This month’s (March 2018) Ensign magazine states: “Although we sin from time to time, the Savior can heal and forgive us when we repent” (p. 10, my emphasis).
Mormonism, as evidenced by this quote, has a weak view of sin. This is something I blogged about a few years ago. As the above quote illustrates, talking about Mormonism’s wrong view of sin is still pertinent. Therefore, this week I decided to reproduce that earlier blog post. It follows.
What constitutes sin? The LDS manual, The Life and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles, states: “Sin is the transgression of divine law, as made known through the conscience or by revelation. A man sins when he violates his conscience, going contrary to light and knowledge – not the light and knowledge that has come to his neighbor, but that which has come to himself. He sins when he does the opposite of what he knows to be right. Up to that point he only blunders. One may suffer painful consequences for only blundering, but he cannot commit sin unless he knows better than to do the thing in which the sin consists. One must have a conscience before he can violate it. (Whitney, Saturday Night Thoughts, p. 239).”
There is much that could be discussed in this quote. But what I want to focus on is how it illustrates Mormonism’s tendency to diminish sin. Nowhere does the Bible limit the idea of sin to things we know are wrong – that violate an individual’s conscience. Notice that, according to this quote, a person doesn’t sin if he goes contrary to the light and knowledge revealed to his neighbor. Does this mean if I don’t know something is a sin, it isn’t a sin until I know it? If I didn’t know sexual immorality was a sin, I would not be sinning if I was sexually immoral?
I also checked my Bible Concordance for the word “blunder”. It wasn’t listed. Nowhere does the Bible talk about blunders. Another word which Mormonism often uses instead of sin is “mistake”. Again, I checked my Bible Concordance. It wasn’t listed either. In the Bible, everything against God’s will is a sin.
The manual mentioned above contains another example of Mormonism’s tendency to diminish sin. It adds the word “alleged” to Peter’s three-fold denial of Jesus in the courtyard of the high priest. But there is nothing “alleged” in the biblical account of his denial. This manual, however, says that Peter was just obeying Jesus’ command not to tell anybody who he was!
The reason I am highlighting this is because minimizing sin is deadly. If I don’t see how often I sin, I will have a higher opinion of myself than is merited. If I don’t see the extent of my sinfulness, I also won’t be as desperate for help. For me to fully appreciate my Savior, I need to see myself accurately – as someone who desperately needs salvation because I sin so much. May we, first of all, always see how much we sin and then, soberly point out the seriousness of sin to all people, including Mormon friends and missionaries.