A Christian Response to “Drops of Awesome”

Every other Thursday night our ministry conducts an ex-Mormon Bible study. At this last meeting one of the former Mormons gave me a print out of a post from a Mormon blog. It is titled, “Drops of Awesome” and can be read here.

It is about how a Mormon Mom does a good deed and then immediately beats herself up for all of the other times she has neglected to do the right thing. She comes up with the idea of mentally putting “drops of awesome” into a bucket as a way to help her remember the good things and not focus on the bad. The first half of the blog is an encouragement to those who are continually faced with their own inadequacies. I understand why she wrote it, why this issue is so important to her and why she wanted to share her thoughts with other Latter–day Saints. Mormonism certainly stirs up these kinds of emotions with members who are honest about their sin and take seriously the Mormon idea of repentance.

That is where the focus of the blog post changes. The writer of the blog tells a story of teaching this principle to her class of teenage girls while at Church. She writes,

As an object lesson when I was teaching this to the teenage girls at church, I gave them each a small dropper and I put a 2-quart bowl on the table. I told them that throughout the lesson they would get the chance to put drops in the bucket for every Drop of Awesome they could think of that they’d done. I promised them that we would fill the bowl to overflowing by the end of the lesson.

With about 5 minutes to go, we had barely begun to fill the bowl and the girls were looking around at each other nervously. The promised overflow did not look likely. Were they not awesome enough?

At that point, I pulled out a large pitcher labeled ATONEMENT and poured water into the glass bowl until it was spilling out all over the table and the towel the bowl was resting on. The class went silent.

When we are in a relationship with Christ, striving as God’s sons and daughters to do His will, He pours more into our buckets than we can ever hope to imagine. He can fill us to overflowing with peace, with joy, with perfection, with Awesome.”

That is a very powerful object lesson, but unfortunately it isn’t true on two counts. One, it certainly isn’t Biblical and two, it isn’t even accurate according to what Mormonism teaches in its official teaching manuals. Our Mormon blogger forgot one very important principle in Mormonism. The atonement of Christ is not applicable unless and until a person repents.

The Book of Mormon states, “Therefore, according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance of men in this probationary state, yea, this preparatory state; for except it were for these conditions, mercy could not take effect except it should destroy the work of justice. Now the work of justice could not be destroyed; if so, God would cease to be God.” (Alma 42:13)

The key phrases in this passage being, “only on conditions of repentance… for except it were for these conditions,mercy could not take effect.” (emphasis added).

This idea is repeated in a Mormon Church manual with which our Mormon blogger should be familiar. The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, states in chapter two, “Through repentance we can become free from the burden of sin. Because of the great love Jesus Christ has for us, He suffered, bled, and died for our sins so that we will not have to suffer fully ourselves if we repent. (See Gospel Principles chapter 12, “The Atonement.”)

•Display visual 2-c, “Christ atoned for our sins on the condition that we will repent.”

When you go to the above mentioned reference to Gospel Principles we find the following.

“President Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve gave the following illustration to show how Christ’s Atonement makes it possible to be saved from sin if we do our part (emphasis in the original).

If we do our part? What is that all about? For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Mormon concept of repentance, the Mormon Church officially teaches that repentance includes never repeating a sin. Lesson 24 of the Aaronic Priesthood 1 teaches, “Put up the wordstrip, ‘Abandon our sins.’ Ask the young men what it means to abandon our sins. Help the young men understand that a truly repentant person will not repeat his sin.”

Did you catch that? Truly repentant people do not repeat sin. If that is true, then how does the large pitcher makes sense in the Mormon scheme of things? Simply put, the only way that the atonement of Jesus is ever applied to someone’s “bucket of awesome drops” is if they meet the condition of repentance. If a Mormon repeats a sin, any sin, then that must mean that they are not truly repentant and will not receive the benefit of the atonement.

I am so glad that the Biblical Jesus doesn’t wait for me to stop sinning before He applies His blood to cover my sin. The Bible says,

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. (Romans 5:8-11)

Take a good look at that passage. Let’s look at the end of it and then work our way backwards. I have received the atonement even while I was an enemy of God. I was reconciled to God, am justified by the blood of Jesus and saved from wrath. While I was still a sinner (enemies of God could rightly be called sinners), Jesus died for us and God gave me His love.

WOW! That sure beats any little drop of awesome I could possibly muster.

71 Thoughts on “A Christian Response to “Drops of Awesome”

  1. Hilda A. Vera on February 15, 2013 at 12:51 am said:

    Talk about playing the tape all the way forward. Great point and I cannot wait to discuss this with my home teacher when next we meet! There is something to be said for being considered a mormon for the next 135 yrs. regardless. Now they have some “splainin” to do!

  2. Keith, I love reading your blog. It is truly wonderful to see a person write with such profundity, attempting to explain what he interprets “Mormonism” to be and reach entirely incorrect conclusions. I often use these little explanations of yours to help others understand the fundamental problems inherent in the erroneous ideals held by those who disagree with the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I appreciate the effort however. Thank you, for once again, drawing a negative conclusion and providing misinterpreted and out of context writings to support that conclusion. This makes it easy to show the context of what you draw from and clearly demonstrate, to those who read, how confused you are. Your conclusions in the current example remind me of the exchange between Amulek and Zeezrom found in Alma Chapter 11, Zeezrom was making a similar claim, his motives were simila as well:

    “And Zeezrom said again: Shall he save his people in their sins? And Amulek answered and said unto him: I say unto you he shall not, for it is impossible for him to deny his word.”

    “Now Zeezrom said unto the people: See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people—as though he had authority to command God.”

    “Now Amulek saith again unto him: Behold thou hast lied, for thou sayest that I spake as though I had authority to command God because I said he shall not save his people in their sins.”

    “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.”

    You see, I use writings, such as the one you’ve provided, to demonstrate there are Zeezroms in our day, as prophesied. Those who, for the, ” purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ..” as did Zeezrom. Now, he was a lawyer, but, it seems many professed “Christians,” particularly ministers, engage in similar conduct to achieve a similar end. I half expected, “you can read more in my book,” as your conclusion. Imagine how much more difficult it would be to help people understand this phenomenon if individuals, such as yourself, did not provide clear examples of twisting the truth to draw people away from Christ and pervert His Gospel. Thank you for your actions, which so clearly demonstrate the contrast between the subtlety of the devil and the pure truth of the Gospel of God.

  3. Travis,
    Wow. To put the shoe on the other foot, thank you for your comments as well. I use such comments to prove two different things. First, I use them to prove logical fallacies to my children. I’d like to address two fallacies you have used here. The first of which is a red herring. Instead of dealing with the content of my argument, you throw up a smoke screen by claiming that I have taken things out of context. I am sure I am not the only reader of this post who is curious as to why you say that. Until you can prove the context of the quotes and how I have supposedly taken particular statements out of context, you are left with an empty accusation. Surely you can do better than that.

    The second logical fallacy I would like to address is an ad hominem attack. You have attacked me and what you believe are my motives instead of my argument. Zeezrom? Really? I am a wicked lawyer who is in it for the money? You know nothing about me. If I was in it for the money, I would have taken the invitation of a local Mormon in the Stake Presidency who offered me a six figure job if I quit the ministry and became a Mormon. That isn’t even tempting to me. One of the problems with teaching logical fallacies is that most books on the subject use poor examples that are hard for children to follow. Your post will make it much easier with my kids. Thank you again.

    The second thing I prove through comments like yours is that not all Mormons are as nice as the ones you see in those TV commercials. If anyone has a reason to be upset at my post, it would be the author of the piece I criticized, yet the Mormon lady who wrote the “Drops of Aweomse” blog thanked me for my “respectful tone.” I will endeavor to continue that, even with people who insult me.

    Your cutting comments are now displayed on my blog for all to see that there are some Mormons out there who will never give others the benefit of the doubt. If you really do use my blog to teach other Mormons how to, “understand the fundamental problems inherent in the erroneous ideals held by those who disagree with the Restored Gospel,” then please invite them to post here. I would appreciate the opportunity to defend myself against your slander.

    I suspect you will not do that though. You will probably just continue with the empty accusations and personal attacks. Of course, that is assuming that you respond at all.

    • Keith,
      I am sorry for giving you more credit than I should have. First, what I posed is not “slander.” Slander is a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report made orally. What I posted, if it were indeed motivated by a desire to defame you, would best be termed, libel, as the statement was published in writing. The defenses to both libel and slander are truth, so allow me to demonstrate the truth of my comment.

      I assumed, with your extensive involvement in the “Save Mormons” movement, you would be able to spot the parallel between your sentiments and those made by Zeezrom to Amulek. I again apologize for my presumption. I will, despite your misplaced assurances to the contrary, respond in kind, to your reply to my comment.
      You stated, “I am so glad that the Biblical Jesus doesn’t wait for me to stop sinning before He applies His blood to cover my sin.” Zeezrom stated, “See that ye remember these things; for he said there is but one God; yet he saith that the Son of God shall come, but he shall not save his people—as though he had authority to command God.” Both comments are similar in their outcome. At this point, judging by your missing the parallel I drew between you and Zeezrom, I will explain in more detail.

      First, You cited a few LDS sources, apparently looking for an official Church position from which you might be able to more easily misrepresent the teaching of the Restored Gospel and demonstrate it is not harmonious with Scripture. I have arrived at this conclusion owing to the absence of information and explanation involved in analyzing the LDS position coupled with the negative conclusion you arrived at. In doing so you merely selected a few references from a few manuals and stated the, “Mormon Church officially teaches that repentance includes never repeating a sin.” This is a mischaracterization of the “Official Mormon Position.” The official position of the Church respecting the doctrine of, and need for, repentance is best understood by reading Chapter 19 of Gospel Principles (which a more scrupulous person would have pulled from.) If you were truly honest, you would direct your audience to this source, examine its content, and make whatever commentary you desire. Instead, you create and engage in the logical fallacy of Oversimplification and Exaggeration. Here is the specific example.

      You cite, Lesson 24 of the Aaronic Priesthood 1, yet, rather than using the source in its context, referencing such topics as “Repentance Is a Process,” you picked an incomplete thought from an object lesson, “Put up the wordstrip, ‘Abandon our sins.’ Ask the young men what it means to abandon our sins. Help the young men understand that a truly repentant person will not repeat his sin.”

      You make a logical fallacy, by oversimplifying the Church’s “Official” position and exaggerate it when you state:

      “Did you catch that? Truly repentant people do not repeat sin.” Is this true? No. You are ignoring the significance of the limiting language chosen in the chapter, “a truly repentant person will not repeat his SIN,” (emphasis added) which is only referring to a single “sin,” and overexagerating it to include “sins.” In this way, you are deceiving your audience into believing that “Mormons” deny the Atonement and believe if they are not perfect of all “sins” they are damned. (“If a Mormon repeats a sin, any sin, then that must mean that they are not truly repentant and will not receive the benefit of the atonement.” –Keith) This of course, is incorrect, particularly in light of the context of the lesson you cite. Lesson 24, in context, is referring to a specific sin, such as a sexual transgression, not all sins that may be committed on a daily basis. If a person is engaging in sexual sin, such as homosexuality, and they never discontinue this practice, I am sure you’ll agree, they have not fully repented, nor have they taken FULL advantage of the Atonement, and it’s possible they don’t intend to.

      Truly repentant people, as the lesson you cite, suggests, continually repent of their sins and shortcomings. “We also need to repent of small things we do every day. Such things as dishonest actions, losing our tempers, showing disrespect to our parents, gossiping, or failing to follow through on an assignment all weaken our characters and keep us from enjoying the companionship of the Holy Ghost and becoming like our Heavenly Father.” The lesson continues, “President Ezra Taft Benson has explained that if we truly want to repent, we must demonstrate faith in Jesus Christ: “Repentance means more than simply a reformation of behavior. Many men and women in the world demonstrate great willpower and self-discipline in overcoming bad habits and the weaknesses of the flesh. Yet at the same time they give no thought to the Master, sometimes even openly rejecting Him. Such changes of behavior, even if in a positive direction, do not constitute true repentance.
      “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation upon which sincere and meaningful repentance must be built. If we truly seek to put away sin, we must first look to Him who is the Author of our salvation”

      Rather than explain the official Church position includes relying on the Savior for a remission of our sins, that repentance is a daily process made possible by grace, and that we must continually recognize and repent, you limit it to the single principle of “forsake” ignoring that we accept what the Bible declares. For as stated in Gospel Principles Ch. 18 “In the Bible we read that ‘there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not’ (Ecclesiastes 7:20) and that ‘if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us’ (1 John 1:8).” Are you suggesting that by accepting Jesus and becoming “Saved” that you have no more need to repent? Obviously not, if I were to conclude that, I would also be engaging in the same fallacy as you.

      You next state:

      “If that is true, then how does the large pitcher makes sense in the Mormon scheme of things? Simply put, the only way that the atonement of Jesus is ever applied to someone’s “bucket of awesome drops” is if they meet the condition of repentance. If a Mormon repeats a sin, any sin, then that must mean that they are not truly repentant and will not receive the benefit of the atonement.”

      If you closely examine this sentiment, and compare it to all of the LDS teachings on the subject, you will easily see where you’re mistaken. If a “Mormon” or any person undertakes to follow Christ, exercise faith and repent of their sins, they will take an inventory of their life, and systematically rid themselves of all sins (plural) one at a time. If a person struggles with lying, Christ, through the promptings of the Spirit, will reveal that sin (singular) to this person. They will desire, through the portion of Grace they receive to rid themselves of this sin (lying). While this will not be an immediate outcome, rather a process, they have an attitude of repentance and have become, “repentant.” Just as “Christians” believe a person is not truly saved if they continue in the same sinful life, “Mormons” believe a repentant person will make a daily effort to do better, with the help of the Holy Ghost, because of the Atonement.

      Now, I compared you to Zeezrom, if it is not apparent to you why, then I will provide further clarification. Zeezrom, in response to Amulek, drew from a portion of what Amulek was preaching and misrepresented what Amulek said to the people. Amulek stated that Christ could not save the people “in” their sins. (You should agree with that, it’s a very “Christian” ideal.) Rather, Amulek was teaching Christ can save “His” people FROM their sins. How does he do that? They have faith in Him AND repent.
      Likewise, you are drawing from a rather decent object lesson, it’s flawed, but most are under certain scrutiny. Then you incorrectly analyze it and in a very simple fashion, the “Mormon” theology on the subject. Then using a different vernacular, state, just as Zeezrom, was inferring, “I am so glad that the Biblical Jesus doesn’t wait for me to stop sinning before He applies His blood to cover my sin.” Effectively stating that God can save people in their sins without true and complete repentance, by saying this, you deny God’s word, “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.”

      It’s more complex than this however, “Righteous followers of Christ can become numbered among the elect who gain the assurance of exaltation. This calling and election begins with repentance and baptism. It becomes complete when they “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end” (2 Ne. 31:19–20). The scriptures call this process making our calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:4–11; D&C 131:5–6).” Enduring to the End, is taking advantage of the cleansing power of the Atonement as it sanctifies us and gradually cleanses us from sin, leaving us, “because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”

      On a personal note, I did not engage in an Ad Hominem attack. I merely gave you more credit than I should. Nevertheless, you don’t seem to be well qualified to, “prove logical fallacies to [your] children” owing to the weakness of your own arguments and the proficiency with which you use them. A second example of a logical fallacy you are prone to use is, “That is a very powerful object lesson, but unfortunately it isn’t true on two counts. One, it certainly isn’t Biblical …” But then you provide a single scripture in support no analysis, expecting the reader to simply reach the same conclusion you have. You can show your children this logical fallacy as well, it’s called a “Hasty Generalization.” I teach my children about Jesus, not to address logical fallacies. What is your goal with your children? Interesting.

      I don’t really care about your own“ad hominem” attack on my person (I guess two wrongs make a right?), “The second thing I prove through comments like yours is that not all Mormons are as nice as the ones you see in those TV commercials.” And, “Your cutting comments are now displayed on my blog for all to see that there are some Mormons out there who will never give others the benefit of the doubt.” Where you upset?

      I did appreciate this comment, “You know nothing about me. If I was in it for the money, I would have taken the invitation of a local Mormon in the Stake Presidency who offered me a six figure job if I quit the ministry and became a Mormon. That isn’t even tempting to me.”

      In actuality, I know a great deal about you. You have maintained quite the internet presence, particularly on Youtube. I have seen you “preach” and follow your blog. The question is, what do you know about me? I would like to ask, “What was the job?” and “Who in the ‘Stake Presidency’ offered you a six figure job?” Is that a lot more than you make now? Hmm. I doubt your claim and would like to establish the truth of it myself. I was made a similar offer if I went to work for a local congregational church when I lived in California, however the money wasn’t any good.

      Thanks.

    • Dawn Peterson on March 6, 2013 at 2:37 am said:

      I must admit I was very disappointed by Travis’ reply. (FYI: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.) The 11th Article of Faith states, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” I don’t believe that pointing fingers and making harsh judgements serves any of God’s children. I do believe that having faith in Jesus Christ and striving to be like Him is what will bring us true happiness in this life.

      I think that while we both understand grace a little differently, we can agree that it is only through the love and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we can ever hope to return to our Heavenly Father. What a beautiful blessing!

    • To be completely honest I am disappointed that a Christian took the time to tear down an uplifting religious article based on the sect of Christianity from which it came. The principle taught was intended to buoy up all Christians. To spend the time to tear down some thing so positive or to tear down anyone else’s beliefs is simply unkind not to mention a slap in the face to the teachings of Christ.

      I believe you have completely misunderstood the context of your Mormon references. They were not referring to not walking your kid to the bus stop or even not attending the temple regularly enough when they spoke of not returning to sins. The author was emphasizing that we need to stop beating our selves up for the little things we have not yet perfected. I hope that those who read your article understand this.

  4. Thank you, Keith Walker, for posting. I enjoy reading your posts and watching Evidence Ministries on YouTube’s. It is evident that you have a loving heart for the LDS people, and are truly burdened for their very souls to be saved.

    Unfortunately, the blog “Drops of Awesome” isn’t awesome. Reading her blog gave me more of an impression that the “Drop of Awesome” are precisely for “my merits/works” when the focus of awesome should be given to Jesus! Yes, it is wonderful for people to be able to get out and help others, and there are days when we are tired and may not be up to completing certain tasks. That doesn’t make us any less of a person. We are not perfect and never will be on this earth. This dear lady who blogged her “Drops of Awesome” seems to be struggling with many things: acceptance based off of “Have I Done Enough?” syndrome.

    Spencer W. Kimball’s book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness” makes it perfectly clear that the LDS teaching on forgiveness has failed its members. It failed to allow Jesus’ atonement from the cross to be recognized, removed God’s GRACE, has left our dear LDS neighbors in sorrow by never doing enough, and never knowing when enough is enough before receiving “That Happy Day” when complete forgiveness is given—without sinning!

    Praise the Lord for delivering me out of Mormonism over 20 years ago! I am saved by grace (undeserved!) knowing there isn’t anything I can do to earn my “drops of awesome” merits. My works are filthy rags to him. It’s my prayer answered that one day all of my loved ones (and every LDS person) will come to know and accept the grace and salvation of Jesus Christ and be in eternity forever! Only then, will they find real peace & joy in the true AGAPE love of our ever-lasting KING JESUS; having HIS Awesome given to them, unconditionally.

    God Bless!

    • Hilda A. Vera on February 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm said:

      Well said Pam.

    • Hope Coley on February 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm said:

      I’ve accepted that I will never be perfect in this life, so God’s grace is the only way I can be saved, and he is willing to forgive me for all my faults because I am so very human. A lot of LDS people don’t understand the proper relationship between grace/works, but the scriptures are quite clear that it is only through the merits of Christ that we are saved. Because of this, I know I can never do enough to merit my own salvation, but I’ve accepted that that’s okay, because the atonement can make up for it. I’m so grateful for that gift that I will try my best to be the person God created me to be, and he will accept my inadequate human efforts and make me that person by his power. I thank him for his love and grace, through which I will find that real peace and joy of eternity.

      And I’m a Mormon 😉

      • Thanks for your comments. I am curious about some of the things you said here. You said the atonement of Christ makes up for what you cannot do on your own. What is the basis for the atonement of Christ being applied to your account?

    • Pam, perhaps you should re-evaluate “Mormonism.” None of what you stated is true. Here is a short quote which better represents the LDS Theological Perspective.

      “Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence and how long we plan to stay there. Fulfilling Christ’s requirements is like paying a mortgage instead of rent or like making deposits in a savings account instead of paying off debt. You still have to hand it over every month, but it is for a totally different reason. We are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it. We are practicing for it. A life impacted by grace eventually begins to look like Christ’s life. While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed. Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God, but, brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want to. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are.”

      • Travis,
        Perhaps you need to read or re-read Kimball’s book.

        Also, It isn’t very helpful to quote something that supposedly better represents Mormonism and then not provide a reference for the quote. Even the quote you provided is problematic. Mormonism insists on refinancing our debt when the Bible says Jesus paid it all. (John 19:30)

    • DeeDee on March 6, 2013 at 11:20 pm said:

      Pam, your merits are not filthy rags to Him. He loves you and knows how hard it can be to do all the things you need to do, let alone help those around you. When you are able to do little or big things and Thank God that you could do them, of course those are important to Him. You can recognize His hand through your actions, that’s why it’s so great to do as much as you can. Getting off your butt and doing good when you are able is definitely going to please God more than sitting there ignoring responsibilities or ignoring His children. Every effort is recorded, every acknowledgment appreciated.

      • DeeDee, Pam was referring to Isaiah 64:6 which does indeed say that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. Have you repented of your righteous deeds?

  5. (I suspect you will not do that though. You will probably just continue with the empty accusations and personal attacks. Of course, that is assuming that you respond at all.)

    I see you are again acting like the person you just said was acting wrong; you have also done this before in other threads.

    • What is wrong with saying that I suspect that Travis will not point people to my blog? He said he used my blog as an example so I encouraged him to have them post here so I can respond to his slander. What is wrong with that?

      • Travis on March 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm said:

        Plenty, that you fail to see it, and delete my post is disheartening and sad.

        • Like I said. I haven’t deleted any of your posts. I don’t like it when Mormons do it to me, so I don’t do it here. I never have.

          • (Like I said. I haven’t deleted any of your posts. I don’t like it when Mormons do it to me, so I don’t do it here. I never have.)

            Looks like I owe you an apology. Being put on hold until you get around to allowing a post [Your comment is awaiting moderation.] is not the same as censoring them.

          • Apology accepted Fred. Yes, sometimes it takes me awhile to get to them all. I have a number of different social media outlets to try to keep up with. It isn’t easy.

      • Travis on March 7, 2013 at 10:34 pm said:

        I do direct people to your blog, that they are uninterested is another matter. Nevertheless, it’s investigators, not members I supply the examples to. It is difficult to convince them that people engage in such behavior and claim to be “Christian” without such glaring examples. Your “Mormons are Racist” video has been particularly helpful, as have your JW coloring page articles. Thanks.

        • Travis,
          This is the type of stuff I’m talking about. What is the point of telling me things like this? It comes across like your only purpose for commenting here is to cause contention. I’ve had enough of your cutting, sarcastic comments. Stop it.

  6. “There will be a final judgment. An important condition of repentance is to believe that one day we will all stand before the judgment bar. That day will come.”
    http://www.lds.org/liahona/2002/04/do-you-know-how-to-repent?lang=eng

    ++++
    Before I joined God’s restored Church, I questioned why the teachings of my then Church was so different from the other Christian Churches of my friends. I started asking questions and studying and praying.
    I found the teachers of most denominations spent their time telling me why other churches were wrong. The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were willing to tell me why they were right.

    SINCE The Day of Judgment is so closely linked to the need of repentance, please explain your understanding of what will happen to each of us on that day. Also, please include your denomination or group you are affiliated with so I can research your teachings farther.

    thank- you
    fred

    • Off topic Fred. If you want people to explain their understanding of the day of judgment and what denomination they are, start your own blog. This is my soapbox. 😉

      • (Off topic Fred. If you want people to explain their understanding of the day of judgment and what denomination they are, start your own blog. This is my soapbox)

        Not really.

        You are speaking of how we worry too much about what we do and how it is not related to our salvation. AND THE DAY OF JUDGMENT IS DIRECTLEY RELATED TO THIS SUBJECT and it is ON TOPIC.

        YOU WANT us to think our faith is wrong and you do your best to put down what we believe. Since we believe that Day of Judgment, that is taught in most Christian faiths, is real and that it is affected by our “works”, that you say are wrong, I believe it is your responsibility to teach why the Lord has not linked what we do here on the earth to our hereafter, like you seem to be trying to teach.

        Also, it looks like you are being more antiMormon than pro your religion by the way you put our teachings down but that you will not teach us what to replace them with.

        • Related to a subject is not the same as being on topic. You may disagree with me and that is fine. Just keep in mind that this is my forum and if I think something is off-topic, then it is my opinion which will govern how this blog will operate.

          As for claiming that Mormonism is deficient (which I do) and your claim that I do not teach you what to replace your beliefs with, I don’t understand why you say this. I think the last part of my blog post is very clear about what I believe.

  7. Hope Coley on February 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm said:

    Yeah, definitely, the Atonement was made way before you even sinned any of your sins, and all of our sins have already been covered by Christ. But for you receive the benefits of the atonement, repentance is necessary, but all we have to do is ask, to allow it into our lives.

  8. (Your comment is awaiting moderation.)

    Why doesn’t my question and comment not show up on anyone else’s computer?

    • Because I just approved it today. I had a bunch of comments awaiting approval and a number of them were spam messages. It took me awhile to wade through them all. Sorry for the delay.

  9. Jamie on March 1, 2013 at 9:25 am said:

    I accidentally clicked on your blog when I was looking for the original “Drops of Awesome” post. Ther are several points you make that I feel are incorrect, but I don’t feel that it is productive or conducive to the spirit of love, understanding, or acceptance to argue. I would however like to share my personal feelings about one or two points you brought up. The first one is actually something you said in a reply to a previous comment. You said that you proved that all Mormons are not as nice as the ones in the TV commercials. I hear this type of comment all the time. I can’t think of any religion that would seem worthy or worthwhile if it was judged soley on the niceness or perfection of its members. The members are there to work toward perfection. Besides, your referring to 30 second scripted TV spots whose goal isn’t to say “Look how nice everyone who is a Mormon is!” If you were to truly look at those spots without preconceived ideas, I think you would understand that they are only offering something they truly believe is precious. They are “offering” it. Like a gift or even a piece of candy. Take it or leave it. But it is offered in the spirit of love.

    The second point you tried to make that made me cringe was that the teacher wasn’t teaching proper Mormon doctrine with her object lesson in regards to the atonement. I don’t know your background but you might not understand that this teacher probably teaches those young girls every week. She has about 30 – 40 minutes to help her pupils understand the particular point of doctrine in the lesson that week. She wasn’t giving a comprehensive lesson on the atonement. As a Sunday school or youth teacher one must build line upon line and precept upon precept. When I read her post I didn’t feel that the focus was so much on repentance as understanding another very important and wonderful aspect of Jesus’s sacrifice for me. That is this: It is Satan who wants us to tear ourselves and others down. He wants us to feel that we are not divine children of God. He is miserable and wants us to be miserable too. When we can remember all that Jesus has done for us and accept that gift, we can fight against those spirit crushing thoughts. Yes, the atonement is about repentance, but it is about so much more. Sometimes we feel so alone in our challenges, trials, and suffering. But I know that I am never alone. Even when it feels like no one else can possibly understand exactly what I am going through, I know that my Savior understands. He suffered through every pain and sorrow that I will ever be asked to endure. He did that so that I never have to feel deserted or alone. That is the message I got when I read “Drops of Awesome.” I’m fairly certain that this teacher has had (and will have many more) discussions with those young women soley focused on the doctrine of repentance.

    There are several other items on your post that just do not ring true with me, but I have no interest in arguing or Bible bashing. I just felt so strongly about those two particular points that I felt I had to try to help clarify.

    • Jamie,
      Thanks for your comment. Please re-read my previous post. I did not say that I, “proved that all Mormons are not as nice as the ones in the TV commercials.” I said, “NOT ALL Mormons are as nice as the ones you see in those TV commercials.” That is a big difference.

      Second, I realize that the blog writer is a teacher and teaches a group of young women every week. I also understand that it was not meant to be a comprehensive lesson in what the LDS Church teaches regarding repentance, The point is, what she DID teach wasn’t accurate according to the official Mormon Church teaching manuals. I demonstrated why that is the case.

      Thanks for your comments though. I appreciate your willingness to talk.

    • Dawn Peterson on March 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm said:

      Thank you Jamie! You summarized my feelings much better than I could have.

  10. I don’t want to be controversial or get in a debate, but I would like to state that Mormons don’t just view the Atonement as our redemption from sin…it is much, much more than that. We know that the Atonement is what we rely on to help us through adversity and pain of any kind, and it is the Atonement that helps us overcome death. Your critic of the “drops of awesome” neglects these two fundamental principles of the Atonement that Mormons believe in, not to mention misses the point completely. The idea behind “drops of awesome” is a very humble acknowledgement that we do not have the ability to do these things on our own (overcome sin, adversity, and death), but that we require the Atonement. The Atonement does not require perfection or a person to be absolutely free of sin, the Atonement is a gift to all of us…and not exactly something we should argue about, rather be thankful beyond belief that the Lord loves us enough to provide it, regardless of our imperfections.

    • Lee,
      You stated, “The Atonement does not require perfection or a person to be absolutely free of sin, the Atonement is a gift to all of us.”

      Can you give me a reference from an authoritative LDS source which agrees with this comment? This simply is not what the LDS Church teaches in its official teaching manuals.

      • Keith,

        I apologize to both you and Lee for jumpimg into your discussion, but I felt that perhaps this was a good spot to offer my thoughts.

        I concur with Lee and think that what the author of drops of awesome was trying to express, was that the Atonement covers more than just our sins. It is also the grace or enabling power which makes up the difference between where we are and where we need to be to receive all that the Father has.

        And here is a reference from an authoritative Mormon source that states better what I am trying to say:

        ” I suspect that many [LDS] Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us.Most of us know that when we do wrong things, we need help to overcome the effects of sin in our lives. The Savior has paid the price and made it possible for us to become clean through His redeeming power. Most of us clearly understand that the Atonement is for sinners. I am not so sure, however, that we know and understand that the Atonement is also for saints—for good men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to become better and serve more faithfully. We may mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves, through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. Help from the Savior is available for the entire journey of mortality—from bad to good to better and to change our very nature.I am not suggesting that the redeeming and enabling powers of the Atonement are separate and discrete. Rather, these two dimensions of the Atonement are connected and complementary; they both need to be operational during all phases of the journey of life. And it is eternally important for all of us to recognize that both of these essential elements of the journey of mortality—both putting off the natural man and becoming a saint, both overcoming bad and becoming good—are accomplished through the power of the Atonement. Individual willpower, personal determination and motivation, effective planning and goal setting are necessary but ultimately insufficient for us to triumphantly complete this mortal journey. Truly, we must come to rely upon ‘the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah'(2 Nephi 2:8).” – Elder David Bednar

        And the link so you can read the entire article which comes from an address that was given to members of the LDS faith.
        https://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/04/the-atonement-and-the-journey-of-mortality?lang=eng

        I wish you luck in your quest for truth and understanding of Christ.

        • No apology necessary. I appreciate your comments. I can’t address your concerns now, but I will once I catch up with some other things I’ve got going on. HA! I still have two new articles I have been wanting to write, one on JWs and another on Mormons.

          Stick around, I think you’ll be pleased with my take on the Mormon one I will be writing soon. Can you believe I actually agree with and will defend the actions of a Mormon college student? Stay tuned!

          • (Stick around, I think you’ll be pleased with my take on the Mormon one I will be writing soon. Can you believe I actually agree with and will defend the actions of a Mormon college student? Stay tuned!)

            If you are referring to the student in Florida, he just did what any other Christian should have done.

  11. Recreader on March 5, 2013 at 7:01 pm said:

    As an LDS person, I have to admit that I find it unfortunate that there are so many of these blog posts out there like “drops of awesome,” which, in my opinion, fall into Jeffrey R. Holland’s category of “spiritual twinkies” (as opposed to more substantive things). I read it and wondered when it was going to take off into something more meaningful. I am not sure that I would enjoy hearing that my daughter got such a watered-down lesson (pun intended). I don’t mean to judge this author in particular, for I don’t know where she is in her life, but I just feel like the Gospel of Jesus Christ has so much power if we put aside these twinkies (and efforts to publish them so that we get a lot of readers and fans or followers or whatever). I assume that people’s intentions are to just share and help others, but I have to wonder if this is some sort of outlet for these people and that their intentions are not entirely pure. I suppose they could make their blogs anonymous, but they typically don’t. Ultimately, I am actually not against such blogs . . . I just get a little worried when the posts are all catchy and clever and “fun” (drops of awesome, for example) as if they are trying to increase their readership. In short, I can see how you read it and felt like you ought to say something on the matter because even I, an LDS person, was disappointed with it.

    Your points are good, and I actually don’t think there is any substantial disagreement. As for the notion of “needing to forsake the sin before the atonement applies,” your points are valid. Generally speaking, however, the notion of “needing to forsake the sin in order for the atonement to apply” is included in lessons and other materials simply to emphasize that one isn’t really repenting/trying to improve/coming unto Jesus if they go through some sort of repentance process with the full intention of just doing the same things again. It is like saying, “Please forgive me for stealing money, but next week I am going to steal money.” This is much different than sinning, repenting, wanting to forsake the sin completely, but falling short in the future. In this circumstance, as you suggest, the atonement can have place in our lives. Much of what Christ has done for us applies to our lives regardless of our actions . . . it is just that when you teach the principle of repentance, it is not always clear to people that repentance involves WANTING to not do it again (just like when we receive forgiveness from other people).

    As for Travis above, please don’t think all LDS people are like that. I don’t know what the goal is when people post like that. I guess I assume that there is no goal . . . they are just offended and reacting (and I don’t say this to make fun of Travis . . . it just appears that this is what is happening . . . I used to do that myself). There is probably a bit of feeling threatened as well.

    Anyway, nice talking to you.

    • Wow! Refreshing! Thanks for your comments. “Spiritual Twinkies”, I love it! I also appreciate your support in that I am not misrepresenting Mormonism. I’ve been at this a long time and it does me no good to misrepresent the beliefs of another person.

      You might also be interested in my “Impossible Gospel of Mormonism” presentation I did last year. Hmmm… I am having trouble linking to it so if you go to my YouTube channel, click on “Browse videos” then “playlists” and Impossible Gospel of Mormonism, watch video number five. Here is the link to my channel.
      http://www.youtube.com/user/EvidenceMinistries?feature=mhee

  12. Travis,
    For the sake of those following these comments, I will respond to your last comments, but today will be the last day I respond to you. I’m simply not going to put up with your abuse. We even have other Mormons who are ashamed of your behavior. Go play elsewhere because your future comments will be unread and deleted unless you write a heartfelt apology. Here we go.

    This is actually humorous. Are you really trying to argue with me about the difference between slander and libel? When I mentioned your slander, I was not referring to what you had written. I was referring to what you supposedly SAY to other Mormons about my posts. I encouraged you to send them here so I can respond to your slander, i.e. what you have told them in person about me. I would appreciate the opportunity to respond to that. I will gladly respond to any reasonable Mormon, but based on your latest comments, you don’t fit that category anymore.

    This is an interesting observation. You don’t like the resources I use so you claim that if I was more honest and scrupulous, I would have quoted from the Mormon Church teaching manual you prefer. By the way, do you have any authority in the LDS Church to tell me which manuals are more official than others? How is it that you can simply overlook the citations I used and point me to others you prefer? That still leaves you with an empty accusation. You have not dealt with the quotes I provided. You just deflect, ignore and point to another more palatable source.

    You challenged me to quote from the Gospel Principles manual. Alright, here goes, just keep in mind that even if this manual said something different than what I have previously stated (which is does not), that still would not address the issue I originally made. I’d like to see you deal with THOSE quotes… in context.

    Back to Gospel Principles, chapter 19 page 110. It sates;

    “We Must Forsake Our Sins

    Our sincere sorrow should lead us to forsake (stop) our sins. If we have stolen something, we will steal no more. If we have lied, we will lie no more. If we have committed adultery, we will stop. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (D&C 58:43).”

    https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-19-repentance?lang=eng

    That is everything this chapter in this book teaches about the forsaking of sin. That’s it. How does any of that contradict what I have previously stated about the Mormon idea of repentance? It plainly says you are to forsake (stop) your sins. D&C 58:43 explains this. How will we know if someone has truly repented? The answer is that he will have forsaken his sins.

    Here is a little formal logic for you. It can be logically proven that if someone does not forsake or stop their sins, then they are not forgiven. If you are unfamiliar with the Modus tollens argument, you can read more about it here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modus_tollens

    If P implies Q and you do not have Q, then you do not have P.

    Or.

    If I live in San Antonio (P), then I live in Texas (Q). If I do not live in Texas (Not Q), then I do not live in San Antonio (not P).

    Here is how we apply Modus tollens to D&C 58:43 to come to the conclusion that you cannot be forgiven unless you have confessed and forsaken, or stopped, your sins.
    If you have repented (P), then you must have confessed and forsaken your sin (Q). If you have not confessed and forsaken your sin (not Q), then you are not forgiven (not P).

    Unless you stop sinning, you are not forgiven. That is not an oversimplification or exaggeration. That is logic.

    You also took issue with my quotation of Lesson 24 of the Aaronic Priesthood 1 manual. You said I ignored the idea that repentance is a process. How does that change the conclusion that “a truly repentant person will not repeat his sin.?” Are you suggesting that a truly repentant person CAN repeat sin? What Mormon Church manual teaches that? Why the emphasis on abandoning sin if I really don’t have to abandon sin?

    This next statement of yours is puzzling. “You are ignoring the significance of the limiting language chosen in the chapter, “a truly repentant person will not repeat his SIN,” (emphasis added) which is only referring to a single “sin,” and overexagerating it to include “sins.”

    So I need to repent of my “sin,” but not my “sins?” Please inform all of us here which “sin” you need to repent of and which “sins” you do not. This doesn’t make any sense at all. Like I said previously, if you are making distinctions like this, you are not being reasonable at all.

    That being the case, I will not bother to respond to the rest of what you had to say. Thanks for parts of your post. I appreciate that you went through the great effort that you did to answer to me. It is obvious that you put a great deal of work into it and I really do respect that. What I don’t respect and will no longer tolerate is all the other junk that you subtly insert into your comments. I don’t care for it and it is hurtful. You apologize twice for giving me too much credit? Give me a break.

    Lastly, despite what you think you know about me, you really don’t know a thing. As for what I know about you, I know enough to pull the plug on our interaction (see Matthew 7:6). You are rude, passive aggressive and like to insult people with a condescending tone. Dawn Peterson, a self professed Mormon, isn’t too happy with your response to me either. I’m sure you probably doubt that she really is a Mormon. I don’t know, that is between the two of you as I don’t know her.

    Let me know when God has convicted you of your sin. Until He has and you apologize for your treatment of me, we’re done as of today.

  13. Dawn,
    Thanks for your kinds words. There are too many Mormons like Travis who use the anonymity of a keyboard to blast away at people and say things that they would never say in a face to face conversation. They automatically think the worst of those who disagree with them and are unwilling to be kind, considerate and give people the benefit of the doubt.

    One of my weaknesses is that I tend to tolerate that kind of behavior too long. There are too many other Mormons who are kind and considerate who deserve more of my attention. In the future I will endeavor to monitor my interaction with those who only cause strife and contention.

    Thanks again for your support.

    • Travis on March 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm said:

      Keith, so you delete my post, then threaten me with deletion and insinuate I will not face you? Where would you like to meet? I can. ome to your house or you to mine. We can discuss these issues any time you wish. Let me know.

      • I haven’t deleted any of your posts nor have I threatened you with deletion. Like I said, you don’t know me at all. I don’t delete posts. I’m going to leave your comments up for the reasons I previously stated.

        What I did say was that after today we’re done unless you apologize. If you want to talk personally, I’m all for that. Are you local?

        • Travis on March 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm said:

          I am local, when would you like to meet so I can clarify your misgivings respecting my comments?

          • I’m free during the day tomorrow. The evening and weekend is already packed. What days and hours are you usually available? By the way, it isn’t just my misgivings about your comments. At this pint there are three different Mormons on this thread who are not thrilled with your comments. If my brothers and sisters in the faith were telling me that my comments were out of line, I’d take heed.

  14. Pam,
    Amen and praise the Lord for your deliverance out of Mormonism and new life in Christ!

  15. Travis on March 7, 2013 at 10:47 pm said:

    Keith,

    I am happy someone was more magnanimous than myself, that they are Mormon, is irrelevant. After reading the comment, I believe they and you found offense where none was intended. Nevertheless, I can’t meet tomorrow, I have a career to attend to. However, where would you like to meet? If your schedule is more free, I will need a few dates and times and check to my schedule. I would also, before we meet, like to know who offered you the lucrative job in exchange for abandoning your campaign against the Church? I likely know him, I would like to both confirm the account and ask the reason for the offer, so we can discuss this as well. Thanks.

    • Travis on March 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm said:

      Keith,

      So this is appropriate?

      “I know enough to pull the plug on our interaction (see Matthew 7:6). You are rude, passive aggressive and like to insult people with a condescending tone. Dawn Peterson, a self professed Mormon, isn’t too happy with your response to me either. I’m sure you probably doubt that she really is a Mormon. I don’t know, that is between the two of you as I don’t know her. Let me know when God has convicted you of your sin. Until He has and you apologize for your treatment of me, we’re done as of today.”

      Are you believing you’re “the bigger person?” Interesting. Perhaps you should read my posts again, I can explain them in more detail when we meet.

    • If you are not intending to offend me, I can’t imagine it would look much different if you tried. The fact of the matter is, you have. Even other Mormons are concerned about your tone. I have to say, it concerns me that your brothers and sisters in the faith can say something about you and the criticism seems to roll off your back like water off of a duck.

      Regarding the person who made the offer. I see no point in telling you who it was for two reasons. 1) He doesn’t live in the area anymore and 2) if we found him all he has to do is deny that he made the offer and then you will claim I am lying. I admit that I have no proof other than the fact that my wife was there and was a part of our conversation. I doubt you would believe her though either.

      BUT, that really doesn’t address the point of my claim anyway. My point is that I am not in this for the money and THAT I can prove. If you are as well known in the area as you seem to insinuate, then all you have to do is get a few of your rich Stone Oak area Mormon buddies to get together and make me an offer to quit the ministry and join the LDS Church. I can guarantee you that there isn’t enough money in this world. I’ll just tell you the same thing I told the man who made me the offer.

      We were standing in The Sharper Image store in North Star Mall when I told him, “You know that’s a really nice offer, but there is just one problem.” He asked, “What’s that Keith?”

      “Mormonism just isn’t true and there is no amount of money that can change that fact.”

      As for dates, I am generally free on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. During the day is better for me though if you can swing it. I live in the Northwest part of San Antonio, but am willing to meet you at any public place. Somewhere along 1604 would be good. I think it best if we try to figure out when and where privately. I don’t want to dominate this thread with us trying to figure out when we can meet. You can email me through our web site.

      • Travis on March 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm said:

        Keith,

        If you were in fact presented with such an offer, naming the person would be the truth, regardless of his actions afterword. I assure you, I can locate the person. The church has an excellent system of record keeping, I could ask the present local stake presidency who the individual was and where he “moved” to. Locating people, is not difficult, especially a “Mormon.” I believe you live in the San Antonio West Stake, boundaries, I know who all the members of that specific Stake Presidency were for the past 12 years you’ve lived in the area, just telling me if he was the President, 1st or 2nd counselor would at least verify the allegation he has moved. This would lend some credibility to your claim, beyond that, as you intimate, I would need to take your word for it.

        How did you know this person? Were you friends? Why would he try to draw you away from your ministry? Do you in any way feel it threatens the growth of the Church? If so, I find that very interesting.

        What on earth did you mean to imply with this statement, “If you are as well known in the area as you seem to insinuate, then all you have to do is get a few of your rich Stone Oak area Mormon buddies to get together and make me an offer to quit the ministry and join the LDS Church. I can guarantee you that there isn’t enough money in this world. I’ll just tell you the same thing I told the man who made me the offer.” I would never take such actions, I allow “all men the privileged” to do as they please, your actions will never stop the Kingdom of God from rolling forward any more than Paul did prior to his conversion, so a bribe or offer would be a waste of resources, regardless of your acceptance.

        I do have some friends in many areas of San Antonio, am I “well connected?” No more than any other “Mormon” in San Antonio who attends church and interacts with his peers and friends from Church, if you believe I otherwise insinuated I was “well connected,” this was not intended.

        Respecting you being concerned, “that [my] brothers and sisters in the faith can say something about [me] and the criticism seems to roll off [my] back like water off of a duck,” their comments are not a criticism about my character so much as a comment regarding my ability to put things in perspective. I know what I meant, I meant what I said, I also know what tone I meant to convey. That a few individuals disagree with my “tone” does not mean they understood, or have a right to criticize, regardless of their faith. I meet people all the time, their religious beliefs do not, by default, mean we must agree on any or all issues presented to us. I feel your articles are just as offensive as you feel my commentary is, however, I have a specific objective for the comments I make expecting in turn the replies they elicit. I do appreciate your “concern” nevertheless. I try to adhere to the simple principle which the Lord taught, “Blessed is he, whosoever is not offended in me.” Christ was an offender to many, despite His never intending such offense, people will always take offense where none is intended, such is a foible of mortality. An example would be your feelings about the Jehovah’s Witness Coloring book and connect the dot picture. Offense was never intended by the JWs, despite it being taken by you and a few of those making comments.

        You allege that I am “passive aggressive,” perhaps, however you have a similar tone in your own writings. Am I extrapolating something which is not present? Perhaps, but I do not believe you are a bad person because of your actions in maintaining this blog, despite my disagreement and believing it to be incredibly shortsighted and negative. The reason I feel we should meet is to dispel some of the erroneous conclusions you’ve reached both respecting myself and my faith. If you have any specific topics you would like to address, please let me know, in the meantime, we need to pin down a date to meet. I have an extremely busy schedule I will consult my calendar to determine a good time to meet. During the day will not be possible, unless it’s a Saturday. I am not sure how to access your email, but I will try.

        Thanks.

        • Travis,
          Here is the deal. I am going to be very straight-forward with this next comment and I hope you try to look at this from my perspective. I am not trying to offend you and there is no malice intended with what I say next.

          I don’t trust you. Neither do I trust the man who made me the offer. I think your tract record with me has CLEARLY demonstrated that you intend to take what I say and interpret it in its worst possible way. Since I don’t trust you, it does me no good to tell you who made the offer. All the man has to do is lie. I believe you will then automatically take his side and accuse me of lying. I am not setting myself up for that. I already told you that I could not prove what happened unless you take my wife’s account into consideration. I honestly don’t believe you will do that either. That means no matter how much information I give you, I lose because I believe you will absolutely refuse to believe me.

          I am not going to tell you his name. I am not going to tell you how I know the man. I am not going to tell you when it happened. I am not going to tell you his position in the LDS Church. I am not going to give out any hints so that you can attempt to figure it out. Again, I simply do not trust you.

          I don’t want to ruffle your feathers and I hope you don’t want to ruffle mine either, so let’s just be done with this topic. Until I trust you, I am not budging. Further attempts to fish for answers will not do good things for me and will only give me MORE reason for my distrust of you.

          Regarding passive aggressive. I believe your comments are filled with that characteristic and you have suggested the same of me. Even if it is true of me, how does that absolve you of your sin? Please look up Tu quoque.

          You can find my web site email here.
          http://www.evidenceministries.org/about-us/contact-us/

          I don’t want to type it out so that I can keep it from spam-bots which look for such things on blogs.

          • Travis on March 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm said:

            Keith,

            I don’t take offense, nor am I trying to offend you with my persistence regarding this matter. I understand you don’t trust me, just not the reason why. I don’t really have, at least what I would consider, a negative “tract” record. Nevertheless, I would like to discuss this matter a little more with you before I drop it.

            You state you have no proof the offer to leave your ministry in exchange for a six figure salary was extended by a “Mormon” Stake Presidency Member. You stated this offer was made by a former member of a local Stake Presidency. But you haven’t really thought through what evidence you would have. Let’s analyze what we know. There are five stakes in San Antonio. You have lived in the West stake for nearly 12 years, having purchased your current residence in 2001. If by “Local Stake Presidency” you meant the Stake in which you live, then that would limit the number of people who have served in the Presidency to only a handful of men, since they usually serve from between 10-15 years.

            Now, looking at your claim, what evidence might you have. First, naming a person who actually served in any Stake Presidency would validate that you do in fact know such a person. Second, knowing that he served as the President, a counselor, secretary etc would validate a deeper knowledge of his life and substantiate you knew him well. Any further details of his marriage or children would further strengthen the claim. Third, revealing the position he offered you, its title and responsibilities, would prove you have some personal knowledge of this man’s business dealings which others would likely not posses unless they knew him. For example, if he offered you a lucrative position as an accountant and he does in fact own, manage or preside over such a business, it would stand to reason your knowledge of this fact substantiates the offer was extended. Fourth, you allege he has moved. If in fact you name a person who sometime during their tenure or following, moved away from San Antonio, this would provide significant evidence. So, putting together what we can prove, you would be able to credibly argue your position, regardless of his verifying the claim.

            Of course the man may deny this interaction. However, if you name a man, who was a member of a Stake Presidency in San Antonio, the position he held, and he has in fact moved, you name the position he offered, and it is discovered he had the ability to offer such a position because of his career, then, regardless of his verifying the claim, I would be inclined to concede you are being truthful and would believe you wholly. That you refuse to offer any evidence simply demonstrates you possibly made this acknowledgment without knowing I could easily research the claim. Either way, and as it presently is, I do not believe any member of any Stake or Ward would do such a thing. I have known too many, particularly in this city, I know them well and know they would do no such thing. Might they offer a job to a man who, as stated in your biographical information, was injured and left a previous position, possibly. However, claiming they offered a job for the reasons you allege is very untenable and unbelievable.

            I will email you, when I have a time pinned down to meet. Perhaps we can meet at your home? I suppose we could meet at my or someone’s office? If you would prefer a less private location, as you don’t trust me, this would also be fine. I am open to suggestions. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, have fun with your family.

            Thanks.

  16. Appropriate? It is Biblical.

  17. Travis,
    All of the above still assumes I will trust you, which I don’t. I appreciate your interest, but I really don’t need your validation of a historical event. It happened. Believe me or not, it really doesn’t make a difference to me. Those who want to believe me will and those who do not want to believe me NEVER will regardless of all of the verification.

    I would prefer to meet somewhere public. I’ll treat you to lunch, supper or whatever meal you like. You obviously know where I live so you know good restaurants in the area. Pick one and let me know when we can meet.

    You have a good weekend too.

    Peace.

  18. As a Mormon I too am dissappointed in how some others who claim to be members choose to act. We are clearly taught by our leaders to not argue or pick apart other beliefs. We are taught to love others. If we want to help people find the truth we should do so by living that truth and being an example of it, not by tearing down the beliefs of others.

    I just wanted to add a few of my thoughts. One is the issue that we believe that we must forsake all of our sins for the atonement of Christ to take affect, and that we cannot ever repeat that sin or we are not forgiven. There is a difference between wanting to stop doing a particular sin, and not even trying to stop.

    If we have committed a sin, and say it becomes a habit, and then we try to stop but it is too hard, this is exactly where the grace of Christ comes in. He recognizes that we are trying to stop. If we rely on Him, he will give us the strength (through HIS grace, not our own power) to eventually stop that sin. It might not be immediatly but over time if we are truely trying to stop the sin, we will be able to, even if it takes years.

    A key point here is that we do not believe that we will be perfect in this life. There is not a single person (unless they are crazy) in the Mormon church who has or ever will claim to be perfect. Even the prophet. We do believe that no unclean thing can enter the presence of God and so each of us has need of our Saviour to wash away all our uncleanliness at some point before we can enter Gods presence.

    The church manuals that you quote from are not the absolute explanation of every facet of Mormon doctrine. If the manuals explained everything in great detail they would be too big to even carry. So the manual simply states that we must repent of our sins and forsake them. They do NOT say that we have to do so immediately with every sin we have ever committed and do it right NOW!

    We believe that as go through life, we learn a little bit each day. If we don’t know everything or don’t do everything perfectly thats ok, we just try to improve as time goes on.

    When you stated “Our Mormon blogger forgot one very important principle in Mormonism. The atonement of Christ is not applicable unless and until a person repents.” you need to rememer that:

    1. She did not type out a full word for word description of what she said so you do not know if she mentioned repentence or not.

    2. The class she was teaching covers a different topic every week, and that while this lesson was on the atonement, they also have lessons on repentence. Just because she didn’t mention it doesn’t mean she hadn’t taught the girls about it. She was not teaching a class of nonmormons who had never heard of this doctrine, she was teaching girls who had already learned this and who understood it.

    3. You stated that we believe “The atonement of Christ is not applicable unless and until a person repents.” This in NOT what we believe. We believe that the Atonement of Christ covers everyone, whether or not they ever repent of their sins. The atonement of Christ applies before a person ever sins, before they repent, while they are trying to repent, and the atonement is actually what makes it possible to repent. We could not ever forsake all our sins without receiving strength through Christ. In a book published by the chuch titled True to the Faith it says about grace: “you need this enabling power [grace] every day of your life. As you draw near to your Heavenly Father in diligence, humility, and meekness, He will uplift and strengthen you through His grace.”

    Christ atoned for me, you and every single other person who has, does, or ever will live on this earth. However, if we want to enter into the presence of God we must accept his atonement and accept Him as our Saviour. We almost must show Him that we are trying to do what He taught and keep His commandments. When we through our weakness fail (and every single one of us will fail) His grace allows us to become clean again. All we have to do is show that we are willing to give up our wrong doings.

    Here is an example. Pretend someone has a problem lying. That person cannot say “Lord please save me by your grace, but please overlook the fact that I just lied to my friend, and probably will again tomorrow.” Instead he should say something like “Please forgive me through your grace for lying to someone today. Please give me strength through your grace to stop lying.”

    Then if the next day this person lets a lie slip out again, then later remembers he is trying to stop he could pray again and ask the Lord for further help to stop lying. If he is praying with real intent, not just saying the words but really meaning them, then he will eventually be able to remember before he is about to lie that he is trying to stop. If he is truely repentent than he will not lie. He might slip up again later, but if he is at least trying and getting better and trying to correct the wrongs that come from his lies than the atonement of Christ covers up the mistakes he makes.

    Eventually, if he keeps trying and relying on the Lord’s grace he will loose the desire to lie and will find it quite easy to always tell the truth. But this process might take a long time, and thats ok. And this person will have other “sins” that he can then work on repenting.

    I am pretty sure all of us committ many sins and even when we conquer one (through the grace of Christ) we will still have others to work on. But none of us conquers our sins or has the power to stop them without the grace of Christ.

    In the Book of Mormon it states “And again if ye by the Grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.” (Moroni 10:34) So we become perfect in Christ, not perfect because of our own works.

    Anyways, this is really long and I hope it all makes sense. I am not a very good writer, please do not judge my reply by the way I have written. Also it is late and I am tired and I hope I make sense. I probably made a ton of grammer and spelling errors. I just wanted you to know that the way some have responded on here is not appropriate. And I only hope that this will help to clarify some of the misunderstandings you may have. Please feel free to comment and ask questions about anything I have written

  19. Tacie,

    Thanks for your well thought-out comment. Don’t ever worry about typos or late night grammar errors. I’m no writer either. You have conveyed your thoughts very well and I appreciate your effort.

    I agree with you about how some Mormons have acted on my blog, but I must be fair and disagree with your reasons. I don’t think it is out of line at all to argue, pick apart and tear down my beliefs.

    Please note that when I say “argue” I am referring to the presentation of logical reasons for what one believes. I think there is a huge difference between auguring and being argumentative. Arguing generally refers to attacking an argument while being argumentative usually refers to attacking the person. The latter is off limits here. As for the former, I have a lot to say about that.

    Any belief which is not open to criticism is not worth believing and any person who is not willing to defend their beliefs is not worthy of those beliefs. If something is true, it will stand up to any amount of investigation. I would hope that if you, or any other Mormon, really believe that your religion is true to the exclusion of all other religions (which Mormonism claims), then I would hope that you love the lost enough to risk offense by telling them what you believe to be true and what you believe is not true.

    I know that goes against political correctness, Mormon culture and what you have probably been taught by your local leaders, but think about it for a second. A good portion of the New Testament is apologetic (defense of the faith) in nature. Paul specifically argues AGAINST false beliefs and does so rather passionately at times.

    Again, if you think I am wrong on something, and this goes for anyone, PLEASE speak up. Actually, it looks like you, Tacie, already have. Thanks and I will now direct my comments to your criticism of my concept of Mormon repentance.

    I understand the difference between wanting to stop a particular sin and not even trying. Obviously, no one will repent unless they want to. What I am addressing is the difference between trying to repent and actually repenting. I don’t think the successful forsaking of sin is something that is immediate and I understand that it is a process.

    Taking all of that into consideration, it still does not change the fact that the forsaking of sin must be permanent and that true repentance does not permit committing the same sin again. If you commit the same sin again, then you have not repented for the simple reason that you have not abandoned the sin.

    I also understand that most Mormons believe they will not be perfect in this life. This is an interesting idea in the light of 1st Nephi 3:7 and Alma 34:32-36. Is it possible to truly repent in this life? If not, then why the commandment to do so? If so, then why don’t Mormons do it? They can’t claim that it is impossible if they really believe 1st Nephi 3:7. I would love to hear your take on that.

    Regarding the Mormon Church teaching manuals. I agree that they do not cover every facet of Mormon doctrine, but what it does cover should be believed. What do official Mormon Church teaching manuals teach but official Mormon doctrine?

    I could go on, but I’d like to stop here and get your thoughts on what I have written. I appreciate your willingness and invitation to continue our discussion. I look forward to it.

    • Tacie on March 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm said:

      Thank you for your response. I would really like to reply in more depth to some of your comments, I do not have much free time to devote to answering all your questions in depth right away but I do want to eventually. Please don’t think I am trying to avoid answering anything.

      Before we get too far in this discussion I would like to ask you a couple of questions. Do you believe that your faith or religion can be proven with facts without a shadow of any doubt to someone who has never heard of it before, say someone who has never even heard of Jesus Christ?

      Also, above you said “If something is true, it will stand up to any amount of investigation.” But how do you really prove truth when talking about religion? For example can you prove with facts that God created the earth to someone who does not believe there is a God?

      I would like to know your opinion on these questions. I have my answers to them but will hold off telling them until I hear your answers, if you don’t mind.

      • Sorry for the late response Tacie. I appreciate your willingness to talk and look forward to our continued discussion, but I don’t see what your two questions have to do with the subject at hand. Neither one of us are are in the atheist category. Since we both believe in the existence of God, let’s just begin where we are.

        I have reasons for what I believe and why I believe it. Good reasons. Are they enough to convince someone who does not want to believe? Of course not, Belief is a matter of the will. Some people will believe things regardless of the facts and some people will NOT believe regardless of the facts as well. Is there truth in Christianity and can I prove it? Absolutely, beyond any reasonable doubt.

        If you can’t prove what you believe, why believe it?

  20. You say:
    “I am so glad that the Biblical Jesus doesn’t wait for me to stop sinning before He applies His blood to cover my sin.”
    If repentance is unnecessary, then why does Jesus say:
    ” 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46, and

    ” 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
    24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
    25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
    26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
    27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:13-27

    Jesus seems to be fairly clearly saying that one’s actions will be the yardstick by which HE decides whether to apply his atonement to us. If that isn’t repentance and striving to be like him I don’t know what is. Jesus states that words alone will not suffice (verses 21-23).

    If that isn’t repentance and keeping his commandments, please explain what it is.

    • Dave,
      Sorry for the late response. I’m the only one who moderates all comments and some times it isn’t easy keeping up with everything, both here on my blog and in other Evidence Ministries’ venues.

      Please reread what I said. I didn’t say repentance is unnecessary. I just disagree with how the LDS Church defines the term. According to D&C 58:42-43, the way we can know if someone has really repented of their sins is if they have forsaken them. In other words, your repentance must be complete. Incomplete repentance does not forsake sin and God does not forgive except on the conditions of repentance.

      So my statement is correct. “I am so glad that the Biblical Jesus doesn’t wait for me to stop sinning before He applies His blood to cover my sin.”

      Have you forsaken your sin? If not, you are unforgiven according to Mormonism.

      Does that help you understand my view a little better?

  21. Critical, critical, critical. The article had nothing to do with being LDS and how all the supposed laws other religions think weigh LDS members down. It was about everyday life. I know many women of other faiths who feel as this LDS woman does in the article. We tend to be our own worst critics. Life is crazy in this day and age and we are bombarded with messages that we are not pretty/handsome enough, a good enough mother/father, we are too fat/skinny, don’t make/have enough money, aren’t athletic enough, don’t exercise and eat right, and on and on. So she simplified a teaching. She explained herself.

  22. John 8:10-11

  23. Vanessa on April 20, 2013 at 7:54 am said:

    As Christians we strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ. I find it very interesting that you have written a blog that condemns a church that follows after the pattern of Jesus Christ. I have been to many churches in my life and have felt the love that our Saviour Jesus Christ has for each of us. The Bible teaches us about the fruits of the spirit and gave us a commandment to Love our neighbours. The Saviour himself has outlined how we should be when he said “what manner ye ought to be? Even as i am ”
    May we follow his example and see the good in our brothers and sisters despite our differences. 😀

    • I agree that we need to see the good in each other despite our differences, but that does not mean we ignore them. I have written this blog because I think the LDS Church really does not follow after the pattern of Jesus Christ. I don’t think it is a Christian church either.

  24. Interesting point of view. As a practicing LDS member, I didn’t feel your interpretation of what is taught on repentance and mercy jived with what is taught in the church. So I decided to go to the scriptures. After Alma 42:13 (which lays out the demands of justice) he followed up in verse 15 with how the Atonement of Jesus met those demands through the infinite sacrifice initiating the Law of Mercy. And those who choose Mercy, follow Jesus and his teachings including baptism, repentance, hope, faith, charity, etc. And those who do not follow Jesus, and choose evil, will be punished according to the Law of Justice.

    This perfectly aligns with what is taught in the New Testament where Peter in preaching to the church said “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

    And Jesus also called us to repentance “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” And we know that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

    Jesus loves all mankind. He suffered for all mankind. and I believe with all my heart that as I strive to follow him through becoming better each and every day, he will help me, through the atonement, to overcome my faults and return to live with him.

  25. Tony,
    Thanks for your contribution and also for bringing up Alma 42:13. You are correct, verse 15 does show how Jesus met the demands of justice, but that isn’t my argument. And yes, we are expected repent. Remember, verse 13 is clear that the plan of redemption cannot be brought about except on the conditions of repentance. My concern lies with exactly how the LDS Church defines repentance.

    Is repentance the forsaking of sin or not? See D&C 58:42-43

  26. Saving Spokane on May 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm said:

    Where’s the “Christianity” in your self-pious soapbox? Our world is full of hate and debasement, and this kind of belittlement of Anybody’s personal beliefs and opinion, only furthers that cause. I find your ministry an embarrassment to the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you single out particular religions and their members as “teaching” moments for your children-I question where your heart truly is, because Christ did not teach that kind of agape.

    • Hate? Really? I disagree with someone so I am accused of hate? Has it occurred to you that if I am “hateful” because I disagree with some Mormons about Mormonism, then you must also be hateful because you disagree with me?

      Belittlement? Perhaps you should contact the writer of the “Drops of Awesome” blog and ask her if she felt like I belittled her personal beliefs. We have been in contact privately and she appreciated my thoughtful and tactful response. I find it ironic that you can say I belittled someone who does not feel belittled, yet you can call my ministry of love to Mormons an embarrassment.

      If all you want to do is vent and attack me and my ministry, you are not welcome to post here. Spew your vitriol elsewhere.

  27. Disappointed and in fact a little “spooked” by Travis. An obsessive, belligerent “Mormon” stalker is no different than one of any other faith or creed. Except that, as a faithful “Mormon” myself, I believe he should (as should we all) know better.

    Still, I don’t find your arguments against LDS doctrine particularly unique or compelling. I grant you the right to your convictions and even your personal interpretation of our church manuals, books by LDS authors and authorities and even scripture. However the serious student who has fully vested both spiritually and intellectually in understanding (as well as we can in our mortal state) such grand eternal principles as Repentance and Atonement will readily realize that there are equally– and to many of us MORE– compelling interpretations and spiritual truths.

    As far as your unfortunate reported experience with a former member of an LDS Stake Presidency… It doesn’t ring true as representative of the many wonderful men I have known who have selflessly served in that lay capacity. On the other hand, I have no specific reason to doubt that such a thing could happen. Certainly “Mormon” leaders are no more automatically immune from such reprehensible behavior and “priestcraft” than Baptist televangelists, Catholic priests or godless humanists and “natural men.”

    I sincerely sorrow if your personal faith were so insulted by one who clearly was not operating under the influence of the Holy Spirit. I trust that you would not use such an experience to so broadly convict an entire faithful cadre of followers of Christ (even if they do not meet your particular definition of “Christian”) any more than I would characterize the spiritual commitment of Christians more closely aligned with your beliefs based on the actions of any number of fallen TV charismatic preachers.

    Thanks for listening.

  28. Sherrymelinda on October 4, 2013 at 9:02 am said:

    I have a grandson serving a mission. He is in NY and was able to attend the pageant there about the restoration. He loved it but had a very interesting experience the last night. There were the anti-Mormon group with their signs and pamphlets etc. He and his companion were taking the media around to interview people who were attending–ending with the protestors. As he was listening to their vile language he became very angry (this happens to me when I have been around one of our temples and people are walking around with rude, terrible signs) but my grandson had a wonderful feeling come over him—to forgive them. To love our enemy’s. he wrote us the sweetest letter that week. I can not understand why others do not spend their time studying their own faith. We are taught to love everyone. And even though I still can not believe someone would teach their children ‘against’ another religion, I will be more tolerant of others who seem to have the need to slam us with vile untruths. After reading these conversations I am more than ever grateful for my faith and am SO looking forward to listening to our general conference this weekend.

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