Saturday, October 25, 2008

Study of the LDS Church - 2.2 People of the LDS Church Today

**Make sure you've read this post first!

So who are Mormons (the commonly used name given to members of the LDS church)? They are your neighbors, your co-workers, the produce manager in your grocery store, your bank vice-president, your postal carrier, or maybe that mom behind you in the line at the pharmacy. That's right...they are no different from me and you on the outside. You're not likely to be able to spot a member of the LDS church any more than you would be able to pick out someone who is Catholic, Methodist, or Episcopalian.

I can provide for you, however, some traits that exist in the lives of all devout LDS members. They are honest, hard-working people. They are doing the best they can to glorify God with the blessings they have been given. They are helpful in times of need, devoted to their faith, and dedicated to tithing to their churches. They are family-focused and often have many children (which has a purpose that you will learn about later). They have struggles, they have fears, they have troubles, and they have tears. They also have joy, times of great victory, and happiness when the occasion calls for it. In other words, they are people...just like you and me.

LDS members are very focused on their spiritual life. Because of the requirement of good works in order to progress in the spiritual realm, they are devoted to pleasing God and doing all good works that they feel they are called to do. The devotion to their church, however, is synonymous with their devotion to God Himself. You see, there is no path to God that does not go through the LDS church in their minds. The tithing is mandatory, not to bless the church, but to earn their way into higher realms of heaven.

LDS members feel that the differences in denominations within the Christian faith represents the idea that all of them must be wrong since they cannot fully agree. The LDS church is the "One True Church" and all outside their church are condemned to live an eternity unapproved by God.

Members of the church have been taught from a very young age that they are the One True Church, and that they "know this to be true." It is something they often repeat...even as adults...and dwells so strongly in their lives that they really cannot see much past that wall they have built around themselves. Emphasis on the LDS beliefs being the only way to acquire blessings in heaven make them very cautious of listening to stories of your faith and make them wary...even to the point of being rude in some cases...of members of their own church that question its validity.

This being said, converting a Mormon to Christianity is not an easy task. It is not a change in a few beliefs for them. It is not just small details that must change. You will see as the study progresses that it is a complete removal of everything they "know to be true" to reach the Truth of the gospel. Even if you can convince them that there are holes in their faith (and yes...there are many), to leave the LDS church puts them at a huge personal disadvantage in the world they have always known. They will likely be distanced from friends and possibly even family members. They will be seen as failures among those they love the most. They will be accused of questioning the church due to their own short-comings (which is a HUGE step back in their eternal progression that they have been working on). Some will even lose community with everyone they have been surrounded by. And likely, that kind, generous helpful congregation will no longer be kind, generous or helpful...especially once they understand the member is serious in his/her questioning.

So please, keep in mind that LDS members are people first. They have friends, family, hobbies, loves, interests, jobs, retirement plans, soccer games, schoolwork, and all of the other ins and outs of life that you do. However, changing their faith could do much harm to many of these areas for them and cause their life to become chaos. Remember that the "truth" that they know has been ingrained in them by people that they love and trust...all of which believe the same things. They have been told these things by friends and family out of love, not out of lies (in the minds of the teachers).

They are good, devout people, but they have been lied to. They have committed themselves to the wrong God and the wrong purpose. They are living a lie and not the truth that they claim to bear witness to.

So please understand that dealing with an LDS member about their faith is not something to be done rashly, lightly, or half-heartedly. You must be dedicated to seeing them through the transition should they find the Truth of God. Do not leave them hanging. They will need a friend and you might find yourself to be the only one they can find.

Study of the LDS Church - 2.3 LDS Scriptures


MyKidsMom said...

I have to admit that I've never been able to keep the Mormon beliefs straight. I am so thankful for a Bible that's complete, and not added to according to the whims of some man. I have always admired the "moral fiber" of Mormon followers, and their devotion to what they believe. I had to chuckle when you mentioned Donny and Marie because they (especially Donny) are one of the few entertainers I admire, as far as how they have conducted themselves over the years. It's sad that such well-meaning people are also so deceived.

Kaye said...

I agree that the LDS members that I have known have been some of the most kind, hard-working, warm-hearted and helpful people I have ever met. My heart goes out to them that they are victims of such teachings and the manner that it is taught makes them so absolutely certain that they are right despite the obvious and logical that you put in front of them. It is out of such concern that I am doing this study, as I want people to not slam the door in these people's faces or ridicule them. They are good people who need another direction.