A Mormon writes,
I am a Mormon. I found your video regarding stereotyping of Mormons interesting. It is true that we don`t all agree. We are a very intellectual body. Our Sunday services are more like intellectual discussions or seminars than a long sermon. I am the type of Mormon who is generally true-blue; but am at times bored with my church and go through what I call ‘lostspells’, where I lose interest in church, but I continue to be active. During those times I tend to get fulfillment from other Christian sources and I really do enjoy listening to evangelical sermons and mainline protestant sermons; but shedding my Mormon beliefs, practices, and heritage would be impossible to do. What are evangelical community churches doing to embrace and accommodate people like me who are believers, but enjoy the atmosphere that evangelical community churches bring offer?
Because the evangelical community is at its core centered around shared beliefs in and about Jesus Christ, you won’t find any *final* sense of belonging with evangelical Christianity if you keep traditional Mormon beliefs (particularly the Mormon beliefs that contradict Christianity: like that God was once a mere mortal man who had to become a God, or that we can become Gods someday worshiped by billions of our own spirit children).
However, I have known some Mormons who have already shed much of their traditional Mormon beliefs. They believe that God was always fully God, and they renounce the idea that we can become Gods worshiped by our own spirit children, etc. But they hang onto a few Mormon beliefs, like that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. This isn’t as problematic, because the Book of Mormon doesn’t itself have the controversial doctrines that make modern Mormonism so heretical. The Book of Mormon largely reflects 19th century Protestantism. Indeed, the Book of Mormon teaches a view of God that most Mormons have rejected (see Moroni 8:18).
I call Mormons with one foot in and one foot out “evanjellyfish Mormons.” I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure how churches are supposed to accommodate them. All I know is that we should get to know them and be patient with them. And love them! If you are one, and feel like somewhat of an outsider, be patient with them too: your condition makes it hard for us Christians to know where you are at spiritually. Just as you might be confused about your own spiritual identity, others might be too, and that can make it hard for people to confidently link arms with you as though you are a true fellow worshiper in the same Jesus Christ of the Bible.
While it is reasonable and even good for someone like yourself to hang onto some Mormon cultural practices and heritage, it is not good to hang onto Mormon beliefs that go against the Bible. It’s not good for your long-term spiritual health nor does it honor God. But if you’re at a place in your life where things seem grey… a time of transition where you are acting in accordance with your conscience—just know that God loves you and he is patient with you! That I love you to, and I wish you the best. Please keep attending evangelical churches when you can and please consider joining a “small group” or bible study group where you can be in a context where it is easier for individual believers at the church to be in relationship with you. Believers are normally eager to “meet you where you are at.” But again, it is an awkward kind of situation, so please be patient with yourself and with others.
Grace and peace in Jesus,
Aaron, I do not agree with you on this because, The BoM is another Gospel, and it is not teaching them the truth or the words Of God. I know from talking with Many LDS that they tend to read the BoM over and over while not reading the Bible. That to me is a problem because they are not reading the words of eternal life.
I was told my reply was too long and needed to break it into 2 sections, here is the rest of what I wrote
Jesus said that the scriptures testify of Him, The BoM is not the word of God so they do not Testify of Him even if He is mentioned in it.
God said He places His word above His Name, the BoM is not placed above His name like the Bible is.
The Bible tells us that these things were written so we my know they are true, That is not said about the BoM. So while your corret that the BoM is not teaching the crazy off the doctrine that the LDS church teaches and believes, The BoM is not filled with the word of God. So to simply read the BoM would be no different than not reading the Bible in favor of reading a book about the Bible or a book written by some Christian who gets some things right and some things wrong. Rick b
Rick, I would compare this situation to a possibly genuine born-again believer who believes in some of the Old or New Testament apocrypha (such as the Roman Catholic Church includes).
Neo-orthodox Mormons usually re-interpret the Book of Mormon (with passages like 2 Nephi 25:23 and Moroni 10:32) in ways that are much more compatible with evangelical Christianity. The Book of Mormon ends up functioning for them mostly like an echo of what the Bible already teaches, or at least something closer to it.
So while I agree with you that the Book of Mormon isn't God-breathed scripture (except for the parts that quote the Bible), and that the modern Mormon Church interprets the Book of Mormon in a way that yields heresy, I do think there is a place for being patient with people who are in transition. Jerald and Sandra Tanner were once in this position, attending evangelical churches yet holding onto the Book of Mormon.
In the end, the true sheep of Jesus won't follow another voice (John 10). But sometimes I think people hear the voice of Jesus in the Book of Mormon because it simply echoes much of what is in the Bible. But people like that still have to wrestle with the question of who Joseph Smith was (since they end up outright rejecting much of his work after the publication of the Book of Mormon).
I think one of the watershed issues here is realizing that Mormons, and even we evangelicals, read the Book of Mormon largely through the lens of modern Mormonism. Once we learn to read it without that interpretative lens, the book remains the work of a con-artist, but becomes far less doctrinally dangerous. God might even use parts of it in a way that points a person back to genuine belief in the Bible and in Jesus.
That might sound like a I'm a slippery slope waiting to happen, but I can assure you that the approach comes with a lot of thought and caution. None of what I'm saying affects the urgent need to preach gospel-warnings to those caught up in counterfeit Christianity.
Grace and peace,
"Our Sunday services are more like intellectual discussions or seminars than a long sermon"
Let's remember that many LDS folks are converts with traditional American backgrounds. They may be weak in Theology but know that the spiritual food they receive from the LDS system is not satisfying. The answer is honesty, An LDS person who is questioning should ponder specific questions, and seek specific answers. Answering the question:
"What are evangelical community churches doing to embrace and accommodate people like me who are believers, but enjoy the atmosphere that evangelical community churches ?"
A long sermon is an intelectial presentation, focusing on a biblical concept leading to a presentation of the gospel message. The biblical concepts are given in a wide and veried style but the gospel message is always the same.
I´m usually suspicious when a mormon says
"but am at times bored with my church and go through what I call ‘lostspells’, where I lose interest in church, but I continue to be active. During those times I tend to get fulfillment from other Christian sources and I really do enjoy listening to evangelical sermons and mainline protestant sermons; but shedding my Mormon beliefs, practices, and heritage would be impossible to do."
I say that because the unsuspecting mormons are taught that the ends justify the means. They already know the "truth" and it´s their mission to bring people to a knowledge of that "truth" and to help them partake of the "ordinances of salvation", and in the process they employ the famous "lying for the Lord" technique even without knowing they´re doing it because they are taught they have to do so and build on "common beliefs" in order to break the ice helping people be more opened to their message and the "whisperings of the spirit".
I myself as a mormon faked interest in other religions just to show people that i cared and therefore i would find a heart less suspicious, critical and more opened to the mormon message. Or maybe just to start a conversation where i could throw in a doctrine, testimony, etc. in the hopes the person would feel the "spirit" testifying to them of the "truthfulness" of my message.
I agree with Aaron´s response:
"Because the evangelical community is at its core centered around shared beliefs in and about Jesus Christ, you won’t find any *final* sense of belonging with evangelical Christianity if you keep traditional Mormon beliefs"
Now, considering that the quote in the article is from a sincere LDS that just can´t leave the church´s traditions/some family relations behind, it´s my opinion that either that person will have to go through the pains of living two different lives or that person will have to abandon mormonism completely and start a new life in Christ because the Mormon Church won´t view he/she as being faithful and worthy of their sacrament and temple ordinances and won´t accept that person´s attitude of searching outside the religion.
It would interesting if the BoM copyright went public, Christians could edit away the passages that contradict the Bible and redistribute it as a Christian novel. The BoM is no doubt a work of fiction, but it does have some great passages in them such as Mosiah 2:20-21, that as Aaron said, echoes what is taught in the Bible:
"I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants."
it´s not all bad as long as its clear that it isn´t "God-breathed" scripture. I like to read the apocrypha and some of the books as I and II Clement(those were excluded from the New Testament), there´s valuable stuff in them but i recognize they are not authoritative scripture.
The 1830 Book of Mormon, etc., is certainly in the public domain (copyright has expired).
Aaron said, " I do think there is a place for being patient with people in transition. "
Those of us who have never been deceived by a prophet and invested all our soul into
following that prophet, can never know what that is like. The indoctrination runs deep.
Few religions control thru fear and indoctrinate as effectively as Jehovah's witnesses.
As a former JW my wife navigated this transition by surrounding herself with Christians
who were patient and caring. It took a while. I experienced her struggle and also was
privleged to help facilitate an ex-JW support group. These precious people are worth
our patience with them. Thanks Aaron.
That´s true!! Does anyone know where i could find the 1830 text online?
This is a transcription, but you can find the text here: http://solomonspalding.com/SRP/MEDIA/bm.htm
I´m tempted to do a BoM FARMS edition, with Tapirs instead of horses, maquahuitl swords instead of steel swords, two Cumorahs, etc.
Then i´ll claim myself to be the prophet of a new dispensation correcting the flawed translation of a prophet who was nothing but a man who God allowed to make many mistakes until he called ME to correct that translation… If people pray about it god will tell them it´s true, no doubt.
Uhhhh, the temptation ($$$$$) hahahahahahah