Some friends of mine have been visiting regularly with a couple of sister missionaries from the LDS Church. They got onto the topic of sin and my friends pointed to Luke 12:22 and shared how worry is a sin. (The LDS Bible footnotes this verse by saying that the phrase “take no thought” means “don’t worry”.) One of the sisters replied that if worry was a sin, she was in big trouble!
I knew Mormonism didn’t talk much about worry but I never really explored that more. So I checked the manual True to the Faith which lists many topics. Not listed. Same result with their Bible Dictionary. Interestingly the Topical Guide said to see “fearful” – which gives it a somewhat different connotation. I then went to lds.org and typed in the question, “Is worry a sin?” Some results came up but none of them pertained to the question. In other words, I couldn’t find any LDS source that labeled worry a sin.
But it is. Just like Jesus told us not to do many other things, he told us not to worry. And when you stop and think about it, it is quite apparent why worry is sinful. It exhibits lack of trust. As someone once said, worry is a form of atheism. Whenever you worry, you are calling God less than trustworthy.
But let’s go back to what the sister said. “If worry is a sin, she is in big trouble.” That’s absolutely correct. In God’s sight, worry is as damnable a sin as any other – each and every sin, regardless of how we view it, is a capital crime. There are no misdemeanors in God’s set of laws. Neither are there simple felonies. Each and every sin is a capital crime. “For whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10) One sin –regardless of what it is – makes us “guilty of all”.
And that is why we can do nothing to earn our acquittal. Because we can’t keep ourselves from sinning. We concentrate on not worrying only to find ourselves falling into pride, or jealousy, or anger or what have you. Trying to keep ourselves from sinning is like playing a game of whack a mole on a football field! When we whack one sin, another pops up – and then another and another . . . There is no way that we can even begin to keep ourselves from sinning.
That’s devastating news because sin is so serious. And God wants us to feel devastated by our sins. Because then, and only then, will we realize how desperately we need somebody to save us. Before we can truly see our Savior, we need to clearly see our sins. And that is why Mormonism’s tendency to not call sin a sin is so dangerous. (Another example of that is the explanation that Peter never sinned when he denied knowing Jesus since Jesus earlier had told his disciples to tell no man who he was!) The less you see the extent and seriousness of your sins, the less desperate you are for a Savior.
Worrying is a big deal. As is jealousy, pride, selfishness, lust, greed, anger, laziness, harmful words, and a boatload of other things. The only thing that can atone for them is the pure, unadulterated blood of Jesus. To him be all praise and glory.