Archive for June, 2011

To Go or Not To Go…That is the Question

June 29, 2011 8 comments

I recently taught a three week class on Mormonism. From that class, I have received a number of questions on different topics (like having a Mormon in the White House). So far, the question I have heard the most is, should we let our kids go to church with their LDS friends?

The question is a hard one to answer. There are plenty of people on both sides of the argument and I think both have good reason to think the way they do. Here is my opinion that I admit is stated strongly.

My daughter is 9 and we personally would not let her go. Now that she is becoming more knowledgeable about both Christianity and Mormonism, I don’t really worry about her doctrinally. In fact, I think she would be correcting the teachers if she did go. We don’t let her go because of the spiritual aspects.

I don’t say any of what follows to scare you or to mis-characterize Mormons so please understand that. From my perspective, they worship a false god (See Exodus 32) so that means to me that they worship a demonic god. I don’t want my daughter to be exposed to those kinds of spirits if I can avoid it. I know that statement is going to rub all Mormons and even some Christians the wrong way but if you look at it logically, if you are not worshiping the One True God, then there is only one other option.

Will your kids be singing and praying in the LDS services?

Could they be agreeing with songs of worship and prayers offered to a false god without realizing it? Watch this sermon to understand my perspective on this.

Does that open them up to the influence of demonic spirits?

Does it give the Mormon family a greater sense of legitimacy as being another Christian church?

I have my own answers/opinions to those questions but they are something you need to prayerfully consider. Letting your kids go with their LDS friends is not always wrong.

Here is what my advice would be if you do let your kids go to the Mormon church.

1. Consider going with them.

2. Pray over them before they go and when they come back.

3. Give them an assignment. If they are old enough to go to church with friends, they are most likely old enough to understand at least the basic concepts of Christianity. So have them go with their eyes and ears open for teachings that appear to be either slightly off or completely unique to Mormonism. Then after church, discuss 2-3 of those things and study the Bible together about those topics to understand what God says about that point of doctrine. That way, they are not confused. They will also gain some great experience in the Word and learn how to defend their faith.

4. Propose a church swap with both the parents and kids if possible. Most LDS kids are willing to make a commitment to go to church with you if you go with them but the parents are less likely to go. If they do agree to this, try a Saturday night service so it does not interfere with their normal Sunday meetings because most likely they are serving in some way and cannot miss church.

Make sure to let them know what to expect with the service. Briefly explain things like worship style (traditional or contemporary music, how Pentecostal are you), what Bible does your Pastor usually read from, dress code and things like that are important bits of information so they are not caught off guard. For many, it will be their first step into a Christian church and depending on the style; it could be a huge difference.

Then when you go to their meetings, make sure you are respectful to their dress code as well and wear what is appropriate and be prepared for 3 hours of church. You will most likely be taken to a Sunday School class that teaches the basic doctrines of Mormonism called Gospel Principles. Just like your kids, keep your eyes and ears open for doctrines that may sound Christian but have a little twist. If others in the class have a manual, ask for one so you can read what they are teaching from.

I think one of the best weeks to go to the LDS church is the 1st Sunday of the month which they call Fast and Testimony meeting. In this meeting, the pulpit is open to anyone who wants to get up and share their testimony. To them a testimony is basically a statement of beliefs like “I know Joseph Smith was a prophet.” If this is the week you go, pay close attention to what the people are saying and the order in which it is said. You will notice a pattern in their speech that will tell you a lot about their priorities.

I know some of my points may seem a bit extreme or even harsh. It is not popular to insinuate that a group of very nice, hard working people with great family values are worshiping a false or demonic god (knowingly or unknowingly).

Please remember, it is not the person but rather the doctrines that we as Christians have issues with. Mormons are a fantastic group of people…but they are deceived and blinded from the truth taught in the Bible. Pray for those asking you or your kids to go to church with them. That is the most important thing you can do.

Categories: Mormonism, Teaching, Worship

A Mormon in the White House

June 26, 2011 3 comments

With 2 Mormons now in the race to take up residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the beliefs (and perceived oddity) of the LDS church are again brought into political conversations throughout the nation. As with any political discussion, polar extremes are common. This is certainly true when looking at the differing opinions about the prospect of having a Mormon as President. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the issue but I can see merit in both sides of the argument.

Why are some so opposed to the idea? They look at historical tendencies and wonder if Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman would follow the example of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. When Nauvoo, Illinois was the primary city for the Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith established a functional theocracy. Not only was Smith the Prophet and leader of the LDS church, he was also Mayor and General of the Nauvoo Legion (militia). With the population being overwhelmingly Mormon, the church also controlled the local economy. At the same time, Joseph Smith also announced that he was running for the office of President of the United Sates. Because of his power in the region, he ordered a printing press being used to make the Nauvoo Expositor destroyed because the paper brought to light information about Smith’s hidden practice of polygamy among other damaging information. This was viewed as an act of treason by surrounding leaders and Smith was arrested and taken to Carthage Jail. It was there that a mob would attack the Mormon leader and kill him in a gun battle in which both sides would participate and inflict casualties.

Brigham Young became the next leader of the LDS church and began to seek a place of isolation where he could take his followers. His only choice was to go West to Utah. At this time, Utah was part of Mexico territory. When the Mormons began to settle there, Young followed the example of his predecessor. He became Governor to Utah, the commander of their militia and established complete control of the surrounding area. He established another Mormon theocracy.

Is it likely that a Mormon in the office of President could establish something like this again? I highly doubt it. A theocracy in a city or an area outside of US control during the 1800s is one thing, but to take the most powerful nation in the world today and do the same would be next to impossible.

One of the other things that causes hesitation is something called the “White Horse Prophecy”. This was a prophecy originally given by Smith but later reiterated by other LDS leaders. In this prophecy, Smith claimed that one day the US Constitution would one day hang by a thread and that the Elders of the LDS church would help rescue it. If you listen to Glenn Beck (a Mormon) he uses the “hanging by a thread” portion of the prophecy on a regular basis. It is thought that electing Romney, Huntsman or another Mormon to the highest office in the land would give the LDS church justification for saying Smith was a true prophet. While one true prophecy in the context of many other false ones does not make someone a prophet, Mormons will not hesitate to use it to bolster the reputation of Smith.

This brings us to the next reason which I agree with. It is that having a Mormon as President would lend credibility to the LDS church and aid its exposure and evangelistic efforts around the world. I don’t really see this as helping them in the United Sates because the exposure here will take people to Google where there is an endless reservoir of truthful information available with a simple click. In other countries, where information is not as easily accessible or not available in the correct language, the only information many will see if what they get from the Mormon missionaries and what they know of the President. This information will be misleading or incomplete and many will join without a proper understanding of what Latter-day Saints believe.

The last cause for concern that I have heard is that the Mormon’s allegiance lies with the church above all else. This is true. When a Mormon goes through their temple and performs the ordinances required for salvation (exaltation), one of the covenants they make is with the church, to consecrate all their time, talents and resources to it. They also promise to never go speak evil of church leaders and to obey their teachings. To what extent will this come into play? I honestly have no idea. It is however something to think about and could shape their policy.

Where do I stand on the issue? I lean more towards the idea of not voting for a Mormon (due to the last 3 points) but I am not fully convinced of that stance. I would prefer to have a President who shares my religious beliefs. Who my other options are would probably have more to do with it than anything.

It should also be noted that there are many members of Congress that are Mormons. Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch being the most well known.

Where do you stand? Would you vote for a Mormon President?

UPDATE: 9/1/2012
It has been over a year since I wrote the original post and many of my thoughts remain the same. However I have had some time to think more on this issue. I still would prefer a solid Christian candidate but one is not available.
I have been able to discuss with other people the idea of having a Mormon President and if it would lend credibility to the LDS church. Through those conversations I have come to the conclusion that having Romney (or any Mormon) as President may actually be a very bad thing for Mormonism. If Romney does make it to the white house, it will keep Mormonism under a microscope for the next 4-8 years which will only expose it more. Rather than legitimizing it, it may actually do just the opposite if we can take advantage of the added exposure.

The real question that is constantly running through my mind is are we ready for that? Is the Christian church equipped to handle those disaffected LDS that choose to leave? Can we answer their questions? When their faith in “church” has been ruined, can we lift them up and show them what the church should be? Can we help them not only see the differences between the two religions but also demonstrate the merits of Christianity and help lead them into a true relationship with Jesus?

So if the election happened today would I vote for Romney? YES, and I will use my experience as a Mormon to teach every Christian willing to listen, how to be the hands, feet and lips of Jesus to the Mormons they come into contact with. If you are interested in something like that, check out this link to a class I will be teaching this October.

The Power of Collective Faith

June 24, 2011 1 comment

I was mowing the lawn yesterday and thinking about a story found in Matthew 9 (also in Luke 5) about a man who was paralyzed. His friends, 4 of them according to the Mark 2 account, physically carry him on a stretcher to a house where Jesus is teaching. When they arrived, it was evident that they could not get him through the crowd so they climbed on the roof, hoisted the man up, then tore a hole in the roof and proceeded to lower him in front of Jesus. The story goes on to say that Jesus noticed their faith and then forgave the man’s sin, healing him physically moments later.

What kept rolling around in my head was that all three accounts of this story specifically mention that it was the collective faith that Jesus saw. It was not just that of the paralytic, it was “their” faith, that of the men carrying the stretcher, which Jesus took into account.

I could almost see these men, clutching each corner of the bed, sharing stories about how Jesus can heal. As they walked, who knows how far they had to go, they were praying for him and quoting prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. Ever increasing their collective faith and the anticipation of the miraculous.

The principle of multiplication is powerful and has the ability to bring about transformation.

Who around you needs your portion of faith?

Who can you be praying for so their eyes may be opened to the power of Jesus to heal both spiritual and physical sickness?

Who do you know that may be in a place spiritually to where they need to be carried with words of encouragement or stories of what God has done in your life, until they can see Jesus for themselves?

Are you willing to walk with them until they do?

Do you have some people around you that are willing and able to do the same for you?