Mormonism Teaches God Gives Participation Awards


Over the last decade, it has become popular to give participation awards especially to children. In many competitions, every child gets an award just for participating. One part of me understands this. But another part realizes some of these children are in for a rude awakening when they encounter true competition. My son-in-law, who coaches competitive soccer, regularly sees that. Some boys, and their parents, become angry when they learn that it is not good enough just to participate.

If participation awards set up children for a rude awakening, Mormonism is setting people up for a hellish eternity! It does that by teaching the concept of being awarded just for participating.

This was brought home to me again as I opened the latest issue of the Ensign. It is an important issue because it contains all the talks given at last month’s General Conference (over 125 page worth). LDS members are encouraged to diligently read these over the next six months since they are the “inspired” talks of their leaders. Some LDS manuals even put these talks on the level of scripture.

As I opened my Ensign, I first looked at a brief summary of the highlights of General Conference. From over 100 pages of talks, it only gives two brief quotes. Here’s part of the first quote: “The great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying even if we don’t always succeed.”

Just the fact that this was considered a highlight indicates the emphasis Mormonism puts on it.

Naturally I had to read the talk from which it was taken. Jeffrey R. Holland, a LDS apostle, gave it. After saying the above, he continued:

“When there was a controversy in the early Church regarding who was entitled to heaven’s blessings and who wasn’t, the Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Verily I say unto you, [the gifts of God] are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep … my commandments, and [for them] that seeketh so to do.” Boy, aren’t we all thankful for that added provision “and … seeketh so to do”! That has been a lifesaver because sometimes that is all we can offer! We take some solace in the fact that if God were to reward only the perfectly faithful, He wouldn’t have much of a distribution list.”

Notice he talks about “heaven’s blessings” and “the gifts of God”.  He concludes by rejecting the thought that God would only reward the “perfectly faithful”.  In short, he says God gives participation awards.

This is in dramatic opposition to what the Bible teaches. James 2:10 is representative: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” This doesn’t describe a person who is only trying to keep the law.  This talks about someone who is actually doing that. With only one slip-up, one stumble. How does God reward him?  He hits him with a heavy hammer! He “is guilty of breaking all of it”.

Talk about a sobering passage! Talk about a damning verdict! In this dramatic way, the Bible emphasizes that God cannot tolerate any sin or imperfection.  Contrary to what Elder Holland said, God only rewards the perfectly faithful.

This is why it is imperative to see that God freely gives us Christ’s perfection. “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God sees us perfect in Christ. But only in Christ. It’s all about Christ’s perfect work and not our feeble attempts.

Not only do we need to see this for ourselves, we also need to share this with our LDS friends. Otherwise they will not just have a rude awakening when they meet their Maker; they will have a horrifying one. Whatever you do, make clear to them that God does not give participation awards. Then point them to Jesus, who was perfect for them.

May God use that message to bring peace and relief to many Mormons.