Skip to comments.The futility of playing spiritual whack a mole [Lds BoM study 1/8/12; Be perfect vs. becoming it]
Posted on 01/07/2012 11:53:46 AM PST by Colofornian
This Sunday, throughout the LDS Church, 1 Nephi 1-7 from the Book of Mormon will be studied in the adult Sunday School, or Gospel Doctrines class. Probably the most quoted passage from this section of the Book of Mormon is this part of 1 Nephi 3:7: I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. Mormons have quoted it in many different settings and situations to urge people that they could do what was commanded of them. After all, according to this verse, the Lord would never give a commandment to you unless he gave you a way to follow it. And usually, at least with the Mormons who have explained it to me, the way the Lord has given to follow it is by giving you inner strength or ability to keep the commandment. Therefore, if you arent keeping the commandment, its because you are not using what God has already given you.
Apply that now to one of the most famous commands in the Bible, Matthew 5:48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. This is commanding nothing less than perfection right now! Although many Mormons over the years have tried to explain this as a command to become perfect, that is not what Jesus said. He said be not become. Neither does the Joseph Smith translation say become. It reads: Ye are therefore commanded to be perfect. Therefore, according to 1 Nephi 3:7, God has given people a way to be perfect, not sometime in the distant future, but right now. And if a person isnt perfect right now, its because they are not using the way God has already given them.
And thats serious because as James 2:10 says: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. He is guilty of all. Think of how a defendant in a courtroom feels when the judge says, guilty on all counts. Talk about being devastated.
As strange as it may first seem, that is one of the main reasons God has given us commandments. He has given them to devastate us. He has given them to show us just how sinful we are. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20) The commandments are like X-rays that penetrate our spiritual being. We might think we are spiritual healthy but those X-rays tell a different story as they reveal tumors of greed, and lust, and envy, and bitterness, and worry, and the list goes on and on.
And one of the things the commandments convince us of is that we dont have the ability to keep them. No matter how hard we try, we cant stop sinning. Its almost like the arcade game, whack a mole. We put all our effort into whacking down one sin, only to have a different sin pop in a different place. I use all my efforts to stop worrying only to have pride pop up over there. I focus on always treating my spouse in a loving way only to find myself trampling over my co-worker. As the Bible says, There is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:12)
As I said, this is what God wants us to see as we consider his commandments. He wants us to see our utter inability of keeping them. He wants us to literally despair of thinking we can keep them. He wants us to despair of ourselves so that we are eager, no, desperate for help. The help he has given us in the person of Jesus. What we couldnt do, Jesus did for us. He did it all. He did it completely. Yes, there is a way that we can be perfect right now. And that is by being covered with Christs perfection. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
If you havent yet done so, take a serious look at yourself in light of Gods commandments. Take them at face value. Dont water them down. Dont change be perfect to become perfect. Dont call sinful words just mistakes or slips of the tongue. See how serious Jesus considers lustful, greedy, angry thoughts. See your tumors of sin. See that. And despair. Despair of yourself. Trust totally and completely in what Jesus has already done for you. Thats the only way that you will ever be able to stand in Gods presence.
From the blog: Apply that now to one of the most famous commands in the Bible, Matthew 5:48. BE ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. This is commanding nothing less than perfection right now! Although many Mormons over the years have tried to explain this as a command to BECOME perfect, that is NOT what Jesus said. He said BE not BECOME. NEITHER does the Joseph Smith translation say BECOME. It reads: Ye are therefore commanded to BE perfect. Therefore, according to 1 Nephi 3:7, God has given people a way to BE perfect, not sometime in the distant future, but right now. And if a person isnt perfect right now, its because they are not using the way God has already given them. And thats serious because as James 2:10 says: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. He is guilty of all. Think of how a defendant in a courtroom feels when the judge says, guilty on all counts. Talk about being devastated.
So. What's the way out, Mormons? You're told in both the Bible & Book of Mormon to BE perfect; not BECOME perfect. Be perfect NOW. Not simply "some day" in "eternal progressionland." And James 2:10 says if you are guilty of breaking one commandment, you're guilty of breaking the whole law! As Mark says, How devastating is that to your "eternal progression" plans!
God doesn't grade on a curve!
From the blog: And one of the things the commandments convince us of is that we dont have the ability to keep them. No matter how hard we try, we cant stop sinning...As the Bible says, There is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE. (Romans 3:12)
I can't tell you how many times I've seen FREEPER allies of Mormons reference their LDS friends and acquaintances as "good Mormons"; but the apostle Paul counters that. NONE of us does good -- no, not one. Even Jesus questioned the assumption of one man who called Jesus "good teacher" by asking him, "Why do you call me 'good'?" Iow, why do you go around assuming other men are 'good?'
It's not our alleged 'goodness' that lands any of us in heaven or some supposed "degree" of heaven; it's God's free grace (gift) in Christ Jesus. His mercy. It's the perfect righteousness of Jesus imputed to those who trust in HIS righteousness to cover their own sin (1 Cor. 1:30).
He is trustworthy; we are not.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself. (2 Tim. 2:11-13)
Die to your own "goodness";
Die to your own "Image projection";
Die to your own futile attempts at righteousness.
Instead: Own Jesus and His righteousness.
As you become part of the 'body of Christ' - He remains faithful to that Body...even when we are faithless. Just don't disown Him and His Body, lest He disown you.
Instead: Own Jesus and His righteousness.
As you become part of the 'body of Christ' - He remains faithful to that Body...even when we are faithless. Just don't disown Him and His Body, lest He disown you.
Succinct, accurate and well stated.
The best advice to anyone in general and LDS in particular that I've seen.
Mark Cares is great. He is the one behind the “Feel worthy?” billboards in UT and ID.
The pressure to be perfect is tremendous in Mormonism. It drives people to drugs (prescription), depression and suicide.
For those who believe they MUST attain perfection in this life (Mormons esp women), realizing that Christ is perfection is literally having a weight lifted off your shoulders.
Only Christ makes us perfect (complete) not our own actions.
No, my chocolate lab is a sinner. He jumps the fence and gets into the neighbors’ trash can, then comes back hanging his head low and flicking the end of his tail.
He knows he’s guilty, but he can’t help himself. Just like people.
Then you throw in The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer Kimball as the anvil on the shoulders of the Mormon people.
Kimball said perfection is the standard, perfection is possible, perfection is expected, and simply trying for perfection is not enough.
Dear Mormon friends, understand that your Christian friends are trying to set you free from the impossible burden of perfection.
Why do I get the feeling many of the writers are in the 7th grade?
Take them at face value. Dont water them down. Dont change be perfect to become perfect. Dont call sinful words just mistakes or slips of the tongue. See how serious Jesus considers lustful, greedy, angry thoughts. See your tumors of sin. See that. And despair. Despair of yourself. Trust totally and completely in what Jesus has already done for you. Thats the only way that you will ever be able to stand in Gods presence.
That is just plain mushy.
And Kimball also said in that book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, that if a Mormon re-commits a previous sin he supposedly "repented of" -- then he NEVER repented of that sin to begin with.
It's like returning to "Ground zero" in a Chutes & Ladders' game. No real progress or eternal increase has been made. You start all over...over and over and over and over. And, in fact, it reveals ANOTHER sin of pretentiousness: The reality that what you thought was true repentance was simply pretentiousness -- a false face that didn't reveal an inward bent that backed it up.
and then I saw Reaganaut’s comment. LOL
Still didn’t care for the article.
I don’t believe God wants us in a state of despair...Well, not any good Americans anyway...
Because...spiritually speaking...most people are NOT -- to coin a phrase, "smarter than a 5th grader."
And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Jesus, Matthew 18:3-4)
25 At that time Jesus said, I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." (Matthew 11:25)
LOL. And you are right, God doesn’t want us in despair, unfortunately despair is very easy when you are trying to earn godhood yourself, which is why the LDS change sin to just ‘making a mistake’ or ‘missing the mark’.
The true despair -- worth despairing in -- is to despair in trusting in ourselves...in our supposed ability to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.
Lurk mentioned Lds "prophet" Spencer Kimball. And Mark Cares, the author of this article, mentioned the "Be ye perfect" interpretation by Mormon leaders.
I find it interesting when you look @ Kimball's message history, that he closely integrated "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps with a 'be ye perfect' titled messages":
Many people know of Spencer W. Kimball, the 12th "prophet" of the Lds church (1973-1985), as the man who allowed blacks to become Mormon priests in 1978.
But did you know Mormonism teaches you are all "gods in embryo"???(And Kimball was one of its key proponents)
Did you know that Mormonism teaches the false "gospel" of self-transformation -- of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps to become a god? (And Kimball was one of its key proponents)
Spencer W. Kimball on these very topics:
1969 "Being a god in embryo with the seeds of godhood neatly tucked away in him, and with the power to become a god eventually, man need not despair...he must...transform himself..." (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 173-174)
A couple he was advising in Kimball's office "did not understand that forgiveness is not a thing of days or months or even years but is a matter of intensity of feeling and transformation of self...This couple seemed to have no conception of satisfying the Lord, of paying the total penalties and obtaining a release..." (Ibid, p. 156)
To Kimball, you had to "pay the total penalties" for your sin -- vs. that being a role occupied by the true Jesus Christ.
September, 1974: Man can transform himself and he must. Man has in himself the seeds of godhood, which can germinate and grow and develop. As the acorn becomes the oak, the mortal man becomes a god. It is within his power to lift himself by his very bootstraps from the plane on which he finds himself to the plane on which he should be. It may be a long, hard lift with many obstacles, but it is a real possibility. Source: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6057 (Spencer W. Kimball speech entitled Be Ye Therefore Perfect 9/17/74 devotional address @ BYU)
1975: Man is created in the image of God. He is a god in embryo. He has the seeds of godhood within him, and he can, if he is normal, pick himself up by his bootstraps and literally move himself from where he is to where he shows he should be." Source: http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/LovevsLust.pdf, "Love vs. Lust," Spencer W. Kimball, Provo: BYU Publications, 1975
November 1977: Self-mastery, then, is the key, and every person should study his own life, his own desires and wants and cravings, and bring them under control. Man can transform himself and he must. Man has in himself the seeds of godhood, which can germinate and grow and develop. As the acorn becomes the oak, the mortal man becomes a god. It is within his power to lift himself by his very bootstraps from the plane on which he finds himself to the plane on which he should be. It may be a long, hard lift with many obstacles, but it is a real possibility. To be perfect, one can turn to many areas as a starting place....As we have stated before, the way to perfection seems to be a changing of ones lifeto substitute the good for the evil in every case. Source: By President Spencer W. Kimball An address given to students of Weber State College, Ogden, Utah on 4 November 1977 http://lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=244ed0640b96b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD
July, 1978 Ensign Magazine: Lds church officially endorses Kimball Weber State College comments by publishing them in their official magazine
This quote also becomes part of Chapter 19 of what Lds officially teach college students in their Institute curricula: See http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/doc-gosp-11-20-19.asp
The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer Kimball AKA “It is a Miracle you CAN be forgiven”.
I have an LDS who has struggled with sexual sin since she was a teenager, she is currently facing excommunication because at age 40, after two divorces to supposedly ‘worthy’ LDS men (both of whom cheated on her and left her), she started dating an old friend from High School (never Mormon never gonna be Mormon) and got pregnant by him. Rather than cover it up (abort the baby) she had it and is now being punished by her church.
Anyway, we were discussing her disciplinary meeting and she told me (she knows I’m ex-mo and an anti) that the Miracle of Forgiveness that she had to read (in high school and again last year) did more to hurt her self esteem and more to defeat her than anything else she ever read. She feels like such a failure because she can’t be perfect in the eyes of her church.
The good news is, it opened up a perfect chance for me to witness to her.
MrR calls it a ‘reset button for sin’.
God is commands us to be in a certain state. In the context of this article that is “Be” something. Not practice, not “aw shucks”.
Be active in that of “being perfect”.
Binding myself in a shameful state of unworthiness is a pitiful way to live.
Certainly have shame for acts that may or are unpleasing to God and always address him in a state of humility but live the rest of your life in perfection.
Or in my case what perfection there is.
I think one of the lesson I learned from my friend, Stella, is that we are all frogs with warts. Doesn’t matter if you turn the frog over, there are still warts.
We can look for the good in ourselves and maybe even staring out the side of our eyes or shielding them with our hands look for God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness.
God wants us to live a life that is full. We have to have those conversations with God to determine what fullness means and then agree with him what path we should take to pursue what would be God’s intent for your life.
That life should be lived with smiles and a hopeful spirit that is guided by a helpful God of extraordinary outcomes.
My two cents and maybe a non-sequitor....
She is being excommunicated?!
They should welcome that baby and her decision.
Judge not, lest ye be...erh, uhm,...wait....
Do I have to start all over and work my into someones subjective approval of worthiness...? /S
She is being ex’d for not living the ‘law of chastity’ after going to the temple. This is her 3rd offense (one in HS, twice with this man) - she already had been disfellowshipped once and was going through the extensive LDS ‘repentance process’ (don’t get me started on THAT) when she got pregnant.
Before she decided to go back to school, she was going to a support group for single moms (this one is her 4th child all others born in wedlock) at a local Christian church. I’ve been encouraging her just to let Mormonism go and start attending the Christian church, where she IS welcome.
Who TF do they think they are? Jesus?
The Shepard didn’t cast aside his flock.
They think they are better than Jesus. She is still emotionally attached to the LDS, her parents converted when she was 8 so she much grew up LDS, but I have told her that she needs to just move on.
I’ve been trying to help her through this but it is hard to be empathetic when I just want to scream she is better off without them.
Thanks for the informative and clearly understood post about the Mormon CULT.
“And one of the things the commandments convince us of is that we dont have the ability to keep them.”
So we should imply that keeping the commandments is beyond our ability? Really? Which ones? Does this mean that the Writer didn’t really mean them as Commandments? I call BS on this line.
Stepford Wives Inc.
That ain’t love.
Are you saved by the Law or by Christ? Works or Grace?
No, it isn’t.
In Dickens A Christmas Carol, Scrooge learned how to "keep Christmas" (from then on; from the point of his "conversion").
"Keeping" is an "ongoing" word; "keeping" a commandment is more than "I was 'obedient' a few times to a given commandment, but it's otherwise 'hit & miss'."
Tell us, Styro, which commandment have you "kept" 100% of the time?
What? No murders on your spiritual rap sheet?
(Didn't Jesus include "hating" under that umbrella?)
What? No adultery, either?
(Didn't Jesus include "lusting" in your heart under that umbrella?)
You've kept the Sabbath purely then? Every hour? Every minute? Do you realize that the Jewish Sabbath started on sundown the previous evening? So whether you "keep" the Sabbath on Saturday or Sunday, you've also "kept" it either from Sundown Friday or from Sundown Saturday? Really?
You've never stolen anything from God? Perhaps His glory, for instance?
Tell us, which commandment have you perfectly obeyed your entire life?
And even if you could point to one commandment you think you've somehow "kept" perfectly, doesn't the author mention James 2:10...and doesn't the plain wording of James 2:10 kick in then?
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of ALL. (James 2:10)
Tell us, Styro. What does "ALL" mean to you?
If, by God's grace & mercy you get to heaven, are you also going to presume to lecture Jesus' half-brother, James, for smudging your spiritual resume' per James 2:10??? Yes?
Tell us, Styro, how you manage to navigate around the implications of James 2:10???
(Inquiring minds wanna know)
Jim Jones without the loudspeakers.
Thanks for the lecture. You have managed to convince me to totally ignore the ten Commandments. Now, tell me why I should bother keeping any of the laws of the land we live in? If God’s Law from Scripture can’t possibly be kept, let anarchy reign. (sarcasm)
If we could keep the commandments perfectly (really at all), then Christ didn’t need to die.
So, I ask you (again) is Salvation by Grace or Works? The Law or Christ?
Martin Luther talked about 3 purposes of the "law" for us in the New Testament era:
A mirror; a guide; a curb.
As a mirror, the Law shows us where we fall short -- and drives us to fall on God's mercy and grace.
As a curb, the Law -- like man's law -- teaches. It can pre-empt us from disobedience...but it's nowhere 100% effect...not any more, effective, Styro than those mph signs keep you 100% perfect in your driving record. Right?
I'm sure that posted signs have indeed aided your driving record -- as a "curb"; but they've not launched you into a 100% perfect driving record -- have they?
And, as a "guide"...from the commandments, we know God's will. But simply knowing God's will doesn't provide the accompanying power to obey it, now does it?
Now, tell me why I should bother keeping any of the laws of the land we live in? [Styro]
Same thing I said above, Styro. The law of the land provides a curb and a guide to help us stay on the "straight and narrow." And as a mirror, you should have at least concluded by now that if you can't even obey 100% of the laws of the land (like mph, for example), how could you possibly obey 100% of God's law?
I looked up EVERY article on Lds.org one time that mentioned "LAW." 'Twas quite interesting to realize that NOWHERE in ANY Lds.org article did the LDS EVER list EVERY law. And, in fact, when you looked at those Lds articles that even listed several laws, nowhere did those lists even come close to matching...meaning the Lds gatekeepers couldn't even agree which laws were the most important to highlight for their readers!
If I was a gambler, I could probably wage a million $ that not a single Mormon could name EVERY law mentioned by Lds general authorities on Lds.org. [What a crying shame, 'cause even Joseph Smith said: We cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 256.)]
And Mormons are shooting for the highest degree by way of perfect obedience??????
Can you name all the laws & commandments listed just on Lds.org, Styro????
No? Then Joseph Smith said you can't possibly keep when they're not even on the tip of your lips!!!
Well; that POLYGAMY things is an exception.
It seems that Yoda got his mantle...
Who Wants to be a
(What next amongst Mormon low-blows?)
Thanks for your kind replies. As a former Mormon, now a (saved by Grace) born again Messianic Jew, I keep the Commandments because I love the Lord and want to reap the blessings of obedience per scripture. I love observing the Biblical Holy Days because I believe the Lord made us with a desire to PARTY and appointed times and reasons to do so in His will.
“Be ye therefore perfect” (Matthew 5:48) has driven people other than Mormons to suicide, but “perfect” has two meanings in English:
Going back to the Greek, the word translated ‘perfect’, téleios, is an architectural term meaning complete, not moral perfection. It is a flaw in translation that causes many issues and has caused a lot of misinterpretation.
Christ was saying we needed to be complete, not morally perfect.
Yes, the primary meaning is “complete” which is the opposite of “partial” — and in context requires the translation “impartial.” We can be impartial in our dealings with others.