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Harold B. Lee and Forgiveness Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
October 11, 2021 9:42 pm

Harold B. Lee and Forgiveness Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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October 11, 2021 9:42 pm

Bill and Eric take a closer look at the book written by President Harold B. Lee titled Stand Ye in Holy Places and discuss what Lee said about forgiveness. What he wrote might surprise you…or maybe not.

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Hi, Bill McKeever here, your host on the daily radio show Viewpoint on Mormonism. Because many of us in Utah have been blessed by the programs aired on AM 820 and 95.3 FM, I hope you will join me on Friday, October 22nd at 630 p.m. for a dessert get-together to benefit Utah Partnerships for Christ. For information regarding tickets or sponsoring a table, go to UPFC.org.

That's UPFC.org. 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. So glad you could be with us for 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. Yesterday we began looking at a book that was written by Harold B. Lee, the eleventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It's a book titled Stand Ye in Holy Places. First of all, Eric, is this book really all that important, even though it was written by a president of the LDS church? Is it really all that significant? How would a Latter-day Saint answer that question? I think a lot of Latter-day Saints might say, well, he's a dead prophet, so what does he say?

It doesn't really matter to me. But I'm going to say that the church leaders considered it to be so important that in 1995, the first presidency made up of Gordon B. Hinckley as the president and counselors Thomas Monson and James Faust gave away a copy of this book made in leather. It's a very expensive book, and you can't buy it unless you want to go on eBay. It was never for sale, but given away to church employees. And there was a little note along with a Christmas card with the picture of the first presidency on it. This little note says this, second paragraph, there's two paragraphs, and it says, please enjoy this special edition of Stand Ye in Holy Places by President Harold B. Lee, the 11th president of the church. Then it says, the teachings of this valiant servant of the Lord are timeless and will be most helpful to all who humbly seek the Son of Man.

And that was 1995, and they're saying that what he taught was timeless. And I would agree if he's using scripture as he does to support his points, a Latter-day Saint is going to have to show how he has misinterpreted the scriptures that he's using, which we're going to talk about today. And as you've mentioned, you use the phrase dead prophet.

We've talked about this on a number of occasions on this show. And just to say it again, if you're new to this program, we personally view that argument that you don't pit a dead prophet with a living prophet as being really one of the silliest notions you could ever imagine for a number of reasons. One reason being, why wouldn't you want to compare what a dead prophet in the Mormon Church has said to the living prophet? If they're all getting their information from the same source, why would there be a contradiction? The fact that there are many times contradictions between current leaders and past leaders is because they're not getting their source from God, but yet they're implying to the membership that they are.

And that's a deception that needs to be exposed. And so I would say for that reason alone, we have a problem with that type of teaching, don't pit a dead prophet with a living prophet. But then we also have another problem, and that is many of the church manuals that the church produces, they're full of quotes from dead prophets. So even though you might have some members of the church, including Ezra Taft Benson, who in his 14 Fundamentals and Following the Prophet Speech, who said not to pit the dead prophet with a living prophet, he's being inconsistent. And I would guarantee you if you go back and you look at the writings of Ezra Taft Benson, he too often quotes dead prophets. So it's even hypocritical for a Latter-day Saint who's written a book, for instance, and included quotes from dead prophets to say you shouldn't listen to dead prophets. So then why are you quoting them, for Pete's sake? You shouldn't be quoting them at all.

Just put them in the past, ignore them, never to go to them again. But as I said, many of the manuals that the church produces is chock full of quotes from dead prophets. And there was a manual that was produced in 2012 called Teachings of the Presence of the Church, Harold B. Lee. That book was studied by the church in 2013.

That's not that long ago. These quotes came from a number of works, but a vast number came from Stand Ye in Holy Places. I think there's another reason why we need to seriously consider this book to be authoritative. The reason why I want to talk about this particular section of his book, beginning on page 184, is because he says some things that I think are contradictory.

And I'm going to explain when we get to that point. But certainly there's a lot of things that are in this particular part of his book that need to be examined. But yesterday we were relating the story that Harold B. Lee tells on page 184, when he is talking with his second counselor, Marion G. Romney. Let's read that paragraph again, lest there be listeners today that did not hear yesterday's show, because it's important to hear what this story includes.

Some years ago, President Marion G. Romney and I were sitting in my office. The door opened and a fine young man came in with a troubled look on his face, and he said, Brethren, I am going to the temple for the first time tomorrow. I have made some mistakes in the past, and I have gone to my bishop and my stake president, and I have made a clean disclosure of it all. And after a period of repentance and assurance that I have not returned to those mistakes, they have now adjudged me ready to go to the temple.

But brethren, that is not enough. I want to know, and how can I know, that the Lord has forgiven me also? Okay, he says, I have made some mistakes in the past, and I have gone to my bishop and my stake president, and I have made a clean disclosure of it all. And after a period of repentance and assurance that I have not returned again to those mistakes, they have now adjudged me ready to go to the temple. This idea of a period of repentance. Now, what does that mean to us that are outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Because something like that doesn't even make sense to us. But remember, as I mentioned yesterday, the Church claims that it is a restoration of how the Christian Church believed and operated in ancient times. Did the first century church, the church that we read about in the book of Acts, was there really a period of repentance? And certainly, would there be a period of repentance that would prevent you from going to the temple? Well, we don't see anything like that in the New Testament. Though we do see Christians occasionally going to the temple, it wasn't to perform endowments as Latter-day Saints would believe today. Actually, the temple, as it was understood in the Old Testament as well as the New, was a place to go to offer sacrifice, as you mentioned yesterday, Eric, because they recognized their sinfulness. If they recognized their sinfulness, why in the world would you prevent somebody from going to the temple in an Old Testament context?

You wouldn't. I would think that the rabbi would encourage you to go there if you recognized your need to repent of any particular sin. They wouldn't prevent you from going to the temple, so this obviously should strike us as being very odd or even absurd in light of what the New Testament teaches. Forgiveness in the New Testament was always instantaneous.

Let me just give you a couple of examples. In Acts 16, we have the Philippian jailer. When he realized that Paul and Silas might have escaped and his life was going to possibly be lost, he was about ready to commit suicide, and Paul says, don't harm yourself, we are all here.

Verse 29 of Acts 16 says the jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household. Well, it turns out that they end up getting baptized. In fact, it says that they all came to believe in God, he and his whole household, verse 34. We see the same thing happen in Acts chapter 2 at Pentecost, when Peter gives a sermon, 3,000 people become Christians. We see this in Acts chapter 10, the Gentiles receive the Holy Ghost, they're speaking in tongues, and then they get baptized continually throughout the New Testament.

It's instantaneous, there's not a time period that you have to work out for you to ever receive full forgiveness of sins. The jailer was told that if he believed, he would be saved. Where do we get any understanding that that was only a partial salvation? It was understood to be a full salvation, full blessings, you might say, of what God gives those who come to faith. Now, you might say, but he went and got baptized.

Well, of course he did. If you look at the Book of Acts, you'll find that that was commonplace. When a believer came to confess Christ, they were baptized in water. Now, in a 21st century context, a lot of our churches don't do it quite that way anymore.

We have a day set aside for that. But nowhere do we believe that if they were to die from that point of confession to the time they were baptized, if they were to die in between that time, that somehow they would be lost. Now, there may be some that hold to that. I don't see any scriptural support for that at all.

Why? Because it's our faith that saves us. But when this man talks about after a period of repentance, now they say I can go to the temple. This individual realizes going to the temple is not enough. And you know what? I have to commend him for that.

I don't know who this individual is, of course. But how many Latter-day Saints probably look at their ability to go to the temple as, A, everything is okay? Even though you were to ask them, well, are you sure all your sins are forgiven? Because Eric, you've done a lot of outreaches at temple open houses. And one of the things that you like to do is you will go around in the neighborhoods and you will drop off our temple handouts at the homes that are around the temple. Because Latter-day Saints do tend to buy houses that are around the temple.

They just do that. Well, in places like Idaho and Utah, naturally there's going to be a lot of Latter-day Saints anyway. But when you talk to people at these homes, because sometimes you will have conversations with them, do they sound like they're assured of their forgiveness? I do not meet forgiven Mormons. They know that they're not forgiven until they have kept all the commandments of God. And they know they're not. I can't tell you how many times I have talked to Latter-day Saints, even at their doors or in front of the temple, and asked them if they were to die right now, if they would go to the celestial kingdom and they say, well, no, I'm trying, I'm doing my best. Well, you haven't done everything you're supposed to do, and they admit that they're not. So I don't think that Latter-day Saints understand what it means to truly be forgiven.

They're striving for that. They're doing their best, and that's admirable, but that's not what the Bible requires. Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved. Jesus talks about this in the book of John chapter 10. We see this talked about in the book of Romans. We see this talked about in the book of Galatians. It's not based on you keeping the commandments.

It's based on you receiving the free gift offered by Christ. And what you've just said concurs with what is in their scripture in Doctrine and Covenants section 1, verse 32. Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven.

There's the order. You repent, you do the commandments, and then you're going to be forgiven. So this is why they don't have that kind of assurance. Now, as I said before, I commend this individual in this story of realizing just because he's going to the temple, it's not enough. There are a lot of Latter-day Saints think that is the goal. Once you've received your temple recommend and you've proven to your bishop that you're doing everything he requires of you off of his checklist—and folks, yes, there is a checklist. I know they act like there isn't, but there is.

You have to be doing certain things in order to get the temple recommend or your little card that gives you permission to go into a temple and participate in the endowment ceremony and be married in the temple and do baptisms for the dead, so forth and so on. This individual gentleman wants to have an assurance that he is forgiven. The problem that we run into is how Harold B. Lee answers this person's question. And that's what we're going to talk about in tomorrow's program.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-12 05:28:25 / 2023-08-12 05:34:21 / 6

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