Recently, I posted on my Tumblr blog about the upcoming US presidential election and its effects on Christianity and Mormonism. I received one response which I would like to address because it raises some very common and important objections to what I said. I’m thankful that people are thinking about what I write, as it makes for what I consider enjoyable conversations. In the true spirit of my dad (who’s a blogger who receives criticism all the time – like here) I’d like to systematically respond to each of her statements one-on-one. Her writing is in bold, mine is regular.
So what do you mean by Christian? By the definition, they absolutely are.
In my post, I reminded Christians to clarify what someone says when they say they are a Christian by asking them what they mean – I love that she turns it back on me. (I’m normally a very sarcastic person, but I assure you I’m being a hundred percent genuine throughout this entire post.) It’s only fair that I share the burden of proof in any of these topics.
A Christian believes in one God from all eternity to all eternity (Isaiah 44:6-8, Psalm 90:2), whose Son is Jesus Christ – God in the flesh, the second part of the Trinity, and the Savior of the world (Matthew 1:21; Titus 2:13). While on earth, he was fully God and fully man. Because of His death on the cross, man must simply believe in His name (nothing else; John 1:12) and he will be granted eternal life and deliverance from damnation (John 3:16). From this belief should be an outpouring of gratitude, manifested in good works, but it does not affect someone’s salvation (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:21).
Now, let’s take this a step further. If Mormons can be considered Christians, can Christians be considered Mormons? If I was a Mormon, I would have to believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the Book of Mormon is Scripture – yet I don’t. Why do LDS missionaries show up at my door if I’m one of them? Because I’m not. So by definition, I would claim that Mormons are absolutely not Christian.
It does not make its members miserable, and you have no basis on this idea.
I honestly believe that I do have basis on this idea, simply because I go about my daily life among its members. I live in “the Mormon homeland,” as my Californian LDS friends like to call it, just outside of Salt Lake City itself. I daily interact with dozens of LDS people, and what I have learned is this: So many of them are spectacular at putting on a mask of perfection when they are broken inside. I’ll let the Book of Mormon and Seventy Claudio Zivic explain to you why they’re broken from his October 2007 General Conference address: “Nephi taught us clearly what we ought to do. He said, ‘For we know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23). I believe that the first thing we have to keep in mind in doing ‘all we can’ is to repent of our sins. We will never be able to reach our divine potential if we remain in our sins” (http://lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/after-all-we-can-do?lang=eng). To reach their divine potential, members of the church must, according to Moroni 10:32, “Deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength,” because… “then is his grace sufficient for you.” I cannot even imagine the pressure of living in a society where grace is only sufficient for me if I lead a fully Godly life.
Another piece of evidence that causes me to believe that the members of the church is a woman I talked to who came out of the church a while back and put her trust in Christ. She told me that the church “tells its members to put on a happy face,” no matter what’s going on inside. That can cause someone to become miserable pretty quickly.
And to prove even further that many LDS members are miserable: Utah residents currently use more antidepressants like Prozac than any other US state’s residents. Utah has been reported by the Mental Health of America organization to be the “most depressed state in the nation.” It has been factually correlated with the fact that about 70% of Utah’s residents are Mormon.
Let me clarify: The simple fact that there are depressed people in the church does not alone make the religion false. It’s a peripheral subject, really, but it simply addresses the point I am trying to make here.
They absolutely do back it up, and in fact they would be happy if you asked them; what difference does it make if you’re wrong?
Once again, thank you for turning the questions back on me! It would be so terribly unfair of me to ask questions without having my own answer for them based on the Bible. If I’m wrong, and Mormonism is right, then in the afterlife I will still have it pretty good, according to many missionaries I have spoken to. Granted, I won’t be allowed into the celestial kingdom, but the terrestrial is still considered heaven and the presence of the Son is there (D&C 76:77).
On the other hand, if I’m right and you’re wrong, there is an eternal, unending, torturous consequence called hell that is the fate for every nonbeliever, which will be eternal separation from God. One of us has to be wrong. Whose side would you rather be on?
How dare you make such an accusation upon any church; at least at LDS churches they teach that you shouldn’t judge anyone based on their beliefs, practices, or opinions. Bishops and general authorities in Utah, on a regular basis, condemn homophobia, even if it is against LDS doctrine.
Since the conversation has the option to get a bit heated right now, I’m going to be careful with how much I say here. Obviously, my original post was not the gentlest way of phrasing things, but I believe it is the truth nonetheless.
I would venture to say that any religion that sends out missionaries with the intent to create converts (my own included) must believe that there is something wrong with the religions they are witnessing to. By definition, that might be considered “judging” based on their beliefs and opinions, but is it necessarily wrong to do so? Jesus said in Matthew 7:13, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
If, by “judging” or “accusing” a church, I bring to light the truth and save a soul from destruction, I would rejoice more than if I had kept quiet and allowed for peace. However, I am doing it wrong if I lead you to believe that I am judging unfairly and without good intent, and if that is how it appeared, I apologize.
Also, regarding the homophobia issue, I believe that homosexuality is a sin, just like lying or stealing. To not love someone because of that would be hypocritical; to condone the sin would be wrong.
Since I’m a bit angry, I’ll give you some generalizations about Evangelicals then:
(Once again, my intent was not to stir up anger, as I believe it tends to be unproductive, so I apologize for doing so.)
They’re racist, and homophobic, much like the Westboro Baptist Church.
They hate anyone not like themselves.
They look down on anyone who won’t go to “Heaven” just like them.
They’re ignorant and hateful, like Michelle Bachmann, who is an Evangelical.
And since she already acknowledged that these are generalizations and, for the most part, aren’t true, I’ll just respond with a quote from the camp director I served under at Worldview Academy, Brandon Booth: “I’m a Christian because I’m a hypocrite. If I wasn’t a hypocrite, I wouldn’t need God.” Christians are not perfect, nor have they ever claimed to be. All of the things listed here are wrong; however, as a Christian I know all of these things could easily be part of who I am and I am more grateful to Christ because He loves me unconditionally despite all these things.
And it’s a bit ironic that you’re quoting the Bible, considering that Mormons absolutely and one hundred percent believe that it is the word of God.
Joseph Smith disagreed with you in the Eighth Article of Faith, when he wrote, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (emphasis mine). Now, I have to agree with this. However, Joseph Smith believed that the Bible suffered some major errors in the original Hebrew and Greek, and that the Book of Mormon was more correct than the Bible. He even went as far as to make his own translation to correct these mistakes. So I don’t think that a church doctrine-adhering Mormon would believe it is fully the word of God.
Rumors and ignorant remarks such as that are not “out of love.” They’re out of hate. Maybe you should not only open your ears but open your mind. I’m not asking you to convert. I’m asking that you listen.
Cynthia, I hope you feel that I have listened to you and that I am genuinely not trying to spread rumors or hatred – simply the truth. If not, than I have not acted as a Christian should.