Why I am a Christian

June 19, 2007 | 39 comments
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I’ve always been happy to be a Mormon without insisting on being a Christian. Indeed, the whole debate has always struck me as resting on confusion and political battles that I don’t care about.

On one hand, I think that those who deny the Christianity of Mormons are not entirely out to lunch. After all, we do reject various creedal formulations that lots and lots of Christians regard as fundamental to Christianity. Furthermore, we have lots of doctrines that traditional Protestants and Catholics are likely to find repugnant. Fine by me; they have some doctrines that I am not so hyped up about. On the other hand, I think that there is a certain viciousness about denial of the Christianity of Mormons. It is often not made simply as a theological point. Rather, it is part of a larger rhetorical framework that seeks to define Mormonism as a dangerous cult that at best must be excluded from a place at the table of legitimate religious beliefs and at worse needs to be subject to petty legal harassment in the United States and far more pernicious anti-cult legislation abroad.

My problem is that neither of these formulations of the issue leaves me wanting to claim the title of Christian. I don’t have any particular desire to squash Mormonism into the creeds, although I am perfectly happy to study and learn from the Christian tradition. (I tend to read Aquinas or Augustine for edification and enlightenment rather than to expose an apostate Christianity.) I also have no particular desire to muscle my way into a club with those that hate me and my most sacred beliefs. Hence, to the extent that the “Mormons really are Christians!” refrain is part of some sort of campaign to gain admission to the Evangelical Protestant club, I just don’t care.

Harold Bloom’s recent essay in Sunstone, however, has caused me to rethink this. On the whole, I like Bloom’s reading of Mormonism. It is wrong, of course, but it is wrong in interesting and illuminating ways. Bloom was talking about Joseph Smith’s thinking, and breezily insisted, “Mormonism is not a Christian sect, because it is (or should be) henotheist, and if you can be a Christian, Muslim, or Jew without even being a monotheist, then may all the angels bless you!”

These is something deeply false about this statement. One can, of course, make historical or textual arguments in opposition. Much of the Old Testament strikes me as plainly henotheistic, and the long Christian struggle over the Trinity (and its ultimately nonsensical conclusion in the homoousion of Nicea) is really an attempt to understand the henotheism inherent in the triumvirate of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But this isn’t what struck me as false about Bloom’s statement.

Rather, what struck me as false was the shallowness of his reading of Joseph Smith. To be sure, Joseph was a henotheist and a Christian heretic of the blackest die. He was also, however, a Christ-intoxicated man. One cannot read the corpus of his translations and revelations without be assaulted by wave upon wave of Christology, Christ-narratives, and Christian imagery. (For all of the supposed anti-Paulinism of Joseph’s theology, his words constantly resonate with the echoes of Paul’s language.) Likewise, I think that Richard Bushman has demonstrated that one cannot understand his inner spiritual life independently of his own quest for Christian salvation. There is just something fundamentally silly about denying the Christianity of Joseph Smith. It speaks falsely of the texts.

It got me thinking about whether or not I was a Christian. This is – for me – a different question of whether or not I believe in Christ as the son of God and the savior of the world. It is different than the question of Christ as my savior and my relationship to him. I take these as given. Rather, it strikes me that it is a question of names. I have always thought – and continue to think – that the claim “We really are Christian because the words ‘Jesus Christ’ appear in the name of the church” is a bit thin. Indeed, when we take a name for ourselves from the name of the church it is not “Christian” but rather “Latter-day Saint.” Why the insistence on the name “Christian”?

My epiphany came in sacrament meeting. Before me the young men broke and blessed by the bread by the power of the priesthood, priesthood restored by resurrected beings laying physical hands on physical heads after coming from the presence of God’s physical body. Good Mormon images those. They began the prayer. “O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, . . .” There is the henotheism. When I hear those words, there is no homoousion in them for me; only the invocation of one god in the name of another god on behalf of children of god. The bread was blessed. Then came the words that endowed my eating with meaning. “…an witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy son…”

I have no desire to be a Christian to reconcile the radicalism of Joseph’s legacy to the long theological tradition, as interesting and fruitful as a dialogue between the radicalism and the tradition is in my mind. I certainly have no desire to be a Christian so as to gain access to the club of conservative Protestantism is America.

I do, however, find the covenant to take his name upon me compelling. So I became a Christian.

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39 Responses to Why I am a Christian

  1. John Scherer on June 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I enjoyed this. You bring up the exact thing that has always driven me nuts about the whole Mormons are not Christians agrument. I don’t ever want to be confused for a creedal Christian, but who are they to decide who can or cannot use our Master’s name. I don’t feel like digging up the reference, but I know he commanded his disciples against doing just that.

  2. Adam Greenwood on June 19, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I was chuckling when you started talking about being false to the texts. Just like Nate O., I thought, to dismiss modern-day culture wars and issues of belonging, but to get upset about a wrongful academic interpretation of historical texts.

    Then I got to the part about the sacrament prayers and the Holy Ghost said amen.

  3. Ray on June 19, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Beautiful, Nate. Thanks!

  4. chronicler on June 19, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Excellent piece Nate. Excellent.

  5. Nate Oman on June 19, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Adam: I don’t regard the interpretation of sacred texts as academic. For me at least, it is the primary way in which I relate to God and establish my belonging. Before that, the culture wars seem less significant to me.

  6. Max Drown on June 19, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Very well said. This is something I had always struggled with, too. I had come to a similar, less eloquent conclusion myself.

  7. Ben H on June 19, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks, Nate! Yes, it is a matter of covenant. We can’t let the annoying approach of some evangelicals to this question set the agenda. We need to let our own scriptures set the agenda for us on this point. I’ll toss in a couple more: Mosiah 5:7-15 is a commentary on the importance of taking on ourselves the name of Christ; 3 Nephi 27:1-9 similarly clarifies that we should call ourselves and the church in Christ’s name.

  8. ronito on June 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    As I see what the definition of christian has changed to and the action of the evangelical christians sometimes I think that perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that many times Mormons aren’t considered christian by that definition.

  9. Clark on June 19, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I’m not sure it’s fair to call Joseph a henotheist without carefully qualifying that term. After all Mormons, like Trinitarians, allow for a strong unity of the Godhead such that they are one God. So Joseph can talk about the head God bringing forth the Gods but a Trinitarian can talk about the Son coming forth from the Father. While Joseph gives all this much more of a materialistic bend than the Trinitarians are comfortable with it seems hard to compare this to an Isaelite worshipping YHWH but allowing for the existence of Baal, Ashtoreth or even Zeus.

  10. Keith on June 19, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Good thoughts, Nate. (My only quibble is with ‘henotheism’. For all that we don’t follow homoousius of the creed, we still do believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one (2 Nephi 31:21). But do we think they are one in the same way as the creeds? Not in all ways. So maybe henotheism is the best term, if we need it at all.)

    Anyway, here’s why I care that others think we are Christian:

    First of all, I agree that it doesn’t matter, in most respects, what others think. It doesn’t strengthen my faith when a prominent theologian of another faith says LDS people and beliefs might be Christians, any more than it weakens it when hordes of theologians say we aren’t. Here I leave it in Christ’s hands to judge. I’m confident what that judgment will be with respect to the Church, its teaching and practices, or I wouldn’t be a Latter-day Saint. With respect to me individually, I have to say, like Nephi, I know in whom I have trusted and who I follow in fear and trembling.

    Notwithstanding this, I do have reasons for hoping others accept us as Christians (even if misguided or maybe if even heretical Christians).

    1. For simple honesty and accuracy. We believe in the Christ of the New Testament, and for all that we have beliefs that other Christians don’t (pre-existence, differences in doctrine of Godhead, embodiment of the Father, extra-Biblical Scripture, etc.), we do believe that we are saved by Christ and in no other way. We believe he was God come to redeem us, that he worked out the atonement for this purpose, and that he was crucified, died, and was resurrected. It is one thing when a scholar, using the traditional theological doctrines, says Latter-day Saints are not Christian, but it is quite another when the average person hears this.

    2. For fellowship and for working together for good. This is related, in some ways, to reason #1 above. Some will not join Latter-day Saints, or let Latter-day Saints join with them in some mutual efforts or fellowship because they believe we are not Christian. This includes not only the worthy battles on the social issues, but also in the academy where we might well be allies in fighting anti-religious and anti-Christian strains of thought. I value very much the non-LDS Christian friends I gained at Graduate School—both from the regular school and the theological school associated with it. I was happy when one of my Christian friends invited me to be part of a campus Christian group that met once a week. I also tried earnestly to help this same person keep his Christian faith as it began to be shaken through his studies. (And I did this with no concern to convert him to my particular faith.)

    3. My last reason for hoping that others will at least tentatively accept us as Christian arises from a concern that some may reject our message outright without a second thought because they already know, as they’ve been informed, that we don’t believe in Christ. This, of course, comes from my belief that we are Christians, that the Restoration is true, and that we have the fullness of the Gospel and authority to administer its ordinances. But this reason is no more important to me than reasons 1 and 2 above. In other words, this “selfish” denominational concern would not outweigh those other concerns in a way that would bring me to be dishonest about my belief or differences of belief with others. Additionally, and perhaps paradoxically, it is this belief that also helps me understand why leaders and theologians from other denominations oppose us. The belief of many of them will be that adhering to LDS beliefs and practices puts one outside the reach of Christ’s redemption and leaves one in hell. While I disagree with this, because I take my own faith seriously and believe it is actually true, I can understand where others are coming from if they, too, take their beliefs seriously.

    This leads me to wonder whether some of the inter-faith discussion might focus on whether our traditional Christian friends should worry about us or not (or perhaps it’s been an unstated motive, but still present). In other words, I might be inclined to show my friends how I really do believe in Christ, trust him, look to him for salvation, not so much to erase theological differences, and certainly not to get their approval so I feel better, but so they need not worry and so that, in appropriate ways, we might share in fellowship and mutual efforts. The counterpart to this, of course, is that if my friends truly believe I don’t trust in Christ and that my beliefs and practices lead me out of his grace, much of their effort will be to get me to see that I and they should be worried.

    In short, there are good reasons for not caring what others think. There are also good reasons to care.

  11. bbell on June 19, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    In my view I am a Christian because I believe in the NT account of Jesus.

    I believe in….

    1. The virgin birth
    2. The miracles of Jesus
    3. The death and rise from the grave
    4. The day of Pentecost and the later actions of the apostles

    Being LDS I believe that the BOM, D&C modern day prophets etc give me a correct understanding of Jesus.

  12. Kevin Barney on June 19, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    I’m sympathetic with Keith’s comment. I commented a little bit on this subject in my review of TNMC, “A More Responsible Critique,” FR 15/1 (2001). I’ll extract below the relevant paragraphs:

    Is Mormonism Christian?

    The only thing I found really annoying about the book was the continued insistence that Latter-day Saints are in no sense Christian. This is most disappointing since the idea that the Saints are generically Christian should not be that difficult a concept to grasp. Although the wording varies a little from dictionary to dictionary, a Christian is one who is a follower of Jesus Christ, “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.”6 This meaning is suggested by the Greek form from which the English derives: Christianos, the -ianos ending conveying the sense of “partisan” of Christ (analogous forms being Herodianos “Herodian” and Kaisarianos “Caesarian”). This is the public meaning of the word—the way it is used in public discourse and the way it is defined in dictionaries. Elsewhere Blomberg disparages this meaning of the word, calling it “some very broad and relatively meaningless sense by which every Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox church member, however nominal or sectarian, would also be included.”7 Exactly! Blomberg or any other evangelical is more than welcome to devise a private definition of the word that will exclude Latter-day Saints, but when they do this they must immediately articulate what that private definition is8 and acknowledge that they are not using the word in its commonly understood sense. When they simply say Mormons are not Christian (using an unarticulated private definition), their hearers and readers understand them to say that Mormons do not believe in Jesus Christ (using the public definition, since words are understood to be used in their commonly defined senses unless another sense is indicated). Such evangelicals therefore regularly misrepresent and even defame LDS belief. This is truly offensive to Latter-day Saints such as myself, and I am puzzled as to why they cannot see that.9

    Blomberg attempts to exclude Mormons from even the “relatively meaningless” public definition of Christian in his chapter entitled “Is Mormonism Christian?” He correctly states that the Bible only uses the term three times and nowhere offers a formal definition (p. 317). He then strives to exclude Mormons from the normative definition by limiting who can be called a Christian, not by articulating a proper lexical definition of the term, but by quoting the World Book Encyclopedia article on “Christianity”: “Christianity is the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Most followers of Christianity, called Christians, are members of one of three major groups—Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox” (emphasis added). Blomberg then concludes, “Based on this definition, Mormonism is clearly not Christian, nor has it ever claimed to be so” (p. 317). While it is true that the Latter-day Saints do not claim to be Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox, it is manifestly not the case that they do not claim to be Christian. In the broad and commonly understood sense of the word, the Saints have always considered themselves to be Christians. I am mystified how a scholar of Blomberg’s evident intelligence, talent, and sensitivity could so misread this encyclopedia text (which certainly does not make the exclusionist claim Blomberg ascribes to it), or for that matter why he would appeal to an encyclopedia rather than proper lexical materials to deal with this question in the first place. This methodology is more in line with sectarian propaganda than sound scholarship.10

    I recently shared the following example with Blomberg in an e-mail correspondence following the appearance of The New Mormon Challenge; I think it illustrates well why simply calling Latter-day Saints non-Christian is inherently misleading. A family with several young daughters used to live in my ward. This family was friendly with a neighbor woman, who would often babysit the girls. As Christmas was approaching, the woman gave each of the girls a Christmas gift, which turned out to be a coloring book featuring Jesus Christ. The girls enjoyed the gift and colored the pictures. Some time later this woman came to the family’s home, ashen, and apologized profusely for having given their daughters such a gift. It turns out that the woman had just learned at her church that Mormons are not Christian, and therefore she of course assumed that she had committed a grievous faux pas in giving the girls coloring books featuring a deity their family did not believe in. Now in this story the woman understood the claim that Latter-day Saints are not Christian the same way the vast majority of people would, as meaning that they do not believe in Christ. This is because she naturally applied the public definition to her pastor’s words.

    We can see by this story the mischief that results from the semantic legerdemain of calling Latter-day Saints non-Christian. The fact is, they are Christians in the generic sense of the word, even if, from an evangelical point of view, they are theologically in error and unsaved (i.e., being a Christian is not necessarily tantamount to being right). I personally would have no difficulty with certain shorthand distinctions that would make clear that Mormons neither are nor claim to be historic, traditional, creedal, or orthodox Christians. But to say they are not Christians at all without such a modifier is to fundamentally misrepresent the nature of their beliefs. Since one of the goals of The New Mormon Challenge was to avoid such misrepresentations, I was sorely disappointed that it took the position that Latter-day Saints are not Christian in any sense at all. I view this as an intellectually indefensible position, and in my view it severely undermines the credibility of the book.

    6. This particular formulation derives from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1987 ed.), s.v. “Christian,” which just happens to be the dictionary on my office shelf.

    7. Blomberg, “Sizing Up the Divide: Reviews and Replies: III. Reply by Craig L. Blomberg,” BYU Studies 38/3 (1999): 176–83 at 180.

    8. I suspect the reason that evangelicals are generally unwilling to articulate with precision their private definitions of the word is that at least some of such definitions likely would have the effect, whether intended or not, of excluding Catholics and the Orthodox, which neutral observers would rightly see as patently absurd. Indeed, some evangelicals expressly deny that Catholics are Christian. See Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks, Offenders for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack the Latter-day Saints (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), 183–84.

    9. Carl Mosser, in his chapter “And the Saints Go Marching On: The New Mormon Challenge for World Missions, Apologetics and Theology,” in The New Mormon Challenge, 413 n. 26, and 66, acknowledges that Latter-day Saints are offended when described as non-Christians, and he claims to “understand why Latter-day Saints feel offense.” Nevertheless, he does “not believe that at this time Mormonism can be categorized as Christian in any very useful or theologically significant sense.” This sentence illustrates my very point. Mosser appears to have in mind some sort of unarticulated doctrinal test. To use the word Christian in this fashion without clearly putting the reader on notice that a nonstandard usage of the word is meant (i.e., one subject to undisclosed evangelical theological limitation) is to perpetrate a linguistic “bait and switch.” Mosser may not find the public definition of the word “useful” or “theologically significant,” but it is by that definition that speakers and writers of English the world over communicate, which is very useful indeed.

    10. Contrast with this what I believe to be a proper approach to the issue, as reflected in a 1998 document of the United Methodist Church, entitled Sacramental Faithfulness: Guidelines for Receiving People from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day [sic] Saints, available online at http://www.gbod.org/worship/articles/sacramental/intro.html as recently as 17 March 2003. Rather than claiming that Latter-day Saints are not Christian, this document explains that they are not within the historic, apostolic Christian tradition, which is a both true and unobjectionable statement (the word apostolic being used here in its tertiary sense of referring to a tradition of succession of spiritual authority held, as by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans, to be perpetuated by successive ordinations from the apostolic age). See Benjamin I. Huff, “Of Course Mormonism Is Christian,” and Kent P. Jackson, “Am I a Christian?” reviews of Craig L. Blomberg, “Is Mormonism Christian?” in FARMS Review of Books 14/1–2 (2002): 113–30, 131–37.

  13. Seth R. on June 19, 2007 at 6:33 pm

    The problem is, both sides are obscuring what the debate is really about.

    Do you think that Baptist preachers are saying we’re not Christians because we believe Christ to be our spirit brother, or because we think God has a body, or because we believe in eternal progression?

    Bzzzt. Wrong. Thanks for playing.

    Contrary to mainline Christian explanations, and what many Mormons tell themselves, the question of whether Mormons are “Christian” doesn’t really have anything to do with theology or biblical readings.

    It’s a sectarian turf-war. End of story.

    Evangelical ministers are worried about a new and aggressive proselyting religion luring people away from their own chapels. The polarizing accusation that Mormons “aren’t Christians” is simply a method of inoculating their flock against Mormon missionaries. They are trying to scare their followers into rejecting Mormonism’s message.

    News flash – the standard evangelical, Methodist, Presbyterian, Southern Baptist doesn’t know squat about their own theology. They haven’t got the slightest clue whether God has a body or not, they don’t have strong opinions about what the afterlife or the pre-existence looks like, nor do the have much knowledge of the Bible, aside from a few favorite scriptures.

    But, by-golly, they know they like Jesus! And if them Mormons don’t believe in him, well….

    Mormons are a threat to mainline Christianity. We just are. The Christian thing is a scare tactic employed by the elites of other religions to scare their less theologically aware parishoners.

    When those same elites try to justify the labeling by appeal to biblical proofs and complex theological and historical arguments, we have a word for that too – B.S.

    This is a theological turf war. It has nothing to do with the doctrine.

  14. Mike on June 19, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    A member of my household left Mormonism (in spirit, name still on our rolls) and attends a free evangelical church now for about 2-3 years. This issue is a daily source of friction for me and I have thought about it much.

    This beloved member of my family walks down this path, not because of anything that is or is not taught or written in the standard sources of Mormon theology such as the Bof M , D&C, Jesus the Christ/Articless of Faith by Talmage or any number of books, articles, etc written by GA’s or BYU professors or others. They walk down this path not because of anything debated or promoted by scholars, apologists, theologians or rabble-rousters on any side of any issue. They walk not in a state of confusion or deception over semantic or historical or doctrinal questions.

    It comes down to what goes on during weekly services on Sunday morning. For my family this started over 20 years ago when we had the radical idea that if you have a genuine give-and-take friendship with a person who is not LDS and you want them to investigate your religion, it only makes sense for both of you to explore each other’s church services in a respectful and open-minded way. (The ward mission leader is always after us to bring our non-LDS friends to our church; but he never asks us how many other churches did we attend). When we did we discovered that much of what we learned in LDS meetings about Protestants was inaccurate and we found our LDS church lacking in comparison, in some matters.

    I have found enormous variability between different Protestant services and I find it difficult to generalize. But more than 80% of the Protestant churches I have visited while living here in the south these many years (in two states) do a better job centering their weekly religious services on Christ than any of the handful of wards that I have attended including those I visit frequently in Utah.
    This represents my experience and is not a statistically valid summary of the entire church.

    An extreme example: I recall a Mississippi Sunday morning decades ago when we agreed with a non-LDS friend to attend one hour of each of our respective Sunday services. In the morning we visited a Baptist witnessing meeting very much like our testimony meeting. At first I thought we Mormons had the upper hand. People were dressed in shorts and levis and grubby T-shirts and halter-tops. They talked loudly and laughed and were far from reverent before the meeting started. It felt so worldly. The building was also shabby and hot.

    But they sang with a vigor entirely foreign to me, songs that stirred my soul and kept running through my mind all week. Every person who stood, bore witness of how Jesus had been in their life that week. Some of it came across as a bit wacky, but no worse than many a LDS seminary teacher. There was no question that I sat among sincere Christians, in spite of their doctrinal error and weakness, real or percieved by me.

    Then as we walked up to our red brick church, I pointed out the sign on the building with the name of the church on it and told my friend that we were also Christians. We shall see, he replied. Our testimony meeting that week may have been more kooky than usual. I cringed at some of the remarks. My friend commented, he did not hold them against us, every church has a few. Christ would have it no other way. But as the number of testimonies climbed into the double digits, I noticed that we had heard NO MENTION of Christ. None!

    We heard about President Benson and Joseph Smith and some local leaders. We heard of doctrines sound and some dubious, but again NO MENTION of faith in Christ, repentance or the atonement or the grace of God. None. We heard of inspirational travel logs and mini-miracles, but nothing remotely relating to any parable of Jesus. Finally my wife (who is one of the best public speakers I have ever listened to) took the stand. The time was about 3 minutes past the cut-off previously announced. She launched into a powerful and stirring testimony of Christ, quoting liberally from the Book of Mormon. But very quickly the Bishop stood and asked her to cut it short. She continued, realizing honor if not souls were on the line and she really only needed another minute or two. But after 5 more seconds he shut off the microphone and escorted her to a seat.This extreme action was often necessary to shut down the most extreme of our fruit-cases and not uncommon for our ward.

    Can you imagine the impression this made on our Baptist friend? The only Christ-centered testimony in over 25 offered was instantly slapped down with typical Mormon efficiencey. As we walked out of the building past the sign with the name of the church, my Baptist friend pointed out that it is not the name on the front of the building that really matters, but what goes on inside the church. He challenged me to come with him and join a Christ centered, Bible based church. I felt the Spirit burn within in me; he was right. But I was not going to turn my back on my people. No, we vowed to do what we could to bring Mormons to Christ. I think that with some few exceptions I have failed. I only hope now that those better than I will not fail.

    A mere antedote of little value to be forgotten? Is some variation of this episode repeated every week in every LDS church building? I am not the judge.

    Two days ago I was in Utah and this beloved member of my family attended another Mormon sacrament meeting as a show of family unity and heard another somewhat boring missionary home-coming talk. The missionary could have made it far more interesting if he had told us about what it was actually like living in Africa and he danced around several sort of Christ related topics. But his talk centered more on church than gospel. He told of the excitement and charisma of meeting several of our current 12 Apostles but we could not tell if he had ever a chance to meet his Savior in his two years of service. I presume he did, my beloved family member did not.

    Then this beloved member of my family scampered off to attend a struggling little Protestant church right in the heart of Zion with fewer than 50 members. I have visited there before and they exhibit the same raw enthusiasm I remember in the small branches in Japan where I served my mission. Eariler that week I took the Minister of this little church on his first tour of Temple Square. He was impressed and his visit stimulated some of the ideas in his sermon. Later Sunday, my beloved wayward family member and I spent a hour going through 8 pages of handwritten notes describing his sermon that was unmistakeably Christ-centered and Bibical and exciting. I wish I had been there.

    I submit to you that it is at this level that we answer the question, are we Christian? At least in my family. Does it disturb anyone else when several of my ward members have comforted me (when they learn of the apostacy of one so beloved in my family) by telling me they too go to other Protestant services to get their “Jesus fix’? That some youth play a form of testimony tick-tack-toe except they use Jesus versus Joseph in place of the X’s and O’s. And Jesus never wins.

    I do not intend to leave the LDS fold. But I think if we had more humility, we could learn a thing or two from other churches in their zeal and focus on Christ. This is seperate from all doctrine or theological or historical considerations, which are important.

  15. Seth R. on June 19, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    And incidentally, the reason Mormons are only too eager to agree with the preachers that this is a doctrinal problem, is because we too are hiding something.

    We are trying to hide the uncomfortable fact that we view other faiths as “false religions.” That a central pillar of our faith is that these other Christian factions are essentially illegitimate children. And we aggressively push this message with an army of missionaries.

  16. Thomas Parkin on June 19, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    14.

    In another ward, the expereince may have been very different. It is a shame that every testimony meeting isn’t Spirit filled, and that our worship services aren’t always as Christ-centered as they might be.

    But, I would add that those other doctrines and what may have seemed strange to your Baptist friend and embarrasing to you are NOT neccesarily unimportant. Having testimonies regarding prophets or this or that cultural oddity may be just what was called for. Is the kind of religion Christ founds, or even accepts, best measured by how often His name is mentioned, or rather than by how _compeltely_ and _accurately_ it can bring a person to Him? May I suggest that a better measuring tool for your friend than a random visit to church would have been a deep aquaintance with the truest practioners of both religions. Had that been the measuring stick – plenty would be found laudable in both religions, no doubt – and would or would not have both been found Christian?

    Or you could just ask him if there will be any Jews (or Muslims or Hundus for that matter) in heaven.

    Sorry for the obtuseness of this post in an otherwise fine, subtle and revealing thread.

    ~

  17. JR on June 19, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Who get’s to decide what is Christian doctrine and what isn’t? In a sense, people need to line-up the doctrine side by side and make a decision. LDS doctrine is not the same as that of Biblical Christianity. What\’s the big deal? Mormons see themselves as the restored true church. I say proclaim the LDS doctrinal distinctives boldly, proudly and loudly. Show people the difference. Where to start? The Mormon Jesus by definition is different than that of mainline Christianity. Mormons use extra-Biblical sources for their doctrine. Mainliners don’t. Mainliners might seek to conform themselves to the character of God, but they don’t plan on being one….of any size, type or form. Mainliners get a little touchy about this stuff because of the Biblical admonition to defend the Faith. That’s why Mormon doctrine sets them off. Mainline Christianity has little in common with Mormonism. But I guess that’s the way Joseph Smith intended it.

  18. Susan S. on June 19, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    I agree that Joseph was very fascinated by the story of Christ. That it is very emotionally invested in the stories and texts he dictates.

    But one thing that strikes me about this is that Joseph identifies with the Christ story. He dictates his own story (or the story of God’s seer) ever closer in its parallels to that of Christ.–the man who becomes God (I understand that statement is very easy to argue with, but the way in which it is true remains sometimes quite breathtaking for me). And in the end, the story of man, who can become a God, Joseph’s story and the story ultimately of his peers, manages powerful parallels to the story of this much beloved character.

    I agree that Bloom is too focused on the Old Testament to glimpose the importance of Christ to Joseph.

  19. It's Not Me on June 20, 2007 at 12:04 am

    I, personally, have never witnessed the extreme example of an entire sacrament meeting with nary a mention of Jesus. I have, however, gotten up to bear my testimony of the atonement after the first 3 testimonies failed to mention him.

    Did someone really leave the church because of the failed mention of the Savior? I’m not convinced. Perhaps their perception was the final straw, but . . .

  20. DKL on June 20, 2007 at 1:27 am

    Nice post. I do think that the title to Bertrand Russell’s essay, “Why I am not a Christian,” is more provocative. But Frankly, I don’t care whether we’re considered Christians or even associated with the rest of Christianity. There are only two churches anyway: The Church of Christ and the Church of Satan. So why waste time trying to associate yourself with the Whore of Babylon? If they want to define Christianity in terms of false doctrine and ineffectual little rituals that cannot bring about any meaningful form of salvation, then what’s that to us?

  21. John K. on June 20, 2007 at 6:03 am

    I think sometimes we don’t’ talk about Christ as much as we ought to. My thinking is — and I may be way off — that we take Christ and his atonement as a given. It is so central to the entire doctrine (the scriptures, resurrection, grace, etc.) We view ourselves as the restored Church of Christ. If we are the restored Church, there must have been a reason this is necessary. We must be significantly different than other Christian Churches that existed at the time of the restoration. Because we feel the creation of our Church was necessary to restore the gospel on earth, we feel the need to accentuate those differences we have. We focus on what sets us apart from the others, what makes us different, why our Church must have been created. In doing this, we may neglect the simple and precious truths of the gospel of Christ at times. I don’t think this is a large epidemic though.

    I think being excluded from the Christian club actually adds to the phenomenon. Evangelical big wigs say we aren’t Christian because of x, y, and z. So what is the natural reaction? We end up spending all our time talking about and defending x, y, and z. Christ may go without saying not because we don’t believe, but because it is such a simple basic rock and we get side tracked by attacks from every other angle and feel the need to reinforce our beliefs in those areas.

  22. JR on June 20, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Good post DKL #20. More of this is needed. Mainliners need to hear more of this Whore of Babylon Church of Satan stuff. Get this out there along with just why Mainline Christianity doctrine is false in comparison to Mormon doctrine. Pour it on!

  23. lamonte on June 20, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Seth R. said “We are trying to hide the uncomfortable fact that we view other faiths as “false religions.” ”

    Seth, I think you are right that many or most Mormons think this way but I don’t think it is correct thinking. In the summer of 1996, Elder Maxwell was part of a PBS program called “Searching for God in America” in which many religious leaders of many different stripes were interviewed by Hugh Hewitt. At one point Mr. Hewitt asked Eelder Maxwell, “What does it imply for my theology that yours is restored and mine is not?” to which Elder Maxwell answered, “What we would hope it would say to you is ‘Bring all that you have that it good and true – which is much – and let us add to that what we believe to be the fullness of the faith, that you might have more information about Jesus Christ and His plans and purposes for life.’”

    I think if we assume that Elder Maxwell was speaking for the leadership of the church, that is a very different position than calling them false religions. Jesus told Joseph Smith that the creeds were an abomination. That, to me, is different than calling them false religions. I know many devout Christians who believe in those creeds but who also love the Lord as much as anyone I know. I know others in other religions who are far better Christians than I can ever hope to be.

  24. a christian on June 20, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    I\’m a Christian who stumbled on this site. The only true doctrine is that found within the Bible. My heart burns reading this website. I have a lot of friends and family who are LDS and I love them very much. I say this so I don\’t get tagged as anti. The thing that kills me is the arrogence I feel from some of the comments. People are so sure that they have the priesthood and God\’s authority on earth. What I\’ve realized from the people in my life and the sets of missionaries who I\’ve talked to is that most LDS members don\’t know the Bible too well to compare scripture thoroughly. This is very sad because I know a few people who have left the LDS church and became a Christian solely becuse they read the Bible and saw the differences themselves. If LDS people would just read the Bible a lot more of them would become Christians. LDS members are not Christians because they don\’t know the true Jesus revealed by scripture. They don\’t hold to the essentials of Christianity, so they cannot be Christian. Jesus said Himself, \”Unless you you believe that I am, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:24 KJV). I left out \”he\” because it\’s not in the orginal Greek. Jesus is referencing Exodus 3:14 claiming to be YHWH. The Great I AM. The thing is the LDS church doesn\’t believe that Jesus is the one and only God. Consider what Paul says, \”Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, excpet ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5). Paul is tells us to test if we are in the faith. He not saying that for nothing. If you belive in a different (changed in any way) gospel then you are not in the faith. If you believe in God differently than He has revealed himself, you are not in the faith because you believe in a different God. God is not a man of flesh and bone, He never reveals Himself this way, so if you believe this you believe in another God. At least 3 times in the Old Testament that God is not a man, and in the New Jesus said that God is spirit. Yet the LDS church teaches that God is an exalted man. This is blasphemy.

    The Book of Mormon doesn\’t have true doctrine in it becuse it is not what it claims to be. There is no evidence that Joseph Smith \”translated\” the Book of Mormon. He made it up himself. Archeology proves it false as there has never been a artifact from the proves that the Nephites Lamenites ever exsisted. DNA taken from Native Americans both dead and alive shows that they from Asia and not Israel. The whole society Smith describes is false as there was not horses and wheat in Ameica in those times. The people living here did not use metal. The ruins that are around today and LDS people visit every year say nothing about the Nephities, Laminities, or Jesus Christ. These were pagan nations. Smith\’s translation of the Book of Abraham has been proven false. When he \”translated\” it, no one could read Egyptian, but know people can. And we know now that it was describing a burial ceremony. Many of Smith\’s prophecies about the future never came true: the temple in Indepence, the Lord coming back in 56 years, America being destroyed. It only takes one false prophecies to be a false prophet as we read in deut 18. Smith added and took away from Gods word in the Bible. God warns about this. Many of you will say that the warning is only about adding and taking away to the Book of Revelation. Well Smith did there too! You can pick up a quad or compact whatever you want to call it and read from the JST where he did this.

    Please people open up your Bibles and realize that there is only one God, who has always been God. He did not have a father in heaven because He\’s God. He was not created. Either was Jesus Christ because He existed with God and is God. The only true God. He created everything that is. God created everything by Himself. No one helped Him (Isaiah 44:24). No person is going to be elevated to godhood. God says that there will not be any gods formed before or after Him Isaiah 43:10. In fact the reason Lucifer was kicked out of heaven is he wanted to be like the Most High God (Isaiah 14:12-17. This is an abomination. Is Isaiah a false prophet? No. Please read your Bible realize that there is only one Gospel. And that\’s is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead ( 1 Corinthians 15:1-5). There is nothing you can do to earn your salvation it is by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, 2 Tim 1:9). Getting married in the temple doesn\’t do any good for you, it does not exalt you. It actually makes you more lost because it makes you take an oath and put on a Satanic apron. Baptizing for the dead does nothing for you or the dead person because it is appoint to a person once to die and then the judgement (Hebrews 9:27). If you does accept Jesus in this life it is too late. You go to hell to be judged by your works and if you have broken one part of God\’s law, you are gulity of breaking the whole law (James 2:10). If you baptized everyone in America, but told one lie, you would still go to hell if you aren\’t trusting in Jesus for your salvation. Because you\’ve sinned against an eternal God. Good works don\’t erase bad ones. God see our self righteousness as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). So put your faith in Jesus of Nazareth. The Jesus that the Bible reveals. He who created everything that is on earth and in heaven including the angels (Colossians 1:16). So he is not our eldest brother and the brother of Lucifer because He created us and Lucifer! Repent of your sins and accept Him as Lord and He will save you from the judgement that you deserve.

    And by the way us \”mainliners\” know about the whore of Babylon. This is the one world religion that appears in the last days. As the world goverments become one, so also will religion. We can see this happen today as there is a push to accept anything and everyone. Our world is now saying that every religion is right and no one is wrong. Everyone\’s path is their own and all roads lead to God. But this is false. Jesus said \”Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in therat: Because strait is the and narrow is the way, whcih leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew &:13-14). Today the Caltholic Pope is uniting with pagans and Muslims. This shows us that we are heading into the time just before Christ returns to take away his bride.

    I love all my LDS neighbors and I hope that you take these things seriously. Search the scripture to see what is right, don\’t pray about it. God never insructs us to pray to see if a prophet or scripture is true. He tells us to test it. Please excuss the typos as I\’m sure there are many. I typed this pretty quickly and didn\’t reread it.

  25. John Williams on June 20, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    a christian (24),

    Have you ever heard of the term “semantics”?

  26. Seth R. on June 21, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Well christian, glad to see you can give as good as you can take in the arrogance department. I’m sure having lots of LDS friends makes it peachy-keen for you to accuse Mormonism of blasphemy. No need to sugar-coat it. You don’t consider our religion legitimate. Fair enough. I don’t consider yours legitimate either. But unlike you, I find your religion to be a positive influence on humanity. Based on you comments, you do not feel the same way about mine.

    Well, I guess we’ll all find out in the end won’t we?

    lamonte, I’m aware of the current focus of our leadership. Calling their religions nice isn’t quite enough to erase what God said in the Sacred Grove. I doubt that the concession that their religions have their good points is going to make them any more comfy with our claims to the one fully-restored Gospel. It’s a consolation prize at best.

  27. Adam Greenwood on June 21, 2007 at 1:03 am

    I have a lot of friends and family who are LDS and I love them very much. I say this so I don\’t get tagged as anti

    That works pretty well. I’ve never met an anti who said that they loved the LDS.

  28. John K. on June 21, 2007 at 1:28 am

    The thing that kills me is the arrogence I feel from some of the comments. People are so sure that they have the priesthood and God\’s authority on earth.

    I imagine that bugged a lot of people about Christ too…

  29. a christian on June 21, 2007 at 4:32 am

    Seth (26)
    I\’m sorry if I came off as arrogant. I really did not mean to. Apart from Christ, I am nothing, no one. I know that I\’m unrighteous and not worthy to inherit eternal life, but that\’s ok because it\’s not about me and what I\’ve done. It\’s about Him and what He\’s done. May the Lord help me to boast in nothing but the cross of Christ. Here\’s my point in responding to you: if you don\’t believe that my religion is legitimate then do not say it is positive to humanity. If my religion is false then it is leading people to a false god. So please if you feel this way about Christianity then oppose it completely, don\’t say it a positive influence on humanity. Jesus says that we are either with Him or against Him. We as humans don\’t like this. There has to be a middle ground, right? No there\’s not. But it\’s not about religion aways, it\’s about a relationship with the true and living God. Jesus said to know the only true God is eternal life. Religion is vain if it does not take you to Him. Our eyes always need to be focused on Him. I\’ll admit it is easy to get focused on ourselves and what we\’ve done. Then we forget where we come from and what He\’s done for us, but man we can\’t take credit it for any good that we\’ve done in this life. Everything good comes from God, and it is His spirit that draws us to Him and helps us do good works. If He left us to ourselves we\’d be like the people in Genesis 6 who\’s thoughts were only evil continuously.

    Hey if you think that my religion is so false though, prove me wrong. Test the things I said about my religion and yours and prove that what I said is a lie. I\’ll tell you this, I\’m not afraid to look at anyones claims as to why my religion is false. Everytime I look at the so called evidence again Jesus and/or the Bible my faith only grows. Whether it is the claims of Mormonism, evolution, Islam, or the New Age I know that God\’s word will shine through. God doesn\’t lie so either will His word and He knows the end from the beginning so I have nothing to worry about when I look into others\’ claims.

    One last thing. You wrote:

    Do you think that Baptist preachers are saying we’re not Christians because we believe Christ to be our spirit brother, or because we think God has a body, or because we believe in eternal progression?

    This is exactly why I and most other Christians I know believe that LDS are not Christians. That and other reasons. I\’m not a baptist I\’m go to a non-denominational church of about 300 people. We are not concerned with church growth. God will send whoever He sees fit to our fellowship. Anyone who repents and puts their faith in Jesus Christ is part of the body of Christ. It doesn\’t matter if they go to my church, baptist church, or some church in the woods in China. They are part of the body of Christ. The word for church in the Greek means \”called out ones.\” The meaning of church is not an institution. It is all the people who\’ve responded to Jesus calling them out of this wicked world. In the end there will be a great multitude that no man can number that makes up the bride of Christ. You will be part of it too if you put your faith solely in Jesus. I pray that you find out the truth before the end and not at the end like you said because there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth for whoever doesn\’t.

  30. Thomas Parkin on June 21, 2007 at 5:42 am

    a christian,

    We’ve heard this all before. We, speaking generally, don’t share your personal interpretations of scripture. I’ve heard all these arguments at least 100 times in my years. I’m not trying to engage you – I’ve got no desire to butt heads with someone incapable of learning, ever again. And you’ve got all the rhetoric that we’ve heard countless times before.

    The Holy Spirit is nowhere stronger than in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, nor are there any people on earth who, speaking generally, know Him better. We have our experiences reading the Bible, too. We also know that Christ saves us from our sins. Yet, how differently those scriptures sound to me than they sound to you. You seem to think the meaning is plain – but you are reading them from within your own filter of beliefs and prejudices. To me, you are plainly mistaken. In fact, the vast majority of Christians since the time of Christ have not interpreted them as you have. Your set of interpretations are comparatively young, only dating back a handful of centuries. Our ability to deceive ourself is pretty remarkable. Therefore I trust no man, including myself: “if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.” You, christian, are like me, a man. And I see know reason to beleive you. There is One that I will strive to put all my trust in – who is mighty to teach, as well as to save. We don’t get wisdom by listening to another man’s interpretation of scriptures. Rather, James tells us how to obtain wisdom: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God …” That sounds a lot like prayer to me.

    Just a couple more things, then I’ll be done. Last April, as my father, a deeply spiritual and Christ focused man, were walking into a meeting in Salt Lake, a christian preacher bellowed at us as we walked by ‘you’re going to hell and you’re taking your family with you.’ I couldn’t help but wonder what he would feel if we picketed his meeting place, wherein he sought God. There was no mistaking his passion, but his Godliness seemed more than a little lacking. Say what you please, – the people who run this blog are open hearted and liberal in thier approach to other people, and will let you have your voice. But remember that you are in their space, and show some respect.

    I always hated “bible-bashing.” How glad I am of teachers who tell me to seek for the good and encourage the good in other people. Because, Christ says, “I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be … Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city …”

    Best to you.

    ~

  31. Jennifer M. G. on June 21, 2007 at 7:49 am

    I do think we (LDS) are Christians.

    However, some Christians may be reacting to such statements like this one from Joseph Smith (found in \”The History of the Church\”):

    \”Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.\”

  32. Adam Greenwood on June 21, 2007 at 8:02 am

    you don\’t believe that my religion is legitimate then do not say it is positive to humanity. If my religion is false then it is leading people to a false god.

    Christ makes beauty from ashes. If you think he can’t make something positive out of a human-created institution like your church, with a good deal of error mixed in with the truth it posesses, then, gosh, maybe you do believe in a false god.

    So please if you feel this way about Christianity then oppose it completely, don\’t say it a positive influence on humanity.

    The title of this piece is “Why I Am a Christian.” Your specious reasons for thinking that Mormons aren’t Christians are your own. But we know we are and are not about to denounce Christianity to please you any more than we are going to denounce Christ to please you. Your avidity to get us to do that is sick.

    Jesus says that we are either with Him or against Him. We as humans don\’t like this. There has to be a middle ground, right? No there\’s not.

    Judgment Day isn’t here yet. The tares and the wheat are still growing together and its not for us to declare with finality which is which. Why are you so avid to have us declare you a tare and consign you to hellfire?

  33. Adam Greenwood on June 21, 2007 at 8:04 am

    Everytime I look at the so called evidence again Jesus and/or the Bible my faith only grows. Whether it is the claims of Mormonism, evolution, Islam, or the New Age I know that God\’s word will shine through

    Mormonism doesn’t make claims against Jesus and/or the Bible.

  34. lamonte on June 21, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Seth – I’m not trying to dilute what was said in the Sacred Grove. I just think that Elder Maxwell’s comment was the right approach. Instead of blatantly saying “your religion is false”, like our friend christian did above, Elder Maxwell suggested we recognize the good that comes from other religions – just as you did in Comment #26 – and then invite them to learn more, teach them the fullness of the faith. Apparently there are some that will still say that approach is arrogant as well, but I think it is the best way to reach others, through gentle persuasion rather than harsh criticism.

  35. Seth R. on June 21, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Lamonte, I agree that “a soft answer turneth away wrath.” But I think it also depends on your audience.

    There are a great many people out there who are receptive to our message, and are not terribly hung up on the issue of whether we are Christians or not. To these, I hope to take exactly the same approach that Neal A. Maxwell did. I also admire a great deal about other faiths. In some instances, I think that other faiths are even possibly doing a better job than we are. I hope my religion can be enriched by these other perspectives.

    But then you have another group of people. These people are not receptive. They have openly placed themselves in opposition to our work and our beliefs. For these people, the labeling game means a great deal. They too may be good and honorable people, but they aren’t really going anywhere.

    I see little use in reaching out to them or trying to convince them otherwise. I suspect our visitor “christian” is one of these people. I think trying to argue the “are Mormons Christian” question with these people is a waste of time. It also puts us on the defensive when we have no reason to be defensive.

    More than half America doesn’t take the Evangelicals seriously. Why should we?

  36. Micky on June 21, 2007 at 11:38 am

    About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

    Peace Be With You
    Micky

  37. a christian on June 21, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Seth,

    Best wishes to you too.

    For the record I want to clear something up. The last thing I want anyone to do is denounce Christ. You are right, judgment day is not yet, but the time is short. I want everyone to truly accept Christ as their Savior. Those are my intentions.

    In response to post 33:
    The Book of Mormon does oppose the Bible. I’m sure that you know the scripture, but I will give the reference anyways. ! Nephi 13:26-29 speaks negatively of the Bible saying that things have been taken away from it so much that “Satan hath great power over them” that believe only in the bible. That is pretty much saying that the Bible in its current state in not trustworty. Also in 2 Nephi 29 “God” calls the gentiles fools because they believe in the bible and not the B. of Mormon. There have also been many comments from LDS leaders throughout the years.

    And just to let you know a little about me. I’m not some Christian who just hates LDS or something like that. I actually lived in Utah for about 5 years. I thought of joining the LDS church because the people were so nice and seemed to really know a lot about God. They actually lived out their religion, which being brought up Christian, I heard a lot of people claim to be Christians but their lives did show it. I wasn’t a Christian my self. Oh I called myself a Christian my whole life, but I only went to church because my mom wanted me to. When I left the house I didn’t follow at all. So while living in Utah, seeing all these moral people that I cared so much about really made me question Christianity. I even read the passage in Moroni 10 and prayed with a sincere heart. I feel like I never got an answer, until about a year and a half later. One night in January at about 3 in the morning in my bedroom, God made me born again. For the first time since I was a little kid I felt the Holy Spirit. That night He showed me my sin, that I need forgiveness, and His love. After that night I was a completely different person, everyone who knows me will testify to that. The next day I read my Bible for about 5 hours and pretty much everyday after that for about a year. I didn’t go to a church for about a month after that experience. I the first Christian church I went to after that didn’t really teach what the Bible was saying, so I stopped going there and found a church a couple months later that I could tell lined up with the scripture. I also read the B. of Mormon at this time because I still needed to kinow about the LDS church. Well after comparing the scripture and what my return missionary friends taught me, I came to the conclusion that the LDS church wasn’t a Christian sect.

    God can turn any situation around for the good, that’s what He does for those who love him as Paul says in Romans 8:28. My life is a testimony of His goodness.

    This should be my last post. I think I’ve angered enough of you even though that is not my intention. If I knew you personally we would sit down to lunch and discuss these things and I’d give you a hug when we finished and probably do the same thing the next day.

    May we all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, that there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus – 1 Tim 2:4

  38. Adam Greenwood on June 21, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Like most people here, I believe in Christ and the Bible, so you can relax and go about your business. Thanks for stopping by.

  39. mlu on June 22, 2007 at 1:07 am

    #29 Hey if you think that my religion is so false though, prove me wrong. Test the things I said about my religion and yours and prove that what I said is a lie. I\’ll tell you this, I\’m not afraid to look at anyones claims as to why my religion is false.

    I think the proper test is not mostly in theological disputations.

    I know sometimes when I am praying that I am not alone. The Lord has healed my children when they were sick. He has assisted me when I was beset with troubles. I know my faith is not false in somewhat the way I know my friends are real.

    Interestingly, I have both Protestant and Catholic friends who have had similar experiences and have come to the same knowledge of their faith. I concluded years ago that in important ways, their faith is the same as mine.

    There are doctrinal differences, to be sure, and these do matter. But I don’t intend to contend with them over such things, having been assured by the Bible, which I take as the word of God, that such contentions come from the Devil.

    The Crow chief Plenty Coups climbed a mountain during a troubled time and prayed for understanding, and he received a vision that guided his people through the coming troubles as new settlers entered the country all around them. I think I recognize his as a true faith leading to communication from the one living God. To be sure, I believe quite a different doctrine than the Crows, but my faith allows me to recognize truth in his faith and to understand how a loving God offers salvation to all who sincerely believe and strive to do the right things.