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DANEL - My question comes from after reading a posted response to a question on a similar topic where you cited 2 of the passages/verses below, but my question is, how can someone be forgiven of sinning unknowingly as Brigham Young says is possible in Journal of Discourses Vol 9, "but if I do wrong knowingly, then I sin. When this people can live and never do a wrong knowingly, if they should sin in their ignorance, God will freely forgive that sin, if they are ready to repent when it is made known to them in the future" while Moroni 7:16 and Romans 1:18-20 say that every man has plainly been made known what is good and evil, as well as the nature of God, and that man is without excuse?
JOEL - Here are the scriptures in question:
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him. (Moroni 7: 16-17)
16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:16-20)
Here is the entire quote in it's context from Brigham Young:
"When Monday morning breaks upon the eyes of the people, they must be as faithful to God and righteousness as they are here when partaking of the sacrament, or lose the Spirit of the Lord. We have no permission to sin for one moment. You may ask me if I ever do wrong. I answer—yes, like everybody else, owing to the weakness of the flesh; but if I do wrong knowingly, then I sin. When this people can live and never do a wrong knowingly, if they should sin in their ignorance, God will freely forgive that sin, if they are ready to repent when it is made known to them and refrain from it in the future." (Journal of Discourses Vol 9)
Seems to me like Brigham Young is still calling sin sin whether we know it or not. He said "We have no permission to sin for one moment." and God will forgive them if they repent. So they still have to repent of the sin once they find out what they did was a sin.
The Moroni scriptures you refer to are talking in general terms as to the inherent knowledge a person has about what is right and wrong because of the spirit of Christ (Moroni 7:16) that is in all of us, otherwise known as our conscience. There could however be certain specific sins that we are unaware of that God would not want us to commit. Those are the ones Brigham Young is talking about.
The Romans scriptures are talking about people who do know of the Gospel of Christ and believe it (verse 16) but sin against it; "for God has shewed it unto them." They are without excuse because they are aware of the gospel principles they should live.
Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote:
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. "Where there is no law given, there is no punishment . . . no condemnation." "He that knoweth not good from evil is blameless." (Whitney (1921), 239–40)
President Joseph F. Smith explains the difference between the two types of sins; the ones we know and those we are unaware of:
"We shall not be cast off . . . for those sins, which we ignorantly commit, which are the results of misunderstanding in all honesty before the Lord. The difficulty does not lie here; the danger lies in our failing to live up to that which we do know to be right and proper. For this we will be held responsible before the Lord; for this we will be judged and condemned unless we repent." (July 7, 1878, JD 20:26)