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Archive for the ‘Joseph Smith Jr.’ Category

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.

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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.

 

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