Another aspect I see is what we believe and what we do is really what they require too. Let me explain. If you’re a “born again” you have to believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your savior. I already have. If I’m saved by faith, and not by works…ok I’m saved. If there is just a heaven and a hell, then I’m going to heaven. If I have to be baptized, I have. If I need to go to church, I do.
If we are right, great! If they are right I’ve got that covered too! As we would say “I’m grateful for my testimony and the blessing of my membership in the true church. As they would say “Praise God”
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 5:17 pm | #
I must think that most of us have asked ourselves that question. I have to agree with both you and Don. It is kind of like the absolute extreme of Pascal’s Wager. Even if we’re wrong, we’re still right enough were it counts. But were not wrong. Most of us just wouldn’t have the strength to do all the Lord demands if we seriously entertained the prospect that we might be wrong.
Zerin Hood | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 5:49 pm | #
If you’re a “born again” you have to believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your savior. I already have. If I’m saved by faith, and not by works…ok I’m saved.
I actually ran this argument by a born-again Christian once. He said that my faith was not the “saving” faith because the Jesus we believe in is not the real Jesus. Faith that saves, said he, must be placed in the real Jesus and not in the “mormon” Jesus.
So I agree with you Don- we’re probably good either way. But I think most “saved” Christians would disagree that Mormons stand on such safe ground, since we believe in the “mormon” Jesus and not in the “Christian” Jesus.
Jordan | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 6:32 pm | #
It is widely taught that faithful Mormons are doomed to hell. One reason given for this is that instead of believing in the Jesus who is an uncreated member of the Holy Trinity, we believe in a different Jesus who is a brother of Satan and who appeared to a false prophet named Joseph Smith. Another reason is that we believe that our faith in Jesus is not sufficient by itself but must be accompanied by good works that require effort from us and are not received as a free gift. Depending on who you ask, it may not even be possible to choose to have the right kind of faith in the right Jesus unless God has chosen us for salvation.
My personal belief is that a merciful and just God will accept our faith in Jesus Christ and our efforts to serve him, but he probably will not be happy with our smugness and hypocrisy, and he will be probably be disappointed in our efforts if we think that we can do everything on our own instead of relying on faith.
Steve S | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 6:37 pm | #
I don’t know. I used to think the same thing. But as I have recently been coming to believe that JS and BY did lie about a number of things which the church is constantly trying to bury (“don’t search the dusty old books”), I don’t see the benefits outweighing the disadvantages. In particular, things that I never questioned such as tithing or word of wisdom, along with certain issues that I have had questions with (unquestioning obedience to authority: i.e., “when the brethren speak, the thinking has been done”), has been stifling to my identity and spirituality.
Not that I greatly minded paying the tithing, or living the WoW but I feel like those things were somewhat extorted out of me. I had to pay money to the church to acheive salvation, when I could have been looking for other worthwhile organizations to support with my money (and are accountable with their spending). I couldn’t drink tea even though the health benefits are far greater than the kool-aid I grew up on. And most importantly, I feel like I have had to steer clear of many worthwhile intellectual and spiritual endeavors; e.g., objective historical accounts of the Mountain Meadows Massacre or early church history are considered anti- material to be avoided (only faith-promoting media, please), the Bagvad Gita is not a worthwhile source to examine your spirituality (focus on the BoM), etc.
I don’t mean to challenge anyone’s faith with this post, but I am trying to suggest that IF the church isn’t true (as the original post hypothesizes) many of us WOULD rather find our own paths to truth and spirituality than stick by one prescribed by others.
skeeterj | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 6:39 pm | #
Skeeterj- that is your loss. I have never felt like I have had to steer clear of any of those topics to be a good mormon, nor have I ever felt that I was prescribed by someone else to follow any particular path.
Maybe you had a very strict and uncharitable family or church member who did not actually practice the mormonism I am familiar with, but some pharasaical brand of it. That is unfortunate. It is too bad that their brand of religion (which ain’t mormonism) had to be ascribed to the whole church.
I have spent several years in academia, absorbed in intellectual inquiry of all sorts, and have not encountered the type of resistance which, according to you, I should have encountered from the church.
You’re right, skeeterj, many of us us not only “WOULD rather find our own paths to truth and spirituality than stick by one prescribed by others,” but we actually DO- even while living in the church! Imagine that!
Jordan | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 6:58 pm | #
Thanks for the reply, but 2 things:
1) Have you read Boyd K. Packer’s talk “The Mantle Is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect” or listened carefully to the talk that he give at the last general conference? No doubt that you can explore the true history of the church or look for spirituality outside its bounds, but NOT with the blessing of the brethren.
2) The original post questioned WHAT IF the church is not true. I apologize if I didn’t frame it in those terms as well as I meant, but assuming that hypothesis, would you still follow the prophet’s direction as part of your own individual spirituality? Parting with the previous posters, my answer is no.
skeeterj | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 7:46 pm | #
I find it interesting that the “Born Agains” accuse us of believing in the wrong Jesus. The Lectures on Faith uses that exact argument to confirm that we actually believe in the RIGHT Jesus.
Skeeter, I think the church has tried to cover-up and or minimize those negative events – people – problems in the church….who wouldn’t? I think well intentioned people tried to do their best. So what! The principles of the gospel and the saving ordainces as we best try to live them will bless our lives, both here and hereafter.
Good luck with finding your own path, I’d rather follow the path God has revealed.
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 7:50 pm | #
You ask a very intriguing question: If the Church is not true, would I still follow the prophet’s direction? I think I still would on most things, but not all. If he truly isn’t inspired then he’s just a very wise old man that offers great council.
Part of the point of my post was that the teachings of the Church have helped me become more like God than any other institution possible could (this includes submission to higher authority when I don’t agree). Even if every negative thing that’s ever been said about our Church’s history were true I’d still be happy about the way I was raised and I’d still live by the principles we teach. I’m am becoming a better person (the Church’s history has nothing to do with that).
This, of course, leads to another interesting question (which could be its own post): What would it take for me to no longer believe that the Church is true?
Answer: A lot more than discovering that some men of God were men.
Rusty | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 8:39 pm | #
Even now as an active, temple- recommend bearing member, I have doubts & questions regarding the reality of Joseph Smith’s witness and the Book of Mormon. However, I have chosen to be faithful to this church because living its teachings blesses my life in every way. I would still be grateful for it, but I would be very concerned for the many members who are much more believing than I and who, I would imagine, would be completely devastated.
Raine | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 8:45 pm | #
I agree with your analysis Rusty, but I sure think I would really like some wine now and again.
J. Stapley | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 10:39 pm | #
“(unquestioning obedience to authority: i.e., “when the brethren speak, the thinking has been done”), ”
That quote re: “thinking has been done” drives me *nuts,* no matter whether it’s being quoted by a Mormon or by an anti, because it’s not doctrinal at all. As far as I have been able to ascertain, this quote (1) appeared in a single publication many years ago and (2) was denounced by the President of the Church shortly after it appeared.
David Bowie’s “Disputed Mormon Texts Archive” has the full story.
VeritasLiberat | Email | Homepage | 04.26.05 – 11:42 pm | #
If one is gay, an ethnic minority, single past the years of childbirth, divorced and concerned about sealing issues re re-marriage, the WHAT IF questions become a lot more personal.
This Church is for happy-happy families, or families that have the potential to be such. It’s a lot easier to linger in the “what if the Church isn’t true” realm when one does not fit the norm.
magda | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 7:58 am | #
You make a really, really good point. I’d say the person doesn’t need to be all of those but rather only one of those for the WHAT IF question to be a lot more personal.
Rusty | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 9:55 am | #
Veritas, you’re thinking again, dang it. The thinking is already done. Stop it.
Jordan | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 9:59 am | #
An interesting subject, for sure.
The thing is, though, that being members of the church has defined what is “good”/”joyful” for many people, independent of the truth of the gospel. I mean, because “drinking a little wine and having uncommitted sex aren’t at the top of my list”, the LDS lifestyle will still appeal even if the theology doesn’t.
Pris | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 11:59 am | #
I’m guessing that for most of us blog dwellers, the church is a fairly good investment of time and money regardless of its doctrinal veracity. But it also seems that there are others whose sacrifices far outweigh ours, and can only hope to recoup their investment in an LDS version of the afterlife. Consider the family in the 3rd world country that sells all of their meager possessions in order to make a trip to the temple. Or the pioneers who died crossing the plains. Or the parents who face a million dollar medical debt because they took seriously a priesthood blessing promising that their child would recover.
will | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 1:12 pm | #
Well, I stumbled onto this blog through Mormon Archipelago and thought this topic interesting to read. I’m not LDS myself, (Southern Baptist, but don’t hold it against me) but I know a fairly good amount about the LDS church through lots of internet research on my part. But it seems to me that the original post is talking more about the LDS lifestyle than the religion itself. I’m not LDS, but I don’t drink, smoke, have sex, dress like a hooker, gamble, or anything like that. I don’t believe in or follow the BoM or the WoW, but I read the Bible and being Baptist has made me humble, disciplined, and full of love as well. So it’s not necessarily LDS doctrine that gives a person a good outlook on living; any person of any Christian denomination can live just as well.
I think also it’s the “good” Mormons or “good” Baptists who act this way. I’m sure plenty of Mormons start their day with a cup of coffee, or have had pre-marital sex, or have become drug addicts, just as their are plenty of Baptist, Catholics, Methodists, etc. who have. It’s not necessarily being Mormon that gives a good lifestyle. You could find out Mormonism is a big lie, convert to being Baptist, and still live just as cleanly.
I don’t think I’ll get into the Jesus discussion though. I know a lot about the LDS church, yes, but I haven’t spoken to many actual LDS believers before, so I don’t know how much of what I’ve learned is actually important or practiced by the church’s people. But I will say that as far as perecentages go in how many church followers live good, clean lifestyles, the LDS church is at least near the top if not at it. But like I said before, religion is not lifestyle and lifestyle isn’t religion.
And by the way, for a lowly Baptist who doesn’t know… are there punishments given out by the church for not following the WoW? If a bishop catches you drinking tea and smoking a cigar, does something happen to you? I’m just curious.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 1:54 pm | #
Annie- if you break the word of wisdom, a bishop has a lot of discretion in what to do. He could just tell you not to do it again and send you on your way, or he could revoke your temple privileges.
Jordan | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 2:42 pm | #
I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog. I appreciate your thoughts as I tend to agree with you. There are millions of people out there (Christians and non-christians alike) living good, clean lives who are humble and charitable. We all find our ways of becoming a better person.
However, my original post wasn’t really a commentary on other religions, but rather a reaction to what others say about my religion. I often read/hear people say “if you only knew what your church is REALLY about…” and then insinuate that my eyes would be opened and I would be free from the shackles of Mormonism. But that’s just not the case.
Rusty | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 3:50 pm | #
I think part of the difference that Rusty is trying to bring out is that living the principles of the church gives us a particular lifestyle. If the church doctrine were not true we would still be happy living the way we do.
You as many other Christians, have chosen to live the way you do. You do it not because they are teachings from your doctrine, but because you see and enjoy the benefits.
We do it because it is part of the doctrine and know we receive blessing for doing so. If the doctrine were not true then so what, we still are glad we are living this way.
You’re receiving blessings for living these “commandments” too, maybe even more than we do because of the circumstances.
Thanks for joining the comments.
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 5:22 pm | #
It’s interesting that this has come up now. Over the last six months, those nagging thoughts came to me. What I find interesting is that I decided to reread the D&C. It has really impacted my testimony. I feel it as I read, and I know it’s inspired, and that Joseph Smith was, and is, a prophet of God.
Everybody finds their own answers and resolves it their own way. I know that my thinking isn’t done, and I’ve got a long way to go.
Mark Hansen | Email | Homepage | 04.27.05 – 5:33 pm | #
I appreciate everyone being open minded enough to hear a comment from a non-Mormon. But reading over some of the previous comments again left me wondering. Since I’m not Mormon, I can’t ask the ‘What if Joseph Smith was a liar? What if the Book of Mormon is wrong?’ questions… because obviously if I believed them I wouldn’t be Baptist… but I suppose I can ask myself, ‘What if Christianity in general is wrong?’ What would I feel then?
I don’t think I would feel fine as some of you seem to say you would be if you found out LDS doctrine was wrong. In fact, I know I would be very upset. And I would find whatever was true and dive into that full force. It’s a scary thought. Especially since religion in general is such a faith-based concept. There’s no scientific logic, no physical proof, no visible manifestation of God to look at to prove validity of any of it. So, if one day I found out I was living a lie? I’d be a tad upset.
But maybe I’m reading the post and comments wrong… is the situation finding out Mormonism is wrong but other Christian denominations are right? Or is it that Christianity is wrong altogether? Because I think that would make a difference. If somehow I found out beyond a shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith was telling the truth… I don’t know, I had a vision, or a sign of some sort to tell me… then I’m pretty sure I would convert to Mormonism pretty easily. Because although it’s extremely different from the Baptist church in many ways, it’s still in the Christian realm, which is an easier transition.
And I hope no one minds me asking questions, because religion really interests me and I love to learn about religions other than my own. I was wondering what kind of blessings, as Don mentioned earlier, you receive by following these lifestyle codes… and how can I receive these blessings if I’m not Mormon?
This is a really touchy subject, which makes it harder to talk about to strangers online who could easily misconstrue things, but I don’t think I agree with some of the earliest comments posted. There is a big controversy over whether the God of Mormonism and the God of other Christians is one and the same because they are described so differently. I do know that my church would not hold a baptism given in a Mormon church as valid at all. But Baptists also don’t think baptism is necessary for salvation. So in that sense, the ‘I might not be completely right, but I’m close enough’ logic won’t work. I don’t know. It’s all very confusing to me. But I don’t mean to be offensive to anyone at all, so if I say something out of line, please tell me and I apologise in advance.
I don’t know but… one… four Mormons total I think. And I haven’t spoken to any of them within the last year. So it’s nice to talk about Mormonism with people who are actually Mormon then try and talk about it with people who have no idea about the LDS church at all. And I think that’s part of the problem with hearing people accuse Mormons of believing in lies… the people saying that more than likely don’t know much about the church or only know very little of what they’ve heard from a fellow non-Mormon. It’s crazy the animosity some people harbor for people of other faiths.
And look at me, I’m babbling. I’ll get out of everyone’s hair now.
Thanks for the warm welcomes and responses.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 12:07 am | #
You are the least offensive person on this board. It takes a LOT more than disagreeing with us to offend us, so please, continue to disagree, that’s what makes the discussion interesting.
You pose a good question that I was kinda trying to avoid: Am I saying “if Mormonism were wrong…” or am I saying “if Christianity were wrong…” I think I was saying Mormonism, but I think I’d also apply it to Christianity, just on a more general scale.
I think what some of the above posters were trying to say is that we (Mormons) have all the teachings Christianity has (we use the Bible) but that we also have an additional set of principles/commandments that we also live by. Therefore, if we are living the Mormon principles we are safe to Christianity, even if Mormonism is wrong. Does this make sense?
Annie, the fact that you admit that if you somehow found out that “Joseph Smith was telling the truth that [you'd] convert to Mormonism pretty easily” shows your true humility and willingness to do God’s will. I truly admire you for that. Maybe you should try to find out
Your open-mindedness conversely reminds me of a guy I was teaching on my mission and we asked him, “if God told you to join our Church, would you?” and his response was “I’d have to ask my pastor first.” Sad.
Rusty | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 12:38 am | #
Annie, let me address your comment about you receiving the same blessing for keeping the commandments what we receive. Our doctrine teaches us that there are truths everywhere. We don’t have a corner on the truth. In fact we readily admit that there are truths taught in other Christian churches and we encourage people to live those truths they have.
One of our doctrines teaches us that all blessings are connected to keeping God’s commandments. Some blessings are more easily connected to specific commandments some are not. Paying tithing as commanded in the last chapter of Malachi is more specific. Our health code the “Word of Wisdom” (no alcohol, coffee, tea or tobbaco) has specific blessings associated with it.
God is no respector of persons. If we keep his commandments we receive the blessings. He doesn’t say you have to be Mormon, or Baptist or Methodist to get the blessings.
So you are blessed for your faith in Christ, for living a wholesome life, for keeping His commandments…so are we.
If Mormonism wasn’t true, if Christanity was a farce, that’s ok with me, yes I too would be a “tad bit upset” but I couldn’t be a better person, I couldn’t have more joy or happiness by ignoring or not living the commandments I’ve been given.
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 1:16 pm | #
Wow, I have really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks to everyone who has made comments and taken time to thoughtfully consider the question(s) posed.
I specifically want to tell Annie that I appreciate your viewpoint. As a Mormon myself, I often wish more of us were as humble and open-minded as you in our interactions with those of other faiths. There’s so much to learn from people outside of our church! Thanks.
Amy | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 3:39 pm | #
Alright, so I understand my receiving blessings even though I’m not Mormon from this point of view. But I don’t know my own opinion on that subject just yet. I’ll have to think about it. It seems a little odd to me, so I might need some time to go through some Baptist thinking and come up with a good response.
And, Rusty, you made sense in your explanation of Mormonism covering Christian doctrine as well as going into additional things, but that’s also kind of a touchy subject. Many Christians would say that Mormonism can’t be covered in that way because of the many differenes in the Christian doctrine and the additional doctrine of the Mormons. There are some Mormon concepts that seem to contradict the Bible or other Christian denominations enough to warrant people to label the LDS church as a Christian ‘cult.’ And let me tell you, cults are not viewed highly among the mainline Christian crowd. So many people would completely disagree with the point of covering Christianity even if Mormonism is wrong. Did any of that make sense? =)
And the story of the man you were talking with on your mission is sad, yes, but I had a good laugh from it too. And yes, it seems very likely that many people would say something like that. Missionaries. That’s a topic I find interesting too. Never been visited by a sharp-looking, bike-riding young man at my front door but I have seen a few of them riding through the neighborhood near one of the local LDS churches. I must admit that the Mormon style of missioning (door-to-door obviously) isn’t such a bad idea. Which is exactly why Mormonism is the fastest growing religion these days. Also have to give props to people who do it… I don’t think I could ever drop everything and leave my life and family for two years in a completely new environment like that.
But here’s a question I have concerning this topic: what is the Mormon answer to other Christian denominations? Does the LDS church teach that there is any way for me, for example, to get to Heaven (also a touchy subject, ah!) even though I’m not Mormon? I receive God’s blessings apparently, but will I be able to receive Heaven?
And I’m not easily offended (unless it’s a full on attack of my person, then I might cry) so if the answer is, ‘Well, sorry, Annie, looks like you’re stuck takin’ the elevator downstairs’ then I won’t mind. Because in the same sense… well, I should look into that too, because at the moment I’m pretty sure my pastor (not to take me in the same light as the gentleman from your mission; I view my pastor as a source or accurate SBC doctrine, so asking my pastor on this subject would be valid) would say that Mormons don’t have the Heavenly invitation. But I could be wrong. The SBC teaches that faith in Christ is the only “key” into Heaven (though I’m sure believing Christ in contradiction to the ‘Christian’ Christ i.e. believing in Christ, but also in 6 different gods, the worship of Satan, and the sacrifice of infants to Mother Earth, would count you out of the Heavenly gates too).
But again, touchy subject, I seem to be so full of those. Because as many know there is controversy over the “Mormon” Christ and “Mormon” God and “Christianity”‘s Christ and God.
But I will definately also give props to the open-mindedness of this board as well. I must admit that Southern Baptists are loving of everyone, but not so tolerant in accepting other’s differing bliefs, as I’m sure there are plenty of Mormons who would really be attacking me right now too. Thanks for saving me from blatant conversion attempts (though I like that smiley at the end of your ‘Maybe you should try to find out’ bit, Rusty ) and shameless Baptist barbequing. The actual religous discussion here is much appreciated.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 4:10 pm | #
Annie, I think you will find that the doctrine of the Mormon church is more open for all the be “saved” than any other Christian church.
Here’s why I say that. First you point out the SBC doctrine says you must have faith in Christ to be saved, and that principle is pretty much the norm for more than just the SBC. The question then comes “What about all those people who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, have never had the opportunity to accept Him as their savior?” There are billions in that classification: those that lived before Christ, those in countries where knowing about him is impossible, and even little children who die.
Does a loving God condemn all those to Hell?…just for being born at the wrong time or wrong place. Where does the doctrine of accepting Jesus as your personal savior, having faith in Christ come in for them?
Think about that for a few minutes.
Our doctrine provides an opportunity for everyone who has every lived on this earth to accept Jesus Christ as Lord, to accept His doctrine and the ordainances necessary to get them to heaven. God loves all His children and want them to be with Him again.
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 9:27 pm | #
Don, while I see what you mean, this isn’t exactly where I was going with my above comment. The question you raised, ‘What about those who’ve never heard of Christ’ is one I was trying to avoid, at least for the moment. Mainly because I simply don’t know the answer to how the SBC views this question. From what I’ve always been told (through Sunday School classes, and inferred through sermons) we also believe God to be abundantly merciful and loving. And while we might not know exactly how God will treat this problem, we trust Him to grant mercy to those who have never heard His name.
Also along the same lines, we teach that it is important for the SBC to mission to those around the world so that the chance of having people never hear of Christ dwindles until everyone has the knowledge to make a conscience choice to join Him or reject Him. We give two offerings each year specifically for missions (the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions) so that the Gospel can be spread throughout the world. (I’m pretty sure all of our missionaries are supported through SBC and don’t pay their own way (another reason I respect Mormon missionaries so much) mainly because our missionaries are at it usually for life, this is their job, not a short term affair, though we do have many short term ‘mission trips’ for those who want to mission for a month or two or longer.)
But what exactly does your comment mean concerning my earlier question? By your answer it means that even though I’m not Mormon I still have a chance of entering Heaven. If I’m interpreting your comment correctly. But all you mention is that everyone has an opportunity to accept Christ; my question is, in what way do you mean? Are you referring to baptism of the dead? Accepting through mission work?
But take me: I’ve grown up my entire life with the knowledge of Christ and the Gospel, just not all the Gospel in LDS eyes, not the full scope of truth. Does that mean that as I am right now I won’t be getting into Heaven unless I convert to Mormonism or unless I die and am baptized by an LDS member in a temple? Or does my knowledge now get me in the door? My problem is the opposite of y’all’s (yes, I’m from Alabama, don’t shoot me!): earlier it was mentioned that since you have the Christian doctrine with just a little more, then you’re covered. But if Mormonism is correct (which I’m assuming all Mormons here believe it is) then I don’t have that ‘little bit more,’ I have way too little. I’m not covered. I don’t have the full and complete truth. Am I doomed to nonexistence after Earth unless I convert and/or am baptized after death, or is the knowledge I have good enough to sustain?
And the idea of baptism for the dead is odd to me as well. I have been hearing of all the problems the church has been having with the Jews lately. What are everyone’s thoughts? I don’t think I’m exactly clear on the practice either, about how it works for the deceased person, so maybe some info on that would help. Is it possible for one baptized in this way to achieve the Celestial Kingdom, or must they settle for something a little lower?
But with all aside, Don, I’d like to say that it is comforting to know that God loves us so much and wants to be with us for all of time, unworthy creatures of His love that we are, no matter how confused we get about what it will actually be like when we get there.
And Amy – well thanks! It’s nice to know my views are appreciated (and know that all of y’all’s (yes, i know!) opinions are appreciated as well) especially since I’m so very opinionated and people can get exasperated deabting with me. I’ve always tried extra hard to be open-minded about other’s beliefs, kind of in the ‘do unto others’ way: if I listen and respect others’ beliefs, I want others to respect mine. So, thanks for the compliment.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 11:06 pm | #
Annie, you’ve heard of Christ, and you’ve probably seen and felt His influence in your life. Reach out to others and help them to feel and see the love of Christ in their lives as well.
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.”
Sister T | Email | Homepage | 04.28.05 – 11:25 pm | #
I could almost say “yes to all of the above” when it comes to your answers about my comments.
We believe everyone will be blessed both in this life and in the life hereafter for the truths they have learned and kept. For their acceptance of Christ and or for their living the best life they could under the circumstances they were in.
We aren’t here to take away any good, wholesome, righteous truth from anyone. We do feel however that we do have more to offer…more truth, more understanding, more joy, more happiness.
If after learning aoubt what we have to offer, you pray about it and receive a confirmation from God you would be invited to join us thru baptism. The spiritual confirmation can only come thru study and thru prayer. When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, you will feel it within. It isn’t something I can convince you of, it can’t be forced.
If the circumstances aren’t right for you to hear / learn / study / accept these things now, we believe God is so merciful and loves us so much that He will give you an opportunity to hear / learn / study / accept these things in the spirit world after death.
If you accept them there your baptism can be done in your behalf by proxy here on earth. We take John 3:5 literally to be true. There were no exceptions mentioned by Jesus when it comes to baptism when He told Nicodemus this requirement.
This is a very quick and simple explaination of part of God’s plan of happiness for us. God loves all of His children. He wouldn’t condemn some to Hell without giving them the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ our savior, and allowing all mankind the opportunity to accept Him as their savior.
I hope that is more clear to you than I was before. I hate to make these comments too long and boring, and sometimes I feel that I ramble.
don | Email | Homepage | 04.29.05 – 3:00 am | #
Wow! I’ve missed a lot since moving home for the summer and no longer having high-speed internet! (ugh!)
While reading through all of these comments I’ve wanted to say two things but am now reluctant for fear of them being confused by our new blogger-friend. If you are confused or offended Annie, I apologize and will try to explain as best I can if you’d like.
I definetely WOULD be upset to find out this church is wrong because there is so much I would not have to do. All churches, all religions and even most all cultures in the world, I think, teach the basic virtues and values to make one a good and happy person. I would not want to be part of some extra religious organization to add to all the other things I have/want to do in this life if it just told me how to be a good person.
This church SAVES me. Many will get to heaven, but this church’s linchpin is that it affords me the opportunity to recieve ALL the promised blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All the blessings of God’s gospel and ability to be “joint-heir” with Christ Himself. Without that, I’d have absolutely no reason to be in this church. In fact I’d probebly join the SBC (though I like the Methodist’s doctrine) because I love their music.
Also, in regard to the previous comments regarding the thinking being done for us. I’ve come to really like the phrase “Truth will overcome all/any form of censorship.”
Does that all make sense?
Bret | Email | Homepage | 04.29.05 – 4:23 am | #
First off, Don, take a look at my previous posts… you are definately not the one rambling.
Secondly, okay, I see what you mean. I mean, I kind of understood before, but I guess it makes more sense to me now through your longer explanation. Thanks. Ah yes, John 3:5, a know thee well. The LDS website mentions it on a little video about baptism. Well, I must admit that the SBC is pretty literal about the Bible, but that verse… I don’t know. We don’t feel baptism is necessary for salvation (which I am using to also mean, ‘getting into Heaven’), because we see salvation as beginning the instant an unbeliever receives Christ in his heart, not at the moment of immersion (though we do always practice full immersion). So baptism isn’t a requirement, it’s only a symbol, but we do say that if you have accepted Christ you should be baptized.
Again, I don’t really know what we say about those who’ve died without Him. I think it’s like this: if you haven’t ever heard the name ‘Jesus’ or the Gospel or any of it, you have an opportunity to be saved after death… somehow. But we don’t go into how, ’cause we don’t dare think we know the Will of God. But if you have been missioned to, or know about Christianity and just choose… to be Buddhist, for example, then you’re on to Hell, don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200. We take the scripture literally when it says if a man doesn’t believe the prophets or Scriptures on Earth, then he won’t believe even if told by one of the dead. Forgot the verse for that, I’ll get back to you on it. So, if you’ve heard of Christ and deny Him, you’re outta luck. If you’ve never heard about Him, we trust the Lord to be merciful. That make sense?
Bret- I’m not easily offended, conversation is welcome or I wouldn’t be here. Don’t be reluctant to say anything… a good religious debate, discussion, should be just a tad offensive at times, I say.
Please! Not the Methodists! (And we do have the BEST music!) And I can see everyone’s stong belief in your church, which is awesome.
But once more, I think everyone’s walking around me on eggshells. You say you receive all the blessings. Which obviously means I’m missing out on some in your view. Okay, I’m a big girl, I can deal with that. So does this mean that all non-LDS members are baptized after death? Me? My family, my friends, the people that live across the street?
If we say no. If after this life, we still say, ‘I don’t think so’ then what? I didn’t think LDS doctrine focused in on Hell… does it? Is there a Hell for non-Mormons, because I thought LDS was somewhere along the lines of us just vanishing into non-existence… help me out here.
Crunched for time. I’m rambling again. Hope everyone has an awesome day. God bless.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 04.29.05 – 11:00 am | #
I think we agree on the concept that if a person has been presented the gospel of Jesus Christ and have chosen to reject it then “to Hell with them”. There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon that basically says that we we will take the same dispositions, attitudes, personality into the next life that we have had here. So if we are of the type to reject Christ here we would also reject Him and His gospel when it is presented to them in the Spirit World. But by the same token, if the person is a good honest person who has tried to do to the best with the knowledge they have then they would be open and willing to accept Christ and His gospel.
Yes, we feel everyone one who has ever lived on the earth will have the opportunity to hear about Christ and His gospel, so everyone also needs the ordainances of Baptism done for them. That’s why we do bapismal work in the temple. It’s a big job, but we know we’ll have 1,000 years during the Millenium to complete the task too.
As far as our concept of Heaven and Hell, it is a bit different as well. We believe that there are many degrees of glory / reward / blessings in heaven. Paul talks about it in Corinthins where he talks of the Celestial, Terrestial, and Telestial degrees and their glories differing like the sun, moon and stars. And on Christ’s remark that there are many mansions in my Father’s house.
I think Rusty’s original comment was directed to our beliefs and living standards that make us different from most others around us. The outward signs would be our Word of Wisdom (no coffee, tea etc), Chastity, Tithing to name a few. But I think it is more than the outward, we beleive that God has restored His true church on the earth again. That he loves us as much today as in previous times and has called a living prophet (like Moses, Noah, Ezekiel etc), has revealed more scripture (Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price and more). That because He has restored His church, and He again has a prophet on the earth we do indeed have further truths that bless our lives. Once you beleive that then life changes…and as Rusty points out for the better, no matter what.
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.29.05 – 2:09 pm | #
I’ll try to keep this comment shorter, if I can.
The degrees of Heaven thing. Yes, I understand the LDS view on that as well as I can I think. I must say that the SBC disagrees with that idea completely. We get one Heaven, one Hell; everyone ends up in either one. I think it’s a little more comforting that way too: even if you’ve tried but aren’t as “good” as the person next to you, you can still receive the same rewards, just for trying.
And I know that Mormons have the WoW to teach outward signs of belief, but I think we (other Christians) do as well. We follow the Bible in the sense of no murdering, stealing, etc., loving others, remaining pure until marriage, tithing,(and if you’re conservative enough, which I am) maintaining the Biblical standard of family roles, etc. Yes, I don’t think I could live without tea or coffee, but I don’t smoke, drink alcohol, do drugs, dress immodestly, etc. simply because I know that these are not things God would like me to do. I don’t have a specific book of revelations to tell me these things, but I can read about them in the Bible.
I hope I don’t sound offensive in that either, ’cause I’ve basically just ripped through all your extra books. I don’t mean to do it offensively… it’s just how we (SBC) see things. We don’t see Joseph Smith as a prophet, or Gordon B. Hinckley either for that matter. I’m not sure what we say about prophets living now, because there have been so many false ones in recent decades, that instead we’re taught heavily, heavily, heavily to be weary of people claiming to be prophets of God. It’s a big joke between… well I’m sure between all Christian denoms how much the SBC preaches about End Times, false prophets, the Second Coming, etc. We’re extremely skeptic of anyone claiming to be a prophet or have visions or direct connections to God in this way.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 04.29.05 – 2:49 pm | #
I don’t blame you a bit, I agree that there are many many false prophets. In fact it’s interesting that Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets in the last days that would lead men astray.
But by His very warning it shows that there must also be true prophets. If all those claiming to be prophets were false, then Jesus would have told us to ignore all those claiming to be prophets.
How can one determine if the person is a true prophet or a false prophet?
Don | Email | Homepage | 04.29.05 – 4:38 pm | #
I’ve got a great idea. Shoot me an email (click on “email” below this comment) I’d email you if I could.
Rusty | Email | Homepage | 05.01.05 – 8:59 am | #
Sorry I didn’t have my email up, I guess I figured no one would wanna mail me, but it’s up now.
And sorry, Don, I didn’t get back to you sooner on the comment, I tried to comment about 5 times this weekend, but my computer is officially annoyed with me I think.
But on to prophets:
Well, if you put it that way, then I guess it makes sense that there could be true prophets these days. But the SBC is still really cautious about the whole idea.
I’ve been studying 1 John recently, and in there are some explanations of false prophets: claims Jesus was NOT BOTH God and Man, say sin and repentance is of no importance, and other things that I can’t remember just now.
So I think that if a man claiming to be a prophet in any way contradicts the Bible, then we would see him as false. But if he agrees with the Bible? Then I think we’d just see him as a really good pastor, not a prophet. We’re very wary about people who command, lead, add to Scriptures or anything like that based on direct connections to God like visions, dreams, voices, etc. I guess we’re just not a very trusting bunch.
I hope that answers my part of the question in some way? But let me turn it around, if I can? How does the LDS church determine true prophets? I think it’s an important question, since all of the extra doctrine the LDS church has is based on Joseph Smith, a claimed prophet of God. He lived over a century ago, so how do LDS members know that his visions were authentic? And the church president is considered a prophet too, right? So how is he determined as a true prophet, since I thought he was simply voted into position by your council… my limited knowledge of LDS hierarchy is shining through here. I just think it’s an important question. Do y’all think that only the presidents and JS are prophets, or can there be others? I’d like to hear some different views on this subject, since it’s a pretty important and interesting question.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 05.01.05 – 7:40 pm | #
Good point and good question. First I agree completely with you on your reading and determination of who is a prophet. The cation I have would be to be careful on deciding when someone doesn’t agree with the Bible. As you know there are many interpretations of the Bible…one reason why we have so many different churches. Which interpretation is right?
Now to answer your question about J.S. As you pointed out, “by their fruits” is how to know if he was a prophet or not. One of the “proofs” / witnesses that J.S. was a prophet is the Book of Mormon. The book claims to be God’s dealings with the people on the American continents generally from 600BC to 400AD. He had prophets in the old world / Jeresalem and prophets in the “new world”. Each wrote what He revealed to them as well as other historical information. One gives us the Bible the other the Book of Mormon.
We claim that J.S. translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. “The proof is in the pudding”.
The challenge is to find out for yourself. Read the Book of Mormon, pray and ask God about it’s truthfulness and then also if J.S. is a prophet or not. We believe God loves us as much today as in the days of the Bible, that we need guidence and direction as much or more today as they did then. That the problems of today are in fact different, as different as the ones facing people in the Old Testament as they of the New Testament. God answers prayers today. After study and then faith in God’s love for you personally, He will reveal thru the Holy Spirit the truth of this work to you.
I’ve done it, that’s why I’m a L.D.S., not because it’s fun, not because someone else told me I had to, not because it provides a great Christian lifestyle, but because God revealed it to me.
Sorry, I hope that didn’t come across to strong or preachy. But that really is the only way to know whether J.S. is a prophet. Reading or listening to all the “anti” books etc. about Mormons is no different than trying to find the truth about Christ by reading or asking a Jew or Arab.
Enough for now.
Don | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 1:11 pm | #
No, don’t worry, you don’t sound too preachy; I live in Alabama, everyone gets preached to every now and then, so I’d be used to it if you were.
But it does come across as a little… I don’t know what. I’m not accusing anyone of anything really, but a person made of lesser stuff than me could think, “Well, okay, I read, I prayed, I still don’t think it’s real, does this mean God isn’t talking to me, doesn’t want me to be saved, I’m condemned to Hell, the Mormons are all whacks, or what?”
I’ll admit that I’ve never read the BoM all the way through before. I’ll admit that I had never even seen one in real life until high school. I’ll also even admit that when a girl in my computer class in 11th grade told me the BoM was about Christ coming to America I laughed. But I’ve grown a little since then hopefully and I respect those who want to believe it. But I simply can’t see myself ever actually looking at the BoM as sent by God. I feel as though I’m much too strong in my faith as a Southern Baptist to be swayed into anything else. I have prayed to God, not necessarily asking if Mormonism is the way to go, but I have spoken with Him and He has answered my prayers. I guess I figure if I was doing it wrong, then God wouldn’t repsond, ’cause I don’t think He would.
But this doesn’t mean that I won’t eventually read the BoM in its entirety; people of all religions read the Bible as a literary work of Western civilization. And it obviously doesn’t mean that I’ll ever shun or degrade anyone who does believe it as a religious work. And I agree that praying to receive an answer to a question like that is a good thing, but I don’t know if it’s just me or the SBC, but we’re also cautioned against the right and wrong ways to pray. Sure, we like to feel emotional when we pray, but we’re guarded against taking an emotional response, a deep happy feeling, a warmness inside to signify an actual repsonse by God, because it could very likely simply be our emotions on overdrive.
And so it seems that if a person has a problem believing the BoM to be true, than using it as proof that JS was a prophet won’t work either. It seems like it has go in the opposite way: if a person determines JS to be a prophet, THEN he will believe in the BoM. But that can’t really work either. So we’re in a checkmate position. But what do LDS members, or missionaries, think of people who have been told about JS and the BoM, have prayed, and then STILL don’t believe it? Have they done something wrong? Has God turned His ear from them?
And yes, I totally agree that reading only one sided material on a subject won’t help a situation any. That’s one reason why I’m here; to hear about Mormonism from Mormons.
But I think it can go both ways. Has anyone here read any anti-Mormon works, or only pro-Mormon works? I know I tend to stay on the pro-SBC side of things, but like I said, I have ventured into other denoms and found that I think the SBC to be the way to go.
So I’m curious, you said you’ve read and prayed and that’s why you’re LDS. Are you a convert? Or have you always been LDS and just decided to doublecheck that your parents put you in the right church? I’m just curious as most people tend not to question the church they grow up in ever and stick with it their whole lives.
And, which interpretation of the Bible is right?! Well, the SBC interpretation of course, how could you even question it?!
Annie | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 3:08 pm | #
Of course the SBC interpretation is right, otherwise you wouldn’t believe it!
Yes, my parents were members of the church, but they were not active, nor did they “push” me into the church. In fact, my father was not thrilled when I decided to go on a church mission. Your quip about double checking has some truth to it.
I do have a question. How do you know when you do have an answer to your prayers. What does God do to let you know you have an answer?
Of course there have been people who have read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it and didn’t get the “answer”. Why not, I don’t know. Some weren’t sincere, some said they prayed but didn’t. I can’t answer that, but I know about 12 million people have read it and gotten an answer.
I guess the same question could be asked of those who study the Catholic church, or for that matter the Baptist church and pray about it but don’t feel it is for them.
Oh, yes I have read a substantial amount of anti-mormon material. Some of it has caused me to study more, do more research into their claims…it has been interesting. I have actually grown stronger in my faith because of it.
some of the best bible commentaries I read are from those outside our church. Sometimes they have harsh things to say about us in regards to our beliefs when compared with their’s and the bible, but that’s ok. I’ll take truth from where ever I can find it. Truth is truth no matter what church or person teaches it.
The Book of Mormon is subtitled “Another Testment of Jesus Christ”. It has been for me.
I admire your faith in Christ. I do have another question….or two. Do you believe that God and His son Jesus Christ are seperate entities? Is faith only needed to be saved or does it take more?….what does it take to be saved? What does it mean to be saved? Where did we come from? Why did God create man? These aren’t meant to be “trick” questions.
Don | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 7:25 pm | #
A “question or two”… well, I’ll see if I can get to them all and do them justice, ’cause they’re all very sensitive questions.
How do I know God has answered my prayers? That’s a good question, but not so easy to answer I think. I’m afraid I made myself sound as if I were a saint or something, always trusting, always faithful, always rewarded. But that simply isn’t true. I’ve questioned God, I haven’t believed, my faith has been rocky at times. Maybe I should also point out that I’m only 19, so I’m still young; my faith has been tried and tested and I haven’t always passed with flying colors. But I know God hasn’t abandoned me. I see His work around me everyday. I hear His voice in the breeze and feel His smile in the sun. I see Him do wonderful things in my life and the lives of those around me.
Maybe I should also point out the way I pray. I don’t really ask God for things, so it’s not as if I’m answered with whatever it is I ask for. I ask simply for love, forgiveness, safety, and blessings for my friends and family. So maybe not necessarily has God done things in my life, but have blessed those I’ve prayed for too. It’s also little things. I’ve been doing a devotional workbook think recently describing how to hear God when He speaks, because He answers prayers in many different ways. Maybe there has been a problem in my life, I go to church on Sunday and my pastor preaches a sermon that uplifts me and gives me help out of my situation: I feel that that is God speaking to me through my pastor.
It’s a long and complicated answer to such a simple question. I haven’t even begun to answer it fully, but I think it’d be too long for a comment here. But the same question could be turned around on you; how do you know God answers you when you pray? Do you think God really does answer my prayers, or am I just clueless?
And as for the doctrinal questions, I’ll answer them and hope that you’ll answer them too, so I can see where we agree and where we don’t.
As far as Christ is concerned, I believe in the Trinity. God in three Persons. I went to the SBC website to get some professional wording on the subject; we (I) believe that Christ is “fully God, fully Man” that He is an incarnation of God the Father who was “conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.” The Trinity is hard to describe and understand really. But here is the ultimate way to put it: “The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.” I believe that I am a child of God; not because I am physically his daughter, but because, through Christ, I have become His daughter in faith and He treats me with fatherly care.
Salvation is given only to those who have faith in Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world. When a person accepts Christ, He makes them a new creation who will turn to Him in times of need and joy, who will have a change of heart to do His Will in all things, and will do everything to obey, honor, glorify, and praise the name of God. Nothing else is needing to be saved. We accept deathbed salvations as legitimate. We don’t think baptism is necessary for salvation; one can be saved, have a heart filled with the Holy Spirit and not be baptized, though as a new child of God, a person should want to become baptized as an outward symbol of the inner change within the person. A person should also want, in their newly saved state, to do good works for Christ’s glory and in His name. But they are a “requirement” to salvation either. They are another outward symbol of an inward change.
Being saved means believing fully in the sovereignty of the Trinity; in accepting Christ’s atonement for our sins, repenting, having the Holy Spirit fill your body, and becoming a new person to do God’s Will. Being saved means your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and you may enter into God’s courts and through Heaven’s gates “with thanksgiving in [your] heart” to remain eternally in Paradise. We also believe in the “once saved, always saved” motto; we can fall from grace, but God will always lift us up, but I’m not sure I believe that personally (at least not fully). I think if your name can be written in the Book, it can be scratched out if you turn your back on God and blaspheme His name (the one unforgivable sin, though I seem to be the only person in the world who will admit it).
God created Man during the six days of the Creation of Earth. We are His finest creation, made in His own image, at first sinless and without stain. We do not believe we existed before the time of Creation. We begin existence at the time of birth. We have a new birth on Earth when are born into the family of God by accepting Christ as Saviour. I don’t know why God created Man. It was in His plan, and that’s enough for me. When we die, those who are saved will see Him in Heaven and dwell there with Him for all eternity. I don’t know what Heaven is like, except that it is eternal, God dwells there, only the saved will ever go in, and it is complete Paradise. I guess I always saw Heaven as warm and cozy, a place where you are never unhappy, a place where God’s presence is everywhere and you are always at peace. I know that we will have to admit our sins at the time of the Final Judgment, but I also feel that Heaven is a place where, if we remember our lives on Earth, we don’t look back with guilt or regret and God doesn’t chastize us for our earthly lives anymore. I know there will be much singing, worshipping, prostrating at the throne of God, laughing, happiness. I think it’ll be a cool place to be, all in all.
I know that was extremely long, but you asked a lot of questions! And I didn’t even begin to cover a lot of things I could. But basically that’s some SBC doctrine in a teeny, tiny mustard seed for you. If you want to, you can go to the SBC website: sbc.net, and look at the Baptist Faith and Message. It’s kinda like out catechism, with loads of Scriptural evidence to back everything up.
So, maybe you could answer some of the questions for me too. And maybe one more that’s been bugging me for a while. The LDS church only uses the KJV of the Bible, right? Because of its tendency to be ‘flawed’ and how it has been changed so much through the years? Then why doesn’t the LDS church use the Catholic Bible, since it has more books. The Protestants took books out of the Bible, I would figure that would count as making it more flawed, so I would think the LDS church would use it instead. It’s just something I thought about recently. Sorry this is so long, again.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 9:10 pm | #
Okay, small correction that makes a big difference in case read wrong. I said something about works and salvation, which should read “but they are NOT a requirement for salvation either.” Because we feel they aren’t, we’re not Catholic. Sorry. I just saw that and thought I should fix it in case I gave someone the wrong idea of the SBC. Good works aren’t required but they should be done, because a child of God should want to do good. Sorry.
Annie | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 9:35 pm | #
Sorry if I’m in and out on this conversation. Going from DSL to dial-up keeps me off the internet a LOT!
To answer your question about the KJV, from what I’ve read it was translated from the original Greek and Hebrew whereas the Vulgate was translated into Latin and then English. We don’t discourage the use of other Bibles. In fact many religion classes at BYU have students use different translations to help gain different perspectives (like in Isaiah). The KJV is just standardized in the church because it was so well put together and so commonly used back when Joseph Smith was alve and is still today.
The books you are referrring to that were taken out are the Apocrypha, right? Joseph Smith recieved a revelation on this and is now section 91 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It basically says tht while there are some truths in it, much has been taken out and other parts added in and that it doesn’t need to be a part of our canon.
Bret | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 11:34 pm | #
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