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LDS Articles of Faith, part XVII

Article Four, Repentance (continued)

The Twelfth LDS Prophet, Spencer W. Kimball said, “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” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206). But in John 6:47 Jesus said, “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.” So, Kimball attributed what Jesus said to Satan! The title of chapter fifteen of Kimball’s book is "Keeping God’s Commandments Brings Forgiveness” and on p. 208 he said, “Immortality (which LDS say is resurrection) has been accomplished by the Savior’s sacrifice. Eternal life hangs in the balance awaiting the works of men.” Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth LDS Prophet, said, “Individual (salvation is) that which man merits through his own acts through life and by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. I, p. 134). If one merits eternal life by what he does, that is NOT a gift but it is what he earned. Rom. 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But Kimball said, “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 surrender, with great humility and ‘a broken heart and 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.” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 224-225). Mortals don’t live for centuries, so Kimball implies repentance and forgiveness after death.

LDS Apostle James Talmage says on p.115 of the Articles of Faith, “We learn from the (LDS) scriptures that repentance may be obtained under certain conditions, beyond the veil of mortality (after death). Between the times of His death and resurrection, Christ ‘preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah’; these the Son visited, and unto them He preached the Gospel, ‘that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterward received it.’” Talmage used part of I Pet. 3:19-20 with LDS scripture in Doctrine & Covenants (D. & C.) 76:72-74 which distorted what Peter wrote. Peter did not say that Jesus preached “the gospel” to the spirits of dead men who were disobedient in the days of Noah nor did he say that any of them repented. Those ideas came from D. & C. 76:72-74 which says, “These are they who died without law; and also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.”

Joseph F. Smith, the sixth LDS Prophet, said he had a vision that is now D. & C. 138. Verse 29 says, “The Lord went NOT in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them.” That contradicts what Talmage and D. & C. 76:72-74 said. D. & C. 138:36-37 also says, “Our redeemer spent His time during His sojourn in the world of spirits, instructing and preparing the faithful spirits of the prophets who had testified of Him in the flesh; that they might carry the message of redemption unto all the dead, unto whom He could not go personally, because of their rebellion and transgression.” If Christ could not go to unbelievers, to whom did He preach the Gospel as D. & C. 76:73 says? The “faithful spirits’ were already believers, so they didn’t need it! D. & C. 76:72 says, “These are they who died without law.” If they died without the law, they didn’t need to hear the gospel because they were already alive in Christ according to the Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:22! It says, “For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also ALL they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on ALL them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing.” If these LDS scriptures sound contradictory it is because they are!

The LDS interpretation of I Peter 3:19-20 contradicts other Biblical texts. Later translations of the Bible like the New American Standard Bible (NASB) make I Pet. 3:19-20 easier to understand than the King James Version used by LDS. The NASB says I Pet 3:19, “In which also He went and made a proclamation to the spirits now in prison who once were disobedient when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons were brought safely through the water.” It does not say that Jesus’ proclamation was the gospel. That would imply that salvation is possible after death which would contradict what other Bible texts teach. For example, Heb. 9:27 says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” And II Cor. 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” No Bible text offers salvation after death!

The Book of Mormon (B. of M.) even agrees with the Bible on this point. It says that now is the time to repent in Alma 34:32-35: “For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. And now as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed. Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world. For behold, if ye have procrastinated the day of your repentance until death, behold, ye have become subjected to the spirit of the devil and he doth seal you his; therefore, the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you, and hath no place in you, and the devil hath all power over you; and this is the final state of the wicked.” And Alma 42:16 adds, “Now, repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment, which also was eternal as the life of the soul should be, affixed opposite to the plan of happiness, which was as eternal as the life of the soul.” Does that sound like one can repent after this earthly life ends? So, this LDS scripture contradicts the LDS scripture in D. & C. 76:72-74. Is God the Author of confusion?

Next time we will discuss baptism in the fourth Article of Faith.

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