Recently, a blogger friend, Livingsword, commented that he felt our church isn't Christian, and suggested that maybe our church should give up and join the other Christian churches. He suggested we should donate our chapels, and in essence absorb in with the other Christian churches. Of course we would never consider this silly notion, we are one of the fastest growing Christian churches in the world today. But I will lay aside the absurdity of this suggestion and give my reasons for why I personally would never consider such a notion.
First of all, which church should I join? There are many different Christian churches, with very differing beliefs. Should I join those who believe in baptism by immersion, or those who believe in baptism by sprinkling, or those who don't believe baptism is necessary at all? Should I join those who believe in being saved by grace alone, or those Churches that believe that grace is accessed through repentance? Should I believe in those Christian churchess who believe in a literal resurrection, or those who believe in no resurrection at all? Should I believe in the Christian church that only uses the New Testament, or one that also uses the Old Testament? Should I join the Catholic church, from which the others broke off, or should I join a church that was started by a man in this generation. Clearly, we can't lump all Christian churches in together, because they aren't all the same.
Because they are so different in their beliefs, should some of them not be called Christian? They all believe in Jesus Christ, but their teachings vary so much that they clearly can't be considered the same. Yet we allow them the freedom to call themselves Christian because they do believe in Jesus Christ. Why do so-called Christians not allow our church the same freedom?
If I were to give up my religion, there would be more that I would be giving up than just a name. For me, the loss would be great. Asking me to give up my religion and join the other churches in the world is like asking a college graduate to give up his college diploma in exchange for a mere high school diploma. Why would I give up the further knowledge and blessings that I have already received for something lesser?
Here are just a few things that I would have to give up:
--I would have to give up having a living prophet to guide me, who receives current revelation for my day.
--I would have to give up additional ordinances that help me progress spiritually. Included in these ordinances are temple ordinances such as eternal marriage, and the eternal "sealing" of families. I would also have to give up the ability to do baptism for my deceased family members who never had the chance.
--I would have to give up the Book of Mormon which has greatly increased my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ, and has strengthened me and brought me closer to Him.
--I would have to give up my knowledge of the plan of salvation. Our Sunday School teacher today made an interesting observation. The word "plan" does not appear in the bible. It does, however, appear numerous times in the Book of Mormon. Yet most christian churches today refer to the "plan of salvation" that the LDS church has been teaching about for over 150 years.
--I would have to give up my understanding of the pre-existence, and my knowledge that I am a literal spirit child of God.
--I would have to give up a church that has the same organization that existed in the early church, which today has living apostles and prophets, just like the church the Savior set up.
--I would have to give up being a member of a church that has the Priesthood authority of God. This Priesthood authority was lost from the earth after the death of the apostles. It is bestowed on a person by the laying on of hands. After the apostles died, there was no one left to pass on that authority. In modern days, John the Baptist, and Peter, James, and John restored that authority by the laying on of hands, to Joseph Smith, who in turn ordained others.
I could write much more, but suffice it to say that if I left this church for another, I would be leaving much, and gaining no ground. This church has all of the puzzle pieces. This church has the same organization as Christ's early church. I think we could be considered among the truest of fundamentalist Christians because we follow the gospel as it was preached and set up in the early church. We believe that an apostasy occurred, causing the original church to be lost, and we believe it was prophesied by many, including Paul, and Amos. We believe this is truly Christ's church restored to the earth in fulfillment of prophecies about a "restitution of all things".
I have prayed and received an answer from God that these things are true. I invite all to not rely on my words, but to study it out in their own minds, and pray to God to receive their own testimony.
I can remember once seeing a very small child with a $5 bill. An adult, in a teasing manner, offered to trade the child for a $1 bill. The child was very young, but knew that what they had was worth more than what the adult was offering. I too would never trade my religion for one that offers less. I would never sell my birthright for a mess of pottage, even if it did win me acceptance by other Christians.