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Mormon Church Visit

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Post Author:  Darrell

The Sunday before last some friends and I attended services at a local Ward of the Mormon Church.  This is the first time I have attended the LDS Church since leaving it for Christianity a few years ago.  For any Mormons reading this, please know that we were very polite and courteous during our visit.  We did not debate, argue, or disrupt any of their services.  For the most part, we listened quietly and asked a few non-confrontational questions during Sunday School.  In fact, we were so polite that the Second Counselor in the Bishopric invited us to come back (note: we won’t!)!

I have been discussing Mormonism on-line since leaving the Church, and being back reminded me of something that I had forgotten: there are some substantial differences between the Mormonism that is portrayed on-line by amateur LDS Apologists and the Mormonism as taught and practiced in the church Wards.

I realize that not all Mormons are going to believe exactly the same thing on every single issue and that some may be more nuanced in their beliefs than others.  However, I believe the difference we see between chapel Mormons and internet Mormons is more than mere nuance.  In on-line conversations, I have had internet Mormons declare emphatically that such and such is not Mormon doctrine.  However, when in the Mormon Church I have had chapel Mormons declare just as emphatically that such and such is Mormon doctrine.

For example, while at church this past Sunday, my friends and I attended the Gospel Principle’s class, the Sunday School class designed for investigators, i.e., those who are researching the church. During class, the teacher shared with us how “keeping the commandments” is a vital part of the formula for attaining salvation.  We politely pointed out how we believe that faith alone is all that is needed for salvation and that works are a result of, not a requirement for, salvation.  We then asked for clarification to make sure we understood exactly what she was saying.  In response, one of the members of class told us that keeping the commandments is not only vital to salvation, but there are some commandments that if not kept, will damn a person.

Unfortunately the bell rang ending class, so we didn’t have time to follow up with more questions.  However, I assume she was referring to Spencer W. Kimball’s book The Miracle of Forgiveness where he points out that murder is a nearly unforgivable sin and that denying the Holy Spirit (decreed by some to be apostasy from the Mormon Church) is unforgivable.

Here is the kicker though… we were taught this by a Mormon Sunday School Teacher in a class designed to teach investigators about Mormon beliefs.  The lady who taught the class has supposedly been called by God to teach the doctrine of God’s one and only true Church to investigators, yet in numerous conversations on-line, I have had internet Mormons tell me repeatedly that the LDS Church does not teach that works are required for salvation.  Instead, they say that the Mormon Church teaches salvation by faith alone.  Why the huge discrepancy?

For a church that is supposed to have the “plain and precious truths” of the restored gospel, there certainly is a lot of confusion amongst its members as to exactly what it teaches.  Perhaps the Church has apostatised again and the on-line Mormons should form a newly restored LDS Church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Internet Mormons.

 Mormon Church Visit

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Comments

  • Boz

    It sounds like the mormons need something similar to the catholic catechism, which sets out their official position to all these issues.

  • Jeff

    It sounds like they need to meet and experience the real Jesus Christ and the real truth! They don’t need catechism, they just need Jesus.

  • Brad

    Impossible, Boz, if continuing revelation is valid, due to the fact that it can change. That’s what makes it a “moving target” religion, unfortunately.

  • Jkbell2088

    We don’t need catechism, or debate. If anyone desires to know LDS doctrine all you need to do is consult the scriptures.
    In them we find that Christ died for or sins and told us to keep the commandments.

    He didn’t say if you love me you will keep the commandments.

    He said “If you love me, keep my commandments.” In other words, we still have free will.

    Your belief that that “works are a result of, not a requirement for, salvation” is different and therefore false.

    No one is going to be in the presents of God who murders, or lies or steals or commits adultery. But without Christ we would all be doomed to hell.
    Salvation comes through Christ and he expects us to follow him.

    One interesting fact. Put in “keep the commandments” in google and notice the high percentage of Mormon hits. Are we the only Church teaching their members to obey the will of God? It seems so!

  • Prestokeyo8908

    There is a cool scripture found in the book of Mormon. It is found in 2 Nephi 25 23 it says, for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. pretty clear

  • http://twitter.com/Yodude1990 Cody Bosch

    I guess a way to phrase it is that as you keep the commandments it makes it easier to return and we believe that there is more than just heaven and hell. there’s three degrees of glory after that once Jesus comes a second time. Then due to your actions it decides which level of glory you go to. So that may have been a confusion matter. So I guess technically we all get saved unless you reject the spirit, just that you’ll be truly happier if you do keep the commandments. I’m sorry, but yes I am LDS.

  • Frank keefe

    If I had to rely on myself to earn salvation then Jesus would not be the only worker of miracles I would also claim that distinction.

  • Jenny

    I once had a Mormon friend tearfully tell me,”Jenny, I can’t believe you think I’m not good enough to get to heaven!” She wasn’t. No one is. And neither are you. Heaven is hell if there are levels. You are no different from the Pharisees of the Bible; you want a pat on the back for your good works. Personally, I’d rather see all praise go to Jesus, as any good in me is from Him. In Revelation 4:10-11, the Bible tells us those who have put their faith & trust in Jesus Christ will cast their crowns before His throne giving him all glory, honor, and power. I look forward to that moment as He is my King and my Lord, forever.

  • tribhater

    I don’t know any LDS person that says the church teaches that we can be exalted on faith alone.

  • tribhater

    It really depends on your definition of salvation.

  • tribhater

    Good message.

  • tribhater

    We LDS are not looking for praise. We worship only God and Christ.

  • Matt

    wow Darrell, you and your friends really exposed those Mormons: actually teaching that we have to obey God’s commandments to receive His blessings: scandalous! Please go again so we can all get more dirt, maybe next time you’ll find them teaching that we’re supposed to serve and love one another.

  • Chase Braud

    I’m not LDS, but one way to help them out might be to accept salvation in the sense of forgiveness of sin is by faith alone, while sanctification (being made righteous in all our inner desires) requires time and works performed out of faith. In that case, if salvation is understood to not be just forgiveness, but also sanctification, then they can include those faithful works as part of the salvation process.

  • rogin

    And that’s how we are blessed: we obey God’s commandments by serving and loving one another as what you said.

    Let me share you our Hymn No,. 308 sang in 29,000+ congregation in 179 countries and territories worldwide:

    As I have loved you,
    Love one another.
    This new commandment:
    Love one another.
    By this shall men know
    Ye are my disciples,
    If ye have love
    One to another.

    http://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/love-one-another?lang=eng.

    Does it make sense?

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