In February of 1969 I entered the West Central States Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Where’s that? Perhaps that’s why I was honorably released from the Montana-Wyoming Mission two years later. The Mission included portions of South east Idaho, Chadron Nebraska, the western half of North and South Dakota and two towns in Utah.
So, what’s the point? I thought the purpose of a Mormon Missionary was to quote Bible scriptures at people until they fell on their knees and asked for baptism. It took about a year before I figured out that the old sayings and quotes of the sages were as true as the words of the Prophets. “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” -Benjamin Franklin
Why, so many years later am I dredging up old memories? Because today I have three of six children who have left the faith I taught them. One keeps sending me Anti-Mormon messages and links to articles and media. To him, this is dedicated.
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We can go back and forth forever, so let’s take a step back and consider why we are saying what we are saying. Orrin Woodward, the guiding light of Life Leadership, is a dedicated Christian and in no way can be accused of being a Mormon or Mormon sympathiser. I respect him because he asks everyone, Christian and not, this challenge:
“Know why you believe What you believe”. He has quoted:
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
In the book “Launching a Leadership Revolution”, co-authored with Chris Brady, who also feels the same way about religion as Orrin, they said:
Life should be about purpose and meaning and cause and fulfilling our personal, god-given destinies. Without exception, this is achieved through, with, and for people.
How much time did Billy Graham spend “bashing” Mormons? He spent his life testifying of Christ. He didn’t have the time! You don’t need to be re-baptized. Go ahead and study in Moody Bible College. But for heaven sake, quit wasting time listening to people who have no life purpose! Actually everyone has a purpose, but most don’t bother to invest the effort to detect and pursue their life purpose.
Son, the tone of the articles you send is that of criticism condemnation and complaint. Dale Carnegie in his self help classic, “How To Win Friends and Influence People” said:
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because is wounds a person’s pride, hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment.
And from the Bible:
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
If I am thinking about all the “bad” things the Anti-Mormons are saying about my beliefs, am I following Paul’s direction to the Philippians?
William Fowble said: “If you chase perfection, you often catch excellence.”
That also fits with Matthew 5: 48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
If we are commanded to be perfect, and were not, would not the road to perfection lie through the village of excellence?
President Theodore Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians 4:11-13 said:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
What is the fullness of Christ? All Christians agree it is perfection. So, according to Paul, in addition to evangelists, pastors and teachers, we could use some help from Apostles and Prophets. OK, if the “Mormon” Apostles and Prophets are “fake”, where are the “real” ones?
In 1914 the United States was a Christian country. One hundred years later, are we more or less Christian? Are fewer people worshiping idols of gold or power rather than the one true God? Are fewer people committing Murder, Adultery, Theft, Perjury and Covetousness? What about since 1814 or the last Thousand Years?
Dedicated Christians don’t have time to criticize, condemn or complain about those they consider “non-Christians”. But, not all “Anti-Mormons are Christian. I submit that NONE of them are! The true Christian is a prayer warrior. The true Christian is a missionary. The true Christian is a martyr. The true Christian is a servant of all.
Finally, consider this:
from Acts 5:
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
We send 18 and 19 year old Children into the mission fields of the world, at their own expense and without a Divinity Degree. They baptize hundreds every day. We wed hundreds of couples in our Temples every day, except sundays, and the divorce statistics bear out that it “sticks” better than any other community or group. Fewer children are born out of wedlock. Fewer members are on Government Welfare roles. How do we do it? What is the explanation? Why are all those people joining the “Mormon” Church? Are 18 and 19 year old High School children taught to be so persuasive? Do they learn tricks of hypnosis? What is going on here?
This is what’s going on:
Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies. Keep the faith and stay on the straight and narrow path. Use wisdom and judgment in what you say and do, so that we do not give cause to others to hold the Church or its people in disrepute. Do not be surprised or dismayed if trials and challenges come upon us. This work, which Satan seeks in vain to tear down, is that which God has placed on earth to lift mankind up!
I have lived for more than half the 150 years the restored Church has been upon the earth in this last dispensation. I have witnessed its marvelous growth until it now is established in the four corners of the earth. As the Prophet Joseph said:
“Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).
Spencer W. Kimball, April 1980 General Conference
“Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
God bless you in your search for truth.