Skip to content

Radio Free Mormon: 175: Born Again Book of Mormon

Does the Book of Mormon teach something about salvation entirely different from what the modern LDS Church teaches?  This is one you don’t want to miss!


42 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 175: Born Again Book of Mormon”

  1. How is it we couldn’t see the BOM does not teach mormonism? I’ve read it many times. I’ve concluded that I imputed doctrine even though it isn’t there. I’ve challenged people to teach me the mormon doctrine just using the most correct book. It can’t be done.
    Talking to Mormons (the short animated series) does a good job pointing this out. And it just so happens I am the voice of Ava. Danny Larsen writes it all and it’s fun to donate my voice. I know Danny listens to this podcast. I’m the second woman to be Ava and I’ve done 8 or 10 of them. Way fun it is.
    It is still shocking to me how idiotic mormon doctrine is and people call it beautiful. Even those who leave still call it a beautiful fraud. Not me. The doctrine stinks. Always has. Always will and how wonderful to be free of it. I don’t believe in religion and it’s great to be free from all of it.
    Thanks again for another wonderful podcast.

  2. Great episode, RFM! Physically, I left Mormonism about 7 months ago. Mentally and spiritually, I was out about 3 years ago. For three years I continued to attend, befuddled by how disparate the Book of Mormon and modern Mormon doctrine is. You find the doctrine of trinitarianism (and occasionally even modalism!) taught quite clearly in The Book of Mormon on top of what you have laid out quite nicely about salvation by grace. It appears that, ultimately, Mormonism has no sure rock or doctrinal foundation, no clear standard to which one may refer in order to learn what Mormonism teaches on any subject. Except….! Except for the words of the “living prophets.” Yes, Mormonism’s only standard, and really the only thing that Mormons believe in, is the teachings of the current president of LDS, Inc. Which is to say, Mormon doctrine is essentially up for grabs every few years when one old president dies and another, with one foot already in the grave, steps onto the stage for his moment of glory.

    1. Great points, Troy!

      In this, as in other ways, Mormonism reflects U.S. Democracy at its finest.

      Except in the U.S., it is every four or eight years when a new president comes in and reverses what the prior administration did!

  3. Sandra Tanner ( I love her!) has done a number of very good lectures on why Mormonism is not considered to be Christian. In so doing, she exposed much of what you have uncovered in this podcast.

    With more time, she has gone much further unavoidably revealing how the teachings in the Book of Mormon clash with the modern church doctrine, etc. and where the Book of Mormon lines up more with christian beliefs on grace and the trinity.

    But because Mormons teach of a different God and Christ, they just can’t be included. She concluded that the Book of Mormon alone is enough to rid any Mormon of their loyalty to the church, even tho its a huge mess.

    1. continuing…..I’m really glad you wrote such a good paper on this and decided to share it…Mormons need to think about this stuff!!

      1. Thanks so much, Angie!

        As you can see from that paper, and part 2 that just went up, I gave a LOT of time over to thinking about this subject back in the early 1990s!

        Have a great weekend!


    2. Angie
      Thanks for sharing this, where do I find Sandra tanner’s lectures?
      Just to finish our conversation about my frustration of the wrecking of a the kids Nativity in Christmas Sacrament it seems in Alberta Canada you never did it anyway so no wonder you didn’t know what I was talking about. You asked where I am from so I will tell you> I was born and bred in the same village in England where my great great grandfather kept the village pub and ran his construction business he was a stone mason. I live in a secluded valley in the Pennine Hills facing South we have about 1.5 acres of lawned garden and woodland shared with the Deer, the Fox, Squirrel and Badger with birds in all their varieties. Lockdown has meant little change for us as we don’t see many people in normal circumstances anyway apart from the few who live in the valley.

      1. What an absolutely beautiful place you describe. Anyone who has survived the Mormon church deserves to live out their remaining days in peace and beauty.

        Everything I’ve ever learned from Sandra Tanner is on youtube. I’m not sure you get the same content where you are as I do here in Canada.

        Give me a few days to track down those lectures I was talking about.

  4. Thank you so much for this episode! This topic goes deep into my heart and belief system and is the core reason I reject the church as “the true church”. There are three beliefs about the atonement in my opinion:

    1. No Christ – christ doesn’t exist and we do not answer to a higher power.

    2. Saved by works – Do good works, maybe you’ll be saved maybe you won’t, depends on how good your works are and how bad your sins were, (Jesus decides and who knows what those metrics are). The TSCC believes that it plays the role of judge, jury and executioner on your life in regards to the atonement (worthiness). I reject this view wholeheartedly.

    3. We are all “sinners” and thus all must be “saved” by grace. We are redeemed only through him and his grace regardless of our good or bad actions performed.

    Two more biblical examples illustrate this point. The parable of the prodigal son and the parable of the workers in the vineyard. They show us that it does not matter when we “come to Christ” the ultimate reward is the same.

    Some may contend that it was “unfair”, but really, those who are Christlike regardless of religion or creed would argue that there is a peace and happiness associated with loving oneself and others that cannot be achieved in complete self indulgence or self hatred.

    So while we all, through the grace of Christ may in the end be saved, we can all strive to achieve peace and harmony with ourselves and others in this life and enjoy our time here too!

    1. K

      You are a different K from the prior post since I’m that K and I didn’t post this comment.
      Nice to meet another K.

    2. Thanks for your comments, K!

      I am glad you liked the episode.

      I hope you like part 2 that just went up a few minutes ago!

      Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!


    1. It is possible, but I don’t think I did anything different in posting it.

      It is also available at the mormondiscussionspodcast website, if that helps.

  5. Why is the Mormon Church teaching a grace-less path to salvation? I was taught many years ago that if you don’t know the reason for something strange happening, “FOLLOW THE DOLLAR$$$$”.

    During the middle ages, the Catholic Church was lacking money$ to build their churches as well as provide gold and silver objects in them, as well as pay their ministry. Since Christ died for men’s sins by shedding his blood, that was the key. How much of Christ’s blood was required to save men. The Church decided that there was MUCH more blood shed than was required. They decided that they were the representatives of Christ and therefore all the excess blood that was shed belonged to the Church and as his representatives, they could $ELL Christ’s blood for the aid of the Church. That began the practice of $elling indulgences which Martin Luther described as a heresy. If you were planning to be unfaithful to your wife, or kill your neighbor, or bear false witness in court, all you had to do was buy $ome of Christ’$ excess blood from the neighborhood prie$t and immediately, you were forgiven.

    The whole idea is that the Church and not Christ is the key to salvation. Please, Father, I would like to buy a six pack of drops of Chri$t’$ blood for my weekend party. I am planning to be a little naughty.

    Joseph Smith brought this same doctrine into his newly forming church with the doctrine: “We believe that all mankind may be saved through OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL”, which is a doctrine of Satan from the depths of hell. The Bible and Book of Mormon BOTH teach that “We believe that all mankind may be saved through GRACE ALONE THROUGH FAITH ALONE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST”.

    If salvation comes by faith in the grace of Jesus Christ and not through the Church, the Church looses control of the people. If salvation comes through “OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS AND ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL” which the Church controls, the Church can $ell $alvation through $elling the ordinances to get to heaven. That’s what the Catholic priests were doing to get money for the Church in Luther’s time, and that is what the Mormon Church is doing now to enrich the Mormon Church. No tithing, no temple. No temple , no Celestial kingdom. No Celestial kingdom, no eternal families.

    Mormon 8:32 Yea, it shall come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say:

    “Come unto me, and for your money
    you shall be forgiven of your sins.”

    O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people,
    why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain?

    Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God,
    that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?

    Behold, look ye unto the revelations of God;
    for behold, the time cometh at that day
    when all these things must be fulfilled.

    Follow the Dollar$$$, and you will find the reason.

    1. As a friend mentioned to me yesterday on the phone, the Jews described in the New Testament made merchandise in the courtyard of the temple. That got Jesus so mad he made a whip and drove everybody out.

      But the LDS have done even one better. Their merchandising is not restricted to the courtyards, but has been taken inside the temple itself.

      In order to enter the temple and receive the ordinances required for exaltation, you have to certify that you pay ten-percent of your income to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      And when I went through the temple for the first time, the added irony is that once inside, you could hear Lucifer say, “You can get anything you want in this world for money.”

  6. RFM
    Thank you for once again sharing your Book of Mormon in-sights from your past and I too must confess that I had missed the fact that indeed the Church’s teachings do not line up with the book that is supposed to be the very Corner Stone of the Mormon Religion. Elder Bednar tells us from his Pickle Talk that spiritual Re-birth is an ongoing process not a single event then D Todd Christopherson further states that the norm for being born again is a long process of obedience not a single remarkable event. Thinking about this I realise that in over 40 years a Mormon and almost 500 fast and testimony meetings no member, apart from myself, has ever confessed to the required immediate mighty change of heart that results in the remarkable change from a carnal cucumber to a perfect pickle in that instant. So why me? Why did I experience this mighty changed of heart that changed my life so effectively and permanently in that moment during the second discussion with the missionaries in January 1980. I had always assumed that it was due to the missionaries but I now realise that it was too early in the discussions to be entirely due to the Mormon message. For several weeks I had been praying, asking and pleading for Heavenly Father to help me change the way I was living. After 15 years of marriage I was a very poor husband to Christine and a terrible example to our three boys. To be successful as a door to door life insurance salesman I had to see husband and wife together and this meant working evenings up to 9pm most nights but instead of going home I joined my old mates in the pub playing pool and downing several pints of ale. I had to change for the sake of my family and my own health and well being and that’s why I had been on my knees pleading for help.
    I asked for help and I got it just like the examples you quote from the book of Mormon. I was saved by grace alone I did nothing but ask and it was done. If it can happen to me it can happen to anyone but the members don’t expect it because they are taught not to expect it.
    Thank you for helping me to realise this and in deed for your REMARKABLE efforts on our behalf every day from day one of LOCKDOWN.

    1. I have to agree that being a true and faithful Mormon for a lifetime can definitely have a pickling effect.

      Maybe Elder Bednar spoke more truth than he knew . . .

      1. That pickle talk by Bednar was a very strange one. Much of the current church leaders’ efforts seems to be to get the youth so pickled that they will never leave the church. They would call it being “truly converted”, but it is really “fully indoctrinated”. That is the primary purpose of church education and missions.

    2. Dave,

      I have experienced this mighty change as well, and I’d love to talk with you about your experience.

      RFM has kindly given me permission to leave you with my email address. You are welcome to contact me if you are interested.

      [email protected]

  7. Born-Again (Evangelical) Christian critics of the LDS Church and its “Gradual, Imperceptible [i.e., unreal, but can’t prove it’s unreal!] Conversion By Lifetime Temple Attendance and Other Good Works” (i.e., Lifetime of “Ten Percent, Right Off The Top”) counterfeit Christian Gospel, often point to the “after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23) clause as the primary source for the Church’s “Earned Grace” doctrine. I reply to them: “You give the LDS Church WAY too much credit. You assume it has the basic integrity to base its General Conference talks and Sunday School lessons on its claimed signature scripture, the Book of Mormon. The fact instead is that it hardly could care less about what the Bible and Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, or God says.” I then explain to these critics that the phrase “after all we can do” is but a FIGURE OF SPEECH referring to something entirely different from the “Earned Grace” contradictory, false Christianity taught across LDS Church pulpits, in LDS classrooms and in various, auxiliary (non-scripture) LDS publications, as proven by the numerous instances — in the same Book of Mormon — of people being Saved by Grace who clearly HAD NOT first done “all we can do.”

    So then why does the LDS Church tout the Book of Mormon? Because it is part of a “Bait and Switch” to get people into the Church, that’s why. The Church knows that a great many who read the Book of Mormon will receive revelation by way of the Holy Ghost affirming its truthfulness and relevance. The Church then swoops in with the Big Lie: “If the Book of Mormon is true, then of necessity, the LDS Church is true, too” — even though it has no actual or exclusive claim on the Book of Mormon. They join the Church — which then proceeds, facilitated by the “new prophets trump dead prophets” BS, to systematically undermine the Book of Mormon and its message, at almost every turn, in the minds of those new members.

    So then we get to the rhetorical question at the end of the podcast: Why does the LDS Church promulgate a doctrine so very different, even opposite, from what is taught in the Book of Mormon?

    Answer: Because as an iteration of the Great and Abominable Church referred to in the Book of Mormon itself, it literally doesn’t want you or me to be “Born Again” or “Saved” (notice how it subtly rolls its eyes at those outside the Church who claim they are) but instead by and large enslaves the saints in a yoke of lifetime financial AND spiritual bondage — for power and control, filthy lucre, the praise of the world, and various other worldly lusts, anything but the glory of God. That is why it falsely twists the meaning of Verse 23 above, even today (in the footnotes and in manuals); why the catalog of General Conference talks is in fact peppered with talks like those featured in the present podcast; why the Church won’t admit that the Priesthood and Temple Ban, and Polygamy, were Brigham Young’s ideas, not God’s nor Joseph Smith’s (see Rock Waterman’s “Joseph Smith and Polygamy: Persistence of a Myth”); and why it did not, and never will, publicly repudiate the defacto First Principle of the Church: Apostle Benson’s and Wilford Woodruff’s “Follow the Prophet, he can never lead astray” false doctrine.

    Thousands and thousands of “Unshackled” radio show episodes demonstrate that people outside the Church ARE being Born Again, Saved or Converted, in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

    Another Home Run by RFM.

  8. RFM,
    Your last question “Why has it become common for the LDS church to abandon its own scriptures in favor of teaching a graceless salvation?” is one I would like to attempt to answer.

    First of all, as I’ve read or heard many a historian say–Joseph Smith basically never used the BOM again once he wrote and published it. So I would say that graceless salvation is pretty much the way it was from the beginning of the church.

    Look at the pre-existence. There were works there–based on your choice, you received certain “rewards” in this life. It always sounded like we did works there and some even became “valiant.”

    Then there is the passage of scripture that led Joseph to the 3 degrees of glory and based on how we perform here, we receive a kingdom.

    Polygamy is a work. Being a plural wife or living that law faithfully was an act that determined your faithfulness.

    And temple work, of course. You are totally judged as worthy or not to be there. And it is there where you are to find the peace, blessings, and spirit (or one might say Grace)

    Works lead up to the 2nd anointing, but it seems similar to grace after that–your reward is assured pending some really atrocious actions on your part. But that kind of “reassurance” is given to few in the LDS church so everyone else is SOL and has to keep working. And that infuriates me honestly. Since it is so against Biblical Grace.

    Without salvation by works, the church doesn’t work.

    Now, grace is often called an “enabling power” And that is about a person’s abilities to do works.

    In the end, the LDS church is all about works.

    1. “…Joseph Smith basically never used the BOM again once he wrote and published it.”

      Why, then, years later, if the above is true, would Smith come up with D&C 84:54-58 — God’s purported, scathing condemnation of the church for its slothful utilization of the Book of Mormon?

      Doesn’t quite add up.

      Smith had plenty on his plate, likely too much to focus a great deal on just the Book of Mormon.

  9. It’s ironic how LDS mormonism claims the BoM as the keystone of their religion, yet the only religions in it which resemble the LDS church are the apostate BoM ones– the rameumptom of the Zoramites, the priestly class of the Nehors, the plush seats of King Noah’s lavish court with his flattering priests. If anything, the BoM religion seems to hint at a decentralized structure with an itinerant high priest who occasionally runs out to keep things in line, and largely independent local congregations. Priesthood is rarely mentioned (certainly not keys), and repentance (turning to god or knowing god) is nothing like the LDS 4-step ‘cleanup’ checklist (the former is tranformative, the latter is not). Not to mention, as RFM has ably done here, the role of grace.

    Why do we even read the BoM and think ‘LDS’ church? How can the LDS claim to ‘own’ the BoM? Perhaps the BoM is pointing us to something entirely different than a corporate church– an individual connection to God.

  10. Once I entertained the possibility that the Book of Mormon was an 19th century text, the evangelical conversion fainting made sense.

    As a believer, I just accepted all scripture as history and then tried to force it into a modern LDS paradigm as best I could. The conversion fainting didn’t make sense at all in a modern LDS paradigm — it was a square peg to the modern LDS round hole. But fainting does make sense from a 19th century perspective.

    1. You are right. There is nothing in contemporary Mormonism that allows us to contextualize all the “fainting scenes” in the Book of Mormon.

      But they were very much at home in the frontier revivalism the young Joseph Smith was experiencing in his own neighborhood.

  11. Another great episode RFM.

    Consistent with the theme of this podcast, John Dehlin did a few episodes of Mormon Stories (1257-1259) interviewing a Pentacostal minister who had great appreciation for the theology in the Book of Mormon because he felt it was very close to Pentacostal theology.

    The Mormon church certainly has moved on from BoM theology.

    1. I remember that fellow! I think his first name was Lynn, but I could be mistaken about that.

      Yes! I just googled him. It is Lynn Ridenhour. I think he used to post at a message board I frequented many years ago.

      And from which I have been banned.


  12. RFM:
    This was a great episode. The Book of Mormon talks extensively about salvation that is immediately brought about by faith and repentance, not a lengthy drawn-out process. The fact that we don’t believe the Book of Mormon speaks to the apostasy of the Corporate Church. A fellow blogger and I talk about these discrepancies repeatedly when going through the BOM on our podcast. Your listeners may find it enlightening. All the best. I am also in the great NW, if you ever want to chat.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Searcher!

      Bill forwarded me a text message this morning (that I read at the end of today’s podcast) from another listener who felt similarly about the episode and has a podcast, as well!

      I am glad you enjoyed it!


  13. If the Mormon leadership ever truly embraced grace they’d have to find a way to partition it and sell it piecemeal to the membership with the sticky price tags indelibly stuck on each allotment. It’s just so darn hard to monetize and leverage grace. Makes for a (sort of) good story in the BoM, but ultimately it’s an item that doesn’t pay for the price of its shelf space. The only time I heard the word growing up was in a hymn or two. Good solid info, thanks.

    1. I think you are right about it being difficult to monetize grace.

      Maybe that was the whole point?

      I am sure you are aware what famous hymn about grace somehow did not get included in the LDS Hymnal . . .

      It’s amazing, really.


  14. I’ve had a few conversations like this recently with the usual, “Well, Mormons believe-” crowd and have had to repeatedly explain, “That’s what the Brighamite cult believes, yes,” while teaching that the (original) Book of Mormon does not.

  15. Finally! A man of letters gets it ALMOST! The LDS Church was condemned as early as 1832 for ‘saying but not doing according to that which is written, and written IN THE BOOK OF MORMON!

    I suppose being around errant Grace Only salvation in Texas you still lightly esteem what the Grace of Christ truly is.

    Like those who say but do not do according to that which is written, for the Bible, in Acts Chapter One, where the disciples of Jesus and his chosen apostles needed to ‘continue’ with one accord forty days and ten before they were visited of God and truly changed from the natural man to having a New Heart From God or salvation, being truly born of God. Common Grace Only folks wanna be free to live and do and be and accomplish and enrich their lives by their own efforts and yet believe that they are saved by merely accepting…..WHAT?…..what is it that they accept? Only the notion of salvation…like the corruption of Mormonism the Grace Lodge of conceit are taught only to accept it and you got it. Where is Jesus doing anything in that act. It is all in the mind of the acceptance and not the visitation of God’s power in changing one from fallen to a new creature who has no disposition to commit sin. Indeed Grace Mongers sin with abandon, RIGHT? Stupid in the extreme and repugnant unto blasphemous arrogance.

    My point finally is that every soul who IS truly visited of God and wrought upon and cleansed and given a new heart, might, mind and strength from the grace of Christ must yield their whole soul unto God willingly forsaking the world and all other considerations. That is what ALL Book of Mormon conversions prove. Does not matter that they are struck down and cannot move. In their hearts they yield.

    This is in fact the same gospel of even the Old Testament when prophets were given a new heart. Like even King Saul. It has been the only gospel from the Days of Adam when they rejoiced that finally after so many other children who did not repent, Cain was the first, who of course fell unto perdition when he killed the second saint, his brother Abel. That is how one becomes a son of perdition, a true saint kills another true saint.

    I have been teaching the real gospel to a deaf generation of seduced (by a money grubbing evil empire of obedience to leaders and being misled) Mormons for fifty years since my own born again experience at the age of eighteen. They cast me out eventually and always hated me and refuse to seek the truth.

    Your podcast has made my heart to “soar like a hawk’ as the old Indian put it. Thanks

    1. James! So good to hear from you!

      I think you used to post with some frequency on a message board where I posted.

      I remember with fondness your calling the LDS Church to repentance and your occasional photos of mountains.

      I hope you are doing well!


      1. I have tossed my own story and am publishing only the Pictures with appropriate comments to the same. Still there are over sixty color photos and drawings. I even leave out a few sightings of ME! Yeah, there are some. I hope to find some way to sell this edition. Color copies are expensive. I need a high end publisher to make any money….yeah, like that will happen. Perhaps leaving me out will get it done. eh?

        Remember those guys drawing their own images over my photos just to piss me off? Some on did that just last week!


  16. I grew up in the 1950’s in Utah, went to church every week. The main topics that I remember were strict obedience and the LDS Church is the only true church. I did not learn about the atonement of Christ until I attended BYU (1961). In my second semester of Book of Mormon at BYU, the professor stressed the atonement because he knew we did not understand it. I remember he gave essay exams and I had to explain the atonement of Christ. I was able to write what the professor had told us, but I had difficulty wrapping my head around the concept. It was foreign to me. At that time all testimonies ended with “I know the church is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” No one mentioned gratitude for the atonement of Christ. I don’t know what they said in General Conference. It was not televised ‌in the 50’s.

    1. That is an interesting recollection, Donna.

      I think it illustrates the development through which Mormonism has gone over time.

      Even in the 1970s when I joined the church, there seemed to be a focus on stressing the ways in which Mormons differed from other Christians.

      It seemed we were always hearing about what a “peculiar people” we were, and said in a proud way.

      Over the last several decades, however, it seems the focus in Mormonism has been more on how we are like other Christians than on how we are different.

      And I don’t hear that “peculiar people” passage as much anymore . . .

  17. RFM, very interesting! I didn’t hear anything about being saved by grace after all we can do, which is also in the BOM. Thoughts?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.