Recently I had a very nice gentleman stop by and leave the following comment on my blog:
You are a rare person to see common ground between the LDS and non-LDS Christians. I’ve been looking for someone like you for a long time. I’d like to know more about what you believe and how our heavenly Father brought you to your current level of revelation.
This message is in response to his inquiry on knowing more about what I believe and how Heavenly Father brought me to my current level of revelation.
I have not always believed in the LDS religion. In fact, for a time, I was very bitter towards it and filled with hate for Mormons. I was young when my parents were divorced, but as a result I put blame on my father for splitting up our family. My father was LDS and my mother was baptized LDS but left the LDS church and became an Evangelical Christian.
After my parents divorced I lived with my mother and sisters. We went to the LDS church for a few months after the divorce, but soon started attending other churches. I started regularly attending the Baptist church and also spent some time in the Presbetyrian and Lutheran churches as well. As a young man, I learned many great things at these churches and met some very wonderful people who helped me learn of God and Jesus Christ. Also during this time I was taught many things about the LDS church that made me dislike the church even more. During this time, my hate towards the LDS church was very strong and also towards my father. I wouldn’t even go and visit him as a result. However, after a couple years of avoiding my father, I decided it would be good to at least go and meet my new little brother who my Dad and Step-mother had just had. I decided to go and visit my father.
I was a very young man at the time I visited my Dad and I clearly remember one of the first things I told him when I saw him was that I was not going to set foot in an LDS church. However, I ended up seeing the love in my Dad’s heart for the Lord and the way he treated others. I did end up going to church and witnessed the same thing and my heart was softened towards the LDS people. It didn’t take me very long to begin to feel the Spirit of the Lord in a way that I never had at any other church. I soon decided to read the Book of Mormon. After reading the Book of Mormon, the following passage stood out to me in Moroni chapter 10:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
The scripture stood out to me and I received a desire to pray to know if the things found in the Book of Mormon were true. I remember thinking that if I were to pray and find these things out that many questions would be answered for me including: is there a God, is Jesus our Savior, will God answer prayers, is the LDS church true?
Almost instictually I dropped to my knees and offered a simple prayer asking if it was true. As I prayed, I felt a warm feeling come over me that filled me with a love and happiness I had never before felt. I felt a desire come into my heart to share the gospel with people who may not know of God and Jesus. I felt born again as a new person as the hatred I had been holding onto dissolved into love and a desire to tell people of Jesus Christ and his teachings.
That was the first experience I had with God and being born again as a new creature as the scripture in 2 Corinthians 5 discusses. Since that time I’ve had many more experiences with God answering prayers through visions, feelings form the Holy Spirit, scriptures in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and through listening to prophetic voices.
I’ve shared these experiences because I feel it is the foundation for the answer to both of the questions posed by my evangelical brother who stopped by and I will now answer his questions.
I believe in a God who loves each one of us and who is liberal in His blessings to His children all over the world. I believe we are created in His image and have potential to become like He is. I believe in Jesus Christ and that through Him one can be saved both physically and spiritually. I believe that God will speak to us through many ways including scriptures like the Bible and Book of Mormon, but also other good books as well. I believe that if we strive daily to stay close to God, he will stay close to us through His Holy Spirit, which will guide us in our daily walk through life. I believe that when we make mistakes, through repentance made possible from the atonement of Jesus, all of us can be forgiven for any sin we commit and I know that the Lord will help us overcome any weakness we have and help it become a strength.
Since I have family who are both LDS and non-LDS Christians, I have the unique opportunity and blessing to see how God works in many ways. I have seen that the beliefs that I stated are shared by both my LDS and non-LDS family and friends. Throughout my life since I decided to be active in the LDS faith, I have seen many amazing miracles as I’ve served others through missionary service, church service, and in my family. My brother-in-law and sister are missionaries for an Evangelical Church called the Puget Sound Christian Center. They have blessed the lives of many young people in their ministry and I have seen the Lord bless their lives as a result. They have genuine hearts and are true Christians. (you can learn more about their ministry on this website: http://ignite-plu.blogspot.com/).
In addition to this, I have been blessed as my mother, who is not an LDS Christian anymore, has shared with me some very inspirational books and messages from Christian preachers and pastors who I would normally not hear from in the LDS church. As I listen to sermons from the late Adrian Rogers and other pastors, I have felt the same Spirit that I feel when I listen to the LDS General Authorities as they speak in General Conference and elsewhere. I feel that the Spirit of Christ confirms truth and truth can be found anywhere that people are sharing the gospel of Jesus.
At a young age I was exposed to various Christian denomonations as I have throughout my life. I can not say that I always have felt a bond towards their faith, especially after I joined the LDS faith. However, as I have opened my eyes to try and see things how God sees them (a life-long pursuit in all areas!) I have been blessed to see a common ground between our faith in Jesus Christ and also the power of prayer in both of our faiths. As my fellow Evangelical brother stated in his comments, both faiths are Christian faiths.
Maybe it is a rare thing to find common ground between LDS and non-LDS Christians, but to you LDS people who struggle to find good in Christians of other faiths, and for you Christians you find it difficult to find good in LDS I encourage both parties to let go and pray to see each other as God sees all of us. I know that as you do you will find that you learn more about yourself, God, and others.