Monday, March 31, 2014

A Bit of Ranting

I have joined a facebook group about Christianity.  It has been difficult at times to listen to their criticisms and to be the brunt of anti-mormon attacks at times.  A few missionaries from our church have also joined the group, and they have done a much better job of answering these types of attacks than I have.  I think that perhaps more members of our church have not joined this page simply because of the lack of respect shown LDS members, and the amount of anti-mormon propaganda that floods the page.

My most recent conversation was in response to a person who in reply to a comment of mine, posted a link to an anti-mormon website.  I responded that I don't click on any links, even those about other religions.  I told them that I believe that if you want to learn about a religion, you need to go to the source.  Anti-Mormon websites (as well as anti-other religions sites as well) are made by those who are either sadly mis-informed about our beliefs, or are disgruntled members who have an axe to grind, and twist the truth to misrepresent our religion.  I believe the same can be said for anti-Catholic sites, as well as anti-Christianity sites.  The response I got from the administrator of the page was that he felt I was probably not well educated in my religion, and that he was disappointed that our church sites did not discuss the REAL truth behind our religion.  I told him that I am extremely well educated about my religion, and that in fact it is probably him that has been misinformed about our beliefs.  I further said that if he could not find the information on our church website, it is probably because ultimately it isn't part of our beliefs.

The next comment really caught me by surprise.  He said, "In any case, we allow Mormons in the group as long as they don't undermine orthodox Christianity. As long as anything you post conforms to the Nicene Creed, you are welcome."  I replied that I was glad that he allowed us, but that we don't believe the "post-early church" nicene creed.  

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it really hit me that so much of Christianity bases their set of beliefs upon opinions of a conference of people who met to formalize and discuss the core beliefs of Christianity.  In our religion, we believe this came at a time when a great apostasy had already occurred.  Many core Christian beliefs that were common in the early church were discarded at the creation of the nicene creed.  And it's also interesting that many who believe the Nicene creed do not believe in modern revelation, so how can they trust that these people were inspired in writing it?  

It's also very interesting to me that although most Christian churches believe the Nicene creed, they think the Catholic church is of the devil.  The Catholic church was the first church to be organized after the death of the apostles, and the decline of the early church.  From my understanding, most Christian churches today are break-offs of that original Catholic church.  Our church is an exception, in that we believe ours is the original church restored to the earth after a long period of apostasy.  

So it appears that Christianity today will not accept me as Christian unless I accept the Nicene creed.  It doesn't matter that we believe the Bible to be the word of God.  It doesn't matter that we believe Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world.  It doesn't matter that our church bears His name.  What matters to them most is that we don't agree with the opinion of a group of people who formulated the Nicene creed years after the death of the Savior and the apostles.  

I, on the other hand, can accept anyone as Christian that accepts the Savior Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation.  I may disagree with their beliefs, but I don't deny them the right to be called Christian.  In these perilous times, with attacks on religion in general, it's too bad that we don't have more unity among Christians.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My Religious Testimony

This will be a double post, and is scheduled to be published tomorrow on my regular blog. 
I recently read a post written by a fellow "Mormon", and it inspired me to follow her challenge to share my beliefs online. I actually do this quite often, and have a separate blog for religious posts. I also have created a facebook page to celebrate my religion. But I decided that as part of this challenge, I would like to share my beliefs here, with my friends who read this blog.

I believe in God, the eternal father. But for me, He isn't some disembodied aura without "body, parts, or passions". He has a perfect, immortal body, and it is His image from which we were created. I also believe that He is the father of our spirits. This makes each one of us on this planet spirit brothers and sisters. We are all children of God. He loves each one of us, and wants us to be happy.

I also believe that He sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ to redeem us. Jesus Christ suffered and paid the price for our sins so that we can repent. He was crucified on the cross, but being the son of God, He was able to resurrect His body, and bring to pass the resurrection of all mankind. Because of Him, we all will be resurrected some day. His sacrifice overcame the two greatest obstacles between us and God; namely sin, and death.

I believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, just like the prophets in the Bible. Through him, the original church of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. Today, that organization remains with twelve apostles, and a prophet leading and guiding the church. Having a living prophet means that we continue to receive revelation from God, and current guidance for the church.

I believe the Bible to be the word of God. I believe the Book of Mormon is also the word of God. I believe that God continues to give His word today, and that there is no end to His word. We could, in the future, obtain even more scripture. The Bible is the record of God's dealings with the people of the Holy land. It contains a testimony of the life of Christ, His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. Likewise, the Book of Mormon is a record of God's dealings with the people of the ancient Americas. It also contains a testimony of Jesus Christ, and includes the record of His visit to the people of ancient America shortly after his resurrection. The Book of Mormon stands as a second witness that Jesus is the Christ, and that He did, in fact, resurrect from death. Together, with the Bible, it testifies of the divinity of the Savior, and establishes His doctrine.

I have a testimony in the ability of the Holy Ghost; the third member of the Godhead, to testify of truth. Through the power and influence of the Holy Ghost, we can know the truth of all things. As taught in the Bible, we can receive a witness that will be felt in our heart, as well as come as an assurety to our minds. It is through this power that I have gained my testimony. I'm so thankful for this blessing, and the opportunity I have to pray to God individually to know whether something is true or not, and whether or not it comes from Him. This has been a guiding force in my life.

I hope that if you have questions you will feel free to ask me. I am not a perfect scriptorian, but I have the scriptures available to study, and I hope that I can use them well to explain our beliefs. Thank you for allowing me to share this testimony with you.