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Posts Tagged ‘Mormon’

1 Nephi 14:9 – The Great and Abominable Church- Which One Is It?

Posted by JLFuller on January 24, 2009

Is there one evil and corrupt church that is the church of the devil and which one do Mormons think it is? The Book of Mormon passage (1st Nephi 14: 9) that many misunderstand and from which many people (a few Mormons too) think seperates Mormons from everyone else really provides a clearer understanding of this doctrine.  It says Behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil.” Some cite comments made by a few very early church members and leaders, right after the church was founded, as supporting the notion that this is one particular church. They were in error. The LDS Church does not teach and does not believe that any other established church as we know them is the Great and Abominable Church.  Rather we believe the “church” spoken of is all the people who fight against God. The next verse helps to clarify. 

Verse 10 continues. ” Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.I suppose some used this verse to suggest that there are only two players – Mormons and everyone else. But that just isn’t so and never has been.  

Verse 12 further identifies who the players are. “I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.” 

Just as is said, the number of the people in God’s church is few and they are on all the face of the earth. We interpret that as meaning members of God’s Church are all those that seek after Him and seek to have Him guide their lives. They are many good people who abide by and seek to live their lives according to God’s will in whatever light that has been given them. These can be and are people in every religious denomination. The others, members of the Great and Abominable Church, are those who corrupt, persecute, defame, malign and abuse people with whom they disagree and over whom they seek advantage or dominion. They fight against godliness. They seek to destroy and enslave. In short, they seek the things of this world and reject God.  

We believe  the gospel has always been on the earth, But it was only in its fullness for certain periods of time and then only according to how much the people could accept and live. We believe that to hear, know and understand the gospel but not live it, or abide by it, results in condemnation. In many cases, giving the people everything would just set them up to fail. So as an act of a loving father, God only allowed as much as the people could live.  But it would have been available if the people were ready for it. 

The advent of Jesus Christ restored the full gospel to the earth once again. But because of the wickedness of the people, and the Great and Abominable church, it was lost when the last apostle died. The record of the entire gospel – which we know was under attack even during the time of Christ and the Apostles – was further attacked afterward. Eventually, much of the record of the Gospel was removed or distorted and only a part of it remains in the traditional canon today. God had said it would happen but that He would restore it in the end times. The Book of Mormon is that restored Gospel. It was being kept by a separate group of God’s people on the American continent.   

Within the group of people identified in Nephi as those who are not members of the Great and Abominable Church, you find the Mormons. While we were still in our pre-mortal life, we took upon ourselves the obligation to take this message to the rest of the world. We understand and accept that some will find a certain resonance with what we claim and will want to learn more. Others, for various reasons, will not.  That doesn’t make them part of the other group though. They may have hardened their hearts and been swayed by the craftiness of men. It is expected.

All people learn and are ready to receive in their own time. It may mean those who reject the message in this life will learn of the fullness of the gospel after they pass over to the other side where they will be taught by Christ’s missionaries as it says in 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.”

So, we Mormons are very much a part of the Church of the Lamb of God just as Methodists, Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics and Jews and all the other good and godly people of the earth. We also accept that membership in any one church or religious group does not exclude a person from membership in the Great and Abominable Church too. Now I understand some people are going say this is too black and white and that there are many shades of gray. That is true. There are many interpretations of scripture that lead to long and deep discussions. But for a short hand version of who Mormons are and how we see ourselves fitting into the world, this I think works – for now.  I invite others to put a finer point on my comments if they wish to do so. I am coachable. 

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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 »

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 »

Put The Holy Ghost in Your Life

Posted by JLFuller on July 10, 2008

“When we invite the Holy Ghost to fill our minds with light and knowledge, He ‘quickens’ us, that is to say, ‘enlightens and enlivens the inner man or woman.” “Each of us knew that the journey to exaltation would be long, strenuous, and sometimes lonely, but we also knew that we would not travel alone. Heavenly Father provides all who fulfill the prerequisites of faith, repentance, and baptism with a companion and guide, the Holy Ghost.” Elder Keith K. Hilbig of the Seventy http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-775-14,00.html.

 

 

Elder Hilbig says we notice a measurable difference in our souls. We feel strengthened, filled with peace and joy, spiritual energy and enthusiasm and both enhance our natural abilities. We yearn to become a holier person and accomplish more than we could on our own. But there is a price or contribution to be paid if you will. It isn’t predetermined or fixed but is determined by each of us individually.  If we set our contribution very low we may not be able to avail ourselves of all the Spirit has to offer or we may even quench Him from our life. But if we set the contribution very high there is “an abundant harvest”. So how do we determine our current contribution?

 

 

“We determine the level of our current personal contribution by examining our present choices and priorities against questions such as these:”

 

·     Do I spend more time with sports than Church attendance or callings?

·     If I have a free day, do I choose to attend the temple or to visit the mall?

·     Do I resort to computer games or surfing the Internet rather than offering meaningful service to others in my home and community?

·     Do I read the newspaper religiously but find it difficult to read the scriptures daily?

 

Regardless of where you attend Church, this message works for all. Follow the link above to read the entire piece.

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Can Anti-Mormon Ministries Be Trusted?

Posted by JLFuller on July 4, 2008

In the academic and professional worlds, legitimate researchers submit their work for peer review. This is the process where communities of qualified experts in the same field scrutinize and impartially review submitted research papers.  Publications which have not undergone peer review are generally regarded as suspicious by scholars and professionals. Such is the work of every anti-Mormon “ministry” this writer reads. In fact, I have yet to find an anti-Mormon group who engages in peer review for any of their work at any time. Therefore, those who engage in such activities can not be taken seriously. That doesn’t mean everything originating from a given writer or group must be peer reviewed. But if they never submit papers or research work can they honestly claim it is legitimate? Certainly not. But there are legitimate organizations such as FairLDS.org and The Maxwell Institute that do submit work for review in legitimate publications. I think readers should know who does and who does not follow this practice. All of us need and want resources we can trust to do the hard work of discovery. I need and want informed and educated opinions in order to form my own. Otherwise I have to do all the work myself. We want to know what the experts have discovered and how it relates to us. But we want good information not junk. That is why we go to these sources – they know what they are talking about.  

 

Most anti-Mormon groups seldom if ever ask for a comment from the Church before publishing. You would think they would want to know. But the Church’s comments have no bearing because these people don’t care about truthfulness when it comes to the LDS Church. They are not looking for answers but ammunition. These same groups have used the same old lines for decades despite having current information available – information which disputes and corrects misunderstandings and distortions. One group, Mormon Research Ministries, even rejects the term anti-Mormon as being analogous to a racial slur. They prefer “critic”, a term usually reserved for intellectual or professional reviewers. But MRM, Living Hope Ministries and others never submit their “research” for legitimate peer review. I invite others to correct me if I am wrong.  But yet they claim it to be accurate, fair and honest, none of which is supported by outside reviewers, at least that I can find. Their rhetoric is the same old twaddle that has been addressed by the Church for decades. Their “facts” deliberately misinform and are generally untrustworthy. I am biased, I admit that. But I am not blinded by my bias. I can be corrected.

 

So if these are not legitimate sources of information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, what are they? I suggest they are anti-Mormon propaganda mills. The Oxford English Dictionary says propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.”  http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/propaganda?view=uk I present other sites below where anti-Mormon claims are answered. This is not new information.  The Church has answered the claims and responded to these people’s comments and questions since the restoration but yet our detractors still bring them up as though Church leadership had never addressed them. As readers will find, the Church has not and does not avoid tough questions. Sometimes the Church leadership just doesn’t have an answer. But by the same token, the Church has found that answering the same old questions from the same groups time and time again is without merit. The anti-Mormons keep saying the same things about us no matter what we tell them. And MRM is right in the middle of it. It makes MRM’s claim to be legitimate critics ludicrous. Remember, this has nothing to do with doctrine or theology, it is about behavior.

 

Does having a different point of view about LDS theology make one anti-Mormon? Not to my way of thinking. We all understand things differently. Even eye witnesses have different stories of the same event. Just ask a traffic cop investigating an automobile accident. (I have first hand experience in this area having been a policeman.) Understanding things differently is part of the human experience. It is not offensive. But what determines if one is anti-Mormon is behavior not belief.

 

Reverend Greg Johnson of Standing Together Ministries in Utah is an example to emulate. He is a Baptist Minister who has profound and fundamental differences in theology and evangelizes among Mormons. But he corrects himself and others when advised he is in error about LDS theology, teaching or belief. He does not march, carry picket signs, drag a book of Mormon on the sidewalk with a string, or parade his congregation in front of temples or other church buildings in protest. He has differences but he is respectful and honest in expressing them which speaks loudly about his character. Do I agree with his understanding of God’s nature and our relationship to him? No. But remember, being anti-Mormon is about behavior not theology.

 

So, in the end, can anti-Mormon ministries be trusted? Not to my way of thinking. But you have to decide that for yourself. You have to ask yourself if you want well researched and documented information or opinion and propaganda masquerading as fact. You have a choice – even among those whose theology differs from ours. 

 

I refer readers to: http://www.lightplanet.com/response/index.html, www.fairlds.org, www.lds.org, http://www.lib.byu.edu/Macmillan/, http://farms.byu.edu/, and http://www.byutv.org/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Biblical searching, Christian bible, Greg Johnson, Mormon, Mormon History, Mormonism, Standing Together Ministries | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Mormons Retreat Into Thier Testimony…

Posted by JLFuller on June 23, 2008

One fellow accused me and other Mormons of retreating into our testimonies when confronted with what he described as irrefutable evidence that we were wrong or misguided. He said we had no response to the facts of our misguided positions. I have never heard that before, but I suppose to an outsider that might make sense. What we are careful not to do is respond to attacks with attacks.

 

John 10: 27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  When confronted with anger and hostility we bear our testimony because we know the Holy Ghost will bear witness to the honest in heart that what we say is true. If it does not resonate at that time, it might later. It is my experience that the angry person usually does not listen. But later on, as they think about what we said, the Spirit may soften their hearts. 

 

Below I said “If I use the term pro-social, most people understand what that means. If I use the term anti-social, they understand that too. Overt, hostile words are anti-social. Most people understand that is bad and they understand why. But there are some who insist it is a good thing to say what they want in any way they want. To those people I ask “good for whom?” Good for the recipient of your brutish behavior? Is it good for you to just get it off your chest? I don’t see any benefit in alienating people you disagree with. What is it you hope to accomplish? Do you think the other guy is listening? Do you think other readers/listeners are impressed? No my friends, there is a better way. It is more challenging but it works where other methods fail. The other way is Christ’s way. Gal 5:22 ‘“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.’ ”

Now I want to briefly approach a sensitive subject. That is, imputing motive to behavior. First, my bona fides; in college I was an education major but they never taught much about personal growth in that discipline in those days. But the State did. I was a case manager in a government agency for twenty years and managing specialized and mixed caseloads of 100 to 300 adults. The tax payers spent a lot of money teaching and training me to read other people and observe destructive behaviors.

 

The behaviors I saw in those adults are the same behaviors I see in many of the people who publish anti-Mormon comments. Thankfully I have not witnessed it here yet, although I take umbrage with the darkening clouds around some comments. Notice I said anti-Mormon and not historic Christians. There is a difference. I have contemplated this subject for several days now and whether to talk about it given my blog is dedicated to comity and not confrontation. But I think what I have to say here can shed some light on why some people do what they do and how credible their remarks are.  

 

So why do some people who claim to be Christian continue to behave this way even when Christ refuted the practice? I suggest it is because they are addicted to treating others this way. They love the behavior more than their message. It provides what they are seeking – that is, a sense of dominance and power over others. They can say what they want and no one is going to punish them. There is no real sanction. In sociological terms, it works. For adults, this technique is used at home too. It gives the perpetrator a sense of invulnerability and control. It has nothing to do with religion. I suggest when we come across these people we examine the behavior and then decide if we are interested in their message.

 

 

 

 

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How Do I Know if What I Believe is Correct?

Posted by JLFuller on June 20, 2008

Jackg makes a good point when he asks about whether we should accept biblical text as the primary confirmation of biblical questions. Given there have been countless numbers of people much smarter than I am who have studied scripture for centuries and have arrived at many different conclusions, it makes sense that legitmate seekers of truth should seek some help. One of the things I admire about Catholicism is the  attempt most Cathiolic theologians and scholars make to arrive at an honest answer. Of course there are othrs but I particulalry like Catholics. Just a personal preference I suppose. The Socratic method,  (typically involves two speakers at any one time, with one leading the discussion and the other agreeing to certain assumptions put forward for his acceptance or rejection) works well in an intellectual discussion. But it is limited to discussion and then stops with a common understanding among people. It is a man-made conclusion still subject to error. I suggest seekers, after doing all they can do, go the extra step and ask for Heavenly confirmation of what they have concluded. Key for Christians is to honestly live life according to Christian principles as they understand them in order to keep the connection to the Holy Ghost open and clear.

Posted in Biblical searching, Christian bible, Mormon, Mormonism, testimony | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Can’t I Get an Answer to…?

Posted by JLFuller on June 20, 2008

This post is in response to a question by another poster on http://blog.mrm.org/2008/06/still-no-apology/.

 

His question –

 

“JLF “The LDS perspective is that we present the message and the Holy Ghost confirms it. There is no need to argue. It is not a contest amongst men.”.

 

I wish it was that easy JLF, but it’s not. I had sought to find truth in Mormonism by praying to God multiple times to have the spirit confirm to me the truth of the church, and received nothing. I attended an LDS ward for 5 years, listening to the teachings and not once has the Holy spirit confirmed the message, even when I asked. How does one reconcile not only my situation, but countless others who either don’t receive confirmation from the holy spirit, or receiving confirmation from God/The Holy spirit about their own faith which is not LDS?

 

Many LDS on this board have said “I dont know why they dont get any confirmation, only that I received mine” and just leave it at that.. That doesn’t make any sense in any way though, do you agree? If someone sincerely asks, they are SUPPOSED to receive this confirmation. Does God/Holy spirit just decide not to talk to some people or what?

 

You’re statement was true to the point that it is the LDS perspective, but it does not hold any weight, especially for me personally.. And I truly wanted to believe it was true because my wife at the time was LDS and if there was any chance she would be seperated from me into a different Heaven because we aren’t sealed, I didn’t want that to happen. It was emotional and I cried a lot that night. But it definitely was not because I received “truth” from the Holy spirit.”

 

My reply –

 

“Jeffrey
That is a good question. It is one we all struggle with. The question many of us ask is “why can’t I get an answer to…” When you ask your bishop, he will ask if you are living the gospel principles. That is, are you praying daily, do you have faith you will receive an answer, are you living the principle even though you don’t have a spiritual confirmation yet? We learn by doing. Such is the way human beings learn. We gain a testimony by practicing. Faith precedes the miracle. Faith is built little by little – by putting into practicing those things we want to have a testimony of to see if they really work. The miracle is what happens after you accept the principle and have made it part of your life, not before. Just like reading the B of M daily results in a more Christ-like view of humanity and a closer relationship to God and Christ. Your testimony is dependant on whether you want one.”

 

This is different from a witness that the B of M is true. That is a prompting, a feeling of or understanding of truthfulness. Some people get it right away. It didn’t happen that way for me. I accepted that it is true because rejecting it created a knot in my stomach. My confirmation came from living the principles found in the B of M. One day you just know and you can’t deny it – it kind of sneaks up on you. So it is for the confirmation that The Church of Jesus Christ is true and correct. So it was when I discovered that the power of the Priesthood is real.  I have put it to the test and discovered that it is real and works. It is that way with the power of the Holy Ghost. I use it almost daily. More likely it is daily. I feel it when I write. It is like an editor sitting next to me. He plants the idea in my mind and it is up to me to express it. If I get it right I get the confirmation. If it isn’t I get a strong feeling to make corrections. If I have animus in my heart or I have otherwise driven the Holy Ghost away by my thoughts or deeds I can’t make the connection and feel its absence.  

 

But there is a caveat too. The more you know the more is expected. Fail to follow through and you loose what you had. It comes back but with some effort and humility. The key is rejecting the ways of the world and making sustained progress on the straight and narrow road. You can’t continue to think and behave in the same old ways. For me it meant living the Word of Wisdom, giving up raunchy friends and finding holy places to spend my time in. It means doing the things my Heavenly Father wants me to do.  It does not mean you have to be perfect. It just means changing your life is your priority and you have good days and bad. But you make progress by following the admonitions of the Prophet and Church leadership and that takes faith. The miracle happens after you accept the premise and start doing. You put it to the test.

 

You said you separated from or divorced your LDS wife. Apparently there was something there that was problematic. The things that cause divorce can be the things that drive the Holy Ghost away. Inappropriate sexual behavior, pornography, raunchy pass-times and so forth are definite deal breakers. Constant criticism of others, especially Church leadership, can create a severe break with the Spirit. Expressing real doubts in place of discussing problems with the bishop can deny the Spirit’s help in overcoming many problems. Sometimes you just have give up being right in order to be effective.  (That ought to generate some questions.)

 

Posted in Anti-Mormon, Mormon, Mormonism, testimony | Tagged: , , , , | 15 Comments »

Pre-conceived Notions

Posted by JLFuller on June 19, 2008

“We used to have on the front of the Old Testament syllabus at Duke* a cartoon and it showed a young man lying on the floor thumbing through his scriptures and his wife was standing over him and he’s saying to her ‘Go away, leave me alone. I’m looking for a biblical text to support my pre-conceived notion!’ Roger R. Keller, Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding at BYU  www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2003_Grace_of_Apologetics.html

 

In his piece, Dr. Keller takes from the Book of Mormon: He quotes 3 Nephi 11: 29-30: “For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the Spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine that such things should be done away.”

 

I think refusing to consider the other side of the story is not a doctrinal thing – it is a form of non-verbal violence. Non-verbal violence is similar to passive-aggressive behavior or more accurately sabotage. The perpetrator’s behavior in effect is communicating a willingness to breach the minimum decorum we expect from each other. That is, I will trust and honor you and be trustworthy in return. In our discussions here, refusing to accommodate another persons most sacred beliefs and in fact denigrating them publicly, is defacto aggression. It is an anger response. That is not to say we all have to agree with everyone else, we just have to accommodate the legitimacy of their closely held beliefs. The real world effect of such destructive behavior is the diminution of the bond that makes communities work. Notice again I am not talking about doctrine. The focus is behavioral. We may all have differences of opinion and consider one element of fact as more persuasive than another and come to entirely different positions. That is to be expected. But what we cannot do, and must not do, is reject the other persons right to have his position respected and given due consideration.  

 

If I use the term pro-social, most people understand what that means. If I use the term anti-social, they understand that too. Overt hostile words are anti-social. Most people understand that to be a bad thing and they understand why. But there are some who insist that because they have a right to make such comments that it is a good thing too. To those people I ask “good for whom?” Good for the recipient of your brutish behavior? Is it good for you to just get it off your chest? I don’t see any benefit in alienating people you disagree with. What is it you hope to accomplish? Do you think the other guy is listening? Do you think other readers/listeners are impressed? No my friends, there is a better way. It is more challenging but it works where other methods fail. The other way is Christ’s way. Gal 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith..”

 

I came across a fellow writing on his blog recently, lamenting that only 2500 or so of his denomination at any one time ever took a week off to go to another city and witness. Mormons, on the other hand, had 50,000 to 60,000 people serving two year missions and they paid their own way. The difference I suggest is adherents to his denomination and others who follow that example are quite willing and anxious to openly attack other denominations with whom they disagree. I suggest that by their behavior they repel the Holy Spirit when they do so. Notice I said nothing about doctrine – only behavior.

 

Many years ago, four California Highway Patrol Officer were gunned down by two killers. Asked why they killed the officers, one commented “Because they got stupid. They deserved it”. The killers based their behavior on weaknesses they perceived in others. The officers did not intend to use deadly force against the killers unless there was no other way and their thinking dictated how they responded. I have often heard “killer” type comments made by others when they are talking about Mormons and others they disagree with. In essence, “We talk about them this way because…”  You can fill in the rest.

 

* Duke University, Durham North Carolina

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