I like to tell the story of little orphan Andy.  Andy lived in an orphanage.  His greatest desire was to be adopted and become part of a family.  This is what he thought about every night before he went to sleep.

     One day a couple came to the orphanage and told Andy that they were thinking of adopting him but. . .    But they wanted to take him home for a month to see how it would work out.  After the month was up they would decide if they would adopt him.

     Andy went home with them and tried to be on his best behavior.  But every night he couldn’t help but wonder if he was good enough.  Talk about a stress-filled month!

     Let’s say, however, that this couple, instead of waiting for a month to make a decision, had come to the orphanage and told Andy that they had already adopted him. The papers were signed.  He was their son.

     Imagine the joy Andy felt.  Imagine how he would show his gratitude by trying to be the best he could be.  He would act even better than in the first scenario because he wouldn’t have the pressure of having to work to be accepted.

     By bringing obedience into the discussion of salvation, Mormonism puts people into the position of Andy in the first scenario.  Many Mormons feel tremendous stress as they work at becoming acceptable to God.  For example, The September 2009 Ensign says:  “An upcoming Q&A feature will focus on the following topic:  I often feel overwhelmed because I don’t feel I measure up to all that’s expected of me in living the gospel.  How can I learn to rejoice in the gospel when I feel like I may never be able to become or do all that the Lord requires of me?”

     The biblical gospel doesn’t put pressure on people, it takes it off.  It takes it off.  It does that because it is all about what Jesus did for us, not about what we have to do.  He paid for all our sins.  He fulfilled all righteousness for us.  Because of that we now can be like Andy in the second scenario.  We too try to please God – not however to become accepted, but because God has already accepted us through Jesus.  That difference in motivation makes all the difference in the world.

8 Responses to “LITTLE ORPHAN ANDY”

  1. 1 faithoffathers
    September 17, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I think the name of this site should be changed to “Arguments regarding faith vs. works.” Does anybody expect a different tone or result on this thread than on the other fifty that have covered this topic?


  2. 2 Echo
    September 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Can we ever hear how much God loves us, too much? I never tire of hearing it!

  3. September 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I don’t tire of it.

  4. 4 markcares
    September 17, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    It needs to be repeated over and over because that is a critical difference between Mormonism and Christianity. People’s eternal fate hang in the balance. Mixing words with grace in the discussion of what makes us acceptable to God ruins grace. That is a recipe for disaster.

  5. September 18, 2009 at 4:44 am

    Great word picture! The only change I would make is that while Andy was in the orphanage, he knew no other world and thought his miserable life was normal. The thought of leaving never entered his mind UNTIL the day came when he learned he’d been adopted and discovered a whole new world! We are dead in our sins, with no inclination to the Kingdom. Only when God regenerates us by His Spirit are we made alive and born again.

  6. 6 ADB
    September 21, 2009 at 6:12 pm


    I would certainly not expect a different “tone or result on this thread,” seeing as the message that needs to be heard is still the same. The more that message is proclaimed, the more opportunities the Holy Spirit has to work saving faith in the hearts of those visiting this blog. That goal hasn’t changed, and the means by which that goal is achieved hasn’t changed either.

  7. September 21, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    ” faith comes by hearing the word of God.”


    ” we are justified by faith”

    Mark ,

    I continue to pray for you & others as you share the word of God.

    Yes, it needs to be shared over and over again.

    This was a lovely anaology you shared here on this post. Especially since I am an adoptive mom, and also “adopted” into God’s family with no conditions. It’s all about His grace and blood.

    God bless,

  8. 8 Echo
    September 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    This thread reminds me of:

    John 8:34-35 “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”

    The thing about slaves is that while slaves benefit from many of the blessings of the household , they can be let go because they have no holding claim in the family.
    A slave generally remains in a household as long as the work he does meets or exceeds the expectations of the slave owner. But a SON belongs to the family forever.

    The quote Mark gave from the Ensign…:

    “I often feel overwhelmed because I don’t feel I measure up to all that’s expected of me in living the gospel. How can I learn to rejoice in the gospel when I feel like I may never be able to become or do all that the Lord requires of me?”

    The slave always has to worry if he is able to become or do all that is expected of him otherwise he loses his claim in the household. When the slave KNOWS he isn’t meeting the expectations laid out for him he also KNOWS he is subject to be let go from the household, naturally all he can do is worry.

    But a son doesn’t worry because a son is a son. He is family. A son simply rejoices in his adoption. It is permanent, it takes all the worry away!

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September 2009

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