Sacrifice of Christ?

As a result of our Savior’s atoning sacrifice, death, and resurrection we become the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace. In a world of trouble and uncertainty, His peace can fill our hearts and ease our minds. Jesus is in very deed “the way, the truth, and the life” for God’s children everywhere (John 14:6).

Mormon prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said:

‘Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf.’

(Doctrines of, Salvation, vol.1, p.135)

Mormon prophet Ezra Taft Benson taught:

‘It was here in the Garden of Gethsemane, on that last night in mortality, that Jesus left His Apostles and descended alone into the depth of agony that would be His atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind’ (p.14). Thirteenth Mormon president, Ezra Taft Benson, said: ‘It was in Gethsemane that Jesus took on Himself the sins of the world, in Gethsemane that His pain was equivalent to the cumulative burden of all men, in Gethsemane that He descended below all things so that all could repent and come to Him.’

(Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.14)

Mormon apostle Bruce R McConkie wrote:

‘As He came out of the Garden, delivering himself voluntarily into the hands of wicked men, the victory had been won. There remained yet the shame and the pain of his arrest, his trials, and his cross. But all these were overshadowed by the agonies and sufferings in Gethsemane. It was on the cross that he “suffered death in the flesh”, even as many have suffered agonising deaths, but it was in Gethsemane that “he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come to him”’

(The Mortal Messiah, pp.127-128)

Everlasting Blessing?

At this Easter season we give our sure witness that Jesus is the Christ. Though He was crucified, He rose triumphant from the tomb to our everlasting blessing and benefit. He stands as our Advocate and Savior. He has done for all mankind that which no other could have done. God be thanked for the gift of His Beloved Son, our Savior, the Redeemer of the world, the Lamb without blemish who was offered as a sacrifice for all mankind.

Mormon prophet Brigham Young said:

It is fully proved in all the revelations that God has ever given to mankind that they naturally love and admire righteousness, justice and truth more than they do evil. It is, however, universally received by professors of religion as a Scriptural doctrine that man is naturally opposed to God. This is not so. Paul says, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, ‘But the natural man receiveth not the things of God.” but I say it is the unnatural man that ‘receiveth not the things of God.’

(Journal of Discourses, vol.9, p.305)

Mormon apostle Hugh B Brown said:

‘Our doctrine is positive and life affirming…We refuse to believe, with some churches of Christendom, that the biblical account of the fall of man records the corruption of human nature or to accept the doctrine of original sin. We do not believe that man is incapable of doing the will of God, or is unable to merit the reward of Divine approval; that he is therefore totally estranged from God and that whatever salvation comes to him must come as a free and undeserved gift.’

(General Conference address, April 1964)

Mormon prophet John Taylor said:

‘Transgression of the law brought death upon all the posterity of Adam, the restoration through the atonement restored all the human family to life…so that all men…may be placed upon the same footing, and that all men may have the same privilege…of accepting the conditions of the great plan of redemption provided by the Father.’

(Mediation and Atonement, pp.171/181)

Mormon apostle James E Talmage wrote:

‘Some degree of salvation will come to all who have not forfeited their right to it; exaltation is given to those only who by active labors have won a claim to God’s merciful liberality by which it is bestowed.’

(The Articles of Faith, 1977, p.91)

Mormonism’s founding prophet taught:

‘We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.’

(3rd Article of Faith)

The Book of Mormon teaches:

‘For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.’

(2 Nephi:25:23)

The Mormon Gospel Principles Manual teaches:

‘When we accept the new and everlasting covenant, we agree to repent, to be baptized, to receive the Holy Ghost, to receive our endowments, to receive the covenant of marriage in the temple and to live righteously to the end of our lives. We must keep all our covenants with exactness. If we do, our Heavenly Father promises us that we will receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom.’

(Gospel Principles, p.92)

Mormon ‘Scripture’ teaches:

For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.’

(Doctrine & Covenants 132:5)

I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say’ (Doctrine & Covenants 82:10)

What the Bible Has to Say

‘The beginning of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God ‘ (Mark 1:1)

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made.’ (John 1:1)

‘He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and visible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…In him all the fullness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, making peace by the blood of his cross.’ (Colossians 1:18-20)

‘We have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks God.

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good, not even one.’ (Romans 3:9-12)

‘Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.’ (Romans 8:8)

‘And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…in the passions of the flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive with Christ – by grace you have been saved…’ (Ephesians 2:1-5)

‘For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…’ (Romans 3:20-24)

‘But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him’ (Isaiah 53:5)

‘For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things, whether in earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.’ (Colossians 1:20)

‘For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ (1 Corinthians 1:18)

‘But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me.’ (Galatians 6:14)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.’ (Ephesians 1:11-14)

‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 8:1)

‘Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Romans 5:1)

‘Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

He is Risen

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