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I couldn’t believe what I read in a recent article, coming from a pastor who claims to be Christian and supporting Rick Santorum.  Here’s the quote:

In obedience to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, most South Carolinans and I have a sane and healthy homophobia, while Mitt Romney has a very bad case of homophilia,” said Mills in a joint statement with fellow pastor, Rev. Ray Moore, according to The Hill. “Romney’s liberal support for homosexuality is not only at doctrinal odds with traditional Judaism and Christianity, it’s even at odds with latter-day cults like Islam and Mormonism.

I hope that this is just a fringe Christian wing-nut who doesn’t represent the way most Christians feel about people who struggle with homosexuality.

What are your thoughts, fellow Christians?

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We had a pretty interesting discussion to close out our last Elders meeting in 2011.  It was a lesson on judgment and the second coming.  As you can imagine, many interesting things were said.  Some off the wall about what would happen leading up to the Second Coming, and others that were scripturally based.

One brother kept bringing something up though that caused me to reflect on an issue I hear quite frequently from fellow Christian friends of other denomonations, specifically on how they feel Mormons think they can earn their salvation and also become Gods.

The brother kept asking questions about what we needed to do in order to be saved.  He asked about the steps such as baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and going through the temple.  In his mind, it sounded to me like he thought he was home free once he made those steps.  He also made mention in reference to the scripture that if we make these steps, we will become Gods and have everything equal with God.

Although I am a Mormon, or Latter-day Saint, I completely disagree with these statements.  For starters, we will never be equal to God.  I believe that God (Heavenly Father), and Jesus Christ (also a God) are separate beings who are far superior to us and always will be.  Even though we are created in their image, we will never be equal to them.  I feel that it is damaging and dangerous to put ourselves at the same level with them in that it sets us up for pride and it is erroneous doctrine.

Some LDS or Mormon prophets (most notably, Lorenzo Snow) have come out and stated that we can become gods and that God was once like us.  Mormons are also quick to point to the scripture in the Bible that states in both the Old and New Testamant “ye are gods…” and use that as evidence that one can be a god.

A closer reading of the scriptures shows that every time Jesus or Heavenly Father are mentioned, the “g” in god is capitalized.  In the scripture that says we “are gods” the “g” is lower case.  To me, this means that we can become “like” God and have power and authority over certain things that He gives us, but we will always be inferior to Him and function under his jurisdiction.  Another way of looking at it is what we learn in the Mormon temple about us becoming “kings and priests” unto god, but not a God in the sense that He is God.

Regarding earning salvation, there are certainly actions we must take to receive the gospel into our hearts.  However, we will always be in debt to God the Father and Jesus for their sacrifice so that we have the opportunity to be saved.  Although we should always take actions to be obedient and close to the Holy Spirit, it is through the grace and mercy of Jesus that salvation comes.  The moment we start thinking we’re the ones accomplishing the task of being saved, we run into pride issues and this is also erronous doctrine to think we can earn our salvation.

Perhaps since I’ve been able to learn more from fellow Christian friends through this blog and other sources such as friends and family in other faiths, I am a bit more sensitive to the subject of Mormons earning their salvation and becoming Gods than I was before.  After that discussion we had in class, I can see why members of other faiths are alarmed when they attend a Morm0n church.

For those of you inside the church, do you think there is an issue with people feeling they have to earn their salvation?  What can we do to overcome this error in doctrine?

For those outside of the LDS church, have you had any experiences with Mormons thinking they can earn their salvation?  If so, please share your experience and how it makes you feel.

The LDS, or Mormon church functions under a lay ministery.  This means that no one is paid for church service including the pastors and other leadership positions within the church.

One of the key leadership positions is the Elders Quorum President.  According to the LDS Auxillary Guidebook, the Elders Quorum President has several duties, which include: setting example and presiding over men in the quorum, organizing home teaching (monthly service visits to congregation members), teaching men of their duties as husbands, fathers, and in the church; and ordaining men to other priesthood callings, or jobs within the church.

Each quorum can consist of up to 96 elders (men) before being split into a new quorum.

As you can imagine, the position of an elders quorum president carries a lot of weight and responsibility, especially for someone who has a job and family full-time.  It can seem very overwhelming for an individual who is called to work in this position.

I know first hand how overwhelming it can be.  I was called to the position in 2003 right when I had started Graduate school for my MBA.  The Stake President (in the LDS church, he is the leader over a group of 8-10 congregations) called me to the position and I openly expressed my concerns with him as far as my time constraints were concerned.  The quorum I was being called to had around 90 men in it and the ward (congregation) was very transient and therefore required a lot of administrative work to organize the home visits.

Noticing the concern, the Stake President offered me some very inspired advice on what an Elders Quorum President should focus on to be the spiritual leader for the men he needs to be.  He offered three tips, which include:

  • Delegation

The tendancy for a lot of presidents (said my stake president to me) is to try and tackle everything by oneself including: scheduling the home teaching visits, visiting sick members of the ward, visiting the elders in the quorum to help them maintain spiritual relationship with God, etc.  He told me not to be afraid to have counselors and delegate things to them.  I took his advice and called 3 counselors to help me with all of the administration behind the scenes and it made a huge difference.

  • Minister vs. Administer

Ministering is the heart of Christ-like service, he said.  Administering helps, but isn’t the heart of Christ-like service and being a shepard, which is what the elders quorum presidents’ job entails.  As a president, having counselors doing the administration while I got out and met the members of the quorum individually through visits to their homes made a great difference in me being able to try and serve like Christ would.

  • Stay close to the Lord

This goes almost without saying, but it is important to keep oneself close to the Lord for inspiration to help quorum members.  It is easy to get lost in the shuffle and focus only on the job and not on ones’ personal relationship with God.  Regularly schedule times to read scripture, pray, and meditate.  If an elders president is in tune with God, he can act as God’s hand in serving those who may be struggling.

I hope these tips help anyone who is in a leadership position.  Of course, we would love to hear from those of you who are or have served in a similar position and share your insights for others to learn from.  My hope is that this article will help those newly called elders quorum presidents be successful.

At an early age, I had my life changed as millions of other people have had through reading the Book of Mormon and feeling the power of Jesus Christ enter into my life.

I was in a dark place at a very young age following my parents’ divorce and was heading down a very wrong path.  When I was around 12 years old, I came across a copy of the Book of Mormon and started reading it.  Although I was very young and didn’t understand all of the concepts and words, I felt a peace I desparately needed at that time. 

After a few months of reading the Book of Mormon, I read what is commonly called “Moroni’s Promise” at the end of the Book of Mormon, which basically states that if you pray to God about what you’ve read in the Book of Mormon and ask if it is true, He will manifest it to you that it is true through the power of the Holy Spirit.  I prayed, and for the first time in my life I felt the love of God sweep through my soul and any desire to continue to sin be removed from me.  I committed to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and gospel I had read in the Book of Mormon (which is the same as in the Bible) at that time.

Shortly thereafter, my Grandmother became very ill.  On what was her last Christmas before she passed away, in 1989, she gave me a gift I hold very dear to me.  She knew how impactful the Book of Mormon had been for me so she gave me her only copy of a replica of the original Book of Mormon along with her last written words to me, as seen in the pictures below:

Words can’t really describe the impact the teachings found in the Book of Mormon have had on me, but I’ll attempt to share my feelings.  Through the teachings of Jesus Christ found within the Book of Mormon, I was able to lay a foundation for my life at a young age that has helped me overcome the negative affects in my life that came as a result of my parents’ divorce.  Although the path hasn’t been easy, I have studied and grown closer to Heavenly Father through reading the Book of Mormon.

Not only has the Book of Mormon helped me, but it has helped millions of other people.  Most recently, my younger brother was able to overcome some of his obstacles he has faced in his life through an experience with reading and studying the Book of Mormon.  I asked him to share some of his thoughts for the readers of this blog, and he was kind enough to do so.  Below are some of his thoughts:

It’s easier to express myself in person about this topic, because words can’t get the feeling across that I would like to portray in my message. As I get choked up right now speaking of this and as tears begin in my eyes, I want you all to know that I firmly believe in the Book of Mormon and its message. I believe that it is a testament of Christ and it can shape our lives in a way that is principal oriented and emotionally edifying if we abide by its teachings and mold our desires to those of the Prophets therein.

I have never been more focused in my entire life than I was when I was engulfed and excited for each new verse. I have ADHD and have always had an issue with focusing and not being impulsive, but when I actually pondered the meanings of this book and “desired” to read it, my mind was pacified and my concerns and worries seemed very small. My being was elevated to another level. I did pray frequently when I was pondering the Book of Mormon as well, but they seemed to go hand in hand for me. The difficult things in life that were in the forefront of my mind grew smaller and smaller with each day that I consumed each page. I can’t begin to even express the miracles this Book did for me and my belief in who I could become. Lord thank you so much, for all the effort in how this book was pieced together. Its just so hard for me to depict my feelings on this Book through words alone. 

I truly believe that without the Book of Mormon I would not be who I am today. My friends I want you to please try to understand the meaning and passion behind what I am writing. I have not always wanted to be a part of religion, regardless of what denomination and questioned at times if there was even a God. The Book of Mormon forced my mind and utterly all of me to either believe the teachings of a God and a Christ or not to. I could not deny the way it made me feel and the peacefulness it brought to my mind. I cannot deny the way my soul understood the principals it is trying to reach out and explain to all individuals and nations! …I truly believe in this book and I believe in a Christ and in God the Father as well. Once again I apologize sincerely if my closeness to the spirit right now hasn’t been felt through these small writings, but even if nothing has been felt at all through my words alone, please know that I truly believe in the Book of Mormons‘ message and I would honestly choose this book over literally any other book in the world to read. That is not a lie. I would choose this book over any.
 
Sincerely
 
Seth Morgan Anderson

President Benson, a former LDS, or Mormon prophet, stated:

There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. … When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.

 

Personally, I have seen his words not only be good advice, but be prophetic in my life and those close to me.  I encourage those who haven’t seriously studied the Book of Mormon to do so in conjunction with their Bible study this year.  Also, I encourage those who have had a personal experience with the Book of Mormon that has helped them to share their testimony in the comment section below.

 

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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