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June 13, 2020 1:09 pm
Mormonism 101 is research ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson for so many more to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith. Mormonism 101 is what your favorite Christian bookstore online. MRM.org .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a perspective view .1 Mormonism sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 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.
Should Mormons be happy and optimistic. Welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at M. R. M.
We continue looking at books that were given away as Christmas gifts by the first presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to various general authorities and some church employees between the years 1981 and 2017. Today were going to be looking at a book that was titled the teachings of Howard W.
Hunter Howard W. Hunter was the 14th president of the church.
He also holds the record for holding that office shorter than any other leader in church history became the president of the church on June 5, 1994 after the death of Ezra Taft Benson but he died less than a year later on March 3, 1995 and that is when Gordon B. Hinckley became the 15th president of the church. So were going to be looking at some of the things that he had to say in this book, and again this is not an exhaustive study, we just are basing this series on the premise that if the first presidency gave this book away as a Christmas gift. They must have felt that it had some kind of doctrinal value. Our first topic is going to be dealing with the very question that I asked at the beginning of the show when it regards Latter Day Saints being happy and optimistic. What did Howard W.
Hunter have to say about that. On page 268 of teachings of Howard W. Hunter the rights of all people on the face of the earth Latter Day Saints with the perspective given them by the gospel ought to be happy and optimistic. Let me ask you Eric. When we talk to Latter Day Saints on the streets and were talking about where they are in light of eternity.
Do you get the impression that most of the people, at least the ones we are talking to seem to be happy and optimistic about what's going to happen after they die. Many Latter Day Saints are going to say that they hope to go to the celestial kingdom that they're doing their best, are trying, but they can't say with assurance. As first John 513 says that we can know that we have eternal life, and I think that bothers many Latter Day Saints, to whom we speak. So what you think. Howard W. Hunters trying to say here I mean when he says, with the perspective given them by the gospel and I have to understand folks in this context. This is not talking about the New Testament gospel as we understand it, this word gospel refers to the restored gospel. The gospel that Mormons are supposed to adhere to. So he says with the perspective given them by the gospel ought to be happy and optimistic.
So based on your experience.
Based on my experience I would agree with you, I find that when we start challenging the latter-day St. regarding their eternity. They don't seem to be all that happy or optimistic about where they're going to be the only seem to be doing a lot of backpedaling and a lot of as you say, hoping that things will work out, but they're not really sure if they are going to work out the way they hope the Christmas bucket that were reading from actually comes from 2002, but this was given in 1991 in 1992 called speeches of the year that's where this comes from 1991 in 1992 and I went to St. that's not easy for us to look at but in this book. They just give us this quote into me. It almost sounds like he's chiding the Latter Day Saints who are not happy and optimistic that there might be people who are down and he's saying what we have this restored gospel. You ought to be happy and optimistic and look at how many things have to fall into place in order for a latter-day St. To be truly optimistic about their hereafter. We've talked about this many times on this program but I think it bears repeating the Mormons happiness and optimism isn't just based on whether or not they personally are ready to receive that judgment.
That's going to befall them after they die they have to. Also, if they're hoping to be with their family be optimistic that their family members are also meeting that very high standard of righteousness in order to achieve that celestial exultation where they can all hope to be together as a family. If any one member of the family does not meet that high standard that family member will not be with them throughout eternity in the celestial kingdom. And Hunter also says that nobody can help you get to the celestial kingdom. In fact, on page 10 of the same book he says salvation is an individual matter. The atonement that Christ wrought was in behalf of every individual.
However, each must work out his or her own salvation, for we are not saved collectively, the worthiness of one's friends or family will not save him or her. There must be an individual effort, while it is true that worthy couples will obtain ultimate exultation in the celestial kingdom. Each man and each woman sealed an internal relationship must be individually worthy of that blessing. Sounds like he's concurring with what I just stated. In other words, if your happiness is being with family members throughout eternity. You have to hope that all of those family members meet the required goal. That's exactly what Howard Hunter is saying here but me ask you about this when he talks about the worthiness of one's friends or family will not save him or her. When I read this. The first thing that came to my mind is this part of the temple ceremony where the woman is given a special temple name and Mormons are led to believe that it's the spouse that is going to call his wife why that temple name on the resurrection day, if that's true then is Howard Hunter really telling the truth when he says the worthiness of one's friends or families will not save him or her.
It would seem that the worthiness of the spouse in order to call the spouses name on the resurrection day is pretty important in the context of Mormonism and if it's not then why in the world. They even do that in the temple ceremony itself.
How many Latter Day Saints think that somehow the worthiness of their parents would be able to help them get in on their coattails and hit what Hunter is saying here is no you can't rely on anybody before, you can't reline your spouse you can't rely on your children who did good missions. It's based on you and I think that is a reason not to be optimistic and happy, especially when he says on page 60.
We must strive all our lives to attain exultation. He writes the mere fact that we receive salvation by grace, that is, that we will live again because of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior does not make us worthy to be saved in the highest degree of glory. He has said that every man will be judged according to his works.
Not interesting, the language that he uses here. The mere fact that we receive salvation by grace that how many Latter Day Saints when talking with their evangelical counterpart will use that expression. Hey, we're saved by salvation by grace but yet they don't explain what that means to them as a member of the LDS church.
They just throw that phrase out there knowing the evangelical has his own definition for what that phrase means because evangelical Christians probably thinking of Ephesians 289.
But what you need to ask as a Christian to a latter-day St. is would you believe that your saved by grace. After all you can do and that's directly from the book of Mormon second Nephi 2523 and they most likely are going to say, why yes, well then I think you can see all kinds of problems. After all you can do that you received grace.
That's much different than the gospel presented in Christianity and that's why think it's so important that we look at this statement by Howard W. Hunter and what does he mean by this. Listen carefully, folks. The mere fact that we receive salvation by grace, that is, that we will live again because of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. This would be understood as mere resurrection from the dead, but there's a comma after the word Savior and he goes on to say, does not make us worthy to be saved in the highest degree of glory so when Maureen uses the phrase were saved by grace.
Don't assume they mean it the same way as you understand it. Have them explain to you what they mean by that because I think Howard Hunter is doing here. He's explaining what that mean it does not mean that you were going to be necessarily worthy to be saved in the highest degree of glory or that celestial kingdom to receive celestial exultation or godhood as it's taught in Mormonism. He goes on to say he has said that every man will be judged according to his works. Then we probably should ask the question. Well, what about your works, how good are your works. We've said it many times on this show that a man's works are only as good as he is.
If you are sin tainted. Wouldn't it make sense that your works would also be sin tainted. Another words, there will be no perfect work and if that's what you're hoping to give Christ the judge on your judgment day this at really make you happy and optimistic. It wouldn't make me happy and optimistic, that's for sure. The Mormon is supposed to examine themselves throughout their lifetime.
And this is why they have what's known as the sacrament, and he has a subheading here on page 110 it says, the sacrament is a time for self-examination. He writes I asked myself this question, do I place God above all other things and keep all of his commandments. Then came reflection and resolution to make a covenant with the Lord to always keep his commandments, is a serious obligation and to renew that covenant by partaking of the sacrament is equally serious. The solemn moments of thought while the sacrament is been served have great significance. They are moments of self-examination, introspection, self discernment, a time to reflect and to resolve when the Mormon partakes of the sacrament they are supposed to examine themselves. Yet they've made a promise and they're going to make a promise again that they're going to keep all of the commandments.
That's the way it's been described by Mormon leaders. That's how they explain the sacrament prayer that is given every Sunday in an LDS service you were promising to keep the commandments. During the next week at least. But how many of them do that. In his book the miracle of forgiveness Spencer Kimball talk specifically about this and he has harsh words to say about people he calls, covenant breakers, a covenant breaker is somebody who promises that they're going to do something and then they don't follow through. What does a latter-day St. do every single Sunday. They go to their service to repent and to promise they're going to keep the commandments. But the do the same thing. The following Sunday and that's what makes it so difficult for the latter-day St. I would think to have the happiness in the optimism that Howard Hunter is talking about.
Remember the first quote that we gave at the beginning of the show, of all people on the face of the earth Latter Day Saints with the perspective given them by the gospel, restored gospel ought to be happy and optimistic.
Yet when we look at the requirements that are set forth for every latter-day St. How can that possibly be not want to end the show by asking you Latter Day Saints who are listening to this, are you happy and optimistic.
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