Trevor is a young man who has a real heart for Mormons. This year we were able to help him join our team with Rob and Doug witnessing at the Manti Utah Pageant.
My experience in Manti, Utah in June of 2015 was spectacular as usual! This was my third year to attend this event. I explored the following two concepts with the people that I spoke with: the concepts of fullness and forgiveness. Christians and Latter-day Saints (LDS) seem to view these concepts through a different lens. Christians believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God which cannot be added to or subtracted from and that it is the fullness of truth. LDS believe that the Bible is the word of God as far as it is correctly translated, as stated in the 8th Article of Faith. They also use the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, as scripture. Regarding forgiveness, Christians believe that all sins; past, present, and future were all forgiven the moment that Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross; while LDS disagree.
This year, I took my 1981 edition of The Book of Mormon with me out on the streets of the city. I stood on the corner of a walkway and I asked LDS people who went by if they would answer a quick question concerning the introduction of The Book of Mormon which I held in my hands. In the 1981 introduction it says, “The Book of Mormon is a volume of Holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” So, my question to them was, “If the Bible is already the fullness of the everlasting gospel; why do we need the Book of Mormon and other scripture?” I used the illustration of a glass that is full of water. I explained that you cannot add more water to something that is already full. Most of the people seemed to understand my point; yet I am unsure if they were able to apply this concept to their religious beliefs. Most of my conversations would then go to the forgiveness of sins.
I asked them if it was possible to be forgiven of all their sins; past, present, and future. A response that I heard frequently was that Jesus forgave past sins only if that person was trying to keep the commandments at the time and only if he was actively trying to not perform those sins. God’s power was not enough to overtake the sin, it required a supreme effort from the offender. Regarding present sins, I asked if it was truly possible to keep the commandments in order to receive forgiveness for current sins. Every response was “No, but that doesn’t stop me from trying!”
Regarding future sins, most said that they could not be forgiven in this element of time. I have a book on my phone called The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball, who was a prophet of the LDS Church from 1973-1985. I showed them several quotes throughout the book where he said that trying is weak, and that it is impossible to ever receive forgiveness as an LDS follower.
We reviewed three of the saddest verses in their holy scripture. The first one is in the Book of Mormon in Alma 11:37. “Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.” I asked if they will die in their sins and the response was “Yes, but I can repent in the next life.” We looked at Alma 34:32-35 which says that a person must repent of all their sins in this life and not the next. I asked them if they have repented of all their sins. The answer was “No, but God will work it out in the next life.”
We looked at Psalm 113 and Hebrews 9, and discussed how Jesus has already forgiven all of my sins. We also considered another scripture from a sacred book of theirs, Doctrine and Covenants 82:7 which says, “And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.” We compared this to Ephesians 2:8-9 where it shows that God has already forgiven all sin and how he remembers them no more.
Jesus Christ is the fullness of all truth and nothing can be added of subtracted from His message of salvation, forgiveness, and reconciliation to the Father. The highlight of the week was when two young girls I spoke with saw that salvation is impossible in Mormonism, and how salvation is only possible through Jesus Christ. They accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Jesus Christ is the fullness of all truth and due to His sacrificial work on the Cross, we are able to come boldly to the throne of grace.
Blessings to all,