25
Sep
08

Why Become A Mormon?

 

 

     Why should I consider becoming a Mormon?  I think that is a good question to ask Mormons.  But I also think it is only right to explain to them that from my perspective I would lose so much.  Even if I thought Mormonism’s plan of salvation was God-pleasing (which I don’t), from my perspective it doesn’t look very attractive.

     Right now I have forgiveness freely and fully through Jesus.  Why would I want to give that up for forgiveness that depends on a long and often painful process of repentance?  Right now, because Jesus has made me acceptable to God, I have the assurance that I will live with Heavenly Father for all eternity.  Why would I give up that sure thing for the uncertainty of becoming worthy enough to live with Heavenly Father?  Right now my life in Christ in wonderful.  Each day I experience his forgiveness, his protection, his love.  How can Mormonism improve on that?

     I have to admit that I began asking that question out of frustration after being repeatedly told by LDS members how much I was missing.  Even after I told them I was a Christian pastor, many persisted in trying to convince me how much better off I would be as a Mormon.  Therefore I began asking the question as stated above.  What I have discovered is that it often led to some decent discussions about salvation and forgiveness.  It is my prayer that some Mormons left the conversation not only more aware of the Christian view of salvation but also wondering if that would be the better course for them also.

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22 Responses to “Why Become A Mormon?”


  1. September 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Mark, whenever I tell people that a lot of Evangelical belief just doesn’t appeal to me, I just don’t like it much, they always tell me it doesn’t matter what I think about it, it only matters what is true.

    So there you go I guess.

  2. September 25, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    The only important question is whether it’s true or not. Did God call Joseph Smith to restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth or not? Does Jesus Christ head the Church today as His only true and living Church on the earth?

    Since the doctrine of Christ isn’t up for personal interpretation, if Christ Himself told you that your understanding of things was not complete would you then ignore Him because you liked your own version of things better?

    That is our claim, that God has called modern day prophets to guide us on our mortal journey back to Him. Our invitation to the world is to come and learn for yourself about the enlightening and clarifying doctrines God has revealed.

    If the work is of God then it is in everyone’s best interest to follow in faith. How does one know whether it’s true? “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” – Matt 7:7

    or again in Matt. 21: 22 – “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

  3. 3 Andrew AA
    September 25, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Mark,

    The problem with your perception of Christ’s saving grace is that it doesn’t require repentance. Repentance, depending on the sin, can be very painful, but at least it is possible. Think about the pain that Christ suffered for you!

    One thing that I think that many evangelicals miss is that you can only be saved if you keep God’s commandments. Mere belief and professed Christianity are not enough. Christ himself said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matt 7:21.

    Christ commands us to be baptized and follow him for the entirety of our lives with all our might, mind, and strength. D & C 4. That is what he requires of us. We must live our lives for him, that we might come unto him.

    aaa

  4. 4 DysfunctionalParrot
    September 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Here’s a good reason not to be Mormon: BOOK-OF-ABRAHAM.

  5. 5 TXNate
    September 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    “Since the doctrine of Christ isn’t up for personal interpretation, if Christ Himself told you that your understanding of things was not complete would you then ignore Him because you liked your own version of things better?”

    My understanding of things is what Paul said: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, KJV) Are you saying this is not complete? Now granted, there are systematic, Bible-based theologies that are quite useful in understanding this event, but if you’ll notice, this theology (if it’s good) tends to point directly back to Jesus. Good theology explains the significance of the cross.

    So here is my question: why is the sacrifice made by Christ not complete for our sins? I heard a great analogy about this:
    A man is on death row. His friend, who has done nothing wrong, opts purely out of love to take this man’s place, and be executed himself, so that his friend won’t have to take the punishment. However, after the execution, the freed man decides to stay in his cell. He says that his friend’s death wasn’t payment enough for his heinous crime. The man says he needs to stay in jail for the rest of his life and make himself the best prisoner possible. After all, is it really fair that he be freed that easily?

    The point is this: Christ didn’t die so that we could be the best prisoner we could be. He died to set us free. A related question I would ask is this: how can our good deeds pay back even a drop of Jesus’s blood?

    “with His stripes we are healed”, not with our deeds.
    Nate

  6. 6 Susan
    September 26, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Mark,

    I’m curious about something…do you ever receive comments from a Mormon who is sincerely seeking to understand or investigate your faith? I don’t read these types of sites/blogs often, because I find them disheartening. It makes me think of 1 Peter 3:15, where we are instructed to always be prepared to give an ANSWER to those who ASK for the reason of the hope that we have. And again in 2 Timothy 2:23, we are warned not to have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments. I haven’t read a lot of the comments, but I have yet to see anyone ASKING…I just see a lot of DEBATING (arguing). The Spirit has to do His work first, we can’t shine light before the veil has been lifted. Believe me, I understand your heart’s desire. But I’ve been in so many of these conversations that always seem to end the same way.

  7. 7 markcares
    September 26, 2008 at 1:25 am

    Susan:
    Yes we have. Often those who are searching are hesitant to comment publicly and contact us privately. In five minutes I’m leaving for an appointment with a LDS family who weren’t originally searching but contact with Christians got them thinking and exploring.

  8. September 26, 2008 at 3:09 am

    TXNate,

    It seems you’ve come a bit late to the discussion; we’ve been over and over the saved by works debate. As LDS that’s not what we believe, it’s just what evangelicals think we believe because we do believe doing our best to follow Christ’s teachings is the only way to manifest true faith in Him and thus receive saving grace.

    My question still stands, if Christ appeared and told you that your interpretation of the Bible was not completely correct, what would you do? We’re here to proclaim that Christ has indeed offered more to the world (as prophesied in the Bible), so come and learn more about Him.

    What do evangelicals believe about this verse anyway? Rev. 14:6 – “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,”

  9. September 26, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Susan,

    A large majority of a blog’s readership never comments. So it’s important when blogging to keep in mind those who are not saying anything just as much as those who are.

  10. 10 Berean
    September 26, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Reggie said:

    “The only important question is whether it’s true or not. Did God call Joseph Smith to restore the fullness of the gospel to the earth or not? Does Jesus Christ head the Church today as His only true and living Church on the earth?”

    Reggie, I completely agree because Mormonism rises or falls on Joseph Smith. If he wasn’t who he said he was and his teachings are in error, then the LDS Church is wrong and falls with him (Doctrine of Salvation, Vol.1, p. 188). I believe that Joseph Smith is a false prophet for many, many reasons. The Great Apostasy as believed by Mormons is not factual and is easily debunked by history and by Mormon scriptures ironically. The “Jesus” of the Mormons is another Jesus (2 Cor 11:4) and is not the Jesus as revealed in the Bible and therefore must be rejected. Mormonism’s position on modern day prophets doesn’t “hold water” scripturally either and we have no need for those prophets today. They have been replaced completely by Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). The doctrines and teachings of Mormonism and Joseph Smith are contrary to what God has already revealed in His Word – the Bible. Therefore, they all must be rejected.

    Asking God to reveal something to you that He has already plainly revealed to you is senseless. The Moroni 10:3-5 request/test doesn’t work with the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible does it state that a believer is supposed to pray to ask IF A BOOK IS TRUE. Does James 1:1-5 ask the person to pray to God and ask Him if the Bible is true when God has already said that it is (John 17:17)?

    Much could be said about all of this. To bring this on topic, it is for the reasons stated above and hundreds more why I could not be a Mormon. Mormonism is another gospel, another spirit and another Jesus (2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1:1-6); Joseph Smith failed the test of a true prophet (Deut 13:1-5;18:9-14,18-22) and therefore must be rejected completely.

  11. 11 Berean
    September 26, 2008 at 4:32 am

    Reggie,

    I guess Andrew AA didn’t get the memo about the salvation by grace/works issue that you state Mormons believe in because he said, “you can only be saved if you keep God’s commandments. Mere belief and professed Christianity are not enough.” We’ve definitely gone over that one here and in other places hundreds of times, but new Mormons to the blog and elsewhere state what they have just heard at the ward so we have to keep talking about it over and over.

    Andrew AA:

    Are you keeping all of the commandments continually? If not, you won’t make it where the Mormon god is (D&C 25:15). If not, you also won’t be forgiven either (D&C 1:32). Can you keep the law perfectly as described in the Old Testament or on the Sermon on the Mount? Last time I checked, only Jesus could do that and that is what made him qualified to be our atonement – a perfect sacrifice. You see, Christians are all about obedience and obeying what the Lord says, but not for the same reasons as Mormons. Christians obey because of gratitude – from the heart (Rom 6:17; Psa 40:8). Those that are trying to live under the law are not going to be justified (Gal 2:16). If you break even one of the commandments in the slightest way, then you are guilty of breaking all of the law (James 2:10) and now you are under the curse (Gal 3:10).

    Are you doing the will of the Father? I am. What is the will of the Father?

    John 6:40 – And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and BELIEVETH on him, nay have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day”.

    John 6:47 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that BELIEVETH on me hath everlasting life.”

    Ephesians 2:8-9 – “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.”

    …more reasons why I can’t be a Mormon.

  12. 12 Berean
    September 26, 2008 at 4:58 am

    More reasons why I can’t or would not be a Mormon:

    1. I don’t want to have my personal worthiness judged by others based on whether or not I decided to participate in scouts, coaching or other tasks put on me by the ward bishop.
    2. Having to put my tithe check in the bishopric’s hand at service and having an end-of-the-year settlement on my tithes by the bishop and me. Also, giving the LDS Church my employment information as a means of checks & balances. This is my business and not anyone else’s.
    3. Being called by the ward bishop or stake president and have pressure put on me to participate financially in political issues (proposition in California on same sex marriage).
    4. Having to confess to my sins to the bishop.
    5. Being so busy with church activities and obligations almost on a daily or nightly basis that I don’t have time for anything else. My Mormon friends have complained to me about this all the tim.
    6. Being asked to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to get up to speed on home storage requirements.
    7. Being asked personal questions in the temple interview and my financial matters being checked to determine whether or not I am worthy to enter the temple.
    8. Being told what ward and what service at that ward (morning or afternoon service) I can attend.
    9. Being asked to live under Mormon law in what is expected of Mormons on true Sabbath keeping.
    10. Being told that I must wear temple garments at all times.
    11. Being told what Church magazines I must subscribe to.
    12. Being asked to perform baptisms for the dead and go through other temple ordinances that are occultic in nature.
    13. Having to accept never ending new doctrines while running away from doctrines of the past or disregarind those certain doctrines by past prophets.
    14. Being told only part of the story when it comes to the history of the LDS Church. (Joseph Smith and his 34 wives in which 11 of them were currently married to other men; the events that took place at Carthage Jail; etc, etc, etc, etc.)
    15. Having to obey the Word of Wisdom when Joseph Smith didn’t and also because there is no support for it Biblically.

    Wow, the list could go on and on. This is called LAW. The gospel of Christ is not about LAW (Romans 3:28,28; Gal 2:16). Those who want to live under the LAW are under the curse (Gal 3:10). There is no joy, happiness and peace in the LAW – only bondage. The above stated are man’s decrees – not Christ’s. By putting ourselves under the above stated we are being under the control of a man-made institution that runs our lives. For those reasons and many more I cannot be a Mormon.

  13. September 26, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Berean, both Mormon doctrine, and every general authority I’ve heard speak on the subject understood that keeping all the commandments was impossible for human beings. Thus the constantly emphasized need for repentance.

    Is repentance a one-shot-deal for you?

  14. 14 Berean
    September 26, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    No, repentance is not a one-shot-deal for me. I repent every time I pray because I realize that I sin daily one way or another in thought, word or deed – sins of omission and sins of commission. I’d appreciate it if you could supply me with some references from Mormon sources that say what you are saying: keeping all the commandments is impossible for human beings. That sure doesn’t line up with Mormon scriptures and it sure doesn’t make sense when the LDS Church is constantly “beating the drum” about commandment keeping. Proof of this just in this thread is Andrew AA’s post. You can’t just be a commandment keeper and obey only part of them. It’s all or nothing (James 2:10). This is further verified in the Mormon program in its own scriptures.

    1 Nephi 3:7 states pretty clear that there are no commadments out there that you can’t keep. Moroni 10:32 states that you have to deny yourselves of ALL ungodliness FIRST, and THEN are you qualified to have Christ’s grace be sufficient for you. D&C 1:32 says “does the commandments” are a prerequisite for being forgiven. Remember James 2:10/1 Nephi 3:7 if you want to be a law/commandment keeper. D&C 25:15 says that you keep the commandments continually and unless you do this you will not be where the Father is. Is this only part of the commandments? No, it’s not in the Mormon law system. D&C 58:42-43 says that if you repent of your sins you will forsake them which means not repeat them again. If you do repeat them that shows that true repentance was not done and now those sins come back on you two-fold (D&C 82:7). Are you keeping celestial law (D&C 88:22)? If not, you won’t inherit a celestial glory.

    I won’t reference quotes from Kimball, Smith and others to add further strength to this position. It really is a vicious cycle this idea of repentance/forgiveness in Mormonism. It’s impossible. This is bondage and Christ has set us free from this type of bondage. Compare D&C 25:15 to John 3:16.

    D&C 25:15 – Keep my commandments continually ,and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.

    John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever BELIEVETH in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

    See the difference? One is keeping the commandments continually which are impossible and God knew it. The other is contingent on our faith and what we believe. Romans 3:20 says that the commandments were given to us to make us aware of our sin. This shows our utter helplessness in trying to keep the commandments perfectly thus our need in accepting the perfect law keeper’s (Christ) sacrifice and perfection for ourselves.

  15. 15 Susan
    September 26, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Mark,

    Thank you for your response. It is an encouragement to me as I continue to lay those I love before the Lord. Bless you for your ministry and your perserverence.

    Seth,

    I appreciate your comment as well!

  16. September 26, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    Rustled up a couple quotes Berean. I might be able to find more, given some time.

    President David O. McKay:

    “Every principle and ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ is significant and important … , but there is none more essential to the salvation of the human family than the divine and eternally operative principle [of] repentance” (Gospel Ideals [1953], 13).

    Dieter F. Uchtdorf (our current 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency):

    It is not repentance per se that saves man. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that saves us. It is not by our sincere and honest change of behavior alone that we are saved, but “by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” ( 2 Nephi 25:23). True repentance, however, is the condition required so that God’s forgiveness can come into our lives. True repentance makes “a brilliant day [out] of the darkest night” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 362).
    Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Point of Safe Return,” Ensign, May 2007, 99–101

    “The essence of the miracle of forgiveness is that it brings peace to the previously anxious, restless, frustrated, perhaps tormented soul. … God will wipe away … the tears of anguish, and remorse, … and fear, and guilt” (The Miracle of Forgiveness, 363, 368).

    I know this probably isn’t enough to put the issue to rest. But I’ve always read stuff like this as simply calling us to a constant process of repentance. When general authorities talk about perfection being possible, I’ve read it as perfection in repentance. The idea being that the believer is perfect in the moment of perfection. Thus the need for constant sincere repentance. Maybe I’ll have some quotes for you later.

  17. 17 Stephanie
    September 26, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    TX Nate –

    I really like your analogy with the death-row inmate. It is a pretty good picture of what we humans try to do with all works-based religions, including Mormonism. It shows very clearly the absurdity of staying in our prison cell to be the “best prisoner” we can be, when Christ has opened the prison door. Yet we refuse to come out! I really paints a clear picture of what Mormonism is, and all the laws and commands the LDS must keep.

    Seth – About continual repentance… I repent daily and whenever I pray for sins committed and omitted. But it isn’t a long, agonizing process. I know that Christ forgives me, has actually already forgiven me, even if I forget to repent / confess of a certain sin. I don’t worry about repentance in the same way that Mormons worry about it, because their salvation rests also on this “work” of repentance, correct? If you forgot to repent of your sins, would you still be with Heavenly Father in the Celestial kingdom? There is a difference in repentance among the LDS and the Evangelical churches. Our salvation really rests on Christ’s work alone, and not even on our repentance, although as believers we are truly sorry for our sins and will feel remorseful and sad over our sins, and will desire to repent and will repent… but I think repentance falls into the same category as good works… Repentance is a fruit of faith, not a root of faith. And we still will struggle daily with our old nature, our sinful nature.

  18. September 26, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    “If you forgot to repent of your sins, would you still be with Heavenly Father in the Celestial kingdom?”

    It’s not like the typical Mormon feels like this life is the only shot you have at repentance. Also, I don’t think you can really separate repentance from the Atonement. Evangelicals typically assert that a true confession of Christ is what is necessary to invoke the Atonement, so it’s not like you guys are relying on grace alone either. You also believe there is something that has to be done by the believer.

    For Mormons, this “confession” and repentance are synonymous. The repentance IS the confession of Christ. And it’s something that has to be renewed. This relationship with Christ must be renewed to be of effect.

  19. 19 Berean
    September 27, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Seth,

    Thanks for the quotes. They focused on repentance which is good, but it wasn’t the point you referred to in your earlier statement that:

    “…bothe Mormon doctrine, and every general authority I’ve heard speak on the subject understood that keeping all the commandments was impossible for human beings.”

    That specifically is what I would like a reference on because Mormon scriptures don’t allow that “parachute” on not being able to keep them all (1 Nephi 3:7).

  20. September 27, 2008 at 5:02 am

    Well, I knew they only get halfway, but that’s all I could come up with short notice. I imagine there’s other stuff out there.

  21. 21 Michelle
    February 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I have read this thread and while it is great to see open discussion I feel as always in religion it turns to arguing due to each defending “the rules”.

    This is exactly why I find it so difficult to join and follow any faith. I believe there is a God, I am spiritual, I believe we need more faith in LOVE. Why not just hear each other at will rather than argue your side and try to prove who is right or wrong. Surely if there is a God he would wish for us all to live in peace and believe whatever we choose in the hope that this free will should allow us to make the right choices, many of which can be guided beautifully by any faith book (Bible, Book of Mormen, Koraan etc).

    I got here while researching the Church of Latter Day Saints to which I am very drawn but feel disappointed by this discussion. I like the way they rarely put themselves in a positions to argue whats right and wrong in the eyes of other faiths. Why rise to the battle. Who cares! Surely each human has the choice to read, listen and research at will and follow which ever faith they choose as long as they are happy & care & respect one another.

    Michelle

  22. 22 Echo
    March 4, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Hi Michelle,

    LOVE is a wonderful thing, and those who love others the most are those who are willing to prevent others from suffering the harmful and potentially fatal effects that false teaching can have on the soul. Your right, it’s not loving to try to prove somebody wrong if that is our only purpose. It is however very loving to want to reach out and help someone to see God’s truth in order to prevent them from suffering any spiritual harm or spiritual death to their souls. In fact, it’s the most loving thing to do!

    Thanks for posting your comments.


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