Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Study on the LDS Church - 1.1 Perspective

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

So, who am I to write a lengthy blog series on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the LDS church or Mormons)? Well, let me give you a bit of history of myself and my spiritual walk.

I was raised in small town Alabama by a Christian family who attended a southern Baptist church. We were at church ALMOST every time the doors were open. Dad was a choir soloist, one sister was the full-time pianist, Mom was active in the women’s ministry, and I and my other siblings were active in children’s choir, youth choirs and ensembles, youth drama, RAs, GAs, music, Bible study, discipleship training (once known as Training Union), and a plethora of other activities.

Although I don’t remember a time not knowing and believing in Jesus as the Savior of the world, I made my belief public during a revival in 1990…the summer between my 5th and 6th grade years of school. I was baptized soon thereafter.

I lived a good life during my teenage years. Yes, I did things I should not do and got into some sticky situations, but all-in-all I kept out of trouble. I was strong-willed so I didn’t succumb to peer pressure easily. My biggest sin was (and probably still is) pride.

During my senior year in high school I did what is known in many evangelical churches as “rededicating my life” to Jesus. I knew I was saved and forgiven, but it was a public admission that I realized that I wasn’t living to be the person I should be for Christ.

College was fine. I didn’t get into any trouble there either. I finished quickly, graduated with honors, and married the man of my dreams just 4 months later. We moved to southwest Mississippi to follow a career.

While in MS, we attended another southern Baptist church where we met a lot of great people and had many opportunities to serve God. During the 6 years we were in Mississippi, I encountered a number of trials and periods of personal and spiritual growth that I never want to revisit, but I can confess have made me into a better servant for Christ.

While there I was rebaptized. Why? Did it not take the first time? Was I not really saved? Did I doubt the sincerity of my prior profession or the power of Jesus’ redemption? The answer to all of those questions is a loud resounding “No.” I really can’t explain why I was baptized again. I just knew that God was dealing with me and telling me to do it. I explained to my pastor that it was not a matter or question of salvation, but more of a matter of obedience. My walk of faith was growing and although baptism is often a symbol of one’s profession of faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, it was my act of service and obedience. I think that it was more of a commitment to really give it all to Him and proclaim that my life was now His to minister through. I will witness to you that from that time onward, my life has been exploding for Him—sometimes through depth and sometimes through breadth, but it is ever-growing.

After 6 years in Mississippi, we packed up and moved to Savannah, GA. After looking for a few months in the standard southern Baptist churches that were familiar, we couldn’t find the right fit. We were invited by several people to attend Savannah Christian Church, an exploding so-called “mega church” in Savannah that is known all around. It was a bit intimidating, but we went. All I can say is WOW. Not a lot of mulling over this one was needed. This is what Christianity is all about. The people are warm, welcoming, and on fire for God. Servitude is stressed, all are invited, and their focus is completely on spot. I have no doubts why this church is growing so fast that it needs to almost constantly adjust to accommodate growing congregations. We are among a congregation of ministers now. We are home (well…almost =)).

There is my background. What’s it have to do with the LDS (Latter Day Saints) church? Nothing. Not on the surface at least.

While growing up I knew nothing of the LDS church. I saw a few commercials that told me that they believed that Jesus came to the Americas and appeared to the American Indians after His resurrection. That was different, but I did not see it all altogether sacrilegious. I saw that they had a Book of Mormon. I also saw that they gave out Bibles. Must be Christian right? They do believe in Jesus after all. We had no local LDS congregations and obviously that portion of Alabama is not on their radar of places to send missionaries, so I had no further exposure to them at that time. Ignorance was mine.

When we moved to Mississippi, it wasn’t long before the LDS (get used to that abbreviation) missionaries came knocking around the neighborhood. Now that I saw them coming up our street and I worked with some Latter Day Saints coworkers, I felt I should be prepared to talk to them about their faith. I began a bit of research and learned that I was very wrong about them. They were much less “Christian” than I had previously surmised. I was truly shocked because I knew some members of the LDS church and could not imagine that they believed things that seemed very outrageous to me. While there, I almost, but not quite, had an opportunity to talk one-on-one with some missionaries about their faith, but since my husband was not home, they would not come inside.

Fast forward to Savannah…you’ve seen the story on this blog. A friend in a spiritual battle and crisis of faith finds friendship with some LDS missionaries. Not a problem until he begins to get a little too interested (for my comfort) in their beliefs. I begin talking with him. He brings over his missionary friends. We talk. Things go well. I am still working to help them through some problems that I have with their faith. They are now questioning THEIR faith while mine is even stronger.

A lot of research and work has gone into this latest endeavor. I have learned not only what they believe, but how to defend what I believe. I have learned how to speak with them and use scripture to back up my faith. I want to help you do the same.

So what do I believe? It can be summarized on our church’s website. You can click here to see our doctrine.

Now you know where I am coming from.

Do you know where I am going? Are you ready and willing to come along for the ride?

Hang on…it could be a wild one.

Study on the LDS Church - 1.2 References

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