Chapter Ten- Who Can Be Forgiven?

19 February

“If one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”James 5:19

 

Forgiveness and Murder

 

Forgiveness is a necessary part of faith. If there is no forgiveness, there is no need for faith. For what does it all matter if we cannot find redemption? No one who has ever sought forgiveness has ever felt that it was an unnecessary part of his or her redemption and walk with God. But some believe that forgiveness is not granted to all. Some feel that there is a line you cross that God will actually refuse to grant you forgiveness no matter how strongly you seek it.

In the Mormon faith, they believe that if you have committed murder, you cannot be forgiven. In their book, the Doctrine and Covenants, written by Joseph Smith, it declares in D&C 42:18, “And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.” Bruce R. McConkie, who is one of the Quorum of the twelve disciples, said, “…a sin for which there is ‘no forgiveness’ meaning that a murderer can never gain salvation. He cannot join the Church by baptism; he is outside the pale of redeeming grace.”[1]

As Christians, we believe there is no sin that Christ’s blood cannot wash away (1 John 1:9). Christ turns away none who are willing to come to Him in an attitude of trust and repentance, no matter what they have done—murder included (John 6:37). It is interesting that the three men God used to pen most of the Bible were all murders: Moses, David, and the Apostle Paul. Yet each managed to find forgiveness and purpose afterwards.

A very serious and dangerous belief that the Mormon Church has, which most Mormons are not aware of, is the belief in blood atonement.  Joseph Fielding Smith tells us in the Doctrines of Salvation, “But men may commit certain grievous sin—according to his light and knowledge—that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone—so far as in his power lies—for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail. ATONEMENT AND SINS UNTO DEATH. Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offences are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf. This is scriptural doctrine, and is taught in all the standard works of the Church.”[2]

They are talking of suicide, which makes little sense. Suicide is self-murder. Murder is a sin Mormons believe that the blood of Christ will not atone for. So how can committing suicide and shedding your own blood atone for it? Only the blood of Jesus Christ was perfect. No one else is. How can the shedding of anyone else’s blood atone for anything? According to the Bible, it can’t. According to Mormon Doctrine, it can.

Although Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie begins to talk about the doctrine of blood atonement in a dismissive way, he then goes on to admit that some sins (such as murder) cannot be cleansed by Christ’s blood and that the sinners own blood needs to be spilt to atone. He writes, “But under certain circumstances there are some serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate, and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins. Murder, for instance, is one of these sins; hence we find the Lord commanding capital punishment.”[3]

It is a total distortion of truth to teach that Christ’s blood is insufficient to cleanse sinners from the sin of murder but then teach that the sinners own blood can provide atonement. As was noted earlier, Christ’s blood atones for all sin even the serious sin of murder.

I never knew of this belief while I was a Mormon! After I left the church and began to look into Mormon Church doctrine on my own, I discovered this belief. I cannot relate properly how betrayed I felt knowing that I was once in a belief system I really knew nothing about. This belief in the blood atonement saddened me terribly since I personally know people that have transgressed so terribly that they often feel there is no hope. But there is hope! Hope in a living God that can save and forgive anyone! Had I known about this belief earlier, I would have certainly left the church immediately. I can see why they do not teach this belief to new converts, being of sound mind, they would leave immediately. Instead, they hope you will never find out about their history, at least not until you are already caught up in their web of confusion and integrated doctrine. If you believe that you are involved in the ‘true church,’ you will fear losing your salvation and thus be held hostage.

I bet that most Mormons do not even know of this belief.  Please, if you are a Mormon and reading this, search this out! Study it! It will astound you. If you are not a Mormon and knowledgeable about this belief, please have compassion and know that most Mormons do not know of this belief system. Challenge them in love to find out. This is a very scary and sick belief that is obviously very dangerous. I’ve already mentioned the Apostle Paul. He was murdering Christians and yet found forgiveness. David murdered Uriah and found forgiveness. Moses murdered the Egyptian and found forgiveness. They all found purpose. Murder is a vile, horrendous sin that should never be condoned, allowed, or promoted. But to say that the murderer is beyond the saving grace of Jesus Christ is even worse. It is a pronouncement of eternal damnation on a soul…we don’t have a right to do that.

Let’s discuss 1 John 3:15, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him”. Most people ignore the first part of the verse that says even if you hate someone (particularly a brother in Christ) you are a murderer in God’s eyes. I wonder how many people could be considered a murderer according to that verse? Another verse must be considered, 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. Wow! If you are born of God you can’t sin…and yet every Mormon and Christian continues to sin now and then. So what does it mean?

It means that there are two natures inside of us once we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior. One nature is the flesh and the other is born of God (born again). These two natures, according to Paul, are always in conflict (Romans 7). The nature that is born of God cannot sin. The flesh nature, however, most certainly can sin. The key is love. Love or the lack of love is how we shift from focusing on one nature or the other. If you love correctly, you will not sin for in love hangs all the law (Matthew 22:38-40). But when you don’t love, you will allow the sin nature to dominate in your life again—and we know that in the sin nature there is no eternal life! No one can get to heaven through their sin nature or the deeds of the flesh. We need the new nature that is born of God—born through faith in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:4)!

And yet, Mormonism continuously teaches that there are sins that put us beyond the saving power of Jesus Christ—as if we could possibly limit God. Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church, publicly preached what is known as the ‘blood atonement’ doctrine—that a man might be killed to save his soul. President Young even went so far as to claim that his blood atonement doctrine fulfilled Jesus’ command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’

Read it for yourself:

 

Excerpt of a Sermon by Brigham Young delivered in the Mormon Tabernacle, Feb. 8, 1857

 

“Now take a person in this congregation…and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, ‘shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?’

“All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?

“I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil…I have known a great many men who left this church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them, the wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbids this principle’s being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

“This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind.”[4]

 

What dangerous doctrine! Wouldn’t such a belief be the motivation for murder itself? If you killed someone trying to give him salvation, would this not be murder? You certainly can’t call it a mercy killing. Mormons naturally are big on capital punishment. Since the person is beyond saving grace, he might as well be executed. Only I wonder how they feel about electrocution or lethal injection since no blood is actually spilt? Would beheading be more appropriate to the necessary requirement of shedding the sinner’s own blood?

As Christians, we believe that anyone can come back to God. Anyone can find the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It is not our place to judge someone. That is left up to the law of the land and God. God gave governments the power to incarcerate or execute (Romans 13). It is not the Christian’s job to do any of that. We are just to take the Gospel to every person—even murderers. We are commanded to love them!

Listen to what the Bible has to say about forgiveness:

 

  • Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
  • Matthew 7:2“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
  • Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
  • Mark 11:25 – “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
  • Luke 17:3-4 (KJV) – “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”
  • Acts 10:43“All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
  • Acts 13:38-39“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”
  • 1 John 1:9 (KJV) – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

The Unpardonable Sin

 

In the Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball, he writes, “Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men. This process toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through the perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us….Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.”[5]

He says that perfection is an achievable goal, yet he goes on and states that if a person sins against the Holy Ghost and/or commits murder, he cannot ever achieve perfection. Therefore there is a point where it is not achievable. Here is what he says, “All sins but those excepted by the Lord—basically, the sin against the Holy Ghost, and murder—will be forgiven to those who totally, consistently, and continuously repent in a genuine and comprehensive transformation of life….This earth life is the time to repent. We cannot afford to take any chances of dying an enemy to God.”[6]

He mentions here the sin against the Holy Ghost…the unpardonable sin. Here are the verses from the Bible:

 

“And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

 - Matthew 12:31-32 (NIV)

 

Jesus spoke these words in response to an accusation made by the Pharisees. Envious of Jesus’ power to heal and cast out devils, they accused Jesus of casting out the devils by the power of Satan. Jesus responded with a dire warning about blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. So exactly what is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?

To understand it, we need to examine exactly what it is that the Pharisees did.

 

  1. They wanted to discredit Jesus in the eyes of those following Him. In effect, they were trying to recapture their power base from Jesus. Jesus was stealing much of their influence, and they wanted it back (Mark 15:10).
  2. They knew that Jesus was doing these miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit. They knew He was true and taught truly (Mark 12:13-14, Luke 4:14). Yet they intentionally tried to deceive the people into believing that He was not.
  3. They attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan (Matthew 12:24).
  4. They intentionally and deliberately did this even knowing full well it was wrong.

 

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is Read More

 

God’s Forgiveness Versus Man’s Works

 

Mormon Doctrine teaches that forgiveness must be earned. They believe that you must prove your worthiness for salvation and forgiveness. Christians, on the other hand, believe that forgiveness is something that you get when you seek it. It is freely given to those that want it.

Here are some of the Mormon views from Kimball’s Miracle of Forgiveness:

 

  1. “The reason is forthrightly stated by Nephi, ‘. . . There cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God . . .’ (1 Ne. 15:34). And again, ‘. . . no unclean thing can dwell with God . . .’ (1 Ne. 10:21). To the prophets the term unclean in this context means what it means to God. To man the word may be relative in meaning—one minute speck of dirt does not make a white shirt or dress unclean, for example. But to God who is perfection, cleanliness means moral and personal cleanliness. Less than that is, in one degree or another, uncleanliness and hence cannot dwell with God.”[7]
  2. “No one can repent on the cross, nor in prison, nor in custody. One must have the opportunity of committing wrong in order to be really repentant. The man in handcuffs, the prisoner in the penitentiary, the man as he drowns, or as he dies—such a man certainly cannot repent totally.”[8]
  3. “One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation.”[9]
  4. “Perfection really comes through overcoming…Christ became perfect through overcoming. Only as we overcome shall we become perfect and move toward godhood. As I have indicated previously, the time to do this is now, in mortality.”[10]
  5. “Your Heavenly Father has promised forgiveness upon total repentance and meeting all the requirements, but that forgiveness is not granted merely for the asking. There must be works-many works—and an all-out, total surrender, with a great humility and ‘a broken heart and a contrite spirit.’ It depends upon you whether or not you are forgiven, and when. It could be weeks, it could be years, it could be centuries before that happy day when you have the positive assurance that the Lord has forgiven you. That depends on your humility your sincerity, your works, your attitudes.”[11]

 

This Mormon Doctrine takes salvation out of God’s Read More

Forgiving and Forgiven

 

We all must deal with forgiveness in some capacity. To begin with, we are all in need of forgiveness. Secondly, we will all find ourselves in a position when we need to grant forgiveness.

If you think about it, forgiveness is a form of worship. Not just any form, but a truer form of worship than we often recognize. The Lord wants us to learn this very important principal in our life as we will be faced with it at some point. Notice the following verse:

 

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”Matthew 5:24

 

Notice how this verse puts it. It isn’t about your hurt or if a wrong has been done to you. It is about someone else’s feeling of pain and injury that they think was your fault. To God, reconciliation is more important than worship. Before we go to God to worship, we need to be right with each other. God knows that unforgiveness blocks our ability to hear from Him. It does not matter who has done the offending, or who thinks they are in the right, if at all possible, go and reconcile.

Notice one other very important factor here. It never said how bad the sin or the wrong had to be in order to either seek or grant forgiveness. According to Scripture, forgiveness should be sought for any wrong…and granted for any wrong. Remember, the unpardonable sin spoken of in Mark 3 and Matthew 12 was ultimately about rejecting whom Jesus was. There is no sin that should not be forgiven including murder, adultery, and many other horrific and vile deeds.

We are designed by our Creator to worship, and to live our life for Him. We were created as vessels for his glory. Like a straw, we are to be emptied and pure so that the Lord can pour His Holy Spirit into us. We need to do this daily. Worship is not something to do once a year or once a week at church. We need to empty ourselves daily of all the junk and garbage that would keep us from being filled with the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus Christ. Like a light beaming down, Christ pours His love, power and energy into us. We want to be that clear vessel so the Lord can pour all of this into us.

The problem is that sin has gotten in our way. It is interesting that when Christ healed people, He always forgave their sins as well.

 

“Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”Luke 5:23

To prove that Jesus had the power to heal, he first Read More

Healing Exercise: Read More

Prayer of Healing

 

“Lord, thank You that You are a God of hope and healing. We thank You for your Amazing Grace! We are all lost, but by Your grace, Lord Jesus, we find our way and we are saved. Thank You that You forgive anyone that calls on your name and seeks forgiveness. Thank You for dying on the cross while we were still sinners. I pray for all to find the truth and become free by Your grace. Amen.”

 

 

 



[1] Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 520.

[2] Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 134-135.

[3] Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 92.

[4] Printed in the Deseret News, Feb. 18, 1857; also reprinted in the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, pp. 219-20

[5] Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 208.

[6] Ibid, pp. 14-15.

[7] Ibid, pp. 19.

[8] Ibid, pp. 19.

[9] Ibid, pp. 206-207.

[10] Ibid, pp. 209-210.

[11] Ibid, pp. 324-325.

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