Ed Decker, a long-time critic of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days and a former member of it, regularly exposes the doctrine and ordinances of the LDS Church to serious and severe ridicule. He is the author of many polemical tracts and books, fighting against the kingdom of God on the earth and the establishment of Zion.
His latest effort is a podcast entitled “To Moroni With Love,” the premise of which is that “The Mormon and the Christian worship at entirely different altars, with gospels that fully separate the one from the other.” Of course, this is precisely the reason that the Mormons have proclaimed, since 1845, that the “only salvation remaining for the gentiles is for them [to repent and to be baptized and] to be identified in the same covenant and to worship at the same altar as Israel.”
The restored gospel, as the Saints refer to it, is the fullness of the gospel, which the Father preserved in the records of the ancient inhabitants of America, which was sent forth from the earth in 1830 to bear witness of the Only Begotten of the Father, his resurrection from the dead, and the resurrection of all men.
This record is the fulfillment of many Biblical prophecies, but especially that of Isaiah Chapter 29, wherein the work associated with it is described as a Marvelous Work and Wonder that Jehovah promised to perform, which would turn the works of darkness upside down and cause the wisdom of the wise to perish and the understanding of the prudent to vanish.
This great work, which the Lord calls his “strange work, his act, his strange act,” is nothing less that the restoration of the house of Israel to the lands of their inheritances. Their return will be so marvelous, says the prophet, that its associated miracles will eclipse those shown the world in the days when Moses was sent to gather the children of Israel out of Egypt for the first time.
Moreover, as he sets his hand to gather his ancient covenant people from “Egypt” the second time, a sealed book will be revealed in the which voices from the dust will whisper from the ground. Their message will whisper out the dust, as if one who had a familiar spirit had the power to give them voice.
The words of the book will cause the meek to increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men to rejoice in the Holy One of Israel, because they will see that the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off, including those that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.
But this is not all: The Lord says that Jacob will no longer be ashamed of his rebellious children, who have been scattered and smitten. His face will no longer turn pale, when he sees that the Lord’s work has gathered them together, that they now sanctify the name of the Holy One of Israel and worship the God of their fathers, because this great work of the Lord has turned their hearts to him.
Then it shall come to pass that those who erred in spirit (we hope Mr. Decker is one of them) shall come to understanding, and those who murmured (a perfect description of Mr. Decker’s behavior) will learn doctrine.
The new understanding that comes to those who have erred in spirit, will enable them to comprehend that the restoration of the gospel, with the keys and power thereof and judgment, in the hands of his servants, that is, the restoration of the Church among the Gentiles, is essential to the restoration and gathering of the house of Israel.
The doctrine that those who murmured learn is that the spirits of the children of men are the offspring of God, as Paul taught the Romans. They learn that we all lived with our Father in Heaven, before the foundation of the world, and we rejoiced. Together, we shouted for joy, when we learned the plan of salvation that would make it possible for us to come to earth, gain a second estate as physical beings, taste the bitter that we might learn to appreciate the sweet, and discover that a Savior had been provided for us, so that we could return again and enter into the presence of the Father and the Son and, with them, partake of eternal life and exaltation.
Now, according to the words of the prophet, the Lord would commence to perform this marvelous work and wonder, when the people of the world were drunken, but not with wine, when they would stagger, but not with strong drink. They would be drunk with iniquity and abominations and awful sin.
The voices from the dust speak boldly, explaining the words of Isaiah with great clarity, saying:
But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles—yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations. (2 Ne 27:1)
We are clearly living in the day when the Lord said that he would perform his work and he makes it clear that it would be a day in which “this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”
This is why he said to Joseph Smith, who wanted to know which of the Gentile churches he should join, to join none of them. He was told, just as the words of Isaiah tell us, that he should join none of them because they are all corrupt.
Just as the Jews in their day worshiped God in vain, now both the Jews and Gentiles in our day, who purport to worship the God of Israel, are worshiping him in vain. Jesus made this clear, as Saint Matthew testified:
This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:8-9)
A question that all right thinking Christians should ask themselves is this: If the Lord had not concluded them all in disbelief, what Christian church would have been suitable for Joseph to join?
Can anyone point out a Christian church, established at the time Joseph was called to translate the record, which would have tolerated his testimony that he had seen the Father and the Son, that they had appeared to him in answer to his prayer, offered in the woods near his home?
What Christian church in 1820 would have been able to contain Joseph, with his calling? Ed Decker asserts that if we take Joseph’s word for what he experienced, we must conclude that the Christian church was “in very deep trouble.”
Well, they were in very deep trouble and they still are, at least according to the Bible, as we have already explained. Who cannot agree that, if the Christian churches were, or are 1) drawing near him with their mouth, and 2) with their lips they were, or are honoring him, but have removed their heart far from him, and 3) their fear toward him was, or is taught by the precept of men, as Isaiah prophesied would be the case, then, in a word, it was fair to say that they were, or are all corrupt?
Ed states that, if Christians accept this, then the conclusion must be that basic Mormon doctrine teaches that God finds that the Christian worship of him is “unacceptable and even loathsome,” but that is just what Isaiah is saying, is it not?
Ed further contends that this fact points to the LDS teaching of a complete apostasy in the Christian community that “irrevocably separates Mormonism and Christianity.”
Of course, Ed does not define Christianity as those who follow and worship Christ, but he defines them as those who follow the traditional creeds and doctrines that Isaiah calls the “precepts of men.” However, as Isaiah testified and Jesus confirmed, the hypocrites who worship the God of Israel in vain, do so not only because of the hypocrisy and insincerity of their hearts, but also because of their false precepts.
In Ed’s view, it’s not that Mormons don’t worship Christ, and therefore are Christians by definition, but that they don’t subscribe to the abominable creeds and doctrines of Isaiah’s hypocrites, which the marvelous work and wonder is prophesied to turn upside down.
But he should understand that it’s not the deaf ears of these hypocrites that will hear the words of the sealed book, and it’s not their blind eyes that will see out of obscurity and out of darkness, when the work is performed by Jehovah, but it is the eyes and ears of the honest in heart, who will realize that the Lord’s marvelous work and wonder, restoring the house of Israel to his favors and blessings, is a greater blessing to the Gentiles than even the fall of his people was, which brought the Gentiles to the knowledge of Christ and his gospel, in the first place.
Paul, as the apostle to the Gentiles, tries to make this clear to them in his letter to the Romans, found in Chapter 11 of the Book of Romans, in the New Testament: The Gentiles, compared to the branches of wild olive trees, were grafted into the mother tree of the house of Israel, compared to a tame, well cultivated olive tree, whose natural branches were cut out to make room for the wild branches to be grafted in.
This was a plan to save the mother tree, which lamentably had decayed. However, Paul warns the Gentiles not to be haughty and lifted up in the pride of their hearts, not to be wise in their own eyes, because, he says “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in,” but God is able to graft them into the mother tree again and cut off the Gentiles, if they are not careful:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. (Romans 11)
This is the lesson that Ed and others who fight against Zion should ponder very carefully: “If God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.”
Ed goes on to say that the LDS Church is based on the premise that “God finds the Christian churches and their teachers and their leaders filthy in his eyes,” but these are Ed’s words not theirs. The Mormons contend that Isaiah’s words are indeed the words of the Lord, and they explain why Joseph was told not to join any of the Gentile churches, but the church that he was commanded to organize and establish was made up of former members of other Christian churches, many of whom were teachers and leaders in those churches, and their affection and love for their family and fellow congregants who chose not to join the new church was not diminished, nor did they consider that God’s love for these people was diminished in any way.
The true premise of the LDS Church is that the God of Israel has set his hand the second time to gather his covenant people, and, incident to this great work, he has sent down righteousness from heaven, and he has sent forth truth out of the earth, to bear witness of his Only Begotten Son, his resurrection from the dead and the resurrection of all men, and it is incumbent upon all men to accept it, and to be gathered to Zion with his people, or to be cut off from the people, according to the word of God. This makes the Saints sad for those who reject the work, but, if anything, their love for those people is increased, not diminished.
But, Ed asserts, the new church cannot be of God, because the LDS doctrine is inconsistent with God’s word in the Bible. The teachings of Joseph Smith are not Biblical, claims Ed, primarily because Joseph teaches what he himself called “the great secret,” which is that God is actually an exalted man, and his work and his glory is to exalt his children, and he also teaches that Jesus is the Son of Man, the literally begotten Son of this exalted man, or Man of Holiness. It is just plain blasphemous to teach such things, insists Ed.
Of course, the fact is that this “great secret,” that “God Himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man and sits enthroned in yonder heavens,” is a truth that can be justly inferred from what is taught in the Bible. It’s only “secret,” because the Gentiles, blinded by their false precepts, have not understood what the Bible truly teaches us about the nature of God.
As Joseph declared, they “have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity,” but this is simply not the case. It’s true that God said to Israel, “I am He, before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be any after me, I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no Saviour.”
These words were specifically directed to the house of Israel, who all too often were persuaded to forget their true God, who had been so good to them, and to commit idolatry, by following after “gods” of stone and wood, “gods” who could not even walk or talk, let alone remember his promises to bless them, by gathering them together with tender mercy, after having scattered them in his wrath, because of their having forsaken him.
But to extend this admonition and warning beyond that, to apply this elementary lesson that there is no other living God in all the earth than the God of Israel, and there never will be, worlds without end, to apply this beyond the limited scope for which it was intended, to use it to deny the fact that the work of Jehovah is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of his children, is itself, if not blasphemy, a grave sin of denying the truth.
The Bible clearly teaches that God, through his Only Begotten Son, intends to make men sinless, immortal, all knowing, all-powerful, divine rulers, exalting them to reign as one with God forever. These teachings cannot only be found throughout the New Testament writings of the Christian apostles and prophets, but it can also be found in the teachings of the early Church Fathers.
Ed knows this. How can he not? Yet, after wresting many more Biblical verses in like manner, in order to deny the truth, he states “On these and many other scriptures like them, stands the Biblical concept of God. They are in total disagreement with the Mormon view.”
No, they are not. Ed’s use of them is in total disagreement with the Mormon view of the Bible. LDS Christians believe that “God is a Spirit;” that is, he does not have a natural body, but a spiritual body, as Paul described it, “and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth,” because God knows everyone’s heart, he cannot be deceived, as can mortal men in the flesh, with natural bodies.
They believe that “…when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself.” How could he swear by his Father, when his Father is unknown to us? But there can be no doubt that while to us, there is one God, that one God is one with his Father, as he is one with his Father, who is one with his Father, and so on, ad infinitum. Mormons worship the one God whom Jesus worships.
They believe that the verse, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,” is not a correct translation, because, among other things, Adam and Eve not only saw him, but they walked and talked with him in the garden, and Moses saw him and talked with him, face to face on Mount Sinai.
And of course, LDS Christians believe that “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man that he should repent,” just as they believe that men who are saved by the shed blood of Christ, shall be one with him and the Father someday, in answer to his fervent prayer that the Father would make it so.
At that day, when holy men are one with the Father and the Son, they will not lie or have need to repent from sin, because once their salvation is perfected and they have become sinless men, having been cleansed through the washing of the blood of Christ, and have become immortal men, having been raised from the dead through the power of Christ, and have become divine men, having partaken of the divine nature, through the gift and power of God, they will rule from the throne of God, where they sit with Christ, reigning over their endless posterity, as God rules over his endless posterity, for ever and ever.
All of this doctrine is taught in the New Testament of the Bible, and Ed knows it, or he should know it. This means that he is either a poor student of the Bible or he is doing the works of the father of lies, who was a liar from the beginning, not unlike the unbelieving Jews who accused Jesus of blasphemy, because they thought he was a man, a man who was making himself equal with God in their eyes.
We can all see this now, many centuries later, that Jesus was sent of God and his Father loved him, because of his works, as he said was the case, but the unbelieving Jews wouldn’t believe him, even though they knew his works were of God, that he healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, caused the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak and the lame to walk, and even raised the dead.
Why were they so hard hearted? It was because the truth was not in them. They were not of his sheep. He told them,
Ye do the deeds of your father…Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (see Saint John, 8 & 10)
If it were true in the days of Jesus, it is true today. Some people will not receive the truth, because they are not of God, even though, or especially if, they are the community’s religious teachers, as were the Jewish scribes and pharisees in the days of Jesus, and as are the non-LDS Christian pastors and teachers today.
Because they are not of God, they cannot understand his word. Ed’s insistence that the LDS doctrine of salvation is non-Biblical is an example of this. He uses the words of LDS leaders and scholars, who teach that the resurrection is a form of salvation from physical death, to which all men are entitled (“As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.”), to confuse his listeners with the concept of salvation from spiritual death (“…the wages of sin is death…”), to which only true followers and worshipers of Christ are entitled.
Ed states, “The basic LDS doctrine is that Christ’s atonement places all humanity at a judgment table to be reviewed for our righteousness and works, or ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.'” However, we can easily see that this is not true, from the lips of Christ himself, who teaches us his true doctrine of salvation in the Book of Mormon. We can see from this that LDS theology is not the same as Ed would have his listeners believe:
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
Verses 16 and 17 are the crucial verses, regarding the LDS doctrine of salvation, and they are the teaching that Ed ignores. Man must repent, be baptized, be filled with the Holy Ghost (be born again) and endure to the end in keeping the commandments of God. All people who do this will be held guiltless before the Father, by Jesus, who is our advocate with the Father, says Jesus the Christ.
Skipping this crucial information, Ed goes on to state: “The LDS concept is, we shall all have access to 3 different kingdoms of levels of glory, depending upon our worthiness. The lake of fire, as a place of destination, is not part of present-day LDS theology.”
This assertion could not be more misleading. The parenthetical phrase in the last sentence, “as a place of destination,” is placed there by Ed to qualify the statement, but no explanation of the qualification is given.
It is true that LDS doctrine does not condemn the wicked to hell forever, as does the doctrine of creedal Christianity. LDS doctrine teaches that all who do not accept the suffering of Christ as offered, must remain in hell after death, as a consequence of their actions, until the Day of Judgment, but the everlasting and eternal punishment, which was laid on Christ, so that we wouldn’t have to suffer it, if only we would repent and follow him, awaits those bound in hell who cannot repent, just as a man cannot work at night, when the day is over.
In other words, today is the day for man to prepare to meet God. If we reject him, we must suffer even as he suffered and be cast down into the lake of fire from which we cannot return, because of the justice of the Father; That is, because the punishment of the lake of fire stems from the eternal justice of God, there is no returning for another try at doing things better. This refers to that “vale where there is no turning,” as the ancients put it.
This is the suffering of the damned, at the great White Throne judgment, so called, which caused the devils, whom Jesus cast out of the man in the country of Gergesenes, to cry out “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”
The damned are held in bondage until that time comes to which the devil referred, while the redeemed dwell in paradise, until that time comes. But, again, the suffering, for all but a very few “sons of perdition,” in the unquenchable fire, which has no end, the eternal fire of hell, into which they must be cast at the last day, has an end, just as Christ’s suffering had an end, when he suffered for the repentant souls who receive him.
Those who are lairs, thieves, murderers, adulterers, etc. and have refused to repent, will be resurrected, but then they must stand before God in their unredeemed state, and go away into everlasting punishment, to suffer the punishment of an everlasting and just God, even as Christ did for those he redeems. The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon describes it this way:
But behold, an awful death cometh upon the wicked; for they die as to things pertaining to things of righteousness; for they are unclean, and no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God; but they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup. (Alma 40:16)
When they are resurrected in the resurrection of the unjust, they are quickened in an immortal body, the glory of which Paul compared to the stars, because it’s a glory that varies, depending upon the judgment they receive, according to their evil works. For example, because of the justice of God, the glory of the mass murderer is not as great as the glory of the committed adulterer, and the glory of the perpetual liar is greater than the glory of the adulterer, etc. This is the eternal glory of the Telestial kingdom.
But then there is the resurrection that Paul compared to the moon, which glory, unlike that of the stars, is one glory; that is, all those who come forth in this resurrection, receive the same degree of glorified quickening, which glory is as greater than that of the lower degree, as the glory of the moon is greater than the glory of the brightest of stars. These people escape the punishment of the lake of fire, at the great White Throne judgment, because, they are honorable men. They are not murderers, adulterers or lovers of lies. Though these are they who initially rejected the vicarious suffering of Christ, or the message of his servants, the prophets, while in the flesh, they eventually accept it in the spirit world, after death, and are redeemed from hell in the spirit world, by accepting the message of the gospel being preached there by spirits.
These spirits have preached the gospel in the spirit world, since the days of Jesus, who Peter says was the first Spirit to preach the gospel there. He opened the gates to set the captives at liberty, that the scripture might be fulfilled that says “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
This is the eternal glory of the Terrestial kingdom.
Finally, we come to the greatest degree of glory that Paul described to the Corinthian saints, the glorious resurrection that is compared to the Sun. In this resurrection, the saints come forth to inherit the earth, after it is renewed, for God has decreed in his bosom that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it, after it has been cleansed and sanctified. (For a more complete and inspired treatment of this doctrine, see here.)
The Lord explains it this way:
17 …the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it.
18 Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory;
19 For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father;
20 That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.
21 And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. (D&C 88)
Ed mis-characterizes this plain and simple doctrinal statement, by asserting:
“The difference between the two theologies is this: The Mormon believes that personal salvation is a function or result of works of righteousness and obedience to laws and ordinances of the gospel.
“The Bible teaches that works and obedience to God’s laws are a function or result of personal salvation.
“In other words, the Bible teaches that you don’t bark to become a dog, you bark because you are one. You can sit there forever and go “Baa, Baa, Baa” but you will never become a sheep. You bark because you ARE a dog, you baa because you ARE a sheep. You don’t work to get saved; you work because and when you ARE saved.”
This is a very cutesy, but subtle deception.
Nevertheless, the truth is that people cannot be saved in the Celestial kingdom, unless they obey the law of Christ, while in the flesh, or afterwards, vicariously, which stipulates, in no uncertain terms, that men must come unto Christ, through repentance of their sins (if you come to the altar of Christ with a burden of sin, you must first leave your offering there on the altar, and you must go and reconcile the sin first, i.e. repent), and then come unto the altar of God with full purpose of heart and he will receive you), be baptized by those whom he has sent to perform that holy ordinance, be filled by the Holy Ghost and endure to the end.
Christ explains this to the LDS Church, on this wise:
74 And I give unto you, who are the first laborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and sanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and cleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you clean;
75 That I may testify unto your Father, and your God, and my God, that you are clean from the blood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last promise, which I have made unto you, when I will. (D&C 88)
So, we see that the difference between the LDS Christian doctrine and the non-LDS Christian doctrine of salvation is not one of “Why?” we keep the commandments of God, but one of “When?” we keep the commandments of God.
If we strive to keep the ten commandments, or the law of Moses, or any other moral law that we may be inclined to live by, BEFORE we come unto Christ, or INSTEAD of coming unto Christ, to place ourselves under covenant to obey HIS law and to keep the commandments HE has given us, we are trusting in what the scriptures call “dead works.”
However, for those who are under the law of Christ, by covenant, repentance and following his example, in preaching the gospel to the poor; healing the brokenhearted, preaching deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty them that are bruised, and preaching the acceptable year of the Lord, is required, all the days of their lives.
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also,” said James. This is precisely the reason why Joseph was told to join none of the Christian churches. They have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof and their fear toward God is taught by the precept of men. Thus, their works are considered dead works, once the authorized preaching of the gospel of Christ reaches them, and they decide not to repent and not to be baptized, not entering into the authorized covenant to obey the law of Christ, and endure to the end of the day of their probation, in keeping his commandments.
As new wine is not put into old bottles, but must be put into new bottles, so too with the new dispensation of the good news of Christ:
1 Behold, I say unto you that all old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.
2 Wherefore, although a man should be baptized an hundred times it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the strait gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works.
3 For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old.
4 Wherefore, enter ye in at the gate, as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God. Amen. (D&C 22)
Thus, we see that man must follow the example of Christ in doing good, because, if he is a new creature in Christ, he will be filled with the desire (he is filled with the Holy Ghost) to do so, but, (and this is the crucial part Ed fails to understand) if he ceases to do good and ceases to serve Christ all the days of his life, according to the covenant he has made, he is NOT saved. He cannot be saved, because he did not endure to the end, and this is according to word of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, which is one God.
Latter-Day Saints keep the commandments of God, because they cannot have his Spirit to be with them, if they do not. If they do not keep the commandments, which he has given them, that they may have his Spirit to be with them, their works, if they have any, are dead. They have broken the covenant that they made with him, at their baptism, which they renew almost every week, during their worship service, and the consequences must follow their fainting, as night the day, if they do not repent and return to him.
Ed again wrests the Biblical scripture to deny this, by making a false comparison between the Saints, who are under covenant to obey the law of Christ, and the ancient Jews, who would not come unto Christ, and who would not submit themselves to his law and keep his commandments, but insisted instead on rejecting Christ and on going about to establish their own righteousness.
Paul says that the Jews stumbled, because they did not seek the righteousness of Christ by faith, but by their works, under the law of Moses. This is true, because the law of Moses was meant to be a school master to bring them to Christ, but the law of Christ is the gate by which all men must enter into the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life, as the voices from the dust declare with unmitigated power:
4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
5 And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainness of the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil.
6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
7 I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
8 I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.
9 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.
13 And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come. (2 Ne 33)
This is the end of Part 1.