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Harold B. Lee and Forgiveness Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2021 9:44 pm

Harold B. Lee and Forgiveness Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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October 13, 2021 9:44 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.

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Outer Brightness
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever

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 Our 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. of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a man by the name of Harold B. Lee.

We've been looking primarily at page 184 and 185, and we began this series by talking about a story that Harold B. Lee tells on page 184, when he and his second counselor, Marion G. Romney, were talking with a man who came into his office, admitting that he had made some mistakes in the past. had gone to his bishop and his stake president, and he had made a clean disclosure of all these mistakes to them. And after a period of repentance and assurance that he would not return again to those mistakes, they have now judged him ready to go to the temple. And of course, we made mention that this seems awfully strange when the temple in the Old Testament was basically a place you were encouraged to go to if you were to repent of your sins and to offer sacrifice on behalf of your sins. Withholding an individual who is repentant from going to the temple seems awfully strange, especially in an Old Testament context, but not so much in the context of Mormonism, because even though they claim that their temple worship is a restoration of things done anciently, this alone shows that that's not true. I can't imagine any rabbi discouraging a faithful Jew from going to the temple who was repentant of his sins.

That just makes no sense. But what really catches our attention is on page 185, where the question is asked by Harold B. Lee, how would you answer one who might come to you asking that question? And of course, the question that's being asked is, how can this individual who's now allowed to go back into a Mormon temple have the assurance that the Lord has forgiven him? And that's what the man said. He says, brethren, going to the temple's not enough.

I want to know. And how can I know that the Lord has forgiven me also? Then comes the question by Harold B. Lee. What would you answer one who might come to you asking that question? He responds by citing Mosiah 4 verses 2 through 3. And I think we need to read what he has, Eric, on page 185, because he uses ellipses and his response is quite telling. And after citing those two verses from Mosiah chapter four in the Book of Mormon, Harold B. Lee says, there was the answer. And as we've been talking about this week, can you imagine, Eric, if we were to respond to a Latter-day Saint and say merely what he has in that little section from Mosiah chapter four, do you think a Latter-day Saint would say that's the answer?

I don't think they would. And I don't think even Harold B. Lee believes that. Because earlier in his book, if you go back to page 52, he cites Doctrine and Covenants section 76 verses 51 to 53. What does he say there? That sounds very similar to section 1 verse 32 that I read earlier this week. But if you look at what he cites from Mosiah chapter 4 verses 2 through 3, we don't see all those stipulations. We see merely a group of people asking for baptism, as he says on page 185, and they said they viewed themselves in their carnal state. They cry aloud wanting mercy and the application of the atoning blood of Christ, that they can receive the forgiveness of sins, and they get it immediately. And as we cited earlier this week from Spencer W. Kimball, he said you don't get forgiveness just for the asking. But it certainly seems like this group of people mentioned in Mosiah chapter 4 in the Book of Mormon, they seem to get it for the asking, and they get it immediately without doing anything more than mere asking. But then on page 52, as Eric just read, we see that he cites section 76. So why did he say Mosiah chapter 4 verses 2 through 3 was the answer?

It's really not the answer. In fact, on page 52, he talks about being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, and he goes down on page 52 to say, Well, the covenant is what? A covenant is a promise that is made not only when you are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but you also make a similar covenant when you go through the temple, that you are going to do certain works. You're going to keep the commandments. That's how you get the forgiveness of sins.

It's been likened to an exchange. God will do his part, but you must do your part. So that's what the covenant is referring to. So it's not a free gift.

It's something that you're going to have to pay for. I think what really bothers me about this, Eric, is when he says right after citing Mosiah 4, 2 through 3, there was the answer. If a Latter-day Saint came to me and said that's the answer in order to get the forgiveness of sins, my knowledge of Mormonism would tell me, no, that's not the complete picture. Mr. Lee could have cited all of chapter 4 if he wanted to, because if you read Mosiah chapter 4 and you go on, it does talk about forsaking sin. It does talk about keeping commandments and things like that. But he chose not to include that in this small section. He uses ellipses, which is fine. You can do that, but don't leave things out that tend to contradict what you're saying about that citation. That is where I think he should be faulted when he says there was the answer.

What does he go on to say on that very same page showing that that's not the answer? If the time comes when you have done all that you can to repent of your sins, whoever you are, wherever you are, it made amends and restitution to the best of your ability. If it be something that will affect your standing in the church and you have gone to the proper authorities, then you will want that confirming answer as to whether or not the Lord has accepted of you. In your soul searching, if you seek for and you find that peace of conscience, by that token, you may know that the Lord has accepted of your repentance. Satan would have you think otherwise and sometimes persuade you that now having made one mistake, you might go on and on with no turning back.

That is one of the great falsehoods. The miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more because the Lord has said in a revelation to us in our days, quote, go your ways and sin no more, but onto that soul who sinneth, and then he has in brackets meaning again, shall the former sins return, sayeth the Lord your God, end quote, D&C 82, verse seven. Have that in mind, all of you who may be troubled with the burden of sin.

You almost wonder, did he say that last line as a joke? If I'm troubled with the burden of sin, that's not going to help me, where it says in Section 82, verse seven, that go your ways and sin no more, but unto that soul who sinneth, and he even says, meaning again, shall the former sins return, sayeth the Lord your God. Now, why is it when he asks the question regarding the man that came to see him and his counselor, Marion G. Romney, why doesn't he cite Section 82, verse seven to this young man who is seeking for an assurance that he is forgiven? Instead, he says, in response to how would you answer one who might come to you asking that question, he cites Mosiah 4, 2 through 3. Now, I agree what he cites there would have been very comforting because the Book of Mormon does take a lot of ideas and even actual verses from our New Testament and applies them in a setting that is really an anachronism. For instance, if you take Mosiah chapter 4, you're talking about a pre-Christian era and yet they're talking about Jesus Christ and they've got him by name and they're using all these New Testament concepts before the New Testament even came around.

We call that an anachronism. But still, what is said in chapter 4 of Mosiah, for the most part, I don't have a problem with it. When he says the miracle of forgiveness is available to all of those who turn from their evil doings and return no more, and then he cites Doctrine and Covenants, Section 82, verse 7. That's a verse a friend of mine was given by our friend Dick Baer when he was a missionary in California sitting in a restaurant. Dick Baer, our friend, went up to him and just spent three or four minutes with him and he gave my friend this verse. That verse haunted my friend all the way through his mission and he ended up becoming an atheist when he returned home. I'm going to say that's a horrible verse.

In fact, there's another book that was written by Harold B. Lee called The Teachings of Harold B. Lee on page 114. This is what he says, repentance means to turn from sin. This is what he writes, repentance in one sentence means turning from the things that have been wrong and never returning back to them. It isn't to say I'm sorry and then go back and do it again and again saying I'm sorry.

That's not it. It is to go about our way and sin no more. But if they sin again, it is as though they haven't been forgiven in the first instance to use the Lord's own language. And then he says C.D.

and C.82.7. I think his little phrase here, there was the answer in reference to Mosiah 4, 2 through 3 was misleading to say the least, but at least he's consistent when it comes to his definition of repentance in a Mormon context. Don't get us wrong, folks. We're not saying that as Christians we don't believe in a concept of repentance. We most certainly do. But we don't believe that there has to be a 100% success rate at it in order to receive the forgiveness of sins. Harold B. Lee seems to think that there is. And what I mean by him being consistent? Well, let me just read from Ye Are the Light of the World, Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee.

This came out in 1974, page 321. Harold B. Lee says this, In one sentence repentance means turning from that which we have done wrong in the sight of the Lord and never repeating that mistake again. How far does that go? Does that go into the realm of thoughts? Are you a proud person? Then you can never be proud again. Let's be consistent here. How does that apply to every single way that we as fallen human beings can sin? Humanism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-11 11:36:14 / 2023-08-11 11:41:10 / 5

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