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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Are Mormons Christians?

I have been having an interesting exchange with a board member from the Christian Family Schools homeschool support organization in our area.  I recently sent her a link to share with all members of the group about a quality Christian production, 17 Miracles, which offers valuable historical representation while promoting faith and Christian values.  I thought members of CFS would be thrilled to support clean, quality, faith-based, testimony-building entertainment!  Unfortunately, my e-mail never even made it to the greater group as a board member replied instead with the following:
Thank you for sending this opportunity.  However, because there are significant differences between the teachings of the Church of the Latter Day Saints [Liz's note: the proper name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] and those of Orthodox Christianity, the CFS Board does not wish to promote this movie to our families.
If you would like to know more about the doctrinal differences, you might want to look at the Westminster Shorter Catechism which was written in the 1600's and summarizes what traditional Christians believe.  Here is a link to it:http://www.ccel.org/creeds/westminster-shorter-cat.html 
You may also find the following link helpful:http://www.bible-truth.org/arelds.htm
While I did not necessarily find her links to be helpful (rather more . . . inaccurate), they were, nonetheless, interesting.  To be perfectly honest, I was filled with a deep and resounding sort of sadness reading the ignorant way Cooper P. Abrams portrays the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Here is how I responded to the CFS board member:
Hi ------!
I'm sorry.  I hope I did not offend!  It was not my intent to promote The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but rather to share the trials that early pioneers (Mormon or otherwise) went through to cross the plains in extenuating circumstances and how they relied on their faith in God to maintain hope during said trials.  I know how much homeschooling families appreciate history that does not remove God's obvious part in our country's birth and development.  I have a lot of admiration for my wonderful friends of various Christian sects and try daily to emulate their marvelous conviction.  I am a huge fan of many Christian productions and even own Fireproof with plans to see and promote the new movie, Courage, which will be coming out this Fall.  I suppose I shared this news about 17 Miracles with CFS ----- in my hope that people would want to support quality, uplifting productions despite denomination.  I completely understand where you are coming from, though, and thank you for taking the time to let me know.
God bless, 
And then, because I couldn't get this exchange out of my mind, and because I couldn't live with myself if I didn't share what I know to be true, I sent this additional e-mail:
Hi ------!
I just finished reading the links you shared with me.  They were fascinating.  I was grateful for the opportunity to gain a better understanding of your religious beliefs and hope that you might return the favor by reading the following two links about mine:
Are Mormons Christians?
We Are Christians Because . . . 
Millions upon millions of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have gained a testimony of the fullness of the gospel of the Savior, Jesus Christ, as restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith, by simply asking God for themselves whether or not it is true (James 1:5).  Conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not achieved through coercion.  I, myself, can attest to the wonderful testimony that arrives with a personal and humble, sincerely inquisitive encounter with our Heavenly Father.  It is thrilling and amazing and glorious to know that His truth, in its fullness, has been restored to the earth and that He continues to speak to His children through His apostles and prophets.  I cannot imagine a more hope-filled gospel than that offered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and my heart yearns for others (everyone!) to know this same joy for themselves.
I pray for your life to be filled with peace and happiness.
Humbly and respectfully, 
I think about this woman a lot lately and pray for her even more than that.  I am concerned that there are still people in this world who are willing to allow their convictions and opinions to be shaped by those in positions of influence who, instead of preaching the hope-filled gospel of Jesus Christ, spend their time rebuking those who are earnestly and honestly striving to live it.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers a FULLNESS of the gospel of Jesus Christ!  Joseph Smith didn't take anything away, or even add anything of his own accord, for that matter; he simply restored the truths the Lord commanded be restored to the earth for our dispensation and then received further revelation from our loving Heavenly Father, commandments to guide us through the trials and temptations specific to our day.  And what wonderful truths these are!  I cannot imagine why anyone would not want to believe this stuff.  It's pure gold!  Furthermore, people don't need their preachers, pastors, fathers, and priests to tell them whether or not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, the invitation to certain knowledge has been issued by the Lord himself through His ancient prophet James, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5).

If you want to know what I (and millions of other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe is true, JUST ASK GOD!  It's that simple.  Really.  I promise.  I did it.  And I gained a conviction that every son and daughter of our Heavenly Father longs to attain and maintain.  My knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ carries me through every drudgery, tedium, trial, tribulation, and tragedy this world throws at me, lending personal growth and happiness to life's oft-times overwhelming lessons.  Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to restore His truth to the earth after many centuries of light and knowledge lost following the deaths of Jesus and His apostles.
"We believe that revelation to the early Church stopped because of the death of the Apostles and the growing apostasy, or falling away, from the truth. In the absence of Apostles, the church eventually turned to councils of philosophers and theologians, for guidance. These councils, after lengthy debates, in turn interpreted the gospel according to their best understanding. Often they drew upon the philosophies of respected men (like Plato), concluding, for example, that God has no body or physical nature; or that the three separate persons of the Godhead—the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—are only one being. The declarations of these councils are still generally accepted today by traditional Christian churches as official doctrines. Yet these creeds were formulated centuries after the deaths of the Apostles and the close of the New Testament" (Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians?, New Era, May 1998).
I wish I could shout from the rooftops that I have in my possession the greatest truth restored to man in this dispensation of time!  What a glorious gift the Lord has given us in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!


Daughter of Eve said...

I know, too!!!

Courtney Wilson said...

Great post! You are so brave. I wouldn't have had the guts to say anything. Thank you for sticking up for us!

Erin said...

oh, that person's email made my blood boil a little ... and you handled it PERFECTLY. total humility, kindness, and grace. way to go liz!

Jeff and Aubree Gittins said...

That was beautifully handled Liz! I commend you for being respectful and also for handling misunderstandings about our beliefs. And I do!

JRoberts said...

Came over from Latter-day homeschooling.

Loved your post! I have had the opportunity to bear my testimony of how we are Christians to a good friend yesterday as well. What a beautiful feeling of warmth and love comes over you when you bear testimony and react in love instead of hate. Thank you for sharing the links as well. I am checking them out right now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is perfect.

Jen said...

eloquently stated! I wonder if she'll respond? Keep us posted if she does.

Laurie said...

Liz, you are AWESOME!! I am so impressed with how you handled the situation. You rock. P.S. I know, too!!

Happy Day Homeschooling said...

You handled that very well! Thank You! I too KNOW!

emilia. said...

i love this post!

Erika said...

Great post!

I think if you call your self a Christian then you better act like Christ. Bottom line!

I could rant. But it would detract from your beautiful testimony and incredible missionary example.

You are incredible!

Barbara said...

Haven't been to your blog in a long time...just visited today and forgot how fun it is the read what you have in your head!! You truely are a very talented and courageous lady. I shall return again soon. I love the new format. Happy General Conference weekend. Love, Barbara