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Archive for the ‘Christian Service’ Category

What if Mormons are right and Catholics and Protestants wrong?

Posted by JLFuller on January 9, 2009

Eamonn McCann, an Irish writer, writes in the Belfast Telegraph in August 2008, concerning the Catholic response to The Church of Jesus Christ’s of Latter Day Saints’ doctrine of baptism for the dead. The LDS Church has sought the baptism and other records owned by the Catholic Church to use in doing this vicarious work. This practice and discussion has drawn a wave of comments from Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In the article, McCann postulates that baptising babies makes less sense than baptising the dead. Indeeed, the baby is oblivious to the ordinance and requires an adult to act as mouth accepting the ordinance and making lifetime commitments in his stead. The infant has a lifetime to  learn about the complex belief system and then make up his mind as to whether he believes it or not and wishes to continue as a Catholic. The dead however are in a far different situation. I think the reader will find this an interesting article.

Posted in Americanism, Anti-Mormon, Baptist, Biblical searching, Book of Mormon, Catholic, Christian Service, evangelical, Historic Christianity from a Mormon Perspective | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mormon view of Others Who Think Differently

Posted by JLFuller on December 24, 2008

While in Liberty jail in December 1838 to April 1839 unjustly, Joseph Smith and some fellow leaders of the Church agonized over the fate of their families and the members of the Church. This was a time when the Missouri extermination order was being carried out and thousands of Mormons were being driven from their homes by the Missouri militia and others. Joseph had pled for relief from the courts and government officials but none came. It was in the depths of his despair that Joseph begged the Lord for help for the Saints. This section was received at that time. It delineates the anti-Mormons from those who just disagree on theological grounds. It goes a long way in describing how many Mormons feel about those who promote hate and intolerance towards us.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 121 says, starting in verse 16:

  16 Cursed are all those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them.

  17 But those who cry transgression do it because they are the servants of sin, and are the children of disobedience themselves.

  18 And those who swear falsely against my servants, that they might bring them into bondage and death—

  19 WO unto them; because they have offended my little ones they shall be severed from the ordinances of mine house.

  20 Their basket shall not be full, their houses and their barns shall perish, and they themselves shall be despised by those that flattered them.

  21 They shall not have (the) right to the priesthood nor their posterity after them from generation to generation.

  22 It had been better for them that a millstone had been hanged about their necks, and they drowned in the depth of the sea.

 

Now some will maintain the LDS Scriptures are a concoction of Joseph Smith and are intended to deceive others. But there are just as many non-Mormons who have read them who are not sure what they read but they doubt the anti-Mormons. Whether these latter day scriptures originated from God as Joseph and the witnesses say, is irrelevant in thisa discussion. Mormons accept them as sacred and we think those that persecute us will be dealt with as you read above. To us it is doctrinal. It is scriptural and comes from God just as assuredly as if one read it in the Bible. It is as much a message from God as if Christ appeared to us in person as spoke it Himself. In fact, we believe He did speak what you read above. These are the words of Jesus Christ. It is our testimony. Differ from us if you will. We expect it. We truly seek to discuss these things with others. We do not believe that having a different opinion is sacrilegious or evil or in any way denigrates our beliefs. Nor does such a different belief automatically and permanatly condemn one to eternal separation from God. What we condemn are the behaviors we see today that continue the hatred, lies, distortions and ill treatment perpetrated against us. It is about behavior not belief.  

 

So what can anti-Mormons and others who think differently take from what I write? Do I think they have to change their thinking about the Church, its founder or our current leadership to please Mormons or God? No. I would like my words to have an impact on bad behavior but I recognize my opinion has little weight in those matters. Every person has to decide for themselves how to treat people they disagree with. It is an individual choice. We should be able to expect civil treatment and courteous behavior. All too often that does not happen. But it is what our Savior expects from all of us.

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Baptist, Book of Mormon, Catholic, Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Chritian Service, Church of God, evangelical, Historic Christianity from a Mormon Perspective, Joseph Smith Jr., Mormon, Mormon History, Mormonism, Presbyterian, Religion, Standing Together Ministries | Leave a Comment »

Frequently Asked Tough Questions

Posted by JLFuller on August 19, 2008

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Biblical searching, Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Mormon, Mormon History, Mormonism, testimony | Leave a Comment »

Mormons Who Go Bad – Loosing one’s Faith

Posted by JLFuller on August 10, 2008

In a bishops interview we are asked if we are living the principles of the Gospel. That is, praying, paying a full tithing, attending our meetings, living a chaste life if unmarried, observing God sanctioned sexual behavior within the bounds of marriage between one man and one woman, observing the sanctity of the Sabbath, reading the scriptures daily, regular temple worship for those with a recommend and so forth. Yet I have yet to talk with anyone who espouses the former-Mormon-turned-anti-Mormon point of view who kept the vows they made with God when they entered the waters of baptism, received confirmation and took upon themselves Temple covenants.

 

  The very manifestations of the Holy Ghost that we so regularly need are based on how well we live the promises we make to God. When we make these covenants we essentially agree to live by a higher standard than others do. We chose to rise above the normal human understanding of things and seek to understand God by changing the natural man. We acknowledge that the natural man is an enemy to God and promise to work towards being a more holy person and that we desire to be a Son of God in the biblical sense Paul talks about – that is, more Christ like. When we break our covenants we give up the right to the companionship of the Holy Ghost. In fact I suggest we regress to a point of no promise. In essence we loose our faith.

 

  We lose it for a variety of reasons but I suggest it is mostly due to sexually inappropriate behavior brought on by pornography which in turn leads to other worldly behaviors, adhering to worldly ideas and rejecting the counsel of the prophet and apostles. We kind of go our own way. One really devastating thing I see among some members is a commitment to the “intellectual honesty” meme. My reasoning is based on twenty five years experience working with dysfunctional people on a professional basis. These people got into trouble because they came to a place where they felt entitled to their behavior and believed they could get away with what ever they wanted to do. They bought off on the big lie.      

 

 The purpose in clinging tightly to our covenants is not to force people into a way of thinking but rather to open up the pathway to heavenly communication. The Gospel does not aim to dictate how to live but to make it so God can enter our lives and direct us. But all is hinged on us living the principles of the Gospel and rejecting the worldliness we see all around us. Worldliness is not normal for holy beings but it is normal for the natural man who is God’s enemy.

 

 Some are going to say that they can do all the things I mention above in any other faith. Of course others outside the Church can elevate themselves to a higher level of living and become more Christ like. But they can only go so far. No other faith has the authority to bind on earth and make it binding in heaven too. No one else can prepare people for a celestial existence. No one else has the authority of the priesthood. Only Christ has that authority and only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the Gospel in its fullness. If you reject this after having made the covenants of baptism and the additional covenants found within the temple I suggest you are in deep trouble. You don’t go back to a state of just not knowing as we see in the other non-members who don’t know. You have in fact rejected God. That is different than merely not knowing Him.

 

Some say they left the Church because they found God as a member of something else. But when you examine their lives you see a completely different human being than they portray to the public. More often than not you see a public “Christian” and a worldly real person underneath. I have never found it to be otherwise. But then I have only worked with a few hundred members, former members and their families. I could be wrong. One caveat – being a member in name only does not automatically include a person in the ranks of those I talk about here.

 

So, what does all this mean? Does it mean all good Mormons should reject those who have fallen away? Should we act coolly to them and their families? Certainly not. If anything we are required to show an extra measure of love and kindness to them in hopes of welcoming them back into full fellowship. But the reality is that some of these folks can do a lot misinforming and damage to Christ and the Church. They have placed us in a precarious position. On one hand we are admonished to encourage them and even be anxious for their full fellowship. On the other hand we are encouraged to inform the misinformed of the disinformation some spread about us. And so it is my sense that the honest of heart in the former member ranks make every attempt for re-instatement into the Church. They should call upon God for His guidance and follow it. But by no means should we as members be shy about correcting the damage others inflict on the Church keeping in mind the Saviors words that doing unto the least of our brethren is like doing unto Him.  

 

 (Note: More Mormons are disciplined in the Church for illegal and inappropriate sexual behaviors and financial misdealing than any other reasons according to one source although I am not aware of any publicly available statistics to support my contention. I found that to be the case with the population I supervised as a case manager too. Disciplining means being disfellowshipped or excommunicated.)

 

 

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Biblical searching, Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Church Attendance, Mormon, Mormon History, Mormonism, testimony, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Are Non-Christians Lost Forever?

Posted by JLFuller on July 28, 2008

Many a pastor has shouted from the pulpit that non-believers are hell bound and will not be retrieved. But the following verses seem to contradict that notion.

John 5:25: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

1 Peter 3:18‑20: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

1Peter 4:6: The gospel is taught to the dead so that they will be judged “according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Which makes more sense – a loving God that would create billions of beings knowing they were going to suffer eternal torment for something they had no control over or a loving God who had a plan to redeem all by sacrificing His Son for the salvation of these same children including those who never heard of Him? I suggest God’s plan is self evident by the passages above.

Posted in Biblical searching, Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Mormonism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Case Against Joseph Smith

Posted by JLFuller on July 23, 2008

I posted this on Dr. Bill Poole’s blog, http://hottubreligion.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/are-mormons-christians/#comment-1572 this morning but I think the subject matter is sufficently intersting that I would like to post it here too.

Bill

I have read many of your comments. I notice you tend to demonize Mormons rather than discuss theological differences. Demonizing I think plays into Satan’s hand. It drives us apart. I suggest there is a better way. We can discuss doctrine and history without the name calling and still accomplish Christ’s goals of bringing people together. Doing so raises the level of discourse and I think allows us to invite the presence of the Holy Ghost to enhance the experience.

 

The thing you seem to focus on is Joseph Smith. As a life long Mormon and I think somewhat well read, I don’t know enough about Joseph to make the leaps you and others do. Much of the information available is tainted therefore unreliable although many diaries and journals seem straightforward enough when taken en masse. There are as many people speaking on Joseph’s behalf as there are those attacking him. So as I read the record, I don’t yet clearly understand what happened let alone believe I am able to come to an honest conclusion. I acknowledge my bias, but I am not blinded by it. I can be corrected. But I have heard all the arguments pro and con and am not convinced. I doubt you can add anything I haven’t already heard or read.  Even so, given the dark side of Christianity is the base, I wonder if an individual’s personal behavior is sufficient foundation on which to postulate a theory. In other words, does it really matter?

 

When we look back on Catholicism, for example, do the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition bear on today’s Church? Does the Baptist and Presbyterian support of slavery and genocide mean we can’t look to the modern Church for leadership? Does the behavior of current pastors who support the Ku Klux Klan mean Evangelicals have no voice worth listening to? I think if we kick everybody out who has sinned or made a mess of his personal life there would be no one left. I believe in holding leadership to a higher standard of course but the evidence has to be unimpeachable too. The case against Joseph Smith does not rise to that level. When acknowledged scholars on all sides come to a mutual agreement over time I will consider the case sufficiently resolved for me too. Anything short of that is just propaganda. 

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Biblical searching, Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Mormon History, Mormonism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Can Man Become a God?

Posted by JLFuller on July 20, 2008

If you believe what the bible says, yes.   Psalms 82:1,6-71 John 3:1-3, 2 Peter 1:2-4, Phillipians 2:5-6,  Romans 8:15-17, and Revelation 21:7 all talk about it. Genesis 3:22 indicates the belief has been around since before the earth was first populated. Many historical texts talk about it too.  Athanasius of Alexandria  wrote “God became human so humans would become gods” (On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B).  Maximus the Confessor said “A sure warrant for looking forward with hope to deification of human nature is provided by the incarnation of God, which makes man god to the same degree as God Himself became man.” and “let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods.” 
Many non-Mormon commentators have suggested Mormons believe we become equal to God the Father but that just isn’t quite correct. Mormon theology is a bit circumspect about it. The Maxwell Institute says “The state of man is also explained in Psalms 8:4-5, which asks, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” The word rendered “angels” in the King James and some other translations is Hebrew Elohim, which actually means “gods. See also Paul’s reasoning in Acts 17:22-29, where he says that humans are of the same species (Greek genos) as God and shouldn’t think of him as being otherwise.”  http://farms.byu.edu/faq.php?id=20&table=questions.
Some may argue that Eloheim actually means ruler or judge but Strong’s #430 says gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative — angels, X exceeding, God (gods)(-dess, -ly), X (very) great, judges, X mighty.” It is translated as angels too but not as the first rank order definition so one must look elsewhere for further clarification and usage. The Biblical Heritage Center says the first rank of definitions is god or gods with angels, rulers and judges being second rank meanings. So is this Mormon concoction? Not according to scripture.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Posted in Biblical searching, Christian bible, Christian Service, Chritian Service, Church Attendance, Mormon polytheism | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Video – Will I Be With My Family After Death?

Posted by JLFuller on July 18, 2008

Has this question ever arisen in your conversations? I suppose it has in just about everybody’s. New Momon Tony speaks about his questions – http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/exhibit#Tony_life_after_death

Posted in Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Church Attendance, Mormon, Mormonism, testimony | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Video – What If I Never Heard of Jesus Christ?

Posted by JLFuller on July 18, 2008

How many times have you heard that if you died without Christ you were lost forever? Does that sound fair to you? Does that sound like what a loving God would do? Watch what new Mormon Jan says about it – http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/exhibit#Jan_never_heard_of_Jesus_Christ

Posted in Biblical searching, Christian bible, Christian Love, Christian Service, Mormonism | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Video – What Some New Mormons Said

Posted by JLFuller on July 18, 2008

There is nothing like getting it from the horse’s mouth. You hear one side now see and hear what some others had to say. Click this link http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/exhibit#Isaiah_missing_in_my_life.

Posted in Biblical searching, Christian Love, Christian Service, Church Attendance, Mormon, Mormonism, testimony | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mormon Ministry – Just How Different?

Posted by JLFuller on July 16, 2008

Just in case there are some who read this but know nothing about Mormons, let me take minute to tell you about us and why we are not like any other Christian denominations. First, we believe in Jesus Christ, the same one as in the New Testament. We believe the bible is the word of God, that Christ died to atone for mankind’s sins and by doing so made it possible for every human being to be resurrected after death. This is the salvation we read about in the scriptures. By His sacrifice we are saved from being cast into outer darkness (eternal hell) with Satan and his followers. God has told mankind that He cannot abide sin in the least degree so in our sinful state we would not be able to live with God so what Christ did makes us eligible to attain a heavenly state. We also believe that there is nothing we can do by ourselves that merits what has been given to us so in a very real way, Christ bought us. We are His. We believe in baptism by emersion by one holding the authority to perform that ordinance. We take Holy Communion weekly, we call it the Sacrament. We believe in the laying on of hands to heal the sick and to convey priesthood authority and that marriage between a man and a woman is a Holy ordinance. I could go on. So far, you might say, Mormons are not different from most  other Christian denominations and you would be right.

What makes us different and riles most other Christian Churches, we call them historic or traditional Christians, is that we believe God restored His original Church in 1830 through a young man named Joseph Smith Jr. It was after Joseph prayed for guidance as to which church he should join, according to Joseph’s account, that he was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ. He was told that he should join none of the churches of his day because they all had adopted creeds which were an abomination to God. In time Joseph would be given the responsibility of restoring Christ’s original Church along with the many teachings and ordinances which had been lost or removed from scripture over the centuries. Joseph would be given plates upon which were written the records of a people who had lived in the New World centuries before and that those records would testify that Jesus was the Christ and that the Holy Bible was in fact the word of God. Joseph would be able to translate them with the aid of heavenly beings and that this would be the most correct of all the scriptural works of God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is that Church today. We are known as Mormons after a prophet named Mormon who lived 1400 years ago. He compiled all the records of the book we call the Book of Mormon, a testament of Jesus Christ. It was Mormon’s records that were given to Joseph to translate. 

As you can image some religious people take serious exception to what Joseph said and the teachings of his new church. Many said then and say today that we are not Christian because of our view that their theology is not what Christ taught in the first century but has become infused with man’s teachings and ideas. Most churches just leave us alone but some have an active campaign against us. Some of what they say is legitimate but wrongly understood, incomplete or misinterpreted. Others are deliberate in their distortions. We, however, do not attack other churches but just proclaim the doctrine we believe was given us to preach. We are a missionary church which means we go into the community to make the message of the gospel, as we understand it, available to others. In fact we have been very successful having grown to the fourth largest church in North America. Most of our membership came from other churches so you can image how we are viewed in some circles. 

But just as we are a missionary church and seek new members, we also have strict guidelines to which members must adhere. Some members leave the church over these things. Being uncompromising rankles some members especially those who want to preach their own views in our Churches while desiring to be considered authoritative and legitimate. But we are a structured Church and all authority concerning doctrine comes from a prophet and 12 apostles just as in Christ’s time. If these people don’t recant and get back to the official Church doctrine they are excommunicated. Personal conduct such as adultery and homosexuality or other sex offenses are cause for excommunication too and a fair number of members are dropped from the roles of the church every year for those reasons. There are those who leave for other reasons too.

 Over the years there has grown up a substantial number of ex-Mormons who have taken severe umbrage with Church disciplinary actions and have become quite vocal if not militant in their condemnation of us. Many of these ex-Mormons have joined other churches and with a few attaining positions of authority. Some make attacks on the Church a tenet of their religious doctrine. You will hear them referred to as anti-Mormons. They are not to be confused with other denominations whose theology is different from ours but refrain from the overtly militant activities of the anti-Mormons. We respect everyone’s right to believe what ever they chose however and respect legitimate dialog with those who are respectful in return.   

There other things about our theology that historic Christianity thinks are heretical too. I disagree of course. Our beliefs are not heretical or orthodox – they are heterodox.  But for our basic beliefs you can go here.

 

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Christian Love, Christian Service, Joseph Smith Jr., Mormon, Mormon History, Mormonism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Taking Offense In The Church

Posted by JLFuller on July 15, 2008

“If you have been offended, recall that while you may have been bumped by an ecclesiastical elbow, the chip was on your shoulder long before the elbow appeared.”

“My brothers and sisters, I should like to speak of and to a particular group of important individuals. These are they who fully intend, someday, to begin to believe and/or to be active in the Church. But not yet! These are not bad individuals, but good individuals who simply do not know how much better they could be. Such individuals often stay proximate to—but do not participate fully in—the Church. They will not come inside the chapel, but neither do they leave its porch. These are they who need and are needed by the Church, but who, in part, ‘live without God in the world.’ There are reasons for your commitment to be made now, for as the rush of hours, days, and months grows stronger, the will to commit grows weaker. Events to transpire soon on this planet will dry up the options for the lukewarm, for the issues raised by Jesus are irrepressible issues!

If, however, you really do not wish to commit now, then let me warn of the following: 

Do not look too deeply into the eyes of the pleasure-seekers about you, for if you do, you will see certain sadness in sensuality, and you will hear artificiality in the laughter of licentiousness.

Do not look too deeply, either, into the motives of those who deny God, for you may notice their doubts of doubt.

Do not risk thinking the unthinkable, lest you find yourself drawn with a deep and powerful pull toward the reality that God does exist, that he loves you, and that finally there is no escaping him or his love!

Do not think too much about what you are teaching your family, for what in you is merely casualness about Christianity may, in your children, become hostility; for what you have not defended, your children may reject angrily.” Read the rest of the article by following the link: Neal A. Maxwell, The Ensign, November, 1974.

 

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