December 30th, 2007
04:30 PM ET
4 years ago

Mysterious holiday card spotlights Romney's religion

A bogus holiday card was sent to some South Carolina Republicans. 

A bogus holiday card was sent to some South Carolina Republicans.

(CNN) – A holiday card that falsely claims to be from "the Romney family" and highlights Mitt Romney's Mormon faith was anonymously sent to Republican mailboxes across South Carolina earlier this week.

The source of the card is unknown.

View entire card [PDF]

The mailer, which says it is "Paid for by the Boston Massachusetts Temple," displays a quote from Mormon apostle Orson Pratt saying that God had multiple wives:

"We have now clearly shown that God the father had a plurality of wives, one or more being eternity by whom he begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus, his first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world," the quote reads.

A copy of the glossy brochure obtained by CNN offers holiday wishes from "the Romney family": "We wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a joyful New Year," it says.

The card focuses on the Republican presidential candidate's home state of Massachusetts, displaying a photo of the Mormon Temple in Boston as well as a snowy photo of the Public Garden in Boston.

The mailing also quotes from the first Book of Nephi, part of the book of Mormon, in which the Virgin Mary is described as "exceedingly fair and white."

Romney spokesman Will Holley condemned the card.

"It is sad and unfortunate that this kind of deception and trickery has been employed," Holley said. "There is absolutely no place for it in American politics."

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby


Filed under: Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (444 Responses)
  1. Cephas

    Hi Kathy and all,

    I hope everyone is well.

    Part IIa

    I had hoped to get back to your Joseph Smith questions tonight but I guess there is more needed on what I like to call "Faith vs. Works or Both". That’s OK. But please understand that smarter folks than we (all of us) have been arguing about this very topic since before the Reformation began. So there is a better than fair chance that, at some point, we will have to agree to disagree. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean I won't talk about it. The Gospel is an exciting and vibrant thing to me. But you should know now that I’ve satisfied my mind on these issues years ago, and it will not change.

    I’d like you encourage you to consider “R’s” comments, they are spot on.

    Kathy one of the things that always bugged me about this discussion is the varying definitions of the word “work” or “works”. I say “varying” because in my experience Protestant Clergy and Lay Members of Protestant Churches often approach this argument using different definitions. Clergy normally equate Mormon Works with our belief in the need for certain physical ordnances (that’s why I referenced Baptism before) – in many cases, they site some of the same scriptures you did; often they believe our requirement for Baptism and other things like that to be abominations. Lay Members most often are under the mistaken impression that Mormons believe that by doing good works we are “racking up points” like “green stamps” that are necessary in order to “buy” our way into heaven. If that were the case, then I’m sure I’d have to wait for a double stamp day to get me in. But alas this is yet another falsehood perpetrated by "anti-mormon ministries", there is no big scoreboard in heaven. I’m still unclear on exactly which one of these positions you are coming from. But it really doesn’t matter.

    To the untrained reader, this same semantic dichotomy appears in the New Testament. For centuries now, some folks have leaned more toward Paul’s definitions of Faith and Works as found in the scriptures you quoted as well as others found in the books of Timothy and Titus. While others folks have leaned more on James’ “be ye doers of the word not hearers only” as well as his lists of “works” followers of Christ were supposed to be doing. Various interpretations of these have abounded now for centuries. And some folks have found the contrast between the two perspectives so contradictory that they lost faith altogether. The key is realizing who the authors were and the environments in which they wrote. Paul, in his “prior” life, was deeply involved in the mixed, highly charged Roman/Jewish political and religious environment. One of the things that helped settle this for me was realizing that most often when Paul refers to works he is actually referring to the outward workings and ordinances of the form of Judaism being practice in his day. Additionally, when he uses the word faith, it is possible that he, at least on occasion, was indicating allegiance and not “Faith” in the form we are referring to here.

    The scriptures you referenced in Romans and Galatians are good examples of this. Looked at in this larger context, what they are actually saying is that; “We have let go of the law and practices of the Jews since they have now been fulfilled in Christ and we have been saved/justified by our Faith in and allegiance to Jesus Christ and his “higher law”. So with that understanding we see that Paul wasn’t condemning “works” in general so much as he was condemning those who were clinging to the practices of Judaism in his day. Interestingly, with this understanding, Paul’s writings now come perfectly in line with James’ and other’s that seemingly require good works (or doing).

    Please understand that some of what you’ve just read are my personal conclusions derived from my study and experience. However, Mormonism tends to see the Epistle of James in sharp contrast to Martin Luther’s Sola Fide (justification by faith alone). If I recall correctly, Martin Luther actually rejected the Epistle of James altogether and didn't see it as scripture or at least not inspired writing – something like that. My humble belief is that people generally misunderstand Paul’s semantics as well as his motivations and intentions.

    Now for the dichotomies: Why is it that, within most Protestants faiths, the work of sin will send you to hell but good works won’t do anything to get you into heaven? – That just doesn’t make sense and "backsliding" doesn't account for it either.

    Then there are also some like “R’s” friend who strongly believe that once a sinner confesses Christ to be their Savior, they are assured of entrance into the Protestant definition of Heaven.

    Saved by Faith alone, is the real diabolical doctrine, tainted from its very inception by those who have used it to justify their atrocities. Nope, I’ll take the Mormon doctrine that is far more true to the entire New Testament and not just a few misunderstood or misused scriptures.

    So Mormon’s believe in accomplishing physical ordinances, like baptism, because Christ has commanded that we do so – no other justification needed. But he also taught that they are necessary for salvation. We also strongly believe that as followers of Christ we are required to spend our lives devoted to good works, not because they will ensure that we get into heaven, but because Christ taught us that they are the fruit of our faith in him. We believe that as we become followers of Christ we accept a portion of his burden and in this way; we honor his atoning sacrifice by caring for and supporting the Sons and Daughters of God. So no one is saying that the Savior’s Grace alone isn’t sufficient to save – of course it is. What we are say is that the New Testament requires more of us than that.

    So it’s a multiple choice question: Salvation comes by:
    A) Faith
    B) Grace
    C) Works
    D) All of the above.

    That’s right “D” is the answer.

    I hope this helps Kathy.

    January 6, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  2. kathy from Sarasota

    R,

    Your response has me wondering if you read / understood my post.

    Yes, I agree that faith and works go hand in hand. That is what James is saying. Faith IS dead without works but the point is that if the works don't come naturally ( not forced...done in order to help earn salvation) then the faith isn't GENUINE saving faith. THAT is the point of James' scriptures.

    There are two concepts of faith in these verses... the faith that is genuine ( faith in Jesus to save us ) and the faith that is only accepted knowledge.

    verse 19 of James chapter 2
    Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    This verse states that even the devils have faith.... now according to your view if these devils now do good works ( of course these works won't be well meaning ) they will receive salvation... they have faith and good works. Do you see now the different meanings of the word faith in these scriptures? James is talking about faith in the sense of a mere intellectual acceptance of certain truths WITHOUT trust in Christ as Savior in verses 14-20,24,26. This includes the verse you quoted..." that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (verse 24) In this verse James is talking about the kind of faith that the 'devils' have ( without trust in Christ as Savior). If you choose to take these words at face value and not in the context in which they were written then what is your explanation for these verses by the Apostle Paul?

    Romans 3:28
    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith APART from observing the law.

    Galations 2:15 & 16
    " We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile' sinners know that a man is NOT justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and NOT by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

    These verses SUPPORT the NIV Bible context of the verses in James. What other verses in the Bible support your context / doctrine?

    I don't think your friend is quit right. But almost...What Bill Keller says is ... say Hitler, just before he died, repented ( was truly sorry for his sins) and accepted Christ as his Savior... he would be saved ( he would be forgiven )... but it's not just a matter of saying the words... it's what is in his heart and God will know. If someone gets saved and then goes on to commit a multitude of unspeakable sins then his faith couldn't have been real..... he did not truly accept Jesus as his Savior. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this very well but I am sure that you are judged by what is in your heart. That's why the 'requirement' to do good works is not a good doctrine because ... how does that show God your gratitude and love... your doing these good works because you want to receive something in return – Salvation. It's kind of like when a child says " why doesn't God just 'program' us to obey and worship Him" He didn't 'program' us because He wants us to WANT to obey and love him out of His love for us. We should not be forced to do good works (in order to receive something) we should do the good works because we want to. That's the problem with the Mormon doctrine on Salvation.

    January 6, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  3. DEE DEE

    Reading all of the responses from this little card. This country was founded on religion. Though we have taken prayer out of school, and our children are killing each other, you people care enough about your religion and beliefs to type your thoughts and feelings for the world to read. How about reflecting them back on your children so when they are your age, they can manage a better world to live in?

    January 6, 2008 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  4. kathy from Sarasota

    Hi Cephas,

    Part 1
    I'm glad you haven't abandoned our conversation yet and thank you for accepting my apology. And I want to start out by saying that I greatly admire your sincerity and honesty.

    The issue of whether Mormonism is a cult is really not as important to me as the actual doctrinal issues so I'm just going to skip over that. Although I would like to say that the definition that you guoted does seem to me to define Mormonism mainly because of the more unusual beliefs but then again as a friend (who unfortunately is an atheist ) reminded me; there are unusual beliefs in every religion including Christianity.

    As to the anti-Christ issue. It is clear in the Bible that there is an ongoing battle with God and Satan with the goal of Satan being the taking of as many souls as he can until God stops him. As the Bible states… God will ultimately win but until then Christians believe that we need to/should fight for those souls as well. We need to fight the anti-Christ. He is God's enemy and therefore our enemy. And that, without a doubt, is what I believe Bill Keller's mission is…to stand up against Satan. And believe me… he does not just come after the cultist religions… on a regular basis he critisizes our own Christian church leaders for not standing up to Satan's works for fear it will negatively affect their income / offerings. And I don't doubt for a minute that the anti-Mormon movement started the way that you described. No question that the desire for money and power are the reigning motivation of many – even among the self proclaimed 'religious'. Selfish desires are our greatest human weakness and Satan's "ace in the hole" so to speak.
    Cephas, do you honestly believe that the people at the top in the Mormon religion are immune to this weakness? Is not Romney's bid for the white House an attempt to strengthen and empower the Mormon establishment?… of course you will say no to this but I find it very plausable and probable. I have read several things about the Mormons plans for getting a man in the White House but I won't repeat them now. And I understand how you wouldn't want to believe that a Mormon could result to sending death threats but your lack of belief is somewhat irrational because there are always 'bad apples' in every bunch. And the bad apples in this scenario are the ones who are aggressively trying obtain that goal of putting a Mormon in the most powerful position in the world. I'm going to include some words from Bill Keller's daily devotional – this one was written several days after he made his well known statement: " A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for Satan".

    For the nearly 8 years I have been writing the Daily Devotional and the over 4 years of doing the TV program, some of the most viscous attacks on our technical infrastructure, on me personally, have come when I expose the lies of the satanic Mormon cult. This time was no different, except it was at an unprecedented level of ferociousness since I was taking on their greatest hope to capture the most powerful office in the world. We had our website and servers attacked relentlessly all weekend. I've received 12 death threats so far in addition to the scores of emails telling me that "someone will visit me when I least expect it." I refuse to live in fear and having dealt with these types of threats for the past 8 years, have learned how to use the common sense the Lord gave me and ultimately trust Him to watch over me as I serve Him each day.

    I know Bill Keller's words are harsh, and you may still choose not to believe his claims but as I said earlier, I believe there are bad apples in every bunch.

    January 6, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  5. kathy from Sarasota

    Cephas,
    Part 2
    Ok… now your statement about the Catholic's belief that they believe in salvation by a mixture of faith, works and grace has left me with questions… I know about as much about the Catholic's doctrine as I do the Mormons but from what I do know I believe they are not on the right track either concerning alot of things. But the question I have now is why Bill Keller doesn't critisize the Catholics in the same way as the Mormons if they believe the same doctrine concerning salvation. I am going to present that question to him and hopefully he will answer me. I am very confidence that he has a justifiable explanation. When I get an answer I will pass it along if this blog is still up. He did certainly condemn the Popes words last year stating that a non-Catholic could not enter Heaven. ( and he made a public call for the Pope to step down )

    I don't agree with the idea that Martin Luther 'invented' the 'concept' of salvation coming by faith alone. The official doctrine may not have existed before him but the concept was certainly there from the beginning when the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 3:28 …For we maintain that a man is justified by faith APART from observing the law.

    and in Galatians 2:15 & 16
    " We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile' sinners know that a man is NOT justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and NOT by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

    You stated that "Mormons don't believe in working our way to Heaven" but the scripture in the Book of Mormon doesn't seem to support that: For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, AFTER all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23, pg. 100)…. it states that works are required!!

    If you believe in following all of the scripture then what about the verses I quoted above?

    Interpretations and context of the scriptures could make us go round and round forever it seems. There has to come a time for everyone when you just have to make a choice as to which belief is correct.

    I choose to believe in the doctrine that says that we can ONLY be saved by the grace of God thru our faith in Christ and not by anything else. And in response to his saving grace I will HUMBLY do all the good works that I can. If after receiving the knowledge of his grace I do not produce good works then as James explained, my faith would not be real or it would be of a different kind… " a mere intellectual acceptance of certain truths WITHOUT trust in Christ as savior". ( the demons believe this much) ( NIV text note for verses 14-26 of James chapter 2 ) This Christian doctrine does not exclude the importance of good works, it is merely stating that good works are not to be included in our saving grace. They are to be separate. " For a man is justified by faith APART from observing the law. ( Romans 3:28)

    Cephas, doesn't it make more sense and is more reverential to give God FULL credit for the gift of our salvation. Why do Mormons insist on receiving part of the credit thru good works? There is no way we can do ANYTHING to make ourselves righteous.

    What is the harm in giving all the credit to God and also doing good works. Do Mormons think that if you don't include the requirement of good works in order to receive salvation that people would just not do any / or enouph good works? In other words that we must be forced to do good works? That God's love and the gift of grace that He has given us wouldn't be enouph to prompt us to show our gratitude thru good works? That doesn't say much for one's faith does it? If we are not prompted to do good works out of love and grace then the problem is not in lack of good works it is in our faith.

    January 6, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. kathy from Sarasota

    R,

    Your response has me wondering if you read / understood my post.

    Yes, I agree that faith and works go hand in hand. That is what James is saying. Faith IS dead without works because if the faith is not PRODUCING good works then it must not have been true saving faith in Jesus as their Savior.

    There are two concepts of faith in these verses… the faith that is genuine ( faith in Jesus to save us ) and the faith that is only accepted knowledge of truth.

    verse 19 of James chapter 2
    Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

    This verse states that even the devils have faith…. now according to your view if these devils now do good works ( of course these works won't be well meaning ) they will receive salvation… they have faith and good works. Do you see now the different meanings of the word faith in these scriptures? In verses 14-20,24,26 James is talking about faith in the sense of a mere intellectual acceptance of certain truths WITHOUT trust in Christ as Savior. This includes the verse you quoted…" (verse 24) that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." In this verse James is talking about the kind of faith that the 'devils' have ( without trust in Christ as Savior). If you choose to take these words at face value and not in the context in which they were written then what is your explanation for these verses by the Apostle Paul?

    Romans 3:28
    For we maintain that a man is justified by faith APART from observing the law.

    Galations 2:15 & 16
    " We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile' sinners know that a man is NOT justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and NOT by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

    These verses SUPPORT the NIV Bible context of the verses in James. What other verses in the Bible support your interpretation?

    January 6, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. kathy from Sarasota

    R,
    I don't think your friend is quit right. But almost… Here's one way that it's been explained to me... say Hitler, just before he died, repented ( was truly sorry for his sins) and accepted Christ as his Savior… he would be saved ( he would be forgiven )… but it's not just a matter of saying the words… it's what is in his heart and God will know. If someone gets saved and then goes on to commit a multitude of unspeakable sins then his faith couldn't have been real….. he did not truly accept Jesus as his Savior. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this very well but I am sure that you are judged by what is in your heart. That's why the 'requirement' to do good works is not a good doctrine because … the good works are not being done for the right reasons... your doing these good works because you want to receive a 'payment' in return – Salvation. It's kind of like when a child says " why doesn't God just 'program' us to obey and worship Him" He didn't 'program' us because He wants us to WANT to obey and love him out of His love for us. We should not be forced to do good works (in order to receive something) we should do the good works because we want to. That's one of the many problems with the Mormon doctrine on Salvation.

    January 6, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Annie

    Dee Dee,

    To answer your question,
    We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ...that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

    Isn't that what everyone should be doing?

    January 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. kathy from Sarasota

    Oh.... I think my posts are going to be posted twice... sorry everyone. I did make a few corrections with my second postings though.

    Cephas.... thanks for your response... I very much appreciate your insightfullness and knowledge ... I will respond back soon.

    Dee Dee..... I do reflect back to my daughter at every opportunity.

    Annie... the Bible I use is the New International Version Study Bible.

    January 6, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. R

    Hi Kathy–

    Thanks for your response. You asked what other verses support 'my' doctrine (of course it is not my doctrine)....I will get to what the Lord's doctrine says. But first, you forgot to mention two other scriptures that 'support' your claim:

    1) Acts 16:31 when Paul told the Phillipian jailer, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

    2) Romans 1:16-17 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth......the just shall live by faith"

    Quite simply (and I don't know how to say it any other way), works is the way by which a person shows his/her have faith AND ultimately the way by which he/she will be judged. Let me elaborate:

    Peter and Paul's writings concerning salvation were hard to understand. This is probably why Luther wrote to Philip Melancthon and said, "We must sin as long as we are in the flesh...Sin cannot separate us from God, even if we were to commit a thousand adulteries and as many homocides." (Christian Apologies Vol. 2, Page 417). We read however in 1 John 2:4, "He that saith, I know him and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

    This doctrine of saved by grace is one of the most misunderstood doctrines in the world today. Rev 20:12-13 speaking of judgement day informs us that all were judged, "according to their works".
    Matt 16:27 informs us of Christ's declaration that, "the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
    Paul said in Phili. 2:12, "Work out your own salvation through fear and trembling."

    We are saved by grace after we do all we can. The Jews were firm believers in the "works of the law" and so these great Apostles would often write and tell them that these works would not save them. We are all going to be saved by the grace of Christ, but be rewarded for our works done in the flesh. Chirst did provide three main works to show that it was by his grace that we should be saved–therefore, erased our boasting. These three WE could not have done for ourselves, and are thereby saved by HIS grace:

    1) He created the earth upon which we live. (Coloss 1:16-17)
    2) He attoned for the transgression of our first parents who had brought death into the world, thus bringing resurrection from the grave, or reuniting the body and spirit. (1 Cor. 15:22, James 2:26)
    3) By giving us the everlasting gospel, "he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." (Heb. 5:9)

    These things we could not do for ourselves, and therefore it was his grace that made it possible. However, as the last scripture I quoted in Heb 5:9 teaches, he was the author "unto all them that obey him". Notice the last three words....."that obey him". This does not read, all "that grace him" or all "that faith him" or all "that believe him". It is "obey". The word is obey, obey, obey. Obedience. That means it takes actions. And actions is another word for works.

    Kathy, I don't know how much more clear this can be. I am not quoting out of the Book of Mormon or from any of the Mormon prophets. I am quoting from the Bible. My suggestion for you would be to be cautious of those that try to 'teach' you. You keep quoting Bill Keller. Who gave him the *authority* to tell the world what the Bible means? How does he justify these verses? It seems like he and you have a contridiction of verses if you interpret them the way you say you do. Even the great reformist Martin Luther couldn't square the circle. The fact of the matter is, that truth comes from God, not from man. If you claim, as Protestants do, that the Church of Rome fell, (as did the Church of England in her "Homily against Peril of Idolatry" in Book of Homilies), then Bill Keller and Luther can't have the whole truth, the everlasting gospel, because Christ taught that a live branch cannot grow off a dead tree (Matt 7:18). To claim to have the truth (as Protestatnts/Baptists do) the *authority*, ordinances, and principles of the gospel must be recognized and evident. It was Roger Williams, considered by many to be the founder of the Baptist Church, that stated on page 503 in Picturesque America, that there was,

    "no regularly constituted church of Christ on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any church ordinance, nor can there be until new apostles are sent by the great head of the Church, for whose coming, I am seeking."

    Williams lived in the 1600s, starting his organization more than 100 years after Luther was excommunicated. If Williams recognized that "apostles", "authority", and "ordinances" were necessary.....HE WAS SEEKING THEM!....then what does that say about Bill Keller and others within the Protestant/Baptist faith. I ask you Kathy, what has changed regarding apostles, authority, and ordinances within your faith for the past 400 years? The answer is nothing. If Williams was still alive today and looking within your faith, he would say, "I am still seeking apostles, authority, and ordinances".

    The good news Kathy is that about 150 years after Williams died, a boy was born that would soon be a latter day prophet.. God called him (Amos 3:7) and Christ re-established his church, with apostles, *authority*, and ordinances. If you'd like to know the truth, read through http://www.mormon.org and contact your local missionaries.

    R

    January 6, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. Dianne

    Kathy for Sarasota: Latter-Days Saints do not minimize the Savior's atonement by believing in good works as a necessary requirement. We recognize that we will always be indebted to our Savior. There is nothing we can do to be fully out of His debt but we know that as long as we do the very best that we can then the atonement makes up the difference. And our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ know what is in our hearts as well as the works that we do.

    January 6, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  12. kathy from Sarasota

    Hello R,

    Yes,yes,yes, I agree, works is the way by which a person shows his/her faith, I have stated that in my previous posts and I also believe that we will be judged by our works.... I don't dispute that.... what I am disputing is the Mormon doctrine that says that works are REQUIRED ( in addition to faith ) in order to receive salvation...as I've stated many times.... I'll repeat the Book of Mormon scripture again..."...for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, AFTER all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23),

    ... so that means that if someone does not do ALL that they can do, like for example doesn't give ALL the money that they could have given, then they will not receive salvation? It seems pretty clear that that's the case.
    Who would be saved then? No one because no one could possible do all they could have done in there lifetime. Don't you see the problem with that?? So we are 100% dependent on God's saving grace. And at this point I will state again that that doesn't mean that I believe that good works are not required... they are just not required in order to receive God's saving grace of salvation.

    The verses you quoted: Rev 20:12-13, Matt 16:27, and Phili 2:12 do not support 2 Nephi 25:23... the first two are referencing Judgement and reward – not salvation . In Phili 2:12 the word 'work' is a verb – not the same as 'works'.

    Heb 5:9 ....unto all them that obey him ( the obedience that comes from receiving / accepting God's saving grace )

    R, you keep stating how clear these verses are but what is clear to me is that either side can take any of this out of context. The concept of context and interpretation compounded by translation upon translation pretty much makes the entire Bible debatable if one chooses to debate it. I choose to believe the Bible in it's entirety... I believe it is the information that God has chosen to give to us just as it is ( and just as it was when others received it thru out history ) and we have the free will to interpret it however we want, accept it or reject it.(or change or add to it but we have been warned in the Bible against doing these things)
    I believe that how we choose to interpret it or what we choose to believe is going to be based soley on what is in our hearts. And that is what God is ultimately interested in. My heart tells me to humbly accept God's gift of salvation, acknowledging that there is NOTHING that I could do myself to EARN this gift and then do good works out of love and gratitude for this incredible grace that He has given me.

    And I wanted to address this... you asked who gave Bill Keller the authority to tell the world what the Bible means but I'm still waiting for an answer to that same question concerning Joseph Smith....

    January 7, 2008 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  13. Annie

    Kathy of Sarasota,

    I too have an NIV Bible. I am currently studying the Old Testament using the King James Version of the Bible as well as the NIV Bible. It is pretty interesting lining these two documents up together and seeing what things have changed. Interesting to be sure.

    January 7, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. R

    Hi Kathy-

    The Mormon faith agrees that there is nothing we could do without the Lord...we would be lost forever without his sacrifice, no matter if we were completely obedient, no matter what we did in this life. In the Book of Mormon a great prophet name King Benjamin taught this principle in Mosiah 2:21....

    21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

    The verses that follow reiterate verse 21....

    22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.
    23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.
    24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
    25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

    We are all lacking in the sight of the Lord. No matter how much we do or give, we will all be short at Judgement Day. That is the reason He gave his life...to make up for where we we fall short.........HOWEVER, it is up to us to obey. We cannot say "I accept the Lord as my Savior" and then at a later day choose not to obey, not repent, and expect to automatically get in because we "accepted" the Lord earlier in our life. This is the problem with the protestant beliefs. It submits that believing is everything and actions are only "nice to haves". If actions are not essential, what sense would Rev. 20:12-13 and Matt 16:27 make? You say it refers to Judgement and Reward, not salvation. From your point of view, what is this reward? That I will have three trumpets in heaven instead of 1? That I will have a better choir voice than others? The reward spoken of is the glory of eternal life with our Heavenly Father. All will be resurrected, but not all will live with our Father in Heaven again. Again, I don't know how you can take the liberty to change what the words say in the Bible, but in Rev 20:12-13 it says we are judged by our works, not FAITH. (speaking of changing the words in the Bible, I too have read the NIV and if you compare it to the earlier KJV, they are barely similar. You were talking about adding and deleting....I agree with Annie, the NIV does this as well as change meaning and context.)

    Kathy....are you serious about Heb 5:9???? Of course those that obey are going to be "believers of the word" and "doers of the word". Doing means acting. Again, it says nothing here of faith.....you can try to insert the word here all you want...it simply is not found in the verse. The word is obey, which implies action. In fact, the previous verse (Heb 5:8) speaks of the action that the Lord himself took in obedience to His Father. His works were perfect. If it were not for His perfect works, He would not have been perfect. Hypothetically, He could have had faith, but it wouldn't have served anything were it not for his perfect obedience to His Father and His sinless life. It is action the Savior took. When He proposed the higher law in chapter 5 of Matthew, do you think he was just kidding when He said, "Be ye therefore perfect." ? Why command if there is no reward or consequence to adherence of the commandment?

    Kathy, you asked about who gave authority to Joseph Smith. Christ did. Give the Mormon missionaries one hour of your time (much less than the amount of time you have dedicated to writing in this blog), and the full gospel of Jesus Christ will be laid out before you. You will feel the Holy Spirit testify to you of the truthfulness of what they share, just like the Lord promised in John 14:26...the same way that Peter received a witness in Matt 16:17. If it isn't true, you won't feel the Comfortor as John 14:26 says. The Lord promised to "bring all things to your rememberance", and he will do this for you.

    The missionaries will share with you the good news Williams, (your religion's founder) was waiting for: Authority, apostles, and ordinances. I am not making up Williams' words or beliefs. Keller's branches sprout from the roots that Williams planted, from Williams' tree. Even Williams acknowledged that HE did NOT have the authority. If he didn't have the authority, how could Keller, a branch from the tree. Without the authority one cannot speak for or act in the name of God. The Lord says as much in Luke 9:1-2, John 15:16, and Matt 21:23-27. The Prophet Joseph Smith was given this authority from the Lord. It has been passed down by the laying on of hands until this day. A prophet lives on the Earth today. He is the Lord's servent and mouthpiece. Can you imagine living in the time of Moses, Abraham, Noah, and Peter? Can you imagine what it would be like to have a prophet that the Lord communicated with, living today. It is true and you have the opportunity to hear him.

    Good luck and God bless.

    –R

    January 8, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  15. Rob Roy

    I the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3 : 7. We all agree that God is unchanging – that he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – If this were not true – this scripture would be false – therefore the scriptures would be false and if the scriptures were false we are all wrong. This is why God is always the same – this is why the rules are still the same today as they were then – so i ask you – if your pastor, reverend, minister, evangelist or clergy does not have authority from god – then who gave it to them? They went to school to gain a degree in theology – as it turns out – religion is big business in this country – they expect to be paid hansomely for what they do and they are. lets take a look at televangelist – the super big churches they preach from every sunday asking for money – the cars – the clothing and jewelry – with their lips they draw close to god, but their hearts are far from him. I have been to many churches around the world – I was a young man serving in the United States Marine Corps and this is just a little of what i saw about the so called great religions you speak of. White southern baptists do not like black southern baptist – white southern baptists have sunday school lessons on how to bash other religions, especially members of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. Talk about egos well the pentacostals and jehovas witnesses have that one all to themselves – they rule their wives – their wives can do nothing except they get permission to do so from their husband. hmm.... that does not seem right at all – the born again christian churches – wow – they are pretty far from the truth – they use the NIV which completely retranslates the bible – just like the jehovas witnesses do – they hold their hands up in the air and praise God the whole time while they are passing the loot bag around. It would seem that religion today is just as far gone as it was when emperor constantine brought all the religious minds of the time together in nicea – of course the apostles were already murdered and gone from the earth – this is also known as the dark ages – anyway, they all sat down together in a great big room and brought about their own doctrine and definition of christianty – kinda like the same way some christian churches have done so they can exclude others from being christian. Bigotry, well let me tell ya – they have that one all sewn up too – i have found that if you tell people you are christian, baptist, methodist, episcapaian, catholic or whatever other religion – it is ok with people – but if one states that one is a mormon – then one gets hounded and persecuted to no end – we all say, "if i were living during the time of christ or the apostles, i would be on the lords side." would you truely be on the lords side? Jesus stated the people the same thing – except he used "prophets." all the prophets and apostles of the old and new testaments were called by god. Samuel was a young boy when he was called – why could that not happen during our time? Does god not love us as much as he loved them? the bible states that man can not direct his own foot steps. Are we to let ourselves be led blindly by others that do not have authority from god, but it is given them by a college or other seminary school? I can become a minister by sending away to an add in the back of some magazine – would that give me the authority? Where did John the baptist get his authority from? from heaven or man? why wouldn't god do the same for us? some say he can not – then I ask: who are you to say what God can and can not do? If God can not give authority to someone then how did that man get his authority to speak to men in the name of God? I have heard some demand that God give them a sign – and yes it was on an anti-mormon tape – I thought, "wow," she just demanded god give her a sign – It states in the bible that it is a wicked and adulterous people that seek after signs. which brings me to another scripture in the bible where god actually states that you should ask him for the truth and he will tell you, but you have to have faith that he will tell you the truth, nothing wavering. for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. this, however, is not asking or demanding a sign – this asking the God the father for the truth one needs to gain his/her own salvation that can only be through my own savior who is also the savior of the world and all who have, are and will ever live on the face of this earth. I have to hand it to the mormons – all the persecution they put up with – it is absolutely astounding – I must say that kind of persecution demands some investigating on my part – and i will ask God in the name Jesus Christ – and not some pastor or minister. I will go straight to the top for my answers to religion.

    January 8, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. plane

    Man oh man.

    Someone quotes the book of Mormon verbatim and the cry and hue of bigotry is deafening.

    And look at all those willing to instantly point fingers without even a shred of proof.

    The fact is, Mike Huckabee has more honor and integrity in his little toe than Mitt Romney and his entire band of supporters have in their entire being.

    And when you, the unchristian, have an answer for Rev 22:18, do let us know.

    January 9, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  17. Richard

    The real Mitt can be found by reading the new book, "Mitt, Set Our People Free! at http://www.therevelationpress.com.

    January 9, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  18. Dianne

    After reading only the first few paragraphs from the press release on the book it is clear that this is another book full of nothing but garbage.

    January 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. Ashley

    I'm glad to see that a lot of people here are getting the main point of why the fake Christmas card was offensive, although a few of you seem to have missed it.

    The offensiveness of the card does not come from the Book of Mormon quote, however inflammatory the bolding of certain words may be. It does not come from the Orson Pratt quote, however obscure, irrelevant, or out-of-context it may be. (And I acknowledge that, of the three, it may only qualify as 'obscure'.) It DOES come from the use of Romney's name, and, worse, the use of the image and name of the Boston Temple.

    If a private individual, candidate, or group wanted to use the exact same scriptural passage and Pratt quote, but mail it out under their own name, that would not be any more offensive than your average anti-Mormon tract. No, I'm not exactly enamored with anti-Mormon tracts, but they are perfectly legal. The fake Christmas card is FRAUD. That is neither legal nor defensible.

    January 9, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. R

    Plane–

    Funny, people that quote Rev 22:18 usually have no clue what it means....this appears to be the case for you

    January 9, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  21. JC

    Plane-

    In Deuteronomy 4:2 The Lord says the same thing to the Israeites. So what was added? The additional books of the Bible (after Deuteronomy) or additional scriptures, The Book of Mormon, Koran, etc. or was it additional gospel teachings? Many of these have shown up in many religions, even the Jewish.

    Everyone just needs to leave religion out of politics, period!

    January 10, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Kelly

    To Plane - re. Revelations 22

    You probably do not even know that John wrote Revelations about 80 AD and then 10 years later he (added to the word and) wrote the gospel of John. Five years after John wrote Revelations and Rev 22:18, Matthew wrote the gospel of Matthew and Luke wrote the gospel of Luke and Acts in 85AD.

    I guess they did not understand Rev 22:18 the same way you and so many others do who think it applies to the Bible. The Bible was not 'compiled' in 80 AD (not until about 400 AD). The term Bible does not occur in the Bible, much less in Revelations.

    As noted Deut. says to not add to the word. God is the one who adds to the word through his prophets.

    Are you saying that God could not call and talk to a Prophet today? Are you saying He could not have talked to prophets in Ancient America? Are you saying that if those prophets wrote what they were inspired to write from God that it would not be scripture? Is God not able to add to his own word? Perhaps people and churches have it so right in the world that we do not need God today, do not need a prophet, and do not need a word of clarification.

    We (Latter day Saints) believe in a God who can and did talk to man again. That is good news.

    The true nature of God was lost by 325 AD when the Niciean creed was formulated and then cemented by the Council of Constantinople in 381. The holy trinity was defined. By then the church leaders had defined 'another Christ' and another Gospel from that which Paul knew. God restored the fullness of the original Gospel and the true nature of Christ and the Father in 1830. One may choose to look into this miraculous truth, or choose to fight against it and ignore it.

    Protestants reject most of the creeds of the Catholic Church, but accept the first several while Latter Day Saints reject all of them including the first (the concept of the Trinity). We accept only what the Bible teaches and it does not teach the trinity.

    Also I completely disagree with your analysis of Hukabee (A keynote speaker at a Baptist conference in Salt Lake City several years ago – directed at the Latter Day Saint People – full of anti-Mormons) and Romney. Each is free to believe what he wishes to believe.

    January 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. kay

    Hello R,

    I do have some responses to your points.. It seems that you are under the impression that the Protestant belief is that you can do all the bad things you want and still be saved if you have said the right words...I think that is probably the most misunderstood doctrine from the Mormon's point of view... it is ludacris to think that that would be the case. When my pastor asks people if they would like to accept Christ as their savior, after he has led them in the prayer, he says that if you said those words AND YOU MEANT IT the Bible says that you are saved. key words... AND YOU MEANT IT. That you TRULY repented and asked for Jesus to come into your HEART. If He is truly in your heart you won't go and commit all of these sins. Remember God cares about what is in our hearts... I'm sure you agree with that. And if you have Jesus in your heart how could you NOT go and do good works?? Wouldn't they come naturally?

    As to judgement and reward... I think these words are being taken out of context if you think they have the same meaning as salvation in the Rev. & Matthew verses. I'll try to explain... you stated ( as I did ) how it doesn't make any sense to think that someone could be saved just by SAYING those certain words... for the obvious reasons... so what if one person does do ALL they can do ( although I don't think it is possible ) and another person does just a small portion of what they could do... wouldn't you have a problem with that also... if both received the same REWARD in heaven? The Protestant belief is that we are STILL judged and rewarded based on what is written in the Book of Life..on our works.. BUT our SALVATION comes from faith APART from works. ( sorry.. I don't have an answer as to what our rewards will be but I don't have to know ALL the answers in order to believe )( that statement is partly directed at the athiests out there who might be reading). This view just seems to make so much more sense.. I mean how can someone do ALL they can do? And again, I ask, what if someone doesn't do ALL they can do? Well, it seems to me that that is where judgement and reward would come in. Unless, of course, they don't receive salvation all together because they didn't do ALL they could do. I also wanted to mention that in those verses in Rev. & Matthew faith and grace are NOT mentioned and you have acknowledged that those are also required for salvation so since they are not mentioned in these verses I think it supports what I am saying that these verses are NOT talking about salvation. Context is the key in all of these verses we are debating and I think I proved the context here for the words judgement and reward and earlier in James 2:14-26 for the word faith.

    January 11, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  24. KC

    Nice card. I dont see the problem of it. Its the main book of his church he should stand by his beliefs. We all have beliefs, even atheists have them.

    I think America are very tolerant and will realize that most politicians just use religion to appear normal, to appear like one of us. Deep inside we all read our religious books, but go on living our lives the way we want to and not the way we are told to by some book or bible. Even if the book has some silly things to say.

    I doubt Huckabee is any more a suspect than a democrat or a disgruntled Mormon. At the time of the posting of the card, Romney was seen as a strong leader and a competitor would wish to face a weaker candidate seen as Huckabee. Hence if your trying to point fingers who did this dirty trick it could be anyone wanting to move the power around.

    January 11, 2008 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  25. kay

    To Mormon believers,
    What about Joseph Smith's many false prophesies? For example, he foretold the second coming of Christ for 1891. The Bible teaches that one false prophecy puts the prophet under death sentence. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

    January 11, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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