July 15, 2010

First Mormon/LDS visit

The other day I had my first witnessing encounter with Mormons. I hadn't overheard anyone talk to a Mormon from Scripture for a long time, so I was unaware of how cleverly they have been taught to use Christian sounding words to mean something different, much like the Emergent church does. But it was a good discussion overall, they enjoyed it and I enjoyed it. I would have enjoyed it more if I thought they were really understanding me. But who knows what seeds were planted.

Of course I have known about the basic differences between Mormonism and Christianity for some time, but brushing up on things, I learned some things about their past that disturbed me. I knew about the violent incidents, but I had never understood the doctrinal reasons they did what they did. Their understanding of blood atonement (not Christ's blood, YOUR blood) was heartbreaking to me. They do not practice these things now, but in the Temple they do still make reference to them in secret oaths where you pledge not to reveal their 'secrets' on pain of disembowelment or throat slitting. I knew I had heard that before, in the secret Masonic rituals.

Other things like polygamy, of course, are things just about everyone knows about. I did not realize Joseph Smith didn't receive that revelation until close to the end of his life, after he had been practicing it for some time secretly. I also was unaware of the Kinderhook plates fraud. I did know about the Book of Mormon having been partially plagiarized from Solomon Spalding.

I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or say they are violent people (any more than any other human being!) but the question becomes WHY were these doctrines abrogated? Because the next LDS President decided they were bad? Because the US Government said they were bad? What if the next one decides to reinstate them or come up with something worse?

We can brush them aside saying every religion has its phases wherein the adherents display bad behavior. But that is not the question. The question is, were they acting in accord with their authoritative Scriptures and prophets, or against them?

You will point to the Old Testament wherein God commanded the Jews to conquer and kill mercilessly the nations God commanded them to drive out entirely (You'll also find places where they shirked that duty). But you will never find God saying that shedding these people's blood atones for their sins. It never can.

But even aside from all those things, Mormons are bound do "do all they can" and after that the grace of Christ *might* be enough. 2 Nephi 25:23

The Bible tells us
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Now on the surface they seemed to agree with that. It is possible they don't understand yet how they've been baited and switched, but unlikely. I seem to recall hearing remarks on one show I was listening to that the younger generation isn't being taught as strictly as previous generations. But I won't assume that, of course.

I talked with these young men (there were three instead of the customary 2) for quite a while outside my door, and they asked if they could come back. So I said I would love to have them talk to my husband. They set up an appointment for 2 on Saturday. Pray for them, and pray for us that we would speak the words they need to hear, words that will bear fruit. They seem not to yet realize the bait and switch game they are playing. They were so young, and such nice young men.

Older ones that I have seen interviewed seem to have shuttered eyes, an undercurrent of quiet desperation, probably because they are not worthy or perfect, as their religion teaches them they must be. They have changed the meaning of 'grace.' It has something we earn, nothing is ever free. Although these young men seemed to deny that they must work for things, their Scriptures say otherwise. They eventually end up with no assurance or peace... and they cannot, because they do not have the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit.