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Mormonism and the Family Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
July 20, 2021 9:45 pm

Mormonism and the Family Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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July 20, 2021 9:45 pm

This week Bill and Eric take a look at the role of families and the temple in the LDS Church.

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is 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. In participation in a Mormon temple, give an individual the assurance of being connected with their loved ones in eternity. Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. We've been looking at the importance of family within the context of Mormonism, and Eric, I think you very appropriately brought out in yesterday's show that we as New Testament Christians certainly consider the family to be a very important part of our moral existence here on earth. And we also hope that family members will be with us in the presence of our God and Savior after we die. Now, we readily admit that the only way our family members are going to be with us in heaven is if they too have recognized that they are sinful people, unworthy of God's grace, unworthy of God's mercy, but have placed their complete trust in what Jesus did for them on the cross and are thereby justified or made right by their faith in what Jesus did on their behalf. As we've demonstrated so far this week, that is not how it is understood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

So when you hear your Mormon acquaintance say, Hey, well, we're Christians just like you, you might want to ask some more questions and have them explain to you what they mean by that. We were looking at some statements from Mormon church manuals as well as church leaders regarding this hope of being together with their families for eternity. One of the citations that we read yesterday came from a church manual titled Introduction to Family History, Student Manual, Religion 261, page 3, where it says that it is possible to be with your family in an eternal bond, and it is possible for you to become like Heavenly Father. It's not guaranteed.

There is no guarantee. It's only possible that you can achieve both being like Heavenly Father and being with your family in an eternal bond. If it's only possible, then we have to assume that there are some conditions that have been set down in the LDS church for the membership, and I think that can be easily demonstrated, and that's what we are doing in this series that began on Monday. There was a statement that we cited yesterday by a Mormon apostle by the name of L. Ray L. Christiansen. It was given in a talk titled Three Important Questions, and you can find this talk in the Ensign magazine for May of 1974, page 25. In that talk, he states very clearly, and I want to say it again because it's very important in what we're trying to present here, Christiansen said, but an eternal relationship of families does not come about automatically as some suppose.

It's only possible. He said, it must not only be planned for, it must be earned. We must realize that only when we have lived in complete harmony with all the laws and ordinances of the priesthood, including those received in holy temples, should we expect to find ourselves prepared to dwell in what I sometimes refer to as the kingdom of families, the celestial world. I don't think any modern LDS leader would disagree with what L. Ray Christiansen said back in 1974. The statement he made in General Conference at that time is still binding on modern members of the LDS church today.

This is why I have a real problem with a statement that was made in General Conference in April of 2021 and recorded in the May 2021 Liahona magazine. And that was a speech given by Second Counselor in the First Presidency, Henry B. Eyring. It was titled, I Love to See the Temple.

And the pull quote below the title is what, Eric? It is in the temple that we can receive the assurance of loving family connections that will continue after death and last for eternity. That word assurance, we can receive the assurance of loving family connections that will continue after death and last for eternity.

This is why I have a problem with this statement. How can you have the assurance of being with your family when you ask many Latter-day Saints, do you even have the assurance of getting to the celestial kingdom? And most of the time they will tell you, I hope so, I think so, or maybe, or as I have heard many times from Latter-day Saints, a flat out no. If you're a Christian listening to this, you may not realize that most of the work, the vast majority of the work that's done in the LDS temple is done on behalf of the dead. They do ordinance work for the dead.

They do baptisms for the dead. The Latter-day Saints do genealogical work to find out who their ancestors are. The idea is that by doing this work, they then release spirit missionaries from paradise to go down to spirit prison and to present the gospel to those particular relatives. The idea is that now they're going to have agency to make a choice as to whether or not to receive that gospel. That's what I think most Latter-day Saints do understand. But if you read that poll quote that you mentioned, it sounds like you would know for sure that if you did that work for them, that you definitely will be together in the celestial kingdom. And as your point being made, Bill, that most Latter-day Saints we know do not even know if they're going to go there. So how do they even know that this gospel is going to be accepted by their relatives? And that's a great point, and that's what we're going to talk about today, because this assurance that Irene is talking about, well, I'm sure within the context of his message, he's talking about you can have the assurance if you do everything you're supposed to do.

And we've learned from other statements that we talked about yesterday that there certainly is a high bar that the average member must meet if they have any hope of being with their family in the next life. But it's not just about you personally, it's also about the individual that you're hoping to be with if they are going to be qualified only by a vicarious baptism in a Mormon temple. And this is what Irene's referring to, doing your work in the temple on behalf of the dead.

When we look at the statements from Mormon leaders regarding what they are required to do, meaning the dead, again I have to ask, if this is what's required of the dead, how in the world can the living have an assurance that they're going to be with that dead person, because they have no guarantee as to how the dead are going to react to the work that they are doing on their behalf in a Mormon temple. Let's take for instance James Talmage. James Talmage was a Mormon apostle. He wrote the book Articles of Faith, which by the way was a job given to James E. Talmage by commission from the First Presidency. So we assume that this book that was commissioned by the First Presidency for James E. Talmage to write reflects the doctrines and beliefs of the First Presidency.

What does it say in the 1984 edition on page 138? He writes, Now let's look carefully at what Talmage says here. The dead will accept or reject according to their condition of humility or hostility in respect to the gospel. That tells us that the dead can have either a positive view of LDS teaching or a negative view of LDS teaching. They can have a positive view, let's say, of the church at large, or a negative view of the LDS church at large, a positive view of Joseph Smith, a negative view of Joseph Smith. Depending on what position they hold, at the time these spirit missionaries, quote unquote, come and present to them the restored gospel of Mormonism, that's going to have a big influence in how they respond to that.

And that is their attitude, their humility or hostility in respect to the restored gospel. If that's the case, how can Henry B. Irene offer this promise that somehow by going to the temple and doing your part that you can receive an assurance of loving family connections that will continue after death and last for eternity? There can be no truth in that statement, but here we have a leader in the church, one of the top three leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering what I view, Eric, as nothing but a false assurance, because this assurance is dependent not only on your personal behavior and belief, it also involves the personal behavior and belief of the deceased that you hope to be with in the next life, and this is why you're going to the temple in the first place. But Talmage also wrote in a book called The House of the Lord, on page 68, He continues, Bill, how many Latter-day Saints do you think do work for somebody who rejected Mormonism all of their lives?

But when they died, all of a sudden they thought, well, I'm going to get this work done, they have to wait a year, they go and get the work done, and they think somehow something magical is going to happen. But according to James Talmage, it sounds like the way you were when you were here is the way you're going to be in the next life. It also gives me the impression, and I've said this many times, that if you want to game the system and you understand how Mormonism operates, if you were one of the deceased who is having a living person do work on your behalf in a Mormon temple, then when the spirit missionaries present the restored gospel to you, knowing how the system operates, you would be better inclined to embrace the message, because at least by doing that, even though you rejected it during your mortality, by embracing it in the spirit world, you will go to the terrestrial kingdom. If you don't embrace it, you go to the telestial kingdom.

Well, obviously the terrestrial is a better place to be for eternity. So what do you do? It's not by any faith in what Jesus may have done or not done on your behalf. It's all about how can I benefit myself? Once again, it's all about what you want as an individual. It has nothing to do with faith at this point in time. It has everything to do with your own personal desires, and that's why this message isn't really the New Testament gospel. For more information on Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-21 03:30:27 / 2023-09-21 03:35:29 / 5

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