How to tell if it’s the spirit, or yourself?

Someone typed this phrase into a search engine the other day, and ended up at my Blog.

First, I love seeing that people are out there asking such important questions.  For indeed, the ability to discern the promptings of the Holy Ghost is one of the most important attributes I think we can acquire.

There are many answers to this question, but here I’ll make the assumption you’re referring to a confirmation you’re seeking to a question or decision in your life.  For this, let’s look at the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 8:7-9), which addresses this topic head on.

7.  Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8.  But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you;  Therefore, you shall feel that it is right. 

9.  But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;

Study it out in your mind:

From this scripture, we see the prerequisite command that we must first study it out in our mind, whatever it is we seek. 

So often we have our own prejudices, we have our own idea of what we WANT, and we naturally feel fear, or apprehension over certain things.  I like to refer to this as emotional baggage, and every decision is fraught with it.  If we skip this step, and don’t exercise our own mental capacity to figure it out objectively, then we leave ourselves far more subject to these external emotional influences.  Only by studying it out first, are we prepared to transcend that emotional baggage, make a decision based on principles and not prejudices, thereby leaving us open to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

Ask if it is right:

Once we have studied, and have come to our own conclusion, then we’re prepared to ask.  But we must ask sincerely and with faith, believing that we shall receive. 

If we ask insincerely, without being truly willing to follow the answer we get, then again, we find ourselves more greatly swayed to our own emotions, and all we get is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If we ask without faith, then again, the doubts in our mind will block or blur the clarity of the feelings of the spirit.

Burning or Stupor:

That burning feeling comes as the Holy Ghost bears witness to us that what we’ve asked is right.  The stupor, at least for me, isn’t that I suddenly suffer from amnesia, and forget everything, but seems to me more like a confusing feeling, where I struggle to really envision the path that I’ve decided on.  On the other hand, if it is right, and the times when I distinctly feel the spirit, the path (whatever it is) is very clear, and you’re motivated and inspired by that clarity, even it isn’t a complete understanding of HOW it might come to pass, you still see that first step clearly.  But if it feels somehow indistinct, or blurry, like a concept you can’t quite grasp, then you’re likely feeling a stupor of thought to indicate you need to pursue an alternate course.

Putting it to the test

Within the scriptures, in many cases, we’re told about how a good seed can only bring forth good fruit, and an evil seed will only bring forth evil fruits, hence “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

Alma, in the Book of Mormon teaches the same principle in his magnificent discourse on faith, suggesting that you should experiment upon the word, plant it in your heart, and see if it will grow.  And if it grows, then you know that it is good.  But if it doesn’t, then you know that it is not good (Alma 32:27-34).

I most commonly use this principle in my decision making process, treating the word, or the seed, as the idea or concept that I am pursuing.  In my mind, I study it, I follow the idea through, trying to understand all the likely paths and consequences.  I have found that when doing so, if it is good, then I find that the “way is lit” (mentally), and I can see clearly what will happen.  But if it is not good, then I stumble around, as though in a “stupor of thought”, and struggle and struggle to try to “imagine” it through, but to no avail.  At that point, I try to shake off the emotional baggage that held me to that concept, and then attempt the mental exercise on the opposite course.

This way of “experimenting upon the word” has always been successful to me, so I wanted to share it with you.  I hope you (or someone) finds it of some value.

Rusty

P.S. If this did not answer your question, I’ve also addressed the “feelings” of the spirit to some degree here where I describe that not all emotion is of divine origin, and offer some suggestions as to what it seems witnesses of the spirit do feel like. 

Also, here and here I explain how to sharpen your spiritual senses and increase the frequency with which you’re able to feel the spirit.

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51 replies
  1. Howard says:

    There is much more to the manifestations of the Holy Ghost than the burning or stupor revealed through JS for OC.

    For example D&C 85:6:
    Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying:

    Reply
  2. Tim Malone says:

    Great essay Rusty! To which I would only add Moroni 7:12-13 which reads, ” 12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
    13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”

    If a thought or feeling comes to us to say or do something and we pause to consider if it is a good idea to act upon it, the test really is quite simple. We don’t need to wonder if it is inspired of God or a prompting of the spirit if it leads us to serve him by blessing our fellow beings. If it will make them happy, help them or bring them closer to Christ, then it is inspired of God and is a prompting from his spirit.

    Reply
  3. ponderingpastor says:

    Might I also suggest that I Corinthians indicates that we also confirm such “experiences of the spirit” with others in the church. There are some with the gift of discernment.

    Pondering Pastor

    Reply
  4. aetheressa says:

    In trying to describe to my children what a ‘stupor of thought’ was, we ended up declaring it a “stupid of thought” instead. For me, the feeling is comparable to being frantically busy and then suddenly surrounded by what seems like 50 small children all trying to get your attention. Hard to think, to concentrate-the opposite of clear and peaceful.

    One of the most important aspects of personal revelation for me is to first determine if I am worthy to receive it in the first place. Am I morally clean? Am I doing the best I can to be obedient and humble? Have I done due diligence-meaning have I studied the scriptures and doctrines related to my issue and done all I can to understand as much as I can? Am I willing to say “thy will be done” rather than “my will”?

    I find that if I can honestly (and that’s a key term here) say that I am ready and worthy of an answer, that not only do I almost always get an answer but I very rarely doubt the response I get, because there is no reason to.

    Reply
  5. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Great suggestions all… Aetheressa, I particularly associated with the “noise” analogy, having 6 children myself. That was great, I laughed out loud. I haven’t ever thought of it that way, but I do agree. It’s that “mental noise” that clouds your mind and makes everything somehow indistinct.

    PP, I totally agree that the support structure of the church is an imporant mechanism we can utilize for confirmation.

    Reply
  6. Larry says:

    don’t know why Rusty, but when you post an article, I usually have an experience that put into question your suggestions. Let me tell this one if I may.

    I think I wrote how the chicken pox invading our quiver a few weeks ago. Well, as I had thought, the pox finally found its way to a couple more kids last weekend. When family and friends had heard that we were infected again, are phone started to ring, not to wish us well, but for personal invitations for them to bring their young children over to visit so they could also “catch the chicken pox”. I never new that they were so rare in today’s culture. Anyway to continue the story, my brother in law showed up Sunday evening with his wife and three little girls. Now they are kind of strange, as in living a healthy lifestyle with all those remedies that most people generally ignore. Sometime through out the night, my brother in law must have cornered my wife and told her about their latest craze, Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

    Now my wife and I watch what we eat but the lure of organic foods, vitamins, and calories, have never caught up with us. Well, after work last night I came through the door and my wife was waving a bottle of that apple vinegar in the air. “What is that?” I asked as she threw the bottle to me. I was read the label on the bottle while she told me how she had researched all the health benefits on the internet earlier in the day. It product claims that if you take two teaspoons three times per day you will be provided all of the following benefits:

    “Helps Remove Body Toxins * Helps Promote a Youthful Body *Helps support a healthy immune system * Helps Maintain Healthy Skin * Helps Control Weight * Improves Digestion and Assimilation * Soothes Tight and Aching Joints and Sore Muscles from exercise * Soothes irritated skin.”

    “But”, she warned, “it tastes awful and you can feel it burn in your throat all the way down to your stomach. And your belly just glows afterwards!” When she said these words my ears perked up because I had been studying the passage Luke 24:30-32 when Jesus had walked with two disciples near Emmaus.

    “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

    Mormon’s tend to cling to the part of the passage that has the burning heart, but ignore that their eyes were opened when Jesus broke the bread with them? I wondered if Jesus had continued his walk and did not stop with them that evening if they would have ever known that He was Christ? And what was all this burning in the bosom stuff in Mormon doctrine? And how does it compare to all the proclaimed spiritual manifestations that happened at the Toronto Blessing and the Brownsville Revival?

    Once again, something tells me that the burning is nothing evident through itself. It can’t confirm truth anymore than an itch being the confirmation for chicken pox or the burn of the apple vinegar in the belly being the evidence of having a healthier body. It all comes down to the evidence where I can see with my own eyes proving or disproving one or the other. So it was with the two who had walked with Jesus in Luke 24. So it is with the Book of Mormon.

    Mormon’s who have claimed a burning bosom feelings during conversion neither confirms it’s authenticity or validates the feeling as divine truth. The evidence is solely with that which I can see with my own eye.

    Does it Elevate the Bible or tear it down to justify itself?
    Does It Point People to the Scriptures?
    Does It Elevate the truth in the Bible?

    Look at this story told over and over by Mormons

    Margaret, on August 5th, 2008 at 12:02 pm Said:

    1.This thread really reminds me of how the apostasy happened. At the time of Christ and the original apostles, the Gospel was pure and complete (like the original post). Then, as others came along and made copies of the scriptures and translated them into other languages, it was changed here a little, there a little. Sometimes when someone didn’t understand it as written, they either left it out or changed a few words. Sometimes the changes were just the errors of men. It was still the word of God, but no longer complete.
    2. I know that the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, along with the living Prophet provide that course correction. Those who will just examine the evidences (read it), ponder, pray and listen to what the Spirit tells them, can know it, too. I invite you to try it.

    Father, I pray that those reading will come to true faith in your son, Jesus Christ, seeing with their own eyes, the expression and totality of your love through His redemptive work on the cross. May they turn from fables and learn from you. You are a God of evidences!

    Reply
  7. Rusty Lindquist says:

    I know Larry. This is your view, and you’ve expressed it a time or two. I’ve come to grips though that regardless how hard we try, there will always be those that stand in the very presence of our Savior, and ask for a sign. Sign-seekers will always surround us. Remember, the path to salvation is narrow, not wide, so I also know I’ll always be outnumbered. But still, I’ll continue in the faith, for there are those around us, who are not so bent on this. http://rustysblog.com/2008/07/29/seeking-for-evidence/

    Reply
  8. Larry says:

    Rusty says
    “If I provide evidence for the Book of Mormon, does that mean you’ll believe?”

    Hasn’t that been the suject of my posts? Do you have evidence that FAIRS doesn’t have?

    Is it really true faith to believe without the evidence? The sign seekers Jesus condemned were those who knew He was the Christ and tried to use them to trap him: “Isn’t it unlawful to carry your bed on the sabbath. Yet Jesus continued to provide signs to all people through out the gospels.

    How can God remain just and not give the evidence?

    Reply
  9. Margaret says:

    Larry, as you may or may not know, I was once a Baptist. In my teens I realized that different pastors taught different doctrines, and it varied greatly from denomination to denomination. I knew there had to be truth somewhere, something more than what I knew. During my college years I searched every church I could find, and still came up empty. I gave up for a couple of years, and then found the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

    I doubt that anything I could ever say could convince you or many others. Only the Holy Ghost could do that. However, I found all the evidence I need to prove to me that this is the only true church on the face of the Earth. Our teachings show us the way, not just to salvation, but also exaltation.

    I have many faults, shortcomings and deficiencies, but i do know the truth when I hear it. I will be forever grateful for the things I have learned and will yet learn and yearn to share them with whoever will listen. I’m just sad when people won’t listen.

    May God bless you and others to someday understand.

    Reply
  10. Jim B. says:

    Margaret,

    You say you were disillusioned with your previous Baptist faith, because of all the “different doctrines”. Yet, your new Mormon faith has espoused wildly varying doctrines (e.g. polygamy and the Seed of Cain doctrine) in its relatively short history. The only difference between the two is that the Mormon church maintains an authoritarian leadership which attaches “Thus saith the Lord” to its doctrinal deviations, disallowing dissidence and disagreement.

    At least the Baptists are open and honest enough to allow for an open and honest conversation about doctrinal matters; without clobbering its dissidents with “God told me so”.

    Reply
  11. Will Dunn says:

    I think you give a good description of the LDS system but I was never able to see how it works in real life.

    I’ve found reason and logic to be much better guides than prayer. For example, had there been any validity to the LDS system of “finding the truth” would Mark Hoffman have been able to fool the entire First Presidency and Boyd K. Packer the way he did?

    I know many who read this will cry “anti-Mormon” but I feel that it’s a valid question to ask.

    How are LDS feeling any better than the feelings of those in other religions who feel that their claims are true also?

    Reply
  12. Howard says:

    Larry,
    Ambiguity preserves agency. Proof invades agency.

    If you really want to learn the truth, willfully surrender you agency by sincerely asking God with total faith that He will answer. Proof in the form of manifestations of the Holy Ghost will come.

    Feel free to roll your eyes, but you’ll know it when you feel it.

    Reply
  13. Margaret says:

    Jim B
    There is a big difference between changes in doctrine and doctrine that differs from pastor to pastor. I really do love mainstream Christians. Many of them are my family and dear friends. I just have a problem with all the confusion.

    Through study and prayer, I have resolved the changes in doctrine you listed above. There is polygamy in my husband’s maternal line, and I have a Black son-in-law, so I have studied both extensively. I am OK with both of them.

    What we need to do is read ALL of the scriptures in context, bearing in mind the culture that existed at the time, and read them with our eyes wide open. That takes years of study and prayer.

    God bless all of you in your diligent studies.

    Reply
  14. Jim B. says:

    Margaret,

    “There is a big difference between changes in doctrine and doctrine that differs from pastor to pastor.”

    How so? And what makes the former preferable to the latter?

    The reality is that Mormonism has had its fair share of “differing pastors”. However, because of the hard LDS authoritarian structure, these dissidents simply leave and form their own splinter groups. (Of course, Christianity experiences the same splinter phenomenon with groups that radically depart from orthodoxy. E.g…. Mormonism.)

    “I really do love mainstream Christians.”

    And I really do love Mormons! Do you tell your Christian friends and family that their churches and faith are an abomination?

    God Bless

    Reply
  15. Martin S. says:

    Margaret, you are having problems with the confusion just like me. Welcome aboard. Any truth to any of this?

    Today, there are as many as 100 organizations claiming to be a part of the Latter Day Saint movement, most centered in Utah or Missouri. Most regard their own group, however small, to be the only legitimate Christian church. Most of these organizations are very small, but overall, but the second largest denomination, the Community of Christ, reports over 200,000 members.

    * The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. The Church of Jesus Christ, and the LDS) is by far the largest Mormon denomination. It is a continuation of the “Rocky Mountain Saint” branch of Mormonism.
    * The more liberal Community of Christ (formerly called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is second in size. It is a continuation of the “Prairie Saint” movement. Although generally referred to as “Mormons,” they do not use the term themselves, because of its association with polygamy and because they believe the name was not part of the original church.
    * Many additional small Mormon faith groups, including:
    o Aaronic Order: unknown membership; 6 centers; 20 ministers
    o Apostolic United Brethren: about 7,000 members. They disagree with the LDS’ decision to allow ordination of African-Americans and allowing women to assume leadership positions.
    o Church of Christ (Fetting/Bronson): about 2000 members
    o Church of Christ (Temple Lot): about 2400 members
    o The Church of Christ “With The Elijah Message,” established anew in 1929 12,500 members worldwide
    o Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite): about 2700 members
    o The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: about 11 million members
    o The Community of Christ: about 250,000 members. This denomination was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — the “RLDS Church”. It was formed in 1860 by remnants of the original church who did not make the trek to Utah. They reject certain beliefs and practices of the LDS church, including marriage sealing for eternity; they allow both men and women into the priesthood; their services are open to the public. They have about 250,000 members.
    o United Order Effort: a polygamy practicing group, excommunicated by the main LDS church, of perhaps 10,000 members
    o The Restoration Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It split from the Reorganized Church in 1991 because of the latter’s liberal theology. It is centered in Independence, Missouri, and had an estimated membership of 2,500 in mid-1996. They publish a periodical “The Restoration Advocate” six times a year.

    From Rusty: See my comments below

    Reply
  16. Martin S. says:

    When you tear down the beliefs that Christians have as confusing to justify people turning to Mormonism, are you also honest with them about all the different sects there as well?

    And after I receive the burning that the Book of Mormon is true, how do I know what sect to join? None of them!! Is it possible through someone else’s revelation that all the sects are now apostate! Will this ever end?

    Reply
  17. Margaret says:

    Martin S
    I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I shared my experience. I can’t tell anyone which Church to join. They only way anyone can decide that is to study, ponder and pray. The Holy Ghost will then tell you if you are sincere.

    I’m not here to tell anyone what to believe or what to do. I just happen to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church I have joined.

    If someone wants to know more, many of us would be glad to answer questions. I am not here to argue or debate, only share. If you’re not interested, then so be it. If that ever changes, let us know.
    Go in peace.

    Reply
  18. measure76 says:

    So Margaret, you’re saying if we disagree with you (we want to argue or debate), we should keep our mouths shut.

    But if we want to listen to your one-sided view of things, we can continue to keep our mouths shut (after asking approved questions,) while you put mormon-spin on everything?

    Not the way the real world works. Sorry.

    In the real world, things get accomplished by arguing and debating. that’s just the way it is. Good ideas win out, bad ideas, like mormonism, stay far away from mainstream status.

    Reply
  19. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Big Hos – You’re absolutely right. I try to remove all the ones I see, but some of them slip through the cracks. I’ve gone back and tried to remove the ones that I can find If I missed one, email me (rustylindquist@gmail.com).

    I don’t care if people have differing views, in fact I’m glad to see people disagree (if they didn’t, I’d be worried… after all, if the way is supposed to be straight and narrow, with few that find it, and everybody agreed with me, well… I’d begin to wonder).

    I also don’t mind expressions of non-Mormon opinion by way of respectful conversation and clarification on my blog, but I certainly won’t allow it to become a banner for anti-Mormon sentiment. If you’re simply Anti-Mormon, this isn’t a good place for you.

    But you also don’t have to be Mormon to be here, this is a home for all Christians, and all people who enjoy discussing gospel doctrines, and find value in those discussions, whether it be in simply gaining a clearer understanding of others views, or new ways to look at doctrine. But if all you’re here to do is post anti-Mormon stuff. Please don’t. There are too many other good, healthy, and important things for us to discuss.

    Reply
  20. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Jim B

    Let me ask you this. Did the doctrines taught by Christ seem strange to the traditional religionists of his day? Indeed, quite so. So why would it be so strange that when he restores his church in the fullness of times, some of the teachings would again fly in the face of traditional religionists? It’s folly to discount doctrine because it’s not traditional. You can see how well that worked in the days of Christ, today is no different.

    Reply
  21. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Howard,

    I really appreciate your insights on the value of a faith-driven gospel, as opposed to a proof-driven gospel, and how that relates to free agency, one of the most substantial concepts in the gospel of Christ.

    I was sitting on the beach today (we’re on vacation on the Oregon Coast, which is why I’ve been a bit lax the past couple days), discussing just this. I was talking with my brother in law, a doctor, and a very wise man that I deeply trust and respect, and we were talking about the recent (and increasingly recurring) theme lately of evidence.

    One of the things he said, that really stuck with me, was that the requirement to act by faith, is a gift of a merciful God. He explained that because we are accountable for the truth that we know (which is why we’re given line upon line, precept upon precept, that we might only learn as much as we are able to bear), not having proof of everything is a great blessing. For if all things were proven, and we were unable to discover them all in our own time, then we’d all be burdened with a tremendous amount of responsibility – indeed, more than we could bear. But instead, faith-based learning (as opposed to evidence-based testimony) allows us to increase line upon line, here a little there a little.

    I’ll post more about it later, but thought I’d share this brief portion now to the many regular followers that track comments.

    And thank you all (regardless of faith and belief), for being interested enough, and caring enough about these things of eternal consequence, that you dedicate your time to discovering and discussing the truth. No matter what you believe, I appreciate why you do what you do.

    Reply
  22. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Martin S

    I’ve never heard any of that so I certainly can’t vouch for any of it. What I can say is that it sounds an awful lot like it came from someone who had an awful lot of pent-up hatred and a lot of time on their hands that they were willing to spend refuting Mormonism.

    These types of professional critics who live and devote so much energy to tearing down others will always exist.

    So, since in our lives, we’ll be bound to encounter these people at some point, when you do, you must ask yourself the following…

    First, if the goodness of the fruit is supposed to bear witness to the goodness of the tree, and by their fruits ye shall know them. Is that kind of behavior the fruit of Christ? Did we see that from him, or any of his apostles? I don’t. Which would indicate to me that I’d be silly to give them any credence. Hence we have Krister Stendahl, the Lutheran Bishop who said (here) that if you want to know about a religion, you don’t go to their critics, you go to their source? This bishop recognized the obvious and inherent folly in such a practice. As should we.

    Second, is this “kind” of person, one that I think wise to trust as a source of information that could determine my salvation? Or would it be silly to base my judgments off someone of this nature?

    Still, could it be true, could there be so many who have said “hmm, I want to break off and form my own branch”? Yup, sure. So what does that show? In the end, we’re the same place we were in the beginning. We’re confronted with a bunch of religions, and each of us must decide which is right, by studying them out (from their source), and then asking God. Rather than spending so much time thrashing about, we just need to get going, read, search, ponder, and pray. It’s not terribly complicated. It’s also not easy (because of the potential inherent ramifications of our answer and their associated emotional baggage), but at least it’s not complicated.

    Reply
  23. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Measure 76

    Boy I sure didn’t ever see her say that (so the sensationalized accusation is rather rude and unnecessary, since she’s never reciprocated such hostility).

    That said, and back to our discussion, I do find it interesting that you think that in the real world things get accomplished by arguing and debating. Not sure what career you have, but I’ve never seen anything get done that way, there are always too many immovable opinions. Still, whether it’s that way in the real world or not is a moot point, since what we’re really discussing is the gospel.

    So then the question would be this – is that the way it is in the gospel? Clearly most Christians think so, since the creeds are canonized doctrines borne of such debate by committee. But looking at the Biblical record of the life of Christ and the creation of His church as recorded in the New Testament seems to not be that way. He says (1 Cor. 1:19) that he has “destroyed the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent”.

    There’s nothing divine about even the best results of the combined wisdom of the wise. So what, if not that, IS the mechanism in the gospel for coming to truth? He says in Ephesians 2:20 that we should be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets”, which is why “he gave some apostles, and some prophets… for the perfecting of the saints… for the edifying the body of Christ”.

    Indeed, while I think that discussion of principles is important, for it stretches our minds and makes us consider such sacred principles and their implications, in the end, we must follow the prophets. Which is why we have a living prophet on the church today, even Thomas S. Monson (click here to learn all about him).

    I invite all to listen to the prophet, considering “by their fruits ye shall know them”, and tell me if he is not a man of God. We know by scripture that the organization of God calls for Prophets, and here we one in our midst. What a glorious blessing it is, to know that divine doctrine and direction come from direct revelation to a prophet today, just as in times of old, as opposed to a collection of compromises by committee.

    Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, I testify of it.

    Reply
  24. Howard says:

    Rusty,
    I love the Oregon coast, what a great place to ponder these questions.

    The Spirit is very respectful of agency; I believe this paces our learning. But, in my experience, it is possible to speed things up by surrendering our agency to the Lord in prayer, letting him know that we are his servant and following the Spirit.

    This is one of our main goals, to follow Christ’s example by laying down our will for the will of the Father. The earlier we do it the faster we learn.

    But, when we do this it is also good to remember that God’s ways are not our ways, as the pace increases the road can become very bumpy. As we literally place our lives in his hands he often uses the opportunity to tear down the old making way for the new.

    I’m looking forward to your upcoming post.

    Reply
  25. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Howard,

    That was beautifully said. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, with your permission, I’d like to turn it into a post (giving you credit of course for the contribution). But I think it contains wisdom and principles that all would benefit from.

    As for the Oregon coast, yes, It is beyond beautiful. What could be sweeter than letting your mind sup on eternal principles as you listen to the waves crash against the shore, and watch your beautiful children frolic about you. Of course, I’m making sand-castles, and running away from waves with my 2 year old as much as anything, but I truly believe that vacations are irreplaceable family builders, even in their simplest form.

    Reply
  26. measure76 says:

    Testifying that Thomas Monson is a prophet of GOD proves nothing. Anybody can say anything.

    And yes, in the world of public opinion, argument and debate is what drives the issues.

    But seriously, I can testify that the Flying Spaghetti Monster Lives. It doesn’t make it true, any more than you testifying of a GOD makes it true.

    Interesting how you’re quick to discount testimony, but simultaneously quick to point out how things happen in the real world. Yet in the real world, decision, laws, and the fate of humans through our legal system are all determined, in part, by testimony. Testimony is powerful, even when it is inconvenient.

    As for margaret, I think she basically did say those things. In saying she won’t argue or debate, but she will answer questions, she’s invalidating any question that might lead to argument or debate. that’s a lot of questions that she’s warning us off of from the get go.

    Reply
  27. Margaret says:

    Rusty,
    Thanks for coming to my defense. And have a wonderful vacation. One of my daughters recently went up there with her husband’s family and absolutely loved it!

    Measure76, I’m sorry if I came off that way. I enjoy conversing and discussing things, Arguing not so much. If you want to argue, I guess someone else would be better. I disagree with your view of good vs bad ideas. Mormonism is my life, and many blessings have come to me because of it. If your goal is to attack me because of that, I’m not interested. If you want to discuss something, I’m open.

    Reply
  28. Jim B. says:

    Margaret said:

    “I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I shared my experience. I can’t tell anyone which Church to join. They only way anyone can decide that is to study, ponder and pray. The Holy Ghost will then tell you if you are sincere.

    I’m not here to tell anyone what to believe or what to do. I just happen to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and the church I have joined.”

    I’ve encountered this language several times on this blog and in conversation with other Mormons. It seems to be an attempt to be non-judgmental. Yet, even in this very post-modern, touchy-feely, I’m-OK-you’re-OK language, the Mormon IS judging: “The Holy Ghost will then tell you IF YOU ARE SINCERE.” The clear meaning being, “If you study, ponder and pray… and determine that the LDS faith is false, then you are not sincere.”

    I don’t mean to aim this only at you, Margaret. This is an extraordinarily common tack with many Mormons. I just wish you all could be honest enough to come right out with your judgments: Christianity is an abomination, and the LDS faith is the ONLY way to salvation/exaltation. While I completely disagree with this Mormon position, I would have much more respect for those who hold it if they would simply come out and acknowledge it. The whole “I’m not making any judgment on anyone or any other church, I’m just saying that I personally have a testimony… blah, blah, blah” is really disingenuous. You are making a judgment. And that’s fine. Have the integrity to be open and honest about that judgment.

    From Rusty: I’m not quite sure how you distinguish this from any of the other Christian denominations. They (you) too think that you’re right, and we’re wrong, and if put in the same circumstance (us asking you why then we’d been told by the spirit that it’s right), you’d be saying the same thing – that we were told wrong, and why. There’s nothing unique here, in spite of your determination to target the situation to Mormons.

    God Bless

    Reply
  29. Jim B. says:

    Randy,

    Don’t worry, you wouldn’t believe how often that happens.

    “Did the doctrines taught by Christ seem strange to the traditional religionists of his day? Indeed, quite so. So why would it be so strange that when he restores his church in the fullness of times, some of the teachings would again fly in the face of traditional religionists?”

    That’s a non-argument. “Some religious leaders opposed Christ’s teaching, therefore if some religious leaders of other future eras oppose Doctrine X, this opposition serves to validate Doctrine X.” This is completely illogical.

    From Rusty: It’s not a non-argument, it’s just not meant to be a conclusive argument. The point point of mentioning that Christ’s teachings were not well received at the time was not to conclusively show that Mormonism is true, just because people disagree with it, but rather to show that it’s folly to discount doctrine just because it’s not popular, or flies in the face of tradition. As illustrated by the times of Christ – that foundation for judgement is illogical and unsound.

    And you said to Martin regarding his list of Mormon churches,

    “I’ve never heard any of that so I certainly can’t vouch for any of it. What I can say is that it sounds an awful lot like it came from someone who had an awful lot of pent-up hatred and a lot of time on their hands that they were willing to spend refuting Mormonism.”

    Wow. That’s awfully judgmental and uncharitable. Hatred? Do you know Martin? How is it that you can see into the motives of his heart? Of course, the same could be said of many Mormon leaders who have said some pretty horrific things about the Christian church.

    This list is not original, it wasn’t created by Martin, rather they’re a regurgitation (most likely just a copy/paste) of anti-Mormon propaganda that flows around the internet like some sort of virus, propagated mostly by those who have more interest in destroying than building.

    I let the comment stand (and didn’t delete it, despite its anti-Mormon, propaganda-like nature, simply because I respected Martin’s claim at sincerity, and trusted that he’s not one of these people, but rather one who encountered such information, and sincerely sought to verify/discount it.
    But we must all judge the information we encounter, as well as the characters of those who deliver it.

    When it comes to our eternal salvation, we should not be anything less than the most discerning.
    And as such, when we do encounter such false and corrosive doctrine and practices, we should not hesitate to speak out about them with honesty (as Christ did, and in response to your second post).

    “First, if the goodness of the fruit is supposed to bear witness to the goodness of the tree, and by their fruits ye shall know them. Is that kind of behavior the fruit of Christ? Did we see that from him, or any of his apostles? I don’t.”

    Again, awfully judgmental. So, Martin is a “bad tree”? You’re able to discern this from a blog comment?

    Might be, but that’s not for me to judge. What I CAN judge is the fruits, it is we who associate ourselves with our fruits, for we create them out of our actions.

    And Christ didn’t try to tear down other religions? Really?

    Mat. 23:27 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

    Christ’s whole aim was to tear down the religious system of the Pharisees. What about that whole episode in the temple with the moneychangers?

    It’s funny how frequently this comes up to justify efforts to tear down other religions. If someone was defiling your temple, you too would be justified in such a response. But to say that such a response is reasonable and Christ-like at all times is a sad (and innacurate) understanding of the life of Christ. Look at his life again, and tell me if you see a pattern of Christ seeking to tear down other religions, or instead if what you find is that he goes about teaching the truth, and when others come to tear him down, he puts them in his place. I can tell you right now you’ll find the latter, and the two are not the same, not even close. Yet somehow people use that to justify their anti-Mormon behavior, which is unfortunate, and is an action for which they’ll all be accountible (whether Mormonism is right or not).

    Not to mention you didn’t even attempt to answer Martin’s point: the reality that there are MANY Mormon churches. Your ignorance of them doesn’t change the fact that they exist. The fact your branch of LDS – which, granted, is far and away the largest – rejects all these others and claims to be the only true church does not solve the REALITY that these other Mormon churches in fact DO exist. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church’s claim to be the only true Christian church does not wash away the existence of millions of Protestant Christian churches.

    But I did answer him. As I said before, if small sects have segregated themselves off of the Mormon church, or the original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as established by the prophet Joseph Smith, that doesn’t change anything. What does that change?

    I’m not sure why someone would imply that this is derogatory, for by so implying, they also imply the same thing for all Christianity, for none of them are the original.

    P.S. And you should really lay off on trumpeting Krister Stendahl. You do know that he was a liberal and a universalist? (And a forebear of the New Perspective on Paul.) This is why he says to ignore critics: all roads lead to God for Stendahl, and all religions are just peachy. If all roads are equally valid, then of course, criticism becomes wholly unnecessary.

    To point to Stendahl as a Christian theologian who should speak to serious (read: Bible-believing) Christians is either ignorant or dishonest.

    I simply think you judge him falsley. I think he meant exactly what he said, that if you want to know about something, you should go to the source. Interpret his words how you may, but it sounds an awful lot like justification to NOT do it to me.

    Reply
  30. Margaret says:

    Jim B
    First, it’s Rusty. I guess that’s not the first time he’s been called Randy :o)

    I can’t see where I said the Holy Ghost would tell everyone the same thing He told me. I’ll admit that I believe he will, but I have nothing to do with that. It’s between you and the Holy Ghost, but you do need to be sincere to get his answer. I’ll admit that I am biased. Sort of sounds like you are, too. We just don’t agree.

    Reply
  31. Jim B. says:

    AHHH!!!! I can’t believe I did it again! Rusty. Rusty. Rusty. I think the R…y spelling comes out more naturally as Randy for my fingers. Weird…

    “Biased” isn’t quite the right word, Margaret. You must believe that all “sincere” seekers will be bosom-burned by the Holy Spirit and told that the LDS faith is true. This is what Mormonism teaches and what you and others have explicitly stated.

    And given Mormonism’s view on absolute free agency/free will, the only difference between the Mormon and the Mormon-rejecter is the individual’s free will. So, you, Margaret, are simply better than me – more sincere, faithful, responsive to the Holy Spirit, etc. It must be so, since I have studied, pondered, prayed and rejected Mormonism. And since God doesn’t violate or influence an individual’s free will/free agency, the problem can’t be Him, but must be me.

    You see, orthodox Christianity holds the individual to be dead in trespasses and sins, unable to embrace the Gospel without a divine enablement. So, my status in Christ, as opposed to yours, is not a matter of my superior sincerity, faithfulness, goodness, etc. It is simply a matter of Amazing Grace! And so, I have hope and faith that God can and will work in you, Rusty, et. al.

    From Rusty: This is an interesting philosophy – that we’re unable to embrace the gospel without divine enablement. So I don’t embrace orthodox Christianity because I haven’t been divinely enabled. Yet what kind of God would do that, what kind of God would play favorites like that – does he love one more than another? Why would he choose you over me? Isn’t that the same thing as saying you’re better? Could you clarify?

    So yes, I too am “biased”. I’m not trying to pretend I’m not. I guess that’s my beef. I wish Mormons would be more up-front about their beliefs that the LDS faith is the only true faith, that those who study, ponder, pray… and don’t become converted are necessarily “insincere”, and that all those Christians who reject Mormonism belong to an “abomination” of a church. That is what you believe, isn’t it?

    And yes, I do believe Mormonism is a false religion, with a false prophet and a false gospel. Honesty demands that I be up front about that. I simply think interfaith conversations between Mormons and Christians would be more productive if all sides were honest and transparent about these things.

    God Bless

    Reply
  32. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Jim, (by the way, I’ve added comments to your post above). But by way of your last comment…

    It’s pretty simple, and it’s not specific to Mormonism. IF Mormonism is true (or whatever religion you are praying about), and if when you prayed about it and were told that it wasn’t, then you are wrong. How could you get the wrong answer? I expound upon that fully here “whose answer is right?.

    So yes, the problem lays in the individual, not God, not the religion. But again, that is IF the religion you are praying about is true, and you’re told that it isn’t, then of course it’s your problem.

    So you have to truly ask yourself if any of those things in that link I provided earlier apply to you, and it is up to you to seek sincerely, ask in faith, and put your trust in God.

    Your disbelief in Mormonism is of no help, for we must all decide for ourselves. And the true religion will have many disbelievers (for the path is supposed to be straight and narrow, with few there be that find it).

    Reply
  33. Jim B. says:

    Rusty,

    RE: Krister Stendahl

    I didn’t say you were wrongly applying “Stendahl’s Three Rules of Religious Understanding”. I’m saying Stendahl was, regardless of your judgment of him, a liberal who did not take the Bible seriously as the inspired Word of God. He was also a universalist. He did not believe that Christ is the only way to the Father. So, for someone who believes there are numerous legitimate paths to God, then it would make sense that he would discourage listening to religious critics.

    Additionally, I don’t disagree that one SHOULD listen to the proponents of a religion to understand that religion. That’s why I spend time here. However, I reject the notion that one shouldn’t listen to critics as well. If one were to follow this strictly, one would necessarily end up a universalist.

    Besides, you listen to critics of my faith by mere virtue of your being a Mormon. And vice versa.

    RE: Whose Answer is Right?

    You still end up, like Margaret, holding that you are a Mormon and I am not, because you are smarter, more sincere, more faithful, more spiritual, etc. than I am. How else can you explain the difference? I don’t say this primarily as a criticism, but to simply point out the reality.

    As a Christian, I don’t believe Christ relates savingly to me and not you, because I am in any way superior to you. I believe it is only by divine grace that I am saved, and therefore I hold out hope that He will in the same way show that saving grace to you.

    From Rusty: Well either his grace is sufficient or it isn’t. Here you talk about the sufficiency of his atonement, that you are saved by grace, but that I am not, in other words his grace is sufficient for you, but not me. Why? And how can he be “sufficient” on the one hand, and “insuficient” on the other – that’s a contradiction. If his grace is sufficient for you, but insuficient for me, then you’re saying that it’s only sufficient if I do certain things, but then that’s back to the story of works – that it’s the right combination of both that earns us our exaltation. Can you explain?

    God Bless

    Reply
  34. Margaret says:

    Try clicking on “Whose answer is right” under answers to questions on the right. Rusty, I couldn’t get your link above to work. Maybe it’s just my computer.

    Reply
  35. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Margaret,

    Thanks for telling me, I just fixed it. I’d programed it wrong… not enough sleep.

    Jim,

    It’s true, in the end, I guess you could still boil it down to “we’re right, and you’re wrong”. But then again, is that much different than how you would compare yourself to us? Based on your view, are we saved? How about one of the millions who don’t believe in Jesus Christ? If no, then I guess we’re basically in the same boat.

    I also assume that’s why the Bible emphasises so much the importance of missionary work. It seems like it stands to reason that if it truly didn’t matter, then why bother.

    Reply
  36. Jim B. says:

    Rusty,

    “It’s true, in the end, I guess you could still boil it down to “we’re right, and you’re wrong”. But then again, is that much different than how you would compare yourself to us?”

    Yes, it is much different.

    Of course, we both think we’re right and the other wrong. That’s not the point. I’m talking about the foundation of your perception of your rightness. WHY do you think you’re right? Given your view (the Mormon view) of free agency, that WHY must be answered by something in you that is intrinsically better, or more suited for salvation/exaltation, than that which is in me.

    So no, I would not compare myself to you in the same way you compare yourself to me. I am saved by grace, through faith, and it is all a gift of God’s grace. I have merited nothing from God. I did not desire God until He desired me. I did not embrace Christ because I am in any way superior to or more suited than those who have not embraced Him.

    “Based on your view, are we saved?”

    No. But I am trusting, hoping and praying that Christ will shine His light on your heart, allowing you to see for the first time His sufficiency and beauty; that He will enable you to trust wholly and only on His righteousness, mercy and grace.

    God Bless

    Interesting. I reply in a dedicated comment below…

    Reply
  37. Margaret says:

    Jim B,
    It isn’t quite clear to me. Are you saying we think we are better than others, or that we think God loves us more than He does others? If that’s what you think, you are mistaken.

    We know that God is no respector of persons. He loves all of his children equally. All races, cultures and creeds. However, the ones who follow his commandments more closely, and serve his children the most, are the ones He will reward the most. People like Mother Teresa are sure to gain His highest rewards. Few reach her level of righteousness.

    I feel that accepting the fullness of the gospel shows us the way, but it’s what we do with our knowledge that determines where we go. If I sit at home at my computer all day, I won’t get very far. I have to get out amd find things I can do to help others. to get where I want to go. In other words, I need to BE the Lord’s hands.

    Reply
  38. Jim B. says:

    Margaret,

    I’m saying, according to the Mormon view of free agency, the only way to explain the difference between you, one who studied, pondered, prayed and embraced Mormonism, and me, one who studied, pondered, prayed and rejected Mormonism, is something within you that is better than that which is within me.

    Not necessarily. I address this too in a dedicated comment below.

    If God is not the deciding factor in who is saved/exalted and who is not, but man (and his free agency) is (which is the Mormon view), then the only way to describe the difference between you and I is that you are in some way superior to me or more suited for the Mormon gospel.

    I don’t mean to say that you consciously live day to day believing yourself to be superior to me and others like me, but that is the only logical conclusion to draw from your theology.

    I simply mean to contrast this with the Gospel of Christ that is a free gift of divine grace, given truly without any respect to persons. I am saved, and you are not (as a Mormon), not because I was/am more spiritually atuned or intelectually capable of grasping the Gospel, but because God graciously opened my eyes to the truth and beauty of Christ and His accomplishments for me on the Cross.

    Wait, in one sentence you say his grace is a free gift, given truly without respect to persons, and in the next sentence you contradict that statement by saing that Mormons aren’t saved. See my comments below.

    This gives me great hope that God can and will do this for you, Randy and countless other Mormons.

    P.S. It’s Rusty, LOL

    God Bless

    Reply
  39. Margaret says:

    Jim,
    I have a hard time believing that one of us is better than the other. I sense that you are a good person, just by the respect you show to someone who disagrees with you. I really appreciate that. Certainly we have very different opinions. My belief is strong that we are saved by grace, after all we can do (works). We could labor every hour of every day of our lives and we would be unprofitable servants. Still, the effort is important. The grace comes in to make up the difference.

    I hope that someday you, too, will understand the Gospel as I do. We “Mormons” will be just fine, if we live the Gospel as we understand it.

    Reply
  40. Jim B. says:

    Romans 3:9b-12

    For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:

    “None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”

    It’s mistaken to interpret this as justification for the doctrine that all man are born into sin. Here he’s simply saying that man is not justified through the law of moses, alone, but through righteousness by faith in Christ, made possible through his atonement. This is not litterally saying that no one does good. The Bible itself shows this, for we are encouraged to “become perfect”. Is that good? Just a little. To say that this is explicitly litteral would be to accept the lack of opposition, if there was no good, then there would be no evil. This is simply saying that the law doesn’t justify man, rather faith in Christ through the atonement.

    Anyone who believes they will be “just fine” before God at the judgment if they “live the Gospel” will most certainly not be fine. The Gospel is not of works, but of faith. The Gospel is not a divine quid pro quo (IF you – man – do this, THEN I – God – will do that). No one will ever make God his debtor, owing him something for accomplishing some works. Works are the fruit and evidence of genuine faith and regeneration – they do not produce or in any way work for this faith and regeneration.

    You say that this is not a gospel of works. Which is odd, since all of the commandments are things that we must DO, and he says that we shall be judged according to our works, and that by their works ye shall know them, that we should be doers, and not hearers only, that we should become perfect, that we will be rendered according to our deeds, and that faith without works is dead, that he shall render to every man according to his deeds, etc. Indeed, the gospel of Christ is one of works, even if you don’t accept them as a component of exaltation (which you must, if you say that you are saved and we are not). It’s the same thing I have covered extensively with all the scriptures here. For this to be true you’ll have to find alternate explinations to these seemingly obvious scriptures (which coincidentally, none have endeavored to do, even though the post has been there for two months).

    Run to Christ! Trust in Him and His righteousness alone!

    God Bless

    Reply
  41. Margaret says:

    Jim B
    We disagree and I can’t see us agreeing any time soon. When we stand before Christ, one of us will have to change.
    Peace, and God Bless.

    Reply
  42. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Jim,
    Under the paradigm of free agency, one doesn’t choose the right while another chooses the wrong because he or she is intrinsically better. There are far too many variables at play in every decision that confronts us, including decisions regarding religious preference.

    Take for example marketing. A good marketer knows that you must send a message not once but dozens and dozens of times, waiting for that perfect moment when the person that picks up your ad is perfectly prepared. They may have seen it even hundreds of times before, but not until they see it at just the right moment in their lives, does the message hit them the way it was intended. In short, there are often hundreds upon hundreds of “failures” before you get a win.

    There are people that have had the chance to hear the gospel, who have been confronted with the Book of Mormon, and the Prophet Joseph Smith, and who have turned away, only to embrace them at a later time, at a time when their lives were more suitably prepared for it.

    As such, God, in his infinite wisdom, is the only one that knows when one person has had ample opportunity. Until that time, and for those of us who endeavor to teach His gospel, it is our lot to simply keep trying, keep teaching, keep reaching out. For the time just might come, when that one who so vigorously rejected it before, will be prepared to accept it in the future.

    Take for instance Paul from the bible. Was he intrinsically worse than the believers because of his initial refusal to believe? Nope, he just wasn’t prepared. He who was their harshest critic soon became their most dedicated ally. But our own individual circumstances needn’t be nearly so polarized as Paul’s for the principle to still apply.

    As such, even those who regularly refute my endeavors to teach the truth, I continue to testify to, to reach out to, and to be patient with, for who am I to say that the time won’t come when they too, will become Mormonisms most dedicated ally.

    I’ve also added additional comments under some of the posts above, where appropriate, to better keep them segregated.

    Reply
  43. Rusty Lindquist says:

    Sorry if I’m having a hard time following. I fail to see the distinction you’re trying to make. You say that due to the foundation of Mormon teachings, we think we’re right because we’re intrinsically better. See my comment above about that. But in either regard, any time someone says “I’m right, you’re wrong” (which you admit we both do), you’re making a value statement.

    You say “I did not desire God until He desired me”. Which means to say I don’t believe as you do because God does not desire me.

    And in the same breath you state that I am not saved. Yet you talk about His sufficiency. You say that in the “…gospel of Christ that is a free gift of divine grace, given truly without any respect to persons.”

    I’m not sure how you reconcile those statements, in one breath stating that I’m not saved, and in the other that grace is given to all, for free, that it is sufficient.

    The only way for that to work (for me to not be saved under your paradigm) is to say that his grace is insufficient, for I am not saved, but you are.

    But if that is the case, what makes that distinction? How are you saved and I am not? You say it’s because you embrace Christ, yet I embrace Christ. So what causes you to be saved and not me? The implication is that it’s the decisions you make (to believe, to act, whatever), whereas my decisions lead me to not be saved. In short, we’re saying the same thing – belief is not enough, our decisions also determine our exaltation.

    Reply
  44. Jim B. says:

    Rusty,

    “Wait, in one sentence you say his grace is a free gift, given truly without respect to persons, and in the next sentence you contradict that statement by saing that Mormons aren’t saved. See my comments below.”

    Wow. That’s asinine, Rusty, and I think you know it. You’re too smart to have completely misinterpreted what I said.

    How are these two things contradictions (“God is no respecter of persons” & “Mormons aren’t saved”)? If I were to have said, “God is not a respecter of persons & God doesn’t save Christ-rejecting child molesters”, would you respond, “Aha! See, God IS a respecter of persons, because He rejects those who reject Him!” [And no, I don’t believe Mormons and child molesters are morally equivalent; I’m simply using an extreme example to draw out a point.] Of course, you would not, because a “respecter of persons” has nothing to do with God rejecting those who reject Him, but speaks to God not giving grace to Jews only, or the wise only, or the successful only, etc., but all kinds and types of persons.

    “There are people that have had the chance to hear the gospel, who have been confronted with the Book of Mormon, and the Prophet Joseph Smith, and who have turned away, only to embrace them at a later time, at a time when their lives were more suitably prepared for it.”

    And, of course, there are those (like me) who have heard the Mormon message countless times (and will continue to hear it) and will continue to reject it. So we are again back to the question: Why?

    “Take for instance Paul from the bible. Was he intrinsically worse than the believers because of his initial refusal to believe? Nope, he just wasn’t prepared.”

    Really? You believe Paul’s conversion came on the Damascus road, because he was suddenly “prepared” in a way that he was not previously? How so? Paul was en route to Damascus with letters from the High Priest to persecute more Christians when Christ knocked him on the ground and took his sight (Acts 9). Paul did not prepare himself, Christ acted on Paul, changing his heart and causing him to follow and preach Christ, instead of persecuting His followers.

    Rusty, Paul is probably the worst example you could have offered to support the notion that an individual prepares himself for the Gospel.

    “You say “I did not desire God until He desired me”. Which means to say I don’t believe as you do because God does not desire me.”

    I have no idea whether or not God desires you savingly, Rusty. Time will tell, and I have great hope and faith that God can save any, even you, Rusty! After all, God is no respecter of persons. He saves even Mormons (out of Mormonism, of course). ; )

    “And in the same breath you state that I am not saved. Yet you talk about His sufficiency. You say that in the “…gospel of Christ that is a free gift of divine grace, given truly without any respect to persons.”

    I’m not sure how you reconcile those statements, in one breath stating that I’m not saved, and in the other that grace is given to all, for free, that it is sufficient.”

    I never said God’s saving grace is given to all. You still fail to understand what “respecter of persons” actually means. It does not mean that God saves all (which it would have to mean in the sense in which you seem to understand the phrase), but that God saves whom He wills to save, and is not bound to save any particular types or kinds of people – Jews, Gentiles, whites, blacks, men, women, wise, foolish, rich, poor, etc.

    I don’t expect to convince you of my position here, but hopefully I’ve made the distinction I’m trying to make clearer.

    God Bless

    Reply
  45. Rober Pare says:

    The “burning in my bosom…” is caused by my hope to see all such delusional thought, belief, action and feeling be eradicated from the human race so that we may live without the taint of sush poisoin.
    Gather up all the “sacred” toys and texts that you think you need to justify your existence and toss them into the sun. In fifty years none will miss this false and destroying offal that has held mankind back for so many ages.
    That is what I feel when reaching inside and seeking the spirit (which is me).
    I am so sorry for you all and testify (sic) that you may indeed me led astray by your religion yet there is some spark of humanity in you. Let it free.

    Reply

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