Polygamy What Love Is This
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Answering Anonymous Letters...

We often get challenging letters (email and physical) that seem to beg a response, yet sometimes the sender doesn't provide us with any way of responding personally! So we will take some of the letters we receive that represent common challenges, answer them here. We present the letters unedited for spelling or grammar (however we will make discretionary edits where privacy or profanity are issues), as well as our response.


THE LATEST LETTER:
(Posted December 15, 2009)

I was just watching a few of your episodes online. On one of your episodes you mentioned that people are saved by grace alone, and not by works. "it is like mixing oil in water." So just to make it clear it doesnt matter what a person does, it is imposible to go to heaven, excpet by grace alone and not by works? You said that everyone sins and therefore that is the only way to go to heaven. I just have a question. If a person was saved by grace alone, then why does it matter what a person believes or does for that matter? Can a person just do what they want then "go to christ then be saved"? Why was the ten comandments given if it didnt matter what the people did, according to you were all sinners anyways. If it didnt matter what a person did then why was the comandment given. Why does it talk about the judgemnt of our lord in the bible? why does it talk about "thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting" in the book of Daniel" The wanting of what? The wanting of not believing in Jesus? wasnt that a judge of someones actions "works" You said that grace is what saved Abraham and Isaac and Jacob from living polygamy, so then cant people now days live it? since it is by grace not works "ALONE" that saves a person? It seems kind of nonsensable for that to be the case. Does it mean that everyone in heck are there because they didnt accept christ? Where do the murderers and the rapist and the sick people of this world go, if it doesnt matter what a person does "works" then why does it matter? You keep saying in your episodes that god said "thou shalt not kill," if it wasnt by works that determined a person's salvation, then why did he comand it? I know I keep repeating myself, but these are what doesnt make sense to me. Please elaborate. Also doesnt it say that christians are those that do the work of chirst? wouldnt that make joseph smith a christian? I know he believed and did what he thought Jesus wanted him to. And same with the LDS, and every other fundamentalist group claim to do. So what is your definition of a "true christian"?
 

Thank you for your message. First of all, when we say that we are saved by grace alone, this is not the same thing as saying that works don't matter, as you seem to imply that we mean. I frequently marvel at how many Latter-day Saints use this straw-man argument to ridicule biblical Christianity. The Bible makes it very clear: works and obedience are important. But it's equally clear in the Bible that works are NOT what gain us eternal life. Works, instead of being a duty, become a loving response of gratitude to God for his salvation. In fact, it is God himself that enables us to do those works.

Grace is what saves us from ALL sin, and the eternal consequences of it. But grace is not a license to sin. God forbid! If someone adopts that attitude, then they are entirely missing the point. Did the patriarchs of the day see polygamy as a sin? Hard to tell; chances are, it was a societal norm that blinded them (like other societal norms blind us today) to the reality of it falling short of God's will for marriage.

And for the record, Abraham's polygamy was never commanded by God, in fact it was done because Abraham didn't believe God's promise to give him an heir through Sarai. Isaac was never married to more than one woman, at least there is no mention of it; and Jacob's polygamy was a source of great heartache, so to make the claim that the Bible supports polygamy is preposterous.

Does the fact that grace alone saves a person sound nonsensical? Perhaps, if you really think that you're good enough to accomplish it on your own. But the Bible is clear that none of us can, and all our attempts to do so are "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Paul makes it clear in Romans that if it's by grace, then it's not by works, and vice versa. So does that mean we just live as we please? Paul went on to address that question, and says, "By no means! We died to sin!" (Romans 6:1) So what it boils down to is entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ means repenting from doing it "our way," and that moves us to obedience and acts of love...our works then become an outpouring...even evidence...of that gift of eternal life, but not the cause of it. Even James said "Faith without works is dead." Works will by nature accompany true, living faith.

God gave very clear commands--in doing so, he expressed His will, His character, and His standards of behavior. And humanity as a whole, and each of us as individuals, have consistently and flagrantly failed to live up to those standards, from day one. If it were possible to actually meet those standards on our own strength, why has no one ever done so, save Jesus himself? If there is no grace, then there is no hope, whatsoever, for anyone.

Yes, Christians are to do the work of Christ. And what is that work? The Bible makes it very clear...the work we are expected to do is very simply to believe in and follow Jesus. Even John 6:27-29 says that the works that God requires is to believe in the one he has sent. Nothing else is tacked on. So belief in Jesus seems to be pretty much central. Now keep in mind, that "belief" is not just a mere intellectual acknowledgment of his existence. It means placing our confidence and faith in HIM, as in the person himself, and not some contrived set of principles and rules that other men have falsely attributed to him.

Which leads to the definition of "Christian." The term actually does have a meaning, so it's not really a matter of what "our" definition of it is versus anyone else's. If you actually deconstruct the word from the original Greek, it simply means "One who is of, is like, belongs to, or follows Christ." That is the actual, literal meaning of the word that has been in place for 2,000 years. And so to say that a Christian is a follower of Jesus is a pretty accurate definition. Jesus' most frequently-recorded injunction was "Follow me!"

So that's really the question...are you following Jesus? Are you trusting in Him, and His work, or are you trusting in yourself, and your own works, for salvation? That's the big difference.

Our goal is to point to Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. That is our prayer for you and all who watch the program!

--PWLIT


Posted December 4, 2009
I was flipping through the channels tonight and came acrossed (sic) your show. I decided to listen for a bit. Before I say anything, I want you to know that I respect you as a person, and respect that you have opinions and beliefs. Having said that, I do find it very disheartening that you continued to refer to polygamy as a "mormon" problem. I was not particularly raised mormon; however, have found it to be a major part of my life now. I have been married in the temple and now have children who I have been teaching about the gospel. We do not, repeat, DO NOT practice polygamy nor do we agree with it. What is upsetting to me is that you spend all of your show "bashing" for lighter terms, the mormon faith and the mormon people. Your point in doing this?? That is what I do not understand. Do you not think your time could be spend better in teaching others in your "ministry" or better yet, being with your family and enjoying them?

I am sorry that you have such a hard heart to my faith and it's (sic) people. As I have been taught my whole life, I respect you and your faith and hope one day that your heart will be soften and that you can move forward in your life preaching your faith instead of putting down someone else's faith whether it be LDS, Catholic, Luthern (sic) or Muslin (sic).

  Dear Viewer,

We're happy that you found our show and that you decided to watch. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. However, you appear to misunderstand certain things, perhaps as a result of not watching the entire show. First of all, we have never made the claim that mainline Mormonism teaches or promotes the practice of polygamy, at least not as it is practiced by the polygamist groups. HOWEVER, it is an undeniable historical fact that polygamy remains a part of Mormon doctrine (see Section 132 of the Doctrines & Covenants), and that its practice was part and parcel to original Mormonism. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that there is no connection between Mormonism and polygamy, even though it is not practiced by the mainstream church today.

As for the charge that we are "bashing" the mormon faith and the mormon people, our question to you is: exactly how are we doing this? Please don't mistake sorting truth from untruth as an attack. "Bashing" means telling lies in a mean-spirited manner. What we have proclaimed is neither untrue, nor is it done with a hard heart or any ill feelings toward Mormons, or anyone else for that matter. Even Jesus had harsh words to say about those who taught falsehoods, yet even so, he loved those to whom he was speaking. Our objective is to do the same--speak the truth, sometimes difficult truths, but with the loving goal of pointing people away from falsehoods, and toward the biblical truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ! That is our prayer for you and all our viewers.

--P:WLIT

EARLIER LETTERS:


Dear Doris,

I heard some of your show to-night. Unfortunately, I couldn't get thru.

I do have some questions, though. Which of the hundreds of Bibles is true? Which has God testified to you is "His" Bible?

Which of the Christian Gods is true? The Roman Catholic one? The completely different Eastern Orthodox one? One of the hundreds of incompatible Protestant Gods? How did you decide which to follow? And, on what authority do you denounce fellow Christians who have picked another of the Christian Pantheon to follow?

I got the impression that you proclaim that Christ is God. Is that true? If so, how can you justify worshipping a God who doesn't know everything (i.e., lacks omniscience)? Christ Himself said there were things He didn't know. Also, how can you worship a God who made a false prophecy? In Mark, Christ prophesied that the council of Jewish elders, who interrogated Him and turned Him over to Pilate, that they would live -- and serve -- to see Him return in the clouds, in glory. He also made this promise to others, all of whom died without witnessing His return, in glory, in the clouds.

You proclaim that salvation is through faith alone. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that God gave His followers rituals and ordinances that they were to follow "for ever." How can you claim to follow God's Word if you conveniently ignore large portions of it?

In sum:

I get the impression that you idolatrously cling to one of the many Christian Bibles, while simultaneously denying its plain, very clear statements that certain ordinances are to be followed with exactness "for ever," and claiming that one of the human constructions that pass for "God"(Which one?) must be faithfully adored to the exclusion of all other, equally Biblical figments.

I'd suggest that you try to connect with God directly and stop worshipping "THE Book." It doesn't completely define God, or limit Him in any way.

Or does your God lack omnipotence as well as omniscience?

  Dear Viewer,

We’re sorry that you were not able to get through; we often have many callers in the cue, and we are not able to take all calls that come in.  We do hope that you will try again.

Concerning your question about “which” Bible is true, you seem to have a rather faulty understanding of the Bible’s history.  I’m assuming that you are referring to the different translations that are out there.  Many presume that these translations are simply paraphrases and re-hashes of the King James Bible; this is not true.  These translations are scholarly, faithful renderings of the original writings, which are known and agreed upon with an extremely high degree of accuracy. So the question about “which Bible is true” is simply a red herring argument.

Then you ask “which God” is true among the Christian traditions.  The answer is much the same.  The attributes of God do not vary across these traditions as you seem to imply.  While there are differences in emphases and practices, the core of what makes one Christian is the nature of God, the nature of man, and how we are to be saved.  These doctrines of salvation cannot and do not change across the traditions that are truly Christian.  However, because these fundamental doctrines of salvation are quite different in the Mormon traditions, mainline and fundamentalist alike, this is the basis for the understanding that Mormonism is not Christian—because it does not adhere to the fundamental salvation doctrines that have defined Christianity for 2,000 years.  The idea of a “pantheon” is an abomination to true Christianity…yet the Mormon traditions clearly teach a pantheon of gods.

We proclaim that Christ is God, because the Bible proclaims it—clearly, repeatedly, and unequivocally.  Regarding Jesus “not knowing everything” I presume you are referring to His statement that not even the Son knows the time of his return (Matthew 24:36).  When God the Son willingly took upon mortal flesh, he also willingly accepted, for that time, many of the limitations that accompanied it.  He grew hungry.  He grew tired.  He felt pain.  So why is it so inconceivable that he could also accept the limitation of not knowing the time of his return?

I’m not quite sure what point you are trying to make concerning the incident where Jesus prophesied to the Jewish leaders.  There is nothing that suggests that he prophesied that they would serve him, only that they would see him return in glory.  And indeed He shall; there is nothing to indicate that this would happen in their natural earthly lifetime.  But when Jesus returns in judgment, the Bible makes it quite clear that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord—both those who are alive and those who had died.  He also made a similar promise to some of his disciples, and it was fulfilled shortly thereafter at the Transfiguration. 

In sum, it seems that you are clinging to some very warped understandings of what the Bible actually is, and what it actually teaches.  The Bible is not a book to be worshipped; yet it is the means by which God has revealed himself to humanity, that we might worship Him in spirit and in truth.  The Bible does not limit God nor do we claim it even fully explains God.  As if the Eternal, All-Powerful God could be understood fully by mere humans.  Mormon theology imposes enormous limitations on God, reducing him to one of many cogs in a celestial machine.  The God of the Bible, however, is all-powerful, all-knowing, and the creator of all things, seen and unseen.  That is the God we want all people to love and worship!

--P:WLIT


Dear Doris.  I have been watching your program for the past few months.  I much appreciate your knowledge of polygamy and of the Fundamentalist LDS and LDS Churches and their doctrines.  I have learned much from your program. 

I am writing to say, however, that your show on Thursday, August 13th, was over the line on attacking the LDS Church.  The critique of the film at the [Joseph Smith] Memorial, by you and your, somewhat more amiable guest, was not only one-sided and unfair, but most all of your points were about things that were left out ([Joseph Smith's] wives, problems between J[oseph] and Emma, etc.).  Did you really expect the LDS Church to feature a documentary type program, airing all of their "dirty laundry", to show in their Information Center? 

A final, even more important point, is that you came off more sarcastic than you have ever been since I began watching, even laughing derisively several times at some of the points made by the [Joseph Smith] film (please watch it back).

If you are truly an emissary of the "truth" about Christ, I believe you need to review the motives and goals for your show.  Please also think about the respect (or lack of) that you give your fellow truth seekers in the LDS faith, and read Christ's words regarding the importance of humility and charity without which our efforts will fail. (1Cor 13:1 - "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal")  Please think about it...

Your program, and the truths you espouse, can do too much good to risk losing some of the very audience that you want to reach (perhaps even myself).  Yes, continue to speak boldly, but please return to allowing due respect and showing a more humility toward those in your audience who may not currently understand Christ and his teachings in the same way that you do.  Sarcasm stings, but ultimately comes back to diminish yourself and your cause.

Respectfully...A listener

  Dear Listener,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.  Since you did not leave us an email address to which to respond, we hope you will read this response here.  We’re sorry that you had such a negative reaction to the program of August 13th.  I do hope you realize that it is never our goal to “attack” the LDS Church, the Fundamentalists, or anyone else.

But it is always our intent to discuss matters of truth, and to challenge false and deceptive claims and teachings of the LDS Church.  This is not an attack; this is brining the truth to bear.  Sadly, there are many who, instead of examining for themselves whether our truth claims are accurate or not, find it much more convenient to simply dismiss what we say as an “attack.”

If a media presentation claims to be historical, and yet paints an inaccurate picture of history, are you suggesting that it is wrong to call attention to those errors?  We aren’t asking the LDS Church to air “dirty laundry” but the fact that you see it as “dirty laundry” does raise the question: can polygamy rightly be called “dirty laundry”?  If so, then why was it incorporated into the church’s doctrine?  Not just the fundamentalist doctrine, but the mainline doctrine (it is still in section 132, and it is still taught as a necessary practice for exaltation in the afterlife). 

We see the LDS Church’s failure to be clear about its polygamist past not as an attempt to “hide dirty laundry,” as it were, but rather, a calculated deception to cover up a practice and a doctrine that has been, and remains, intricately interwoven with the fabric of the church, despite the fact that the practice is not permitted today. This is one of several points that we believe is very important to bring the public understanding, and is part of why we do what we do.

Please do not mistake any laughter you heard as ridicule or sarcasm directed at Mormons or Mormonism. We are sorry that you interpreted it as such; this is never our intent.  Nevertheless, if anything was mockery, it was this film’s treatment of true history, and that was the point of this particular episode.

We have utmost respect for truth-seekers within the LDS Church. In fact, they are among those we seek to reach.  But it is our experience that there are far many more who refuse to honestly examine the truth.  Our claims are dismissed as “lies” and “propaganda,” and “attacks” and these claims are not really examined on their own merits.  Are these attitudes really characteristic of a truth-seeker? 

If we have stated anything in our program that is not true, by all means, please let us know.  Our intent is not to mislead or share false information.  And if you can back up your claims and verify that something we’ve said in a previous program is inaccurate or misleading, we will gladly correct it in later programs. 

You speak of Jesus’ example; perhaps you should read the book of John!  Jesus minced no words when it came to religious leaders being untruthful with their followers.  He spoke very strongly and harshly to them.  If our criticism is directed at anybody, it is to those who are knowingly and intentionally deceiving their followers; but to those who are being deceived, our plea to them is that they examine the truth for themselves, because the truth really will make them free.  That is our end goal and our objective—to share the good news of freedom in Jesus Christ!

--P:WLIT


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