Inviting Non-Mormons: Bring the Good With You

LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley is gracious toward people of other faiths. In his October First Presidency Message, written primarily to new members of the LDS Church, President Hinckley wrote:

…there are many good people in other churches. There is much of good in them. Your family and your prior religious traditions may have taught you many good things and established many good habits…Bring the good things with you, keep them, and use them in the Lord’s service. (Ensign, October 2006, page 5)

On another occasion President Hinckley said to non-Mormons,

To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it. (Ensign, November 2002, page 78)

I have a friend who, when reading statements like these from President Hinckley, asks, “What ‘good’ could there possibly be in any organization that is classified as an ‘abomination’ before God that was ‘hatched in hell’ and is as ‘corrupt as hell’?”

At these times my friend is thinking of (and quoting) statements about Christianity made by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor (respectively), the first three presidents of the LDS Church. My friend has a good point; just what “religious traditions” from these “corrupt” churches would President Hinckley like to see incorporated into the LDS Church?

Shall I bring my understanding of God as Trinity? Or my church’s teaching that we are saved by grace apart from all we can do? Or my knowledge that God hates polytheism — even the very idea of other Gods?

May I bring to the LDS Church the teaching that God created me in my mother’s womb–created me out of nothing–and that the natural always comes before the spiritual? Or that Jesus was God from the very beginning? Or that Christ’s blood is able to cleanse us from all sin?

Would I be welcome to bring with me the firm belief that the Bible is entirely trustworthy and is all I need in matters of faith and salvation? Or the certainty that the need for the temple was done away through the all-sufficient atonement of Christ? Or my conviction that God the Father has been the only true God for all eternity?

It is not possible to dovetail these biblical Christian teachings — these truths that have captured the hearts and souls of God’s people — with the teachings of Mormonism. And President Hinckley knows it. So what does he mean when he invites people to come to the LDS Church and bring all the good that they have? Of what good does he speak?

Maybe President Hinckley is thinking of behaviors rather than truths. Maybe he’s thinking of things like giving to the poor or helping the elderly or caring for children. The Mormon Church would certainly welcome new members with these values.

But there’s a problem with this. The prophet Isaiah said,

You [God] are indeed angry, for we have sinned — In these ways we continue; and we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [righteous deeds] are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:5-6)

If Isaiah spoke the truth, people who embrace corrupt and abominable spiritual teachings are incapable of doing anything pleasing to God. Everything they do is tainted by their sin and is therefore unacceptable to Him, even things that appear good and righteous. The apostle Paul said,

There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10, quoting Psalm 14)

Surely President Hinckley is not engaging in a ruse in order to make people comfortable with the prospect of embracing a new faith, but I can’t seem to reconcile his attitude and invitation with the Bible, which says,

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;… put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt… (Ephesians 4:17-22)

The apostle Paul wrote,

One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

So while I appreciate President Hinckley’s kindness toward those of other faiths, I keep thinking a true prophet of God would sound more like the biblical prophets, calling people to forsake all for Christ. President Hinckley’s invitation to hold on to favorite traditions and see if the LDS Church can add a few more just doesn’t ring true.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

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6 Responses to Inviting Non-Mormons: Bring the Good With You

  1. Anonymous says:

    One Problem I see with the Idea of, lets bring the Good with us, is this.

    Take the Muslims for example, Their book, the Quran teaches to Kill the Infdel where ever we can find them.

    I have had one experince with two muslims who threatend me with death for saying, Allha was not and is not a god.

    I also cut out of the newspapers such articles, talking about muslims killing others for what they believe, Even minor death over some cartoons. I keep these such newspaper articles to prove that this is done, if Muslims or others simply seem to forget they take place, I recall a guy having a million dollar bounty put on his head, for a book he wrote, Any one recall the book?

    It was the Satanic verses. What about the muslims having women bound up in burkas. The muslims that pratice these things believe they are good and nobal things and god told them to do this. So should muslims convert to mormonism, do they keep these “Good” things, or all of a sudden, decide their beliefes were incorrect and now no longer good?

    I believe this is simply a sutle form of deception being used by the mormon Church and president. He will allow you to come as you are, bring your good things with you, but after you convert and are taught the “Truths” Of mormonism, then they will tell you, these good things cannot be held onto. That is simply my mere Opinion and cannot prove that is really going on. Rick b

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sharon, President Hinckley’s invitation was not to hold on to favorite traditions, don’t twist what he is saying to fit your posting. He says to bring the good with you. You did make mention of it in your posting. Bring good behaviors such as charity. He teached as the biblical prophets taught. But you wouldn’t know this because you hold onto all your ‘traditions.’

    The teachings of Jesus Christ are very clear, but most religions have skewed them to their way of thinking. So although they have some truth, they do not have the complete truth and lack the most important aspect of the Gospel; the authority to act in God’s name.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous said So although they have some truth, they do not have the complete truth and lack the most important aspect of the Gospel;

    Your saying, the LDS has all Truth, while everyone else is lacking. You then state we are lacking this so called “Priesthood athourity”. Please show me chapter and verse in the Bible or Book of mormon, Even one place, where Jesus or his apostles EVER say, You need, must have, I give you, PRIESTHOOD ATHOURITY. It simply is not their.

    You also forget, Jesus said, I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. And you forget LDS seem to forget to tell people up front exactly what it is they believe. Like, Jesus and lucifer are Brothers, LDS deny the Trinity, LDS do not fully trust the Bible, Example, A of F 8. This comes across as deception, Your leading people to believe things you really do not.

    Like when I ask LDS missionarys, do you believe the Bible is the Word of God. They say yes, they never bring up A of F 8 unless I point it out. If I ask, who do you believe Jesus is, They simply say he is THE son of God, They never mention He is the brother of Lucifer, or that is is A God, meaning LDS believe in at least 3 seperate gods. If this is being good and Honest, then I am really missing something.

    So “Anonymous” Would you care to explain? You could either post a responce on my blog, or write me at my email adress so we dont ruin this blog with over whelming replys. Honestly I dont expect you will do either as the LDS cannot seem to reply to the truth. Rick B Email is ([email protected]otmail.com)

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Bible is clear. it talks about the priesthood authority from the old testiment through the new testiment. I will quote one location in particular the indicates that there is a proper authority for baptism. In Acts, Paul is speaking to some men in Ephesus. (Acts 19)

    1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper acoasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
    2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
    3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of arepentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    In verse 3 Paul asks what baptism they had. They reply that they had the baptism of John. The very John the Baptist who baptised Jesus. So if they had the same baptism, why di Paul baptize them again? We know in Ephesians it states there is only one baptism.

    Ephesians 4
    5 One Lord, one afaith, one baptism.

    So if they already had the same baptism that Jesus had, then why were they baptized again?

    Because they were not baptized with the proper authority.

    If this is not clear enough, let’s refer to Hebrew chapter 5, speaking of ministers:

    4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

    So there is a more clear definition about the authority.

    As far as sharing the truth, you must be ready and willing to hear it. Remember how the Pharisees always were there trying to cause Jesus to stumble? Like with the question “Which of all the commandments is most important?” They didn’t understand his reply of love the Lord your God and thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus was saying that all the commandments are important. The first 4 dealing with love for God, the last 6 dealing with loving your neighbor. They were not prepared for the truth so they missed the entire meaning.

    So Rick, you must be ready and willing to accept the truth before you will undertand and accept it. If you have a narrow mind and you are unwilling to search for the truth, you will remain aggravated about anyone who thinks different from your way of thinking.

    I hope I have answered your questions. If not, it may be because it challenges your current way of thinking. 🙂

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hello Anonymous,
    First, the Issue of baptising. Did you read what Paul said 1Cr 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

    Also if Baptism is so Important, why did paul say this? 1Cr 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

    1Cr 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.

    1Cr 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. It appers The god Joseph Smith heard from cannot be the same God Paul heard from. God is not the author of confusin. Why Would God tell JS and JS teach the LDS church Baptism is a requriment of salvation, to have paul claim I cannot recall who I baptized and also say, I was not sent to baptize?

    As far as the mythical LDS priesthood goes, I cover that on my blog as well. But briefly I ask, If the priesthood is a requriment for us to have, How come the LDS CANNOT show me one place in the Bible or the BoM, where Jesus or the Apostles or even the Disaples ever ONCE say,

    I bestow upon you, you must have, you need, it is a law, rule, or requriment, to have priesthood authority. not one place in the Bible or the BoM, do we ever see the two words “Priesthhod” and “authority” Used togther. Why?

    then you said So Rick, you must be ready and willing to accept the truth before you will undertand and accept it. If you have a narrow mind and you are unwilling to search for the truth, you will remain aggravated about anyone who thinks different from your way of thinking.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it appers your narrow minded to simply assume you are correct while I am wrong, and unwilling to believe you.

    To simply believe you with out checking the facts and searching the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) Would make it Blind faith. Rick b

  6. Anonymous says:

    Rick said: Why Would God tell JS and JS teach the LDS church Baptism is a requriment of salvation, to have paul claim I cannot recall who I baptized and also say, I was not sent to baptize?
    Then why was Jesus baptized? It says in Matt. 3:15 he was baptized ‘to fulfil all righteousness.
    After Jesus was risen, he appeared to the apostles and said:
    Matt. 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
    Why would he tell them to go baptize all nations if it is not required?
    The bible even says that ‘the Pharisees and layers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.‘ (Luke 7:30)
    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    Now that it is clear that baptism is essential, contrary to your obscure interpretation of Corinthians, let’s move on to the authority of the priesthood.

    Rick said: How come the LDS CANNOT show me one place in the Bible or the BoM, where Jesus or the Apostles or even the Disaples ever ONCE say,

    I bestow upon you, you must have, you need, it is a law, rule, or requriment, to have priesthood authority. not one place in the Bible or the BoM, do we ever see the two words “Priesthhod” and “authority” Used togther. Why?

    First, let’s deal with your question of the authority. If authority is not required, why then would Jesus call his twelve disciples together, and give them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases? And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2) And when he is speaking to his apostles and says, ‘Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you…‘ (John 15:16). I will remind you what the definition of ordained is: To invest with ministerial or priestly authority. Paul and Barnabas continued the practice ‘when they had ordained them elders in every church.‘ (Acts 14:23) And that’s just the bible references.

    Now. How does one obtain the authority or be ‘ordained‘ into the priesthood of God? You obviously did not read my earlier post. It is clearly stated in Hebrews chapter 5:
    1 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God…
    4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
    10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

    This states that he must be called as was Aaron. How was Aaron called? As described in Exodus 40:13-15.
    13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
    14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats:
    15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.
    16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he.

    So when it says in Hebrews, that ‘no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron,’ you can see in Exodus, that God has established how the priesthood authority is given. It was passed on by those who have the authority. The chain is unbroken.

    So with this, I state for the record that I am not simply assuming I am correct. I am stating fact. It is up to you now to practice faith that is now not blind. It is up to you to accept the priesthood authority of God as truth, or to deny God and his truth. Which will it be?

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