Archive for July 10th, 2012

10
Jul
12

A Loving Witness

Chapter 14 of the Teachings of George Albert Smith encourages LDS members to share Mormonism with non-Mormons with love and kindness and not coercion or criticism.  Here is one of his statements.

     “It is not the purpose of this Church to make statements that would hurt the feelings of those who do not understand things. This Church is not one that goes about criticising and finding fault with others, but in the spirit of loving kindness and the desire to be helpful, its representatives carry the Gospel message to the nations of the earth.

     In all … churches there are good men and good women. It is the good that is in these various denominations that holds them together. It has been my privilege to be with people in many parts of the world and to be in the homes of many people of the various denominations of the world, both Christian and Jew. I have been with the [Muslims]; I have been with those who believe in Confucius; and I might mention a good many others. I have found wonderful people in all these organizations, and I have the tremendous responsibility wherever I go among them, that I shall not offend them, not hurt their feelings, not criticize them, because they do not understand the truth.”

A little bit earlier he relates a conversation he had with a Presbyterian minister.  In that conversation he said, “First of all, we are asking all you fine people over here to keep all the glorious truths that you have acquired in your churches, that you have absorbed from your scriptures, keep all that.”

In many ways, this brings us back to the subject of my last post.  As these quotes indicate, George Albert Smith was not inclined to highlight the differences in people’s beliefs – even when he was talking to a believer of Confucius or a Muslim.  By including this in the manual being studied this year, the LDS Church is telling its members to take the same stance.  This approach is labeled as doing mission work with love and kindness.

Is such an approach even realistic?  As has been amply pointed out, there are many major differences between Mormonism and the beliefs of other churches.  Is it true that the LDS Church would accept me if I kept all the glorious truths that I have acquired in my church and absorbed from the scriptures?  How about the most glorious truth of all – that my living with heavenly Father doesn’t depend one iota on what I do, but rests 100% on what Jesus has already done for me – that I don’t have to participate in any temple ordinances or anything else to live eternally with him.  Does the LDS Church truly encourage me to keep that glorious truth?

And is this a loving approach?  Isn’t it loving to point out error?  Isn’t it loving to warn people about the dreadful consequences of error – especially any error that will result in eternal damnation?  I wonder what President Smith would have told Jesus when he vehemently criticized the Pharisees’ false teaching?  I wonder what he would have told the prophets and apostles who denounced false prophets?

One of the most loving things we can do is warn about error and its consequences.  A good example of that is seen in the website, www.beyeperfect.org. I encourage you to check it out.

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