Subject: Divine Love  from the Ensign February 2003  (official Mormon magazine)
Date: Jan 22 00:40 2003
Author: stringbean

This quote is taken from the synopsis at the back. The entire article is on page 20 of the February 2003 Ensign, for those of you with the stomach for it.


"While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be defined as UNCONDITIONAL (originally italicized)," writes Elder Russell M. Nelson. Yet "Jesus asked us to love one another as He has loved us. Is that possible? Can our love for others really approach divine love? Yes, it can!"

Okay, so, which is it? Perfect, infinite etc. or is it conditional? And if our love approaches divine love, then does that mean we should love one another conditionally? I don't think you can have it both ways can you? What sense is some poor TBM going to be able to make of that?

Makes about as much sense as everything else they teach.

Subject: I'm a parent
Date: Jan 22 00:54
Author: rpm

and liken my love for my own children to what/how God must love His/Her children, magnified and perfected a million times.

It's as simple as that.

If the Mormons God doesn't love unconditionally, then as far as I'm concerned, He can go to hell!


Subject: LOL! I love your posts "Stringbean"!
Date: Jan 22 02:12
Author: RichardP


Obviously he didn't think very hard when he wrote that! I think you're just a lot sharper than Elder Russell M. Nelson -- who doesn't seem to see the obvious contradiction.

I love your posts Stringbean!


Subject: oh brother
Date: Jan 30 01:05
Author: justanotherexmo

if love is "conditional" - no wonder why they pound doing service in everybody's head so much. Love is based on "what" you "do".

Give me a break.

Thanks for posting this stringbean. I don't get the Ensign anymore. This really rates up there with another stupid thing. I can't believe they would put something like that in print!!

Subject: He contradicts himself everywhere
Date: Jan 30 02:41
Author: rpm

I read the article a couple of times.

After he breaks the news, telling us that God only loves them who love him and keep his commandments, he tells us a couple of paragraphs later that God loves sinners and the righteous alike.

What was Russell smoking?


Subject: He was smoking stinkweed rpm!
Date: Jan 30 02:45
Author: TLC

And it was some nasty sh*t at that.

BTW, you're really lettin' loose boy. Can't believe this is the same rpm from just a few days ago. You're makin' me smile here. You keep this rapid progress up and they're going to make you president of the exmo club!!


Subject: lol..I wouldn't count on it.
Date: Jan 30 03:01
Author: rpm

Hey, you see that question I asked you in the thread on the guy who threw up after turning down a calling?

I wondered what your take is on my headaches the other day.


Subject: No wonder we've been screwed by Mormonism
Date: Jan 30 03:37
Author: Adrienne

I really feel for all of you who were raised in the cult, and for those of us who converted were basically tricked into joining the cult that isn't really Christian. As Steve Benson said in that other post, the Christian Jesus when he died on the cross, that was the Atonement for everyone's sins, and if you believed him, you would go to heaven. The Mormon God and his son want you to know the secret handshake and password to get into heaven, and even then, you have to give him money or you will go to Oakland/Hell(just kidding Raiders fans).

Subject: I picked up my wife's Ensign last night and agree...
Date: Jan 30 09:14
Author: Bill Clark

..it was terrible. In Mormonism, there is NO perfect love, only conditional love.

Bill Clark
Texas Apostate

Subject: Without conditions there's no need for the church.
Date: Jan 30 09:31
Author: Stray Mutt

The church sets itself up as the exclusive straight and narrow toll road to God (even though there are plenty of free highways to the same destination). If they were to say God loves unconditionally, they'd defeat their own reason for being.

Subject: Exactly! If love is unconditional, who needs the Mormon church? n/t
Subject: How absolutely awful
Date: Jan 30 09:46
Author: Tyson Dunn

Just wrapping my mind around his contradictions is making me nauseous:

Why is divine love conditional? Because God loves us and wants us to be happy. "Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God."

Say what? Our happiness is not the same thing as God's love. Nelson's article is full of such argumentative mistakes.

What a bunch of crap.


Subject: Unacceptable
Date: Jan 30 10:02
Author: Richard the Lion-Heart

Elder Nelson said exactly the same thing last year on a regional conference here. Now he actually had guts to write it.

This goes SO against what many other people in the Church say. They try to project a positive image of God as a Father, who loves His children unconditionally (although certain "blessings" still are based on obedience.) He may not bless a wayward child that much, but He still loves him/her.

This conditional love thing is just the opposite. God only loves you if you are obedient and loyal to the Church. It is like earthly parents who only love their children who are nice, obedient and never ever step out of the line. If you don't do as they please, you are not welcome for Thanksgiving.

Although I know some parents who are actually that mean, MOST parents love their children unconditionally. They may not agree with some of your choices, but they still love you and want to see you. It is not because you are dating someone that they do not like or pursuing a career that they despise that they will turn their backs on you and deny you a place at the Xmas table. They still love you, and they want to spend time with you, no matter what.

This selfish attitude taught by Elder Nelson is so mean and despicable. Even earthly parents do better than that. What kind of Heavenly "Father" is this?????

At any rate, this it not the Father in Heaven that I (occasionally) pray to.

Subject: my TBM parents practice conditional love like that
Date: Jan 30 12:27
Author: scott

Right now my brother is the chosen one and I'm the pagan heathen unworthy of any love or respect. I noticed that Ensign sitting on their coffee table and now I'm tempted to go over there and toss it in the fireplace accidentally.

Subject: Heaven forbid love should be unconditional! pseudo-cussing
Date: Jan 30 13:28
Author: Cassie

I don't really believe in heaven but, according to my brother, at age 13, it is a place where beautiful women go around in see-through clothing.

At any rate, unconditional love would mean that we would all just lay around asking for back rubs and eating Oreo's! The only reason anyone does anything is to be loved, don't ya know. And the more you do, well the more you theoretically get loved; right? Well, actually, you are just a better slave, representative and tithe payer of the church, ho-hum. BOTTOM LINE every-freakin-time!

PS, loved the shameless topping.

Subject: Russell....................(adult)
Date: Jan 30 13:40
Author: MoNoMo

is just a one-eyed muscle who loves to hear himself talk.

In other words, he's a mealy-mouthed prick.

Subject: You should also check out the Feb. New Era.
Date: Jan 30 13:43
Author: Stray Mutt

You can see it online. There's this laughably strange article about why young women should dump boyfriends who can't take them to the temple. It includes a couple of fake ads for No Tears shampoo -- wash that man right out of your hair -- and Eternal Bond -- the glue that holds you together forever.

Here's a link that will take you to the New Era page. From there you'll need Acrobat to view the pages.


Subject: There's a price to be paid for a lay clergy . . . ignorance.
Date: Jan 30 13:54
Author: Dude

I won't say an unpaid clergy, because Apostles make a pretty good salary. They just have "received no training for the ministry," as the saying goes. Mormons portray that as an advantage, but there is obviously a price to be paid.

The GAs simply do not possess a detailed and consistent understanding of the Christian gospel they profess to represent. Then when they get a question they can't answer (I imagine this happens every day) they phone a FARMS contact for advice--no wonder the Church is going downhill so fast!

Subject: Re: Just Read the Ensign (a "gift" from family) and OMG!........................
Date: Jan 30 14:09
Author: Dea

Always thought of unconditional love as loving the person even if one cannot always love the behavior.


Subject: Are we in turn to love our children conditionally, as God supposedly loves us ?

Subject: Suddenly I understand why so many of us are hurting around here.
Date: Jan 29 23:43
Author: Pen

If my parents have read this article, I'm going to beat my head against the wall in frustration. That's sick, sick, sick. If you're going to psychologically screw up your child, this is one guaranteed method of how to do so.

As usual, somebody needs to kick some sense into the GA's.

Subject: If God's love was unconditional...
Date: Jan 30 00:30
Author: kymba

then Mormons wouldn't have to pray, pay, and obey in order to be worthy. What then would be the sense in praying, paying, and obeying?

It's really so OBVIOUSLY a scam that it's painful to many outsiders like me. I really see where most people have to be RAISED in it in order to buy into it. Even then, there are still plenty of people on this board.

Subject: Yes, I did. If you're interested there's a thread back there...
Date: Jan 30 00:47
Author: stringbean

that I think is called Just got the new Ensign and OMG! I noticed the same thing, and like you, couldn't help but post. Yeah, that articles really something isn't it?

I was flabbergasted, not only that anyone would say that Divine love is conditional, but that the person would so obviously contradict himself.

Subject: RE: Conditional love
Date: Jan 30 00:57
Author: síóg

Without debating the merits of theism vs. atheism . . .
this was the difference I discovered in my search -- there are Christian religions that teach that god has unconditional love.

Maybe it's not even a particular religion. I suppose someone here could come back with a "yes, but" to refute me. So I won't say that other religions teach unconditional love.

I'll just say I was lucky enough to have met a special teacher and pastor.

They say you model your conception of god on your father. In my middle years I met a man -- a pastor -- who demonstrated to his congregation unconditional love. This gave me an opportunity to consider god as an unconditionally loving power instead of an unbending judge filled with righteous anger.

I'm not preaching here, just sharing my experience. But I doubt you'll find this in mo-ism. I remember my friend, when we were teenagers, bearing her testimony. Her father, who was in the stake presidency at this time, later went on to become one of the 70s. She said she "feared and respected him." I believe she loved him too, but it's interesting to me that she could publicly profess love for her mother, but honoring her father comprised "fear and respect." This is the Mormon god.

Subject: This is why Mormons, by definition, are not Christian . . .
Date: Jan 30 01:26
Author: steve benson

and this coming from an atheist.

Biblical Christians believe that God's love, through the all-compassing sacrificial atonement of Jesus, is available to all sinners, regardless of their imperfections and shortcomings.

On the other hand, the Mormon God is one who requires the human-induced shedding of the murderer's blood before Christ can step in and "save." "Obey and I'll save you, but not unless you work hard to earn My love," says the Mormon God. "Accept me into your heart, sinner, and believe on me, and I'll save you, regardless of your imperfect works," says the Christian God.

The Mormon God's power is limited and conditional. The Christian God's is not.

Never the Two shall meet.

Subject: At least now
Date: Jan 30 10:17
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac

At least now my father will have the written 'scripture' of a Vice President, er....I mean prophet, seer and revelator to back up is actions of of loving the church more than his children.

But like I posted about a month ago, I gave myself the X-mas gift of allowing myself to quit seeking my father's love.

And síóg, thank you for your post, I identified with your friend. She said she "feared and respected him." I believe she loved him too, but it's interesting to me that she could publicly profess love for her mother, but honoring her father comprised "fear and respect." This is the Mormon god.

Subject: Re: Father's love
Date: Jan 30 12:53
Author: síóg

Funny thing about that father. He always seemed like a nice, mild mannered guy with a good sense humor and a sophisticated intelligence. My father I guess probably seemed kind of the same way, without the sense of humor. I can't imagine her father beating anyone. My father did beat me. Not like weekly, just ever so often when he lost his temper. I'm speaking of when I was a teenager.

I have no respect for him today. He's zero in my mind.
Søvnløsener - Insomniac wrote:
> At least now my father will have the written 'scripture' of a Vice President, er....I mean prophet, seer and revelator to back up is actions of of loving the church more than his children.
> But like I posted about a month ago, I gave myself the X-mas gift of allowing myself to quit seeking my father's love.
> And síóg, thank you for your post, I identified with your friend. She said she "feared and respected him." I believe she loved him too, but it's interesting to me that she could publicly profess love for her mother, but honoring her father comprised "fear and respect." This is the mormon god.

Subject: Beat on you!
Date: Jan 30 13:14
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac

I am truely sorry for you and any child this happens to. My mother would go ape sh*t with the wooden spoon but dad never touched us, I guess just let mom do the dirty work.

I am with the Love Lines talk show hosts, Adam Corolla and Dr Drew, parents who abuse their children should be taken out.

Subject: It seemed normal at the time
Date: Jan 30 14:06
Author: síóg

When he'd give me a black eye, I'd tell people I had walked into a door. Like I had to protect him. I know this is what happens, but I genuinely don't understand why it does.

He was very frustrated with my mother, who was/is mentally ill and depressed and taking prescription drugs. (Before Prozac.) And I was the most like her, so I think he took out his frustration on me.

Looking back, I don't know how he justified it, or why someone didn't stop him. I think it terrified my younger brother and sisters.

Mind you, this was occasional.

The verbal abuse was probably more damaging. I guess.

Subject: siog, i've been through the same type of thing
Date: Jan 30 14:30
Author: birdie2

A top LDS leader in our stake, who is my father, who would daily harass and abuse his wife and kids.

And all 6 kids in the family pretended there was nothing wrong on Sundays, because we all feared our Dad. No love there!

Subject: I'm sure it's fairly wide spread.
Date: Jan 30 16:55
Author: síóg

It leaves damage. That's why I'm always amazed at how some manage to succeed in life in spite of the abuse they experienced as children.

I don't love my father in any way I can express, but I realize that my experience on the scale of things wasn't horrendous. So many children have really, really ghastly abuse. How parents can do it, I don't know.

Having said that, it has had a damaging effect on my life.
Subject: You have got that right Richard. It is selfish ... and controlling.
Date: Jan 30 20:06
Author: free
Mail Address:

I had an experience where God's love was manifested to me and it was unconditional ... and I knew that it was that way for everyone. I wanted to go out and shout it to the world, "Do you know how much God loves you!"

I really think that experience changed me. I never did fit into the LDS way after that.

The LDS church is a selfish church that want to control us. It is just like "Satan's plan."
Subject: For Jackson: Sunstone's report of Apostle Nelson's article banning "unconditional love" .....
Date: May 07 09:46
Author: Rollo Tomasi

It appears in the March 2003 Sunstone at pages 72-73. The first part simply summarizes Nelson's article in the February 2003 Ensign (you can read it at the lds.org site). Here's the remainder of the Sunstone news report:

"[Nelson's] article puts the seal of approval on a doctrinal position quietly debated for some time now. Sunstone has learned that the question of whether God's love is unconditional was discussed by the Church's correlation committee some five years ago and submitted to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve for direction. The highest governing bodies in the Church replied that God's love is not unconditional, and the expression "God's unconditional love" has since been eliminated from all official publications.

"BYU religion professor Joseph Fielding McConkie [Bruce's son] has opposed the term "unconditional love" since the 1980s. "The phrase itself is entirely unscriptural," stated McConkie in June 1987. "When I have asked people who teach the so-called doctrine how they distinguish God's 'unconditional love' from salvation by grace as taught in the Protestant world, they have been unable to do so." (citation omitted).

"Best-selling LDS author Stephen E. Robinson also has questioned the expression, but only in one meaning. "God's love (understood as his desire for us) is unconditional," wrote Robinson in 1995. "God's love (understood as his relationship with us) is conditioned upon our positive response to his wooing of us." (citation omitted).

"Mormon feminist Janice Allred, whose book 'God the Mother' describes God's love as unconditional, finds Elder Nelson's article troubling. "Not only does Elder Nelson fail to communicate the message of God's love, but he also displays a lack of scholarship in his article," says Allred. "It seems less like he is attempting to understand what the scriptures say about God's love than he is trying to promote an agenda of authoritarianism and conditional love: You are loved and blessed only if you obey the rules unquestioningly.""

The remainder of the Sunstone article gives several examples in the past of GA's (including Nelson, Maxwell, and GBH) describing God's love as unconditional. Clearly, we are seeing a shift or change in doctrine here. I did a quick search of the phrase "God's unconditional love" in the church magazine section at lds.org and there are a myriad of references. But, I guess, as the Church has sought to exercise more control they saw the need to change this inconvenient doctrine (from a control point of view). My take? I think it's a bunch of BS. I like to think I have unconditional love for my children. No matter how badly they screw up in life, I hope I'm the kind of parent who loves them unconditionally. Under Nelson's new doctrine, apparently my love is greater and more mature than God's! I don't think so. I don't think the love I have for my children, as great as it is, even approaches the love God has for us ("For God so love the word, that he gave his only begotten Son." -- Nelson conveniently ignores this famous scripture). Nelson (and the Church leadership in general) wants to mix up love with blessings, and the two are mutually exclusive in my mind. I have no problem logically with blessings being contingent or conditional (the old "reap what you sow" principle). I reward ("bless"?) my children when they do certain things, I punish ("unbless"?) them when they break the rules. But my love doesn't change under either circumstance, and I try to make sure they know that. And McConkie's argument that "unconditional love" is not based in the scriptures?! Well, the one quoted above certainly implies it. And since when have the Mormons let the lack of scriptural support stop them (i.e., Adam-God, the "As man is ..." couplet, etc.)? Sorry for the long vent here, but this has become a real pet peeve of mine. Leave it to the GA's to destroy the most beautiful part of the gospel.

Subject: Very interesting, RT...thank you. nt
Date: May 07 10:11
Author: Richard Garrard
Mail Address:


Subject: Thank you and YES!
Date: May 07 10:20
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac (like Theo, always swearing)
Mail Address:

My lack of eloquence has forbidden me from expressing those very thoughts.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to put down exactly how I feel on the subject.

And to prove my lack of creative writing skills, I leave you with this thought:

President Nelson's article proves that The One True Church is able to scoop even lower into the sewer of manipulation to achieve it's goals.

Sick fuckin' cult!

Subject: Blessings = love
Date: May 07 10:44
Author: Stray Mutt
Mail Address: straay@bellsouth.net

It's easy to see how Mormons (who seem always to be looking for validation -- a sign) can equate blessings with love. "I am blessed, so I must be loved. I'm not blessed, so I feel unloved."

It's also easy to see why the brethren have denounced unconditional love. How can they motivate the flock if, no matter what the sheep do, it's all good with the Lord?

"Accept this calling? Pay full tithing? Give up tea? Eh, the Lord will still love me if I don't."

I suspect it's love people crave more than a spot in the highest level of the celestial kingdom. If love is the prime motivation, then the brethren can't allow it to be given away for nothing.

Subject: Several forms of conditional expression may be found in the scriptures: may be
Date: May 07 10:52
Author: Quinlansolo
Mail Address:

• “If", "then" "Inasmuch as …" “Except … cannot …”

common fallacies such as;
"He will love me regardless " "God is love"
" He will love me unconditionally,

Thanks for enlightening us Rolo.

see the article to believe;

Subject: And then there are things like...
Date: May 07 11:05
Author: Stray Mutt

...Jesus's counsel to love our enemies, to bless those who persecute us, to turn the other cheek at offense, to give more than is asked, to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love God unreservedly.

If Heavenly Father's love is conditional, then did Jesus mean that we should have higher standards than Heavenly Father?

Subject: No other kind of love
Date: May 07 11:13
Author: ex-TBM

Love is unconditional by definition. There is no such thing as conditional love. Any other definition of love is for the purpose of exploitation, i.e., a feigned love that wants to get something out of someone.

The fact that the highest leaders of this church do not understand this is proof that there is little to no theology in Mormonism, and proof that Mormonism is still more a cult than anything else.

Subject: Conditional love is easy.
Date: May 07 11:26
Author: Stray Mutt

Any schmuck can love only those who love him first. It doesn't take godly powers and wisdom to reward ass kissers and groveling toadies. We are not enobled when we feel kindly only toward those who seek our affection, so why would it be so wonderful if God acted that way?

Subject: Re: Conditional love is easy.
Date: May 07 11:36
Author: ex-TBM

Well said.

I think you are saying what Jesus was trying to get across when he said "Love your enemies," yet hardly anybody gets that. Mormons misunderstand or else they wouldn't be preaching this conditional love crap.

Subject: And Mormons scratch their heads and wonder why they aren't considered Christians. Duh! (nt)

Subject: This is just like Boyd's campaign to rid us of "free" agency.
Date: May 07 11:41
Author: Tyson Dunn

Nowadays, if you hear the term at all in the Church, it's just agency. The free part is gone. BKP rolled this change out in his 1992 talk "Our Moral Environment":
The phrase “free agency” does not appear in scripture. The only agency spoken of there is moral agency, “which,” the Lord said, “I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.” (D&C 101:78; italics added [in Packer's talk].)



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