Lorenzo Snow Manual Chapter 24, Reflections on the Mission of Jesus Christ


Well, here we are at the last chapter, this has been very interesting going right through this manual and has raised some great issues and discussions. Next year we will not be going right through the Joseph Fielding Smith manual, but rather just going through a few that stand out.

This last chapter brings nothing massively new to comment on, there is some nice commentary on a visit to the Holy Lands. In fact much of this chapter would not cause problems to many Christians reading it unless you have some background information.  2 statements particularly got my interest.

Statement 1

Jesus Christ the Son of God was once placed in a condition that it required the highest effort in order to accomplish what was necessary for the salvation of millions of the children of God. It re- quired the highest effort and determination that had to be exercised before the Son of God could pass through the ordeal, the sacrifice that was necessary.7 

I wonder how often it is taught in the Mormon Church today that all of this was actually done to achieve exaltation for Christ as well, as with many teachings of the Mormon Church that massively cause problems to Christians we tend not to see much emphasis on this today.

Traditional Mormon teaching is that if you go far back enough we all started in the same way as eternal “intelligence’s” waiting to progress, if you go far back enough Christ and Heavenly Father were right there with us, however not all LDS people believe this today.

However as this line of thinking carries on the necessity to gain a spiritual body to our heavenly parents, this is called the first estate or the pre-mortal life. Then there is the necessity to come to earth and gain a physical body for our mortal probation or second estate. Traditional Mormonism teaches that heavenly Father had His second estate on another world, however Christs second estate was carried out in His incarnation.

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

 “CHRIST GAINED FULNESS AFTER RESURRECTION. The Sav- ior did not have a fulness at first, but after he received his body and the resurrection all power was given unto him both in heaven and in earth. Although he was a God, even the Son of God, with power and authority to create this earth and other earths, yet there were some things lacking which he did not receive until after his resurrection. In other words he had not received the fulness until he got a resurrected body, and the same is true with those who through faithfulness become sons of God. Our bodies are essential to the fulness and the continuation of the seeds forever” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:33).

Christ had to come to earth and live a life worthy of His own exaltation. Needless to say with all that He did He did this with flying colors as it were, however when you really think about it, where is the sacrifice in this?

I believe as Philippians 2:5-8 says that Jesus was equal with the Father and stepped down. After this He then rose again coming back to the same position He was in before He came to earth thus sacrificing His glorious position with the Father to die for us then returning to where He was, much more glorious in the eyes of man, but equally powerful and glorious as God as He was before. This is an area well worth raising when you speak with Mormons.

Statement 2

. . . Though he has sacrificed himself and laid the plan for the redemption of the people, yet unless the people labor to obtain that union between him and them, their salvation never will be accomplished.

Its the classic works verses grace argument but here it is, people must labour to obtain that union. I am often told by LDS people that there is no checklist for this however in the Exaltation section of the LDS Gospel Principles manual  (2009) we see this:

Requirements for Exaltation

The time to fulfill the requirements for exaltation is now (see Alma 34:32–34). President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “In order to obtain the exaltation we must accept the gospel and all its covenants; and take upon us the obligations which the Lord has offered; and walk in the light and the understanding of the truth; and ‘live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God’” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:43).

To be exalted, we first must place our faith in Jesus Christ and then endure in that faith to the end of our lives. Our faith in Him must be such that we repent of our sins and obey His commandments.

He commands us all to receive certain ordinances:

  1. We must be baptized.
  2. We must receive the laying on of hands to be confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  3. Brethren must receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and magnify their callings in the priesthood.
  4. We must receive the temple endowment.
  5. We must be married for eternity, either in this life or in the next.

In addition to receiving the required ordinances, the Lord commands all of us to:

  1. Love God and our neighbors.
  2. Keep the commandments.
  3. Repent of our wrongdoings.
  4.  Search out our kindred dead and receive the saving ordinances of the gospel for them.    
  5.  Attend our Church meetings as regularly as possible so we can renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.
  6.  Love our family members and strengthen them in the ways of the Lord.
  7.  Have family and individual prayers every day.
  8.  Teach the gospel to others by word and example.
  9.  Study the scriptures.
  10.  Listen to and obey the inspired words of the prophets of the Lord.

Apologies for the long copy and paste there, however things like this are the reason why ministries like mine exist, Jesus said come to Me my burden is light. We see in Luke 7:50 a woman make a demonstration of her faith and Jesus simply says “Your faith has saved you go in peace” Luke 7:50. We of course see in so many places in the New Testament that salvation is not our work, Romans 4:5 says

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Righteousness does not come from following the above list, union with Christ does not come from doing the LDS Church tells you, rather it comes from Jesus, trust in Jesus come to Jesus and He is enough for you, this is why my site exists, and this small part of this chapter reminds me why this is so vital.

Romans 10:3 seems very fitting here, imagine this was talking about LDS people.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

One of the arguments LDS people make which almost seems fair is. Well I may disagree with you on the works issue, but I still trust Jesus anyway, so Ill be ok.

However the problem is that in following these rules and seeking to make union with Christ by your works rather than just trusting in His, means you are trusting in a righteousness that does not exist, in seeking to establish your righteousness you have missed Christs righteousness and therefore remain outside of the fold of Christianity.

A probably less than perfect analogy is imagine if I knew I was going to my families for Christmas dinner, they promised me a great meal but not trusting that they would give me enough food I eat a meal first. I go there and end up not eating much of what was a perfectly sufficient meal. Therefore saying that their food was not enough for me I do not partake in what they offered.

Mormons in saying that you need to add your works to the works of Christ for your salvation whether you intend to or not, you are saying that what He did is not enough for you, therefore you have missed the righteousness that is in Christ.

I finish this with echoing Philippians 3:9 for myself and praying that those reading would take this on for themselves.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Thanks all for going through this book with us, have a great Christmas and we look forward to seeing you back here next year, that’s all from us in 2013.


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6 Responses »

  1. Bobby, thank-you for your post. I think that Colossians is a good reference on both parts of your post.

    In 1.19 we have in Jesus the fullness of God – Gods word, wisdom, glory, spirit and power, all dwelling in the true Messiah.
    And in verse 20 through the activity of the Messiah all things are reconciled to God. In the Greek katalaossō means to change hostility for friendly relationship. The prior state of hostility between creator and creation has now been restored. It is of interest to note that it is God who takes the initiative. He is the offended party but it is his initiative in reconciliation. Not only human beings are reconciled but all things creating a cosmic scope as also seen in 1Cor 5.19.

    It occurs to me that here we have a Mormon doctrine of eternal progression and it gets stranded by the teachings in the Early church.

    In Mormonism Jesus had not received a body and needed one. While he had achieved a great deal in his pre earth life, existing as a spirit child of his, and our heavenly parents he was still incomplete. Coming to earth to gain a body and finally becoming resurrected finally allowed Jesus to be fully like God. This doctrine is out of step with what Paul is teaching in Colossians.

    Second, God has elected to reconcile creation. It is his action alone that has done it. We cannot then say we must do something to realise the reconciliation. The fact of the matter is that it has already happened. We are all included.

    One final thing from me. It is important to not use the word incarnation or allow Mormons to use it when referring to the coming of Jesus in the flesh. In Mormonsim Jesus has come into the world like the rest of us to gain a body. As we see in the quotes you have provided, Jesus does not have the fullness of the Father. The word incarnation has to do with God coming as man and revealing himself to us and yet remaining fully God. This is quite different from what we see here in these quotes from the LDS manual.

  2. Hey Bobby,
    I don’t know any member of the Church who thinks that they can add anything to the Savior’s righteousness to further or gain their salvation. In and of ourselves the only thing we are worthy of is death and hell. Receiving the Lord’s mercy is getting what we don’t deserve. It is a gift and we cannot earn a gift. Please don’t teach that we teach otherwise. Perhaps we can talk about this in a future podcast.


    • Ned, I understand the position you take is tied to the role you play as a Mormon apologist and you may very well not know anyone who thinks as you say. The reality though is different then your experience. I sat in the Dunedin chapel here in 2012 and the question was asked as to whether a person could go to the celestial kingdom if they didn’t regularly attend church meetings. I was in the minority of one on the answer to that question.

      Of course you are not referring to exaltation in your comment, but are also not fully representing the Mormon position. That position is tha Jesus suffered for sins in the garden so that those who repent can receive forgiveness. As Jesus was resurrected all will be resurrected but not everyone will live with God. Only those who repent and receive Mormon baptism, have qualified for and attend the temple etc are qualified to enter a life with God. This is what is quoted above from the 2009 Gospel Principles manual. I think you choose to comment without genuine candour when you make the sorts of comments you do.

      • In response to Michael’s post, my position is that one cannot add to the Savior’s righteousness by our own works to gain salvation. Do works have a place in what we receive within salvation? I would say the scriptures are clear on this matter. Our works do follow us. What we will obtain within salvation because of our works is up to the Savior because all judgment is committed unto the Son. My understanding of evangelical protestant theology on the judgment is that there are two basic events. There is the great white throne judgment (the 2nd judgment or the judgment of the unrighteous) where all non believers are sent to hell. Then there is the judgment of rewards (the 1st judgment or the judgment of the righteous) where only believers are present. Our works have a place within this judgment of rewards. How much a place? I don’t know. I don’t care because it’s not my job to decide who gets what. That is the Lord’s job and whatever He decides will be perfect. Those who think they can decide for the Lord who deserves what in eternity are on shaky ground as far as I am concerned.


  3. Thanks for the Input Mike I will take that on board.

    Ned I humbly agree with you that this is not the intention of the LDS member. I am saying as an evangelical that this is my view on what is actually going on, I accept the podcast invitation :)

  4. Here is a charming little teaching of President snow you wont find in the manual I am sure
    taken from the Diary Excerpts of Abraham H. Cannon.
    Elder Cannon would go on to father a dynasty of faithful high ranking Mormons including the famous Hugh J. Cannon
    on July 15, 1886 he wrote:
    “In the evening Rud and I had a conversation with Bro. Snow about various doctrines. Bro. Snow said I would live to see the time when brothers and sisters would marry each other in this church. All our horror at such a union was due entirely to prejudice, and the offspring of such unions would be as healthy and pure as any other. These were the decided views of Pres. Young, when alive, for Bro. S. talked to him freely on this matter.–Bro. S. believes that Jesus will appear as a man among this people and dwell with them a time before he comes in His glory. The Gentiles will hear of it and they will reject him, as the Jews did anciently, but they will have no power over him at all. –He says that if a man will place himself in a position where he is ready to sacrifice everything at the command of the Lord, he is then in a position to ask and receive Heavenly revelation.”

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