Mormons often point to the fact that Jesus Christ is part of their church’s name as proof that they are Christians. But what struck me again last month as I was going door to door in Salt Lake City and talking with many LDS members is how much they didn’t want to talk about Jesus. We came to the door with the message of the great things Jesus has done for us; namely, that we were assured that we were worthy in God’s sight because of what he has done and that we knew we were forgiven through him. Almost invariably the person at the door would respond by saying that a person had a responsibility to obey the commandments and do good works. We wanted to talk about what Jesus had done and they wanted to talk about what they had to do.
I have only attended a few sacrament meetings, but I have noticed the same thing there. In all the meetings I attended there was much more talk about what they had to do than what Jesus did for them. All my friends who at one time were LDS verify that. To a person they say that in their individual wards the emphasis was always on what they had to do.
I see the same thing in the LDS manuals. For example, Jesus’ atonement is frequently mentioned but hardly ever emphasized. Most often it is used as a launching pad to lay out in great detail what works people need to add to the Atonement.
The bottom line is that it’s not just what is in a church’s name. It’s what a church teaches. It’s what a church emphasizes. And every contact I have with Mormonism, whether it is talking with its members or reading its manuals or attending its services, demonstrates that it puts the spotlight not on the great things Jesus has done for us but on the things people have to do.
I am so thankful that the Lord has said that I can be assured that I am worthy and forgiven right now because of Jesus. I am so thankful that the Lord has reassured me that I will be living with him for all eternity because Jesus has already done everything necessary for me to enter his presence. This free gift of worthiness and forgiveness now impels me all the more to do all I can to glorify him in my life and with my lips. To him be all praise and glory.