Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Darren10

Pope Francis Said That You Don't Have To Believe In God To Get To Heaven?

50 posts in this topic

I'm no expert neither, but my understanding is that the Pope is not teaching anything not already canonized by the Catholic Church but this concept may be taught differently by different authorities within the Catholic Church. See Reverend Rosica's statement in response to the Pope's letter. Rosica outright eternally condemns any and all who do not join and remain in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. (Not remaining applies to you, why me ;) ). The Pope, however, is the primary authoirty on Catholic doctrine and I think he was clarifying a teaching of the Catholic Church.

Sounds very much like what happens in our church.
0

Share this post


Link to post

Boring sacrament meeting talks.

 

That's when I giggle the most. If I'm ever blessed to sit next to you during Sacrament I'll give you a few tips.

0

Share this post


Link to post

He was, most likely, referring to this statement from the Second Vatican Council (as quoted in the Catechism)—

 

"Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."

 

Thanks for the reference. I think The similarity here is that under LDS theology, one must receive the covenants and rituals under the holy priesthood of God in order to receive the highest point of salvation. These ordinances, rituals, and covenants are found only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So while I know of no definitive statement by the LDS Church that people must be "Mormon" to be saved, essentially, one must receive the ordinances found only in Mormonism for the highest degree of salvation.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Pope Francis Said That You Don't Have To Believe In God To Get To Heaven?

 

Which heaven and do you have to spend a stint in hell to get there?

0

Share this post


Link to post

Which heaven and do you have to spend a stint in hell to get there?

Maybe a stint in purgatory.  

 

This is what I understand is the full text of what the Pope wrote:

 

You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.

 

"God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart."  In other words if atheists go to God with a sincere and contrite heart they can be saved.  If they go in any other way they won't make it.  Salvation comes through Christ, but you have to recognize him as Saviour.  If in his/her final moments an atheist turns to God with a sincere and contrite heart, that atheist can go to heaven.  Our duty is to pray that everyone will turn to God in such a manner they can be saved.   We are not in any position to judge whether or not a person has been saved.  The reality is that God, even in our final moments, can draw us to him.  If we respond positively we can be saved.

0

Share this post


Link to post

In the LDS view there is no death bed repentence. Those that didn't have the opportunity to have the Gospel fully taught to them in this life, will receive that opportunity in the next.

 

We mere mortals don't have the authority to decide if/when an individual has had the opportunity to be fully taught the Gospel.

1

Share this post


Link to post

In the LDS view there is no death bed repentence. Those that didn't have the opportunity to have the Gospel fully taught to them in this life, will receive that opportunity in the next.

 

We mere mortals don't have the authority to decide if/when an individual has had the opportunity to be fully taught the Gospel.

What exactly would be the difference between death bed repentance and after death repentance?  You don't believe a person can repent and turn to God as they are dying?  Isn't that limiting God's power to save someone?  It seems to me the full gospel is very simple.  Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead.  Anyone who exercises faith in that should be in pretty good shape.  Everything else is just an apendage.

1

Share this post


Link to post

The confusion revolves around a misunderstanding of what is taking place. We are judged on the truths we have been given. The repentance necessary is for not living those truths; one that has not received the fullness is not penalized for not having that opportunity. Do you see the difference?

The ordinances are assured for all. How we live by the truths given is where choice is so important. I don't think there is repentance after this life.

0

Share this post


Link to post

The confusion revolves around a misunderstanding of what is taking place. We are judged on the truths we have been given. The repentance necessary is for not living those truths; one that has not received the fullness is not penalized for not having that opportunity. Do you see the difference?

The ordinances are assured for all. How we live by the truths given is where choice is so important. I don't think there is repentance after this life.

Can a person who has reached the age of reason be baptized without repentance?  So could a person in the afterlife receive the gospel without repentance?  And since all of us sin in some form after reaching the age of reason, wouldn't a person always need to repent before receiving the gospel?  Isn't knowing we shouldn't lie or steal just an understanding we are given without respect to our understanding of the gospel as a matter of natural law? An atheist would need to come to God with a contrite heart to be accepted no matter what kind of knowledge he/she had prior to death.

0

Share this post


Link to post

"Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience." = "Never lie to yourself". Seems totally compatible to me....

0

Share this post


Link to post

I think after we die is the only way we "know" anything. God, our Father in Heaven would be an all-knowing judge one you can't possibly decieve. Based upon that I believe anyone could receive complete salvation if given complete knowledge after death of God and Jesus. If one were to reject it then I suppose they would probably go to hell by choice.

 

Just because Elder So and So knock on the door and want to discuss the church with you and you aren't converted does not constitute a rejection of Christ simply because  Elder So and So "knows" the truth. He may passionately and rightfully believe to "know" which is fine, but his heart and knowledge is not the same as the faith and "knowledge" given to another.

 

To me it seems so Calvinistic and making no sense that some people of faith claim to "know" everything God knows and make God's judgements here on earth about who goes to Hell. It's almost blasphemous when you think of it.

 

I once had a group of friends shun me for years because I didn't go on a mission. One of them had wanted badly to apologize for years to me after having a major crisis of faith. When she did see me at wedding reception, she ran up and bear-hugged me almost knocking me over, much to the chagrin of my DW. She apologized and I simply told her not to worry about it, and that it was something that happend. 

 

I don't know what happens when we die and no one else really does either. I have belief in what happens and pretty much so does everyone else. No one though can make the final judgement except God.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe a stint in purgatory.  

 

This is what I understand is the full text of what the Pope wrote:

 

 

 

 

"God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart."  In other words if atheists go to God with a sincere and contrite heart they can be saved.  If they go in any other way they won't make it.  Salvation comes through Christ, but you have to recognize him as Saviour.  If in his/her final moments an atheist turns to God with a sincere and contrite heart, that atheist can go to heaven.  Our duty is to pray that everyone will turn to God in such a manner they can be saved.   We are not in any position to judge whether or not a person has been saved.  The reality is that God, even in our final moments, can draw us to him.  If we respond positively we can be saved.

 

In other words all his atheism will be forgotten when someone stops being an atheist

 

Maybe a stint in purgatory.  

 

This is what I understand is the full text of what the Pope wrote:

 

 

 

 

"God's mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart."  In other words if atheists go to God with a sincere and contrite heart they can be saved.  If they go in any other way they won't make it.  Salvation comes through Christ, but you have to recognize him as Saviour.  If in his/her final moments an atheist turns to God with a sincere and contrite heart, that atheist can go to heaven.  Our duty is to pray that everyone will turn to God in such a manner they can be saved.   We are not in any position to judge whether or not a person has been saved.  The reality is that God, even in our final moments, can draw us to him.  If we respond positively we can be saved.

 

 

 

If that is what the pope said, fine. Who ever taught that the atheist who would "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart," would be damned? I can't think of any religion between Salt Lake, Mecca, Jerusalem, Geneva, or Rome that ever said atheists can't change their minds. Do atheists think that we teach that if they become theists who sincerely go to God with contrition, there is still no hope? Who hasn't flirted with atheism at some point in their life? That would damn just about all of us. Like the current pope (apparently), and every pope for the last 2,000 years, I believe that those who "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart...can be saved."

 

The headline isn't really warranted if this is the context. Its a strange "atheist" that "goes to God with a sincere and contrite heart". I don't call a person who does that an atheist.

Edited by 3DOP
1

Share this post


Link to post

If that is what the pope said, fine. Who ever taught that the atheist who would "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart," would be damned? I can't think of any religion between Salt Lake, Mecca, Jerusalem, Geneva, or Rome that ever said atheists can't change their minds. Do atheists think that we teach that if they become theists who sincerely go to God with contrition, there is still no hope? Who hasn't flirted with atheism at some point in their life? That would damn just about all of us. Like the current pope (apparently), and every pope for the last 2,000 years, I believe that those who "go to God with a sincere and contrite heart...can be saved."

 

The headline isn't really warranted if this is the context. Its a strange "atheist" that "goes to God with a sincere and contrite heart". I don't call a person who does that an atheist.

 

The article I linked to did portray the Pope saying that atheists, remaining atheistic, may get to heaven. Upon further investigating, Pope Francis was really saying that a repentant atheist may get there and that all sin previous to his/her coming unto God moment would e based upon sinning against his/her own conscience. Coming unto God with a , as the LDS doctrines declare, "broken heart and contrite spirit", may indeed be the recipent of God's infinite mercy and be eternally blessed for it.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I think Vatican II clarified this point. 3DOP, is that correct?

 

Vatican I is pretty clear:

If any one shall have said that the one true God, our Creator and our Lord, cannot be known with certitude by those things which have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema.

 

First Vatican Council, Session III, Apr. 24, 1870, Canon 1 on Revelation.

 

That is how the Church speaks when She intends to make a teaching forever binding. Such strong words are rarely used in the life of the Church. It may be that we have gone 143 years now and this is the last time they were used. "Anathema", as many understand, means accursed. It would seem difficult to reconcile one being at the same time saved and accursed.  

 

Here is how the Church speaks when She has offered the faithful non-binding, but serious speculations for us to respectfully ponder:

 

"There are those who ask what authority, what theological qualification, the Council intended to give its teachings, knowing that it avoided issuing solemn dogmatic definitions backed by the church's infallible teaching authority.

 

 

Pope Paul VI, General Audience of Dec. 1, 1966, speaking of the recently concluded Second Vatican Council.

 

So in general, I would suggest that Vatican II did not overturn, much less clarify, what was already made binding at the First Vatican Council. I do not see anything in Vatican II in regards to atheism that cannot be reconciled with Vatican I. But if someone should propose that there is conflict, the Vatican I canon is a "solemn dogmatic definition backed by the church's infallible authority."

0

Share this post


Link to post

Pope Francis assures sceptics: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

 

This article explains that Pope Francis emphasized that all people when they do good come closerto Christ and may find eternal redemption.

 

 

Pope Francis says atheists can do good and go to heaven too!

 

So, we have that and just to be clear, reverend Thomas Rosica is NOT a spokesperson for the Catholic Church as news outlets have reported:

 

 

Catholic Church confirms atheists still go to hell, after Pope Francis suggests they might go to heaven

 

With all this said, my thoughts turn to LDS doctrines of "hell". If I'm not mistaken "hell" which is Sheol in Hebrew was understood as a place where souls are temporarily held and then released for God's final judgment. Under Joseph Smith and the restored gospel, it was taught and it is understood today that the souls will be released because Christ overcame death and thus unlocked the gates of hell and allowed all persons to be resurrected. The resurrection of the body, ergo, the reunification of the body and spirit is, according to Doctrine and Covenants, a redemption of the soul. That this redemption is for all unconditionally. It is pure mercy that Jesus did this for all mankind.

 

But then there is the redemption from sin. That is, unmistakably, from the blood of the Lamb of God. Jesus Christ taught that all *must* believe in Him to be saved and under LDS theology, the gospel of Jesus Christ will be taught to all those who did not accept it in mortality. This way, literally all who have lived or are alive all will be taught about Jesus Christ and after accepting Him, how to come unto Him under covenant. As Peter declared, the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached unto those who are dead. With this understanding, all individuals, even atheists, will be taught about Jesus Christ, have a choice to receive Him as their personal Lord and Savior, and be shown how to fully and completely come unto Him through the priesthood authority.

 

I actually see lots of commonalities between what Pope Francis and Reverend Thomas Rosica said regarding "believers" and "non believers" and eternal salvation as taught by the LDS Church. What are your thoughts?

It seems to me everyone, even including Billy Graham have moderated their positions. Bu Calvinists remain firm, all but the pre-selected are going to hell.
0

Share this post


Link to post

It seems to me everyone, even including Billy Graham have moderated their positions. Bu Calvinists remain firm, all but the pre-selected are going to hell.

 

Hi Pa Pa,

 

I guess I haven't seen anyone change much. "Pre-selected" is not Calvinistic terminology. I am afraid the phrase makes it sound worse than what they really believe. It seems to imply that God arbitrarily chooses some for heaven and others for hell without reference to their own beliefs and actions. In the interest of being fair, I must admit that Catholics are not far from what I understand to be the Calvinist view. Catholics sometimes use the term "divine predilection" to signify those individuals who God foresaw would be saved. Predestination/divine predilection (or "pre-selection" if you will) can and must be reconciled with "possible salvation for all":

 

The scope of this book from beginning to end is the reconciliation of the two principles of divine predilection [what you call "pre-selected"] and possible salvation for all.

 

 

Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, Predestination, TAN Publishers (1998), p. viii, Preface

 

So one question and one admission Pa Pa:

 

1) When has Billy Graham, Catholics, Calvinists or anybody else taught that atheists who "turn to God" are unable to be saved?

 

2) If you guys despise Calvinists for believing in predestination, I am afraid you can't think very highly of us Catholics either. I know that I am firm. Those not "pre-selected" go to Hell.

0

Share this post


Link to post

3DOP;

 

My understanding of Calvinism is that despite what you do on earth, God has already selected those who are saved and those who are damned. If you're talking foreknowledge than there is no difference between Calvinism and Mormonism regarding this "pre-selection" of souls. Mormons absolutely believe in God's omniscience. However, I do not think omniscience alone was the limit of Calvinistic beliefs. My understanding is that God did arbitrarily select those to save and those to damn, and not just on a small scale.  

 

In our Confession, Chapter 3, Sections 3, 4, and 7, we have this description of it: "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death" (3). "These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished" (4).

indent.gif"The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice" (7).

 

The first and second sections of this tract prove absolutely this sad but stubborn fact, that no sinner ever truly regenerates himself. One sufficient reason is, that none ever wish to do it, but always prefer, while left to themselves by God, to remain as they are, self-willed and worldly. That is to say, no sinner ever makes himself choose God and holiness, because every principle of his soul goes infallibly to decide the opposite preference...

 

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/dabney/5points.htm

 

My understanding of Catholicism is that free choice is for everyone and Mormons could not agree more. There's also this regarding Calvinism (same link):

 

But we cannot admit that Christ died as fully and in the same sense for Judas as he did for Saul of Tarsus. Here we are bound to assert that, while the expiation is infinite, redemption is particular. The irrefragable grounds on which we prove that the redemption is particular are these: From the doctrines of unconditional election, and the covenant of grace. (The argument is one, for the covenant of grace is but one aspect of election.) The Scriptures tell us that those who are to be saved in Christ are a number definitely elected and given to him from eternity to be redeemed by his mediation. How can anything be plainer from this than that there was a purpose in God's expiation, as to them, other than that it was as to the rest of mankind? (See the Scriptures regarding the immutability of God's purposes—Isa. 46:10; 2 Tim. 2:19.)
indent.gifIf God ever intended to save any soul in Christ (and he has a definite intention to save or not to save toward souls), that soul will certainly be saved (Jn. 10:27-28; 6:37-40). Hence, all whom God ever intended to save in Christ will be saved. But some souls will never be saved; therefore some souls God never intended to be saved by Christ's atonement...

 

I placed in red what I find to be a "yucky part" in this soteriological belief. Mormons will NOT agree that Christ's atonement was only for a select people but it was done for all and frankly that was precisely what Pope Francis was telling the atheist.

0

Share this post


Link to post

3DOP;

 

My understanding of Calvinism is that despite what you do on earth, God has already selected those who are saved and those who are damned. If you're talking foreknowledge than there is no difference between Calvinism and Mormonism regarding this "pre-selection" of souls. Mormons absolutely believe in God's omniscience. However, I do not think omniscience alone was the limit of Calvinistic beliefs. My understanding is that God did arbitrarily select those to save and those to damn, and not just on a small scale.  

 

 

 

 

http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/dabney/5points.htm

 

My understanding of Catholicism is that free choice is for everyone and Mormons could not agree more. There's also this regarding Calvinism (same link):

 

 

 

 

I placed in red what I find to be a "yucky part" in this soteriological belief. Mormons will NOT agree that Christ's atonement was only for a select people but it was done for all and frankly that was precisely what Pope Francis was telling the atheist.

 

 

Darren...Okay. I concede. I was wrong. That's pretty bad. I forgot. Limited Atonement. Thanks for the correction.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Darren,

 

If I may explain. I have a soft spot for Calvinism. Sometimes it appears to soften my brain! Its hard to explain and I won't try, but from where I had been theologically, it was an intermediate step on my journey to Rome.

0

Share this post


Link to post

Darren,

If I may explain. I have a soft spot for Calvinism. Sometimes it appears to soften my brain! Its hard to explain and I won't try, but from where I had been theologically, it was an intermediate step on my journey to Rome.

Travel well, my friend, and may it bring you forever closer to God.

Edited by Darren10
0

Share this post


Link to post

Darren,

 

If I may explain. I have a soft spot for Calvinism. Sometimes it appears to soften my brain! Its hard to explain and I won't try, but from where I had been theologically, it was an intermediate step on my journey to Rome.

That isn't all that surprising, to me.  If I recall correctly, a lot of what appears in Calvinism had its first appearance in Augustine.

0

Share this post


Link to post

He was, most likely, referring to this statement from the Second Vatican Council (as quoted in the Catechism)—

 

"Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."

This leaves open the possibility that even a Catholic who has left the church could be saved because they never gained a correct understanding of the Catholic Church's teachings.

0

Share this post


Link to post

This leaves open the possibility that even a Catholic who has left the church could be saved because they never gained a correct understanding of the Catholic Church's teachings.

 

I believe God is amenable to all those whom repent. But simple repentence alone isn't enough. There is a difference between one who dies without the knowledge of Christ; and those knowing of Christ and putting off their repentence.

0

Share this post


Link to post

I believe God is amenable to all those whom repent. But simple repentence alone isn't enough. There is a difference between one who dies without the knowledge of Christ; and those knowing of Christ and putting off their repentence.

 

 

This pertains to two of the conditions for what Catholics call "mortal sin" — 

 

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God's law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart133 do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

 

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

Catechism of the Catholic Church

If, to use the language of Lumen Gentium, refusing either to enter or remain in the Catholic Church qualifies as "grave matter," there still exists the question of whether a moral subject who has committed this act has indeed met the conditions of full knowledge and "a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice." The qualification of "through no fault of their own" presupposes these conditions. The Catechism does note that "[a]lthough we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God;" which makes sense considering that without disclosure, the conscience of another is opaque to us.

1

Share this post


Link to post

This leaves open the possibility that even a Catholic who has left the church could be saved because they never gained a correct understanding of the Catholic Church's teachings.

 

That, I believe, would be covered by the following from the same source:

 

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

0

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Bernard Gui
      Believers are challenged by non-believers to give scientific proof that God exists, as if there were some sort of experiment that could be devised that consistently forces God to reveal Himself to whomever tries it. Such an experiment would have to preserve the agency of man. An experiment does exist, but it sets certain conditions that must be met in order for it to succeed. It is described in the parable of the seed in Alma 32:
      But can this experiment satisfy the demands of non-believers? The conditions for this experiment to succeed are specified by the missionary Ammon in Alma 26:
      Can a person test God without having a sincere and transparent intent to be willing to repent and accept all that follows from discovering God's existence? Is this an experiment non-believers are willing to perform? If not, would someone propose such an experiment that would be acceptable? (Cutting off a head or leg and having God restore it has already been spoken for).
    • By Maestrophil
      We were discussing the infinite nature of the atonement in Sunday School this week.  As people were opining on what 'infinite" meant, the famous couplet “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be” came to my mind.  That started me wondering about how the atonement applies to this...
       
      Does this mean that Heavenly Father himself needed an atonement?  Was that atonement retroactively provided by His son?  Did God live a perfect life like unto the Savior and not need redemption?  
       
      I know this can start getting into the who begat God then thing etc, etc, thinking... and now my brain hurts!  :-)
       
      Anyway - does anyone here have thoughts or sources addressing the matter?
       
      Cheers,
       
      MP
       
      Edited: to fix spelling
    • By Hamilton Porter
      This is how the chapter "Authority" in Catholic and Mormon (New York: Oxford, 2015) went:
       
      Webb made the standard argument that St. Peter passed on apostolic authority to the bishops.
       
      Gaskill replied saying that the bishop office was already around concurrently with the apostle office during NT times, and it was a local office. The churchwide office of apostle went missing after St. Peter died, and the churchwide office of Pope wasn't there until the mid 4th century with Leo.
       
      Webb said if you're gonna be picky about the difference between apostle and bishop, then why do you have a "prophet" that is above the apostles? In the NT, "prophets" are subordinate to apostles and does not have the authority of an OT prophet. Also, it's pretty clear that St. Peter intended to pass his authority down. In the NT, authority was spread by the laying of hands, and that's what Peter did.
       
      Gaskill did not respond after that. But Stephen E. Robinson in How Wide the Divide mentioned that "prophet" is an apostolic office.
    • By LonelyConvert
      Hello. I hope I am posting in the correct category... You see I joined this forum because I have a very specific issue that I feel conflicted about, and I wanted to get some objective opinions from some other LDS folk anonymously because of the nature of the issue. I hope that I am amongst friends here, and I hope that when I tell you what my issue is, you will take it as a serious inquiry and not mock me or become hostile towards me.
       
      But in order to share with you my issue I must give you a bit of a background...
       
      I have always been a very inquisitive person. Even as a child, I would wonder where I came from and why I exist. And at this point, I should tell you, I had never been a religious person and in fact I did not even believe in God as anything more than a comforting fairy tale for some, and a justification for abusing and manipulating (to control others) for the rest.
       
      As I became older, the need to find an answer to the question of why I exist became unbearable and I found myself somewhat obsessed with finding the answer, in particular through the study of math and science. (Really really in particular, through the study of vortex mathematics, holographic information storage/redundant arrays, and the visual cortex, neonatal neurological development and neurology in general as it relates to discovering the origin of consciousness).
       
      Then one day as I was pondering all I had learned over a long period of time and study, the pieces of the puzzle of the universe and all that is somehow clicked into place, and I understood it ALL for a brief flash of infinite clarity... and inso doing it happened... a bolt of lightening hit my brain in the form of a pupil-dialating, world-rocking, mind-blowing, flashback-inducing realization... epiphany... revelation... no, a rememberance... of something I knew long ago and had forgotten, something that had been buried deeper than deep in my memories... I remembered God.
       
      I saw all that is, was, and ever would be in that instant, and the answers to all the questions in the world about why we exist and why we are here and who we are and where we come from and and where we are going... and even answers to questions that I didn't even know to ask like what is real, what is not real, what is love, what is fear, what is light, what is dark, and so on. And the beauty of it was that it made total and complete sense, and was utterly flawless and unerring and perfect and beautiful and I thought, "Of course! Of course this is what is going on! Of course it couldn't be anything else! How could I have forgotten?!". Because i had known it before, you see. I have apparently had amnesia my entire life and how could I have forgotten? And then my thoughts in that instant turned to God, and how much I love God, how I completely and totally and all encompassingly LOVE God, and how God is so infinitely, unspeakably, heart-breakingly... GOOD, and I KNEW this... Heavenly Father loves me so utterly, so unconditionally, so intensely, so boundlessly, so PERFECTLY that if He were to lift the veil completely and show Himself in His full Glory to me in the flesh, then first my body and then the entire Universe would shatter from PURE BLISS into dust.
       
      And then, all at once, it was gone. Once that instant passed, all the knowledge passed with it and I could not remember anything except that I had the experience. I only knew that God is real, and I love Him utterly. So I prayed, and I told God, "I know you are there, you cannot hide from me any longer, and so what should I do? I suppose I should be baptised somewhere. I love you forever".
       
      So, I had it in my head that I was going to be baptised, but I hadnt made any plans about it yet. That night, I was in the garage thinking about things, because the garage was the quietest place in the house, in fact it is the closest I have ever gotten to absolute silence. But the thing about absolute silence, is that it isn't very silent, is it? There is a din in silence, like the sounds of all the oceans and all the winds of the Earth ceaselessly blowing and flowing and waving and crashing in an endless whisper as subtle as an odor barely there or a color in a darkened room... maybe it is the sound of the earth turning or the sound of one's own spirit vibrating... who knows?
       
      But this time, in the din of silence, there was a whisper... words began to form, ever so subtly, almost like the din itself was whispering, but it was there nonethless very definitely and I heard the words, "I am..." followed by a full name. A person's name, in fact the name of my grandfather who had passed. "Grandpa?" I thought to myself and in answer to my thought came another whisper, "Yes," the voice ever so softly responded. And after listening to the voice say what it came to say and whispering a gentle goodbye in the din of silence, another voice came. "I am..." followed by the name of my great grandmother who had passed. I listened to that voice for a few minutes and listened to it say goodbye as well. After several relatives had come and gone on the waves of silence, I decided it was time to go to sleep. At best this is a unique once in a lifetime spiritual experience to give me comfort, and at worst it was a deceitful spirit tormenting me and/or I was insane. Whichever one it was, I would still need to get some sleep that night.
       
      As I lay in bed, another "voice" came to me, only instead of being sound, this was in the form of a vibration, a pulse I could feel in my forehead, and somehow this vibration was giving me information in the form of words. This was unfortunately not a pleasant experience. Whatever it was, caused abject terror without saying a word. It was although it had injected fear into my veins, because although there was no immediate threat to myself as far as I could perceive and so intellectually I could not convince myself of a reason to be afraid... my body did not have the same opinion as my logical mind and was trembling uncontrollably from some type of physically present fear. Once it "spoke" though, it did seem to wish to torment me, as it told me that some terrible things would happen in the not too distant future, and in general wished to influence me to take actions in my life, such as moving from my home to another city, and other such fear-mongering manipulative nonsense. I prayed to God for protection and to tell me what I should do next. I knew I had to be baptised as soon as possible. Instantly, a heat ignited in my heart, not only a heat but also a feeling of comfort, love, and peace... this feeling spread from my heart out through my entire body and to my extremities and when it did, all fear was driven from my body and the voice was gone and I was so happy and peaceful and comfortable and warm that I fell right to sleep.
       
      In retrospect, I think once one is able to perceive things of a spiritual nature, one is able to perceive both the good and bad of that nature previously hidden to them.
       
      The next day I set out to find someone to baptize me, so I looked on the internet for a Catholic Church website to inquire about it and perhaps to order a rosary or something for protection because, I had no clue what to do, and I didn't really know what denomination to follow so I arbitrarily chose a well-known one. As I was browsing the website, there was knock on the door, and when I looked out of the peep hole, I saw what I knew were two Mormon missionaries. I gasped... I gasped because I had been directly answered by God in a real, practical, actually-happening-in-reality way and I was dumbstruck. This is who will baptise me, I thought. I smiled and opened the door, and greeted them. (They later told me that they weren't even going to stop at my door. They were going to stop at the home just south of mine for the day, but became caught up in conversation with one another and became distracted, and continued on to my home inadvertently.)
       
      I was baptised soon thereafter, and I won't list every one of the many, many amazing coincidences and synchronicities that happened during the whole process, but I will say that once I was baptised, I knew things that I shouldn't have. For example, a missionary approached me, and without any foreknowledge of what he was going to say, I knew immediately that two of the other missionaries in the church needed me to take their bikes to another location for them so they could make it home in time for curfew. Before the missionary asked, as he approached me I was smiling and said "Yes! I can, I can put the bikes in the back of my truck!" and he smiled and said "Wow the spirit really is talking to you!"
       
      I was never bothered by the bad spirit again, however I had come to find out that I had not lost the ability to hear the whispers of the souls of those who have passed on. A strange ability, that I never wanted, yet I have it even to this day.
       
      So on the night of my baptism, I confessed to two women who were the last ones lingering at the baptismal party one of them had thrown for me, about my experience and my ability. They asked me many questions about it, and seemed satisfied with the legitimacy of my claims, as I did not seem to be insane, and in fact seemed to be a perfectly normal person except for that. So, one of them approached me the next Sunday, for the sake of conversation we will call her Mandi, and said she wanted to "pick my brain" about a woman who she was close to that had died fairly recently. That night on the telephone she asked questions and I told her the answers I got, and she was impressed, noting that I was using terms and mannerisms that the woman who had died would often use. Apparently she had told the other woman, we will call her Berri, about the telephone conversation and Berri was interested in knowing more.
       
      Keep in mind these are all involved and devoted active members of the LDS church... Anyway Mandi and Berri planned a get together at Mandi's house where Mandi, Berri, Berri's twin sister Bisty, and Berri's mother would all sit around and "pick my brain" about people they knew who had passed on. So I went over there and we ate lunch, and afterwards, we all sat in the living room and Berri led us all in a prayer. Once the prayer was said, they asked me about several people who had died. I basically acted as a relay between them and the people who had passed on. I remember one man in particular who Berri's mother had as a boyfriend when she was very young, and the first thing he wanted to say was "I'm sorry I was a jerk". When I relayed this message, Berri's mother began to cry, and laughed at the same time saying "You were a jerk!".
       
      Without telling the entire experience here, suffice it to say that they asked me many questions and I relayed many answers, all of which were completely accurate. They were very pleased with the session, and even moreso, they were very pleased with the experience they had and were convinced that I have a spiritual gift from God.
       
      The Bishop heard about what happened, and called me in to a meeting with him at his office in the church building at 10 o'clock at night on a Wednesday. I was very worried that I would be kicked out of church because of what I could do, only because I had come to love the church and every one in it very dearly and dreaded losing it. My bishop asked me many questions and I answered them, and he asked the Sisters who had been with me many questions. I told him that if it was not from God, that I didn't want it, and I want him to help me get rid of it. In the end my Bishop would not say that it was for sure a spiritual gift from God... but he would also not say that it was not a spiritual gift from God. By the end of the meeting, he gave me a blessing of the discernment of spirits and told me not to use my ability too often and warned me about keeping one foot in another reality. I agreed with him and that was that.
       
      I had a patriarchal blessing where I was told to "use my spiritual gift as I am prompted", as anyone should do with any spiritual gift I suppose.
       
      You might have noticed in the topic I said "abilities"... well there are other things I seem to be able to do that I don't really have time to get into right now, but I might be able to explain it later in reply to some responses.
       
      But my issue is this...
       
      Where do I fit in, spiritually? What does it mean to have this "gift"? Am I doing the work of the adversary by utilizing this ability? Or does God wish me to use it to comfort those who have lost loved ones, or to bolster and renew their faith in God? Or am I to have this ability for no purpose?? It is something that is really conflicting me because the Book of Mormon says to seek to God for knowledge of loved ones who have passed on and spiritual things such as that, but I am not God, of course, so am I supposed to keep this ability to myself? Am I supposed to become some kind of new age fru-fru la-la and go around "giving readings" to people? Some people seem to think so but it doesn't seem right to me? I don't know.
       
      If anyone has any genuine, sincere advice or thoughts on the matter, I would greatly appreciate if you might share it with me. But I have been through a lot, so please no personal attacks. Thank you so much.
    • By Rivers
      In Mormonism, we often speak of God a loving Father in heaven. The scariest thought that has ever come to my mind is the possibility that God is not good.  I shudder at the possibility that the fire-and-brimstone God preached by Jonathon Edwards is the real God.  But is saying, "A loving God would never be like that" a fair argument to make?