It never ceases to amaze me how some members of the Church can justify committing certain sins.  During a class discussion, one of my students said that his roommate justified watching R-rated movies because the current For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet does not specifically say the youth are forbidden to watch them–completely overlooking “the spirit of the law” outlined within the pamphlet which would eliminate all R-rated movies as well as many PG-13 and PG movies.

President Spencer W. Kimball once said, “The Brethren constantly cry out against that which is intolerable in the sight of the Lord: against pollution of mind, body, and our surroundings; against vulgarity, stealing, lying, pride, and blasphemy; against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and all other abuses of the sacred power to create; against murder and all that is like unto it; against all manner of desecration.  That such a cry should be necessary among a people so blessed is amazing to me. And that such things should be found even among the Saints to some degree is scarcely believable, for these are a people who are in possession of many gifts of the Spirit, who have knowledge that puts the eternities into perspective, who have been shown the way to eternal life.” [i]

Such a belief as professed by my young student’s roommate is considered a heresy.  “In the true gospel sense,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “any opinion or doctrine in opposition to the revealed word of the Lord as recorded in the standard works of the Church and as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter?day Saints is an heresy.”  He continued, saying that “members of the true Church are guilty of the crime of heresy to the extent that they accept false views which do not accord with the revealed word.” [ii]

Some accept false views because of their ignorance of the true doctrines of the kingdom of God.  Others profess such ideas to satisfy their own carnal lusts.  Often, in the kingdom, such individuals profess their views to others in private.  In his second epistle, the Apostle Peter warned, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2 Peter 2:1).

Most often, heresies are often professed by Church members to justify sin.  If not repented of, the member may soon find him or herself outside the fellowship of the Lord’s kingdom.  For if such heresies are allowed to prevail, they may affect others, eventually leading whole groups into apostasy.

Such was the case with many groups of saints in the Apostle John’s day.  John was the last surviving member of the Quorum of the Twelve whom Jesus had called and set apart.  As such, he was the head of the Church.  He lived to see the original Church driven into the wilderness (see Rev. 12:1-6) or, in other words, destroyed through the ravages of apostasy.

In response to many groups of members of the Church who professed heretical doctrines, John wrote three epistles.  These letters were written within the last years before the Church lost the priesthood keys and authority through unrighteousness.  They provide snapshots of a Church reeling with internal strife and division caused by false teachers and prophets proclaiming false doctrines.  The date for these letters is somewhere about 97 to 100 A.D.

Both the scriptures and early Christian writers are silent as to ministry and life of John between the last mention of him by Luke in Acts 12 and the latter years of his mortal life.  However, the early Christian fathers inform us that John lived in Ephesus [iii] during the last half of the last decade of the first century.  These letters are written in simple Greek but with a deeply profound message.  Since they often refer to statements found in John’s Gospel, it is supposed that they were written after his gospel had been circulated and are most likely the last New Testament documents written. [iv]

Heresies in John’s Day

Several heresies emerged in John’s day that wreaked havoc on the early Christian church.  It is important to review some of these heresies in order understand John’s epistles.  Towards the end of the second century A. D., an early Church father named Irenaeus wrote a lengthy treatise entitled Against Heresies which discussed many of these heresies.  He began his work explaining that “certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words” which had drawn “away the minds of inexperienced and take[n] them captive.” [v]   It was his intent to expose the heresies believed and expounded by these individuals.

Irenaeus spoke of many forms of a heresy known as Gnosticism (from the Greek word gnosis meaning knowledge).  Christian Gnosticism had its beginning in the latter half of the first century A.D.  During this time Gnostic ideas were interlaced with Christian doctrines.  During the second century, Gnosticism evolved into complex forms.  At this time, Gnosticism was viewed by traditional Christians as separate sects.

In general, Gnostics believed that the spirit is entirely good while matter was entirely evil.  Therefore, they believed that the human body of man is evil in contrast to God–who they taught was a spirit–is good.  To Gnostics, salvation meant escape from the body through a special kind of revealed knowledge (hence, the name Gnostics) rather than faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.  Therefore, Gnostics demeaned the importance of Jesus Christ.

Others who depreciated Jesus Christ were called Docetics (from the Greek word meaning to seem).  They believed that Christ was not mortal but only seemed to be in the world.  The non-physical reality of Jesus Christ was believed because of their belief, like the Gnostics, of the evilness of the material world.  The evilness of the corporal nature and the righteousness of Jesus Christ they felt were incompatible.

One of the damnable characteristics of these early heresies was the justification of promiscuous behavior. Those who held to these various heresies believed that it was matter–and not the breaking of God’s commandments–that was considered evil.  Therefore, the violation of the commandments of God was of no moral consequence.

Once again, I say, it never ceases to amaze me what some members of the Church will believe in order to justify the committing of sin.

One such early Christian who believed and taught views in line with Gnostic and Docetic heresies was a man named Cerinthus.  In fact, according to Irenaeus, it was against the teachings and activities of this man that the Apostle John wrote his gospel. [vi]   Indeed, some of his teachings are also reflected in 1 John. Irenaeus described Cerinthus as a “man who was educated in the wisdom of the Egyptians” who taught that “the world was not made by the primary God, but by a certain Power far separated from him, and at a distance from that Principality who is supreme over the universe, and ignorant of him who is above all.”  He further taught that Jesus and Christ were not the same being.  Jesus was not born of a virgin but was the son of Joseph and Mary in “the ordinary course of human generation.”  When Jesus was baptized, the spirit of Christ “descended upon him in the form of a dove from the Supreme Ruler, and that then he proclaimed the unknown Father, and performed miracles.


 

 

 

But at last Christ departed from Jesus, and that then Jesus suffered and rose again, while Christ remained impassible, inasmuch as he was a spiritual being.” [vii]

Irenaeus records a story that shows the disgust the Apostle John had for Cerinthus. The story came from Polycarp, the famous Bishop and martyr of Smyrna, who, as a young man, knew John when he resided in Ephesus.  The story is recorded as follows:  “There are also those who heard from [Polycarp] that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, ‘Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.’ “ [viii]   Whether the story is true or not remains to be seen.  Nevertheless, it does reveal the attitude of many in the early Church regarding the wickedness of Cerinthus.

1 John

Though the occasion of 1 John was prompted by the heretical teachings of many apostate Christians, the tenor of the letter is pastoral in nature.  The letter is laced with a profound love John felt for the members of the Church who were being harangued by the false teachers of his day.  John wanted to protect these saints so that they might have happiness in a world full of misery and sorrow.  Indeed, he declared that the purpose for his writing was to ensure that the “joy” of the members of the Church “may be full” (1 John 1:4). Sin destroys joy–as Alma taught, “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 42:10).  Members of the Church may fall into the thralls of sin if they naively adopt heretical views.  Therefore, John wrote in hopes of warning the saints of false teachings.

1 John begins by the Apostle John refuting the heretical view held by the Docetics and Cerinthus regarding the non-physical existence of Christ.  John bore testimony in these words:  “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you . . .” (1 John 1:1-3).

Then John addressed the heresy that the sins of the flesh are of no moral consequence.  “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1: 6-10).

Note in these teachings that John also made it clear that salvation comes through the atonement of Jesus Christ teaching that “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

John continued, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not” (1 John 2:1).  Those who have bought into the lie that you can disregard the commandments and teachings of God found in the scriptures and from living prophets and still be happy, will eventually learn by sad experience that you reap what you sow.

Christ As the Advocate

John continued his teaching that salvation comes through Christ.  “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2-3).  The Greek word translated “advocate” is paraklatos.  It literally means “one who is called to someone’s aid”; “one who appears in another’s behalf, mediator, intercessor, helper.” [ix]   The use of this word outside the New Testament gives the sense of a “person called in to help, summoned to give assistance.”  The meaning is a “helper in court.”  It is not necessarily a professional legal advisor but “is to be understood in the light of legal assistance in court, the pleading of another’s case.” [x]   This fits the meaning of John’s use of the word in 1 John.

The role of Jesus as an advocate is seen in the D&C 45:3-5: “Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him–saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”  As an advocate, Christ offers His sinless, infinite life for the life of those who believe on Him.  As Lehi explained: “Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered” (2 Nephi 2:7).

Keep His Commandments

The salvation that comes from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is made effective by our obedience to God’s commandments.  Unlike the Gnostics who claimed that salvation is gained through the acquisition of some hidden, esoteric knowledge, John testified that salvation comes through Christ and knowledge of Him.  He further taught that knowing Christ comes through obedience to His commandments (1 John 2:3). John continued: “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.  He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:5-6).  King Benjamin taught the same principle in these words: “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” (Mosiah 5:13)

Those who have received the salvatory power of Jesus Christ have been spiritually born again.  With a newness of life comes a change of actions.  The spiritual man rules the natural man.  John explains that the actions of such a person would reflect love and not hate.  “He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.  He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.


 

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:9-11).

Love Not the Things of the World

At this point in his epistle, John divides his readers into three groups: children, Fathers, and young men (1 John 2:13-14).  Elsewhere in the epistle, he addresses the readers as simply children.  The meaning of this division is not clear.  But his admonition to these three groups is imperative: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father in not in him” (1 John 2:15).

John’s point here is at the heart of his writings.  The first great commandment is: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matthew 22:27).  When the things of the world become more important to us than God, then we have displaced God, violated the first commandment, and are guilty of worshiping other gods.  President Spencer W. Kimball once stated: “Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god; and if his god doesn’t also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry.” [xi]

On another occasion, he gave many examples of modern idol worship: “Idolatry is among the most serious of sins. There are unfortunately millions today who prostrate themselves before the images of gold and silver and wood and stone and clay. But the idolatry we are most concerned with here is the conscious worshiping of still other gods. Some are of metal and plush and chrome, of wood and stone and fabrics. They are not in the image of God or of man, but are developed to give man comfort and enjoyment, to satisfy his wants, ambitions, passions, and desires. Some are in no physical form at all, but are intangible.

“Many seem to “worship” on such an elemental basis that they live to eat and drink. They are like the children of Israel who, though offered the great freedoms associated with national development under God’s personal guidance, could not lift their minds above the “flesh pots of Egypt.” They cannot seem to rise above satisfying their bodily appetites. As Paul put it, their “God is their belly.” (Phil. 3:19.)

“Modern idols or false gods can take such forms as clothes, homes, businesses, machines, automobiles, pleasure boats, and numerous other material deflectors from the path to godhood. What difference does it make that the item concerned is not shaped like an idol? Brigham Young said: “I would as soon see a man worshipping a little god made of brass or of wood as to see him worshipping his property.

“Intangible things make just as ready gods. Degrees and letters and titles can become idols. Many young men decide to attend college when they should be on missions first. The degree, and the wealth and the security which come through it, appear so desirable that the mission takes second place. Some neglect Church service through their college years, feeling to give preference to the secular training and ignoring the spiritual covenants they have made.

“Many people build and furnish a home and buy the automobile first—and then find they “cannot afford” to pay tithing. Whom do they worship? Certainly not the Lord of heaven and earth, for we serve whom we love and give first consideration to the object of our affection and desires. Young married couples who postpone parenthood until their degrees are attained might be shocked if their expressed preference were labeled idolatry. Their rationalization gives them degrees at the expense of children. Is it a justifiable exchange? Whom do they love and worship—themselves or God? Other couples, recognizing that life is not intended primarily for comforts, ease, and luxuries, complete their educations while they move forward with full lives, having their children and giving Church and community service.

“Many worship the hunt, the fishing trip, the vacation, the weekend picnics and outings. Others have as their idols the games of sport, baseball, football, the bullfight, or golf. These pursuits more often than not interfere with the worship of the Lord and with giving service to the building up of the kingdom of God. To the participants this emphasis may not seem serious, yet it indicates where their allegiance and loyalty are.

“Still another image men worship is that of power and prestige. Many will trample underfoot the spiritual and often the ethical values in their climb to success. These gods of power, wealth, and influence are most demanding and are quite as real as the golden calves of the children of Israel in the wilderness.” [xii]

The Antichrists

It was the heresies expounded by many false teachers within the Church that promoted the love of the things of the world.  John called these teachers antichrists.  “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”  John states that though they were one time members of the Church, they really were not truly converted to the doctrines of the kingdom (1 John 2:18-19).

As we have noted earlier, one of the heresies propounded by the antichrists is that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.  John taught: “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 Jon 4:3).  Therefore, John warned the saints of his day not to believe “every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

This is important advice in our day as well.  President Harold B. Lee once stated in General Conference, “It never ceases to amaze me how gullible some of our Church members are in broadcasting sensational stories or dreams, or visions, or purported patriarchal blessings, or quotations, or supposedly from some person’s private diary.” [xiii]   Perhaps one of the reasons members of the Church are so gullible is because a part of the conversion process is the acquisition of a believing heart.  But caution must be used in everything we hear and read.

How can we discern truth from error?  John reminded the saints that they had the gift of the Holy Ghost that would help them discern truth from error: “But ye have an unction [i.e., anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things” (1 John 2:20).  The Old Testament equates the giving of the Holy Ghost with an anointing with oil.  For example, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13).

One of the most important gifts of the Spirit associated with the Holy Ghost is the gift of discernment.  President George Q. Cannon was said: “One of the gifts of the Gospel which the Lord has promised to those who enter into covenant with Him is the gift of discerning of spirits—a gift which is not much thought of by many and probably seldom prayed for; yet it is a gift that is of exceeding value and one that should be enjoyed by every Latter?day Saint¼.


 

No Latter?day Saint should be without this gift, because there is such a variety of spirits in the world which seek to deceive and lead astray.” [xiv]   Of this, President Stephen L. Richards taught, “I believe that this gift when highly developed arises largely out of an acute sensitivity to impressions–spiritual impressions, if you will–to read under the surface as it were, to detect hidden evil, and more importantly to find the good that may be concealed. . . . The gift and power of discernment in this world of contention between the forces of good and the power of evil are essential equipment for every son and daughter of God.” [xv]

Sons of God Shall Become Like Christ

Though time and space will not allow a complete treatise of all John taught in this letter, two doctrines he touched on must be referred to.

John taught that the divine potential of man is a reality.  “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).  This, as President Gordon B. Hinckley expressed, is the purpose of the gospel: “The whole design of the gospel is to lead us, onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood.  This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 342-62) and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow.  It is a grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become!  (See The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, comp. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984, p. 1). [xvi]

Important in achieving this goal, John taught that “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).  Such a person would avoid sin as a plague.  “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:7-8).

The first step towards our achieving our divine potential is spiritual rebirth.  This comes through faith, repentance, baptism and reception of the Holy Ghost.  One who is born again, John wrote, “doth not commit sin.”  He continues, for God’s “seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).  One who is born again becomes the children of Christ, and he is our father.  King Benjamin taught: “because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters” (Mosiah 5:7).  As the children of Christ, his seed being in us, we have “no more disposition to do evil” (Mosiah 5:2).

John taught that those who are spiritually born again have overcome the world (1 John 5:4).  To overcome the world is not to give in to the desires of the natural man but rather live the higher laws of God.  Instead of loving self, one who is born again focuses his love on others.  Spiritual rebirth puts the first commandment first.  Once that has occurred, then love for others becomes our nature rather than loving ourselves and the pleasures of the world.  John wrote: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments” (1 John 5:2).

Through the process of spiritual rebirth, we begin walking a path that helps us to develop the pure love of God within ourselves.  Love is a verb and not necessarily a state of being.  We are to love and not fall into love.  John stated that we should “not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). Consequently, John wrote: “This is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and love one another” (1 John 3:23).

God is Love

To be born again means to be born of God.  To be born of God means that we have overcome the world and are becoming like God.  As already noted, the fruit of spiritual rebirth is love of others.  John wrote, He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

God’s love was first manifest to mankind by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to save man from his fallen condition.  “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:8-9).

The scriptures qualify God’s love as perfect and pure.  Because of his perfect love, God has established a way to save mankind from the grasps of sin and death.  Those who reach out and accept the saving grace extended to mankind, will automatically return that love to God.  “We love him,” John exclaimed, “because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

This last statement aptly describes the love of God.  His perfect, pure love has extended to all mankind the grace of salvation.  But if that love is refused, so is the grace of God.  This condition is taught throughout the scriptures.  During the last several decades, a heresy regarding God’s love has surfaced.  The heresy states that God’s love is unconditional.  The heresy first started with humanist psychologists who invented the term.  Unconditional love, they taught, is the love parents ought to have for their children.  Eventually, the term was adopted into Christian dialogue to describe God’s love.  However, the term is never found in the scriptures.  Rather, it is a classic example of mingling the philosophies of men with scripture.

This has been true even within the dialogue of the Church.  However, in an attempt to eradicate this heresy through the teaching of correct doctrine, Elder Russell M. Nelson wrote an article that was published in the Ensign.  Said he: “While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional. The word does not appear in the scriptures. On the other hand, many verses affirm that the higher levels of love the Father and the Son feel for each of us–and certain divine blessings stemming from that love—are conditional.

Elder Nelson taught that understanding the true nature of God’s love will guard against common fallacies that could lead to untoward behavior.


 

 

Said he: “Understanding that divine love and blessings are not truly “unconditional” can defend us against common fallacies such as these: “Since God’s love is unconditional, He will love me regardless ¼”; or “Since ‘God is love,’ He will love me unconditionally, regardless ¼”   Elder Nelson continued, “These arguments are used by anti-Christs to woo people with deception. Nehor, for example, promoted himself by teaching falsehoods: He “testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, ¼ for the Lord had created all men, ¼ and, in the end, all men should have eternal life” (Alma 1:4).   Sadly, some of the people believed Nehor’s fallacious and unconditional concepts.” [xvii]

2 and 3 John

Unfortunately, John was unable to check the growth of heresies within the Church.  Those who held to heretical views were active in the promotion of their damnable doctrines.  Like the apostles and missionaries who took the gospel from place to place, these false teachers also traveled from village to village and city to city, even Christian congregation to Christian congregation, promoting their teachings.

2 John was written to exhort the members of the Church to use great discernment in the choice of their teachers.  John wrote: “many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”  He then said, “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 1:7-11).

In John’s last letter, we have our last snapshot of the photo album that is the New Testament.  Like any photo album, it gives us a view of things but not the whole story.  Likewise, 3 John gives us a view of the apostasy tearing the Church apart.

The view is not a pretty one.  As part of this brief letter, John spoke of a Church leader name Diotrephes: “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.  Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church” (3 John 1:9).  What a chilling picture.  Diotrephes not only refused to accept John as the head of the Church but spoke out against him and excommunicated those of his congregation who sustained John as head of the Christian church.

What a sad state of affairs.  With such attitudes as this, to whom could John give priesthood authority and keys.  “With their rejection of John, they severed the final legitimate link of doctrinal and priesthood authority between Christ and the church that bore his name.” [xviii]   Without such authority, the Church would cease to exist.  Shortly thereafter, the Church did cease to exist as the only true and living Church!

Notes

___________________________________________________________________

[i] .   Spencer W. Kimball, “The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign, June 1976, p. 4; emphasis added.

[ii] .  Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), p.352.

[iii] .  See Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book  3. Chapter 1.  Paragraph 1 (hereafter stated only by numbers).

[iv] .  See Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The First Presidency of the Early Church: Their Lives and Epistles,” Ensign, Aug. 1988, pp. 20-21.

[v] .   Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1. Preface. 1.

[vi] .  Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3. 11. 1.

[vii] .  Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1. 26.1

[viii] . Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3. 3. 4.

[ix] .  William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich (Ed.s), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature 3rd Edition (Revised and edited by Frederick William Danker, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), p. 766.

[x] .  Gerhard Kittle, Gerhard Friedrich (Ed.s), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1o Vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans , 1967), 5:801.

[xi] .  Kimball, “The False Gods We Worship,” Ensign (June 1976), p. 3.

[xii] .  Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969), pp.41?42.

[xiii] .  Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1970, pp. 54-57

[xiv] .  George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, First Counselor to Presidents John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow (1880?1901) [Compiled by Jerreld L. Newquist. Volume 1. Salt Lake City: Zion’s Book Store, 1957], p. 198.

[xv] .   Stephen L. Richards, Conference Report, April 1950, pp. 162-163

[xvi] .  Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November 1994, p. 48.

[xvii] .  Russell M. Nelson, “Divine Love,” Ensign, Feb. 2003, pp. 20-25.

[xviii] .  Kent P. Jackson, “Early Signs of the Apostasy,” Ensign, Dec. 1984, p. 15.

 

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