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Mormonism and the Family Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
July 21, 2021 9:50 pm

Mormonism and the Family Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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In their own words, a collection of Mormon quotations compiled by Mormonism Research Ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic.

Pick up your copy at the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore or In 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. We're talking about the importance of families in relationship to the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

And naturally, because most Mormons want to be with their families after they die, they are inclined to do temple work on behalf of deceased ancestors in the hope that they will receive the restored gospel in the spirit world by spirit missionaries. But there are conditions in order for this to all work out. And we've been looking at a speech that was given by Second Counselor in the First Presidency, a man by the name of Henry B. Eyring. He gave a talk in the April 2021 General Conference. It was titled, I Love to See the Temple. This speech can be found in the May 2021 issue of the Liahona magazine.

And where we've been really placing a lot of emphasis is on a pull quote that is below the title of his talk. In the pull quote on page 28, and it's taken from a statement that is found on page 30, he says, We definitely criticize that statement, because in order for there to be any assurance of being with your loved ones in the next life, you as an individual member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints must be worthy enough. And the person for whom you are doing work in a temple must also embrace or accept the work that you are doing. So based on those two conditions, how can a member of the LDS Church really have any assurance of being with their loved ones in the next life?

The assurance seems to go right out the window because it's based on individual performance, either you as a member, your personal performance, or the acceptance or rejection of the person on whom you're doing these temple ordinances. Now, after he makes this statement, he goes on to tell the story of an individual he encountered while Henry B. Eyring was a bishop. Years ago, while I was serving as a bishop, a handsome young man resisted my invitation to become worthy to live with God and families forever. In a belligerent way, he told me of the good times he had with his friends. I let him talk. Then he told me about a moment during one of his parties in the midst of the raucous noise when he suddenly realized that he felt lonely. I asked him what had happened. He said that he had remembered a time as a little boy sitting on his mother's lap with her arms around him. For that moment, while he told that story, he teared up. I said to him what I know is true, quote, the only way you can have the feeling of that family embrace forever is to become worthy yourself and help others to receive the sealing ordinances of the temple, end quote. Let me stop you there, Eric, because here's that word worthy again.

And at the beginning of the show, I asked the question, what does your worthiness graph look like? And this is what I meant by that. This could probably be a good question to ask our LDS acquaintances whenever we're talking about this subject of having assurance in order to get into the celestial kingdom or in this context, the assurance of being able to do something on behalf of our dead ancestors. When Irene says the only way you can have the feeling of that family embrace forever is to become worthy yourself and help others to receive the sealing ordinances of the temple. First and foremost, notice he's talking about the embrace of another human being. Is that really what we're looking forward to in the next life? How many times have we said that if your eternal bliss is determined by the actions of another human being, you're probably going to be disappointed. The fact that he brings up this family embrace, I find problematic because where's Jesus in this scenario?

Where do we hear anything about Jesus's approval or being with Jesus for eternity? No, it's all about being with other human beings. Getting back to the worthiness graph, ask your Latter-day Saint friend, if there was a graph that you could personally plot your worthiness, what would it look like? If you, for instance, invest in the stock market for your retirement, your graph probably looks like the peaks of the Himalayas going up and going down, going up and going down. But what should an individual Latter-day Saint's worthiness graph look like if they are in fact, quote-unquote, worthy?

Now you would think that this graph would, first of all, have a line at the very top, as high as it could be on the graph, and that line going straight across the rest of the sheet of paper. But would an individual Mormon say that? I can't imagine any Latter-day Saint telling me to my face, well, if this was my worthiness graph, I would have a line at the very top of the paper going straight across, consistently showing that I am always worthy as I should be in order to receive the benefits that I am seeking. But let's be honest, most Latter-day Saints are honest people, and they would have to admit that their worthiness graph, if there really is such a thing, would go up and down, up and down. We never have perfect days, so could we honestly say we would have a line at the very top of the graph? That would be perfection.

Nobody does that. But yet, what is required of Latter-day Saints? Eyring goes on in this story to say this. And he says, We know that our eternal happiness depends on our doing our best to offer the same lasting happiness to as many of our kindred as we can. We know that our eternal happiness depends on our doing our best to offer the same lasting happiness to as many of our kindred as we can. Doing our best. Eric, do Latter-day Saints have a propensity of always doing their best? No. I mean, they try, but as Spencer W. Kimball said in his book The Miracle of Forgiveness, he said, He said, To be fair to the Latter-day Saint, though, does any human consistently do their best? Do professing Christians continually do their best? Of course not. At least we admit it, and we know, thankfully, that doing our best is not what is required.

Why? Because we put our trust in a Savior who did His best on our behalf. And because of that faith in what He did, we are made right in the eyes of God. I don't know if we can emphasize this enough, Eric, if we have a Latter-day Saint listening to this program to realize that there is no possible way, using the language that is being used by Henry B. Eyring or the language that's used by other Latter-day Saint leaders such as Spencer Kimball that you just cited, it sounds like they have placed such a high bar as a condition for receiving the best their God offers, which in this context, it sounds like the best they are hoping for is to be with another human being throughout eternity.

That doesn't really excite me. As much as I would love to see my loved ones in heaven with me after we are all dead, that's not what I'm primarily looking forward to as much as I love my friends and relatives here on this earth. Eyring says on page 30, Mormonism teaches the idea that somehow we can become saviors on Mount Zion, that we get to help Jesus in His sacred work, is how he puts it, to help them to be able to receive salvation. But Bill, in the entire article, I love to see the Temple, in the entire talk, there's not one scripture reference given to support the idea that families are forever, that we have the ability to do anything for anybody who's already passed away.

The Bible teaches in Hebrews 9.27 and 2 Corinthians 6.2 that you can't do any other work outside of this life that we're in, mortality as the Latter-day Saint puts it. The Bible does not teach that families are forever. Jesus never talks about this.

The book of Acts never talks about this. In fact, I want to just quickly cite from Matthew chapter 12, verses 46 through 50, and this is referring to Jesus' mother and brothers, this is what it says, While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brother stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you. He replied to him, Who is my mother?

And who are my brothers? Pointing to his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers, for whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. Now, Bill, I don't know about you, but I don't think Jesus thinks that his nuclear family is who he was going to spend the rest of his life with. Anybody who is a believer is doing the will of my Father, and you'll be together in heaven, but not in this nuclear family idea, and certainly nothing that Paul or Peter or anybody talks about in the book of Acts is supporting the view that Mormonism teaches. Supposedly Mormonism is a restoration of the gospel, but we have no clue anywhere that this was ever believed by the original disciples or Jesus himself. And this is why I constantly harp on this idea that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restored church teaching a restored gospel. We don't see this pattern in the first century church.

It's just not there. We don't see this pattern in the Book of Mormon. You would think that if this is such an important doctrine that people can somehow do something in order to be with loved ones who have died before, there would be some kind of mention in the New Testament or some kind of mention in the Book of Mormon.

We don't see that. The Nephites, if they existed at all, which I do not believe they did, obviously were blind to this doctrine of being with their dead ancestors and the necessity of doing temple work on their behalf. First of all, who in the New World, if Nephites and Lamanites existed, would have even been qualified to administer in the temple when there were none that left for the New World who were sons of Aaron? If you're a Latter-day Saint, this is your homework. Go open up your Book of Mormon because Bill has just mentioned there's nothing in the Book of Mormon either that teaches this. Alma chapter 34 and start reading, let's say at verse 32. In fact, I'll just read 32 and I'll leave the rest for you. This is what it says, for behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Yea, behold, the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. It seems like Henry B. Eyring is completely ignoring those passages you cited from the Book of Mormon. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-20 20:33:00 / 2023-09-20 20:37:56 / 5

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