23
Jul
08

Don’t tell Mormons they believe in a different Jesus

 

One of the worst things you can tell a Mormon is that they believe in a different Jesus. Many ex-Mormons have told me that fewer things angered them more when they were Mormons than being confronted by well-meaning Christians with this statement. Mormons can’t understand why anybody would say that. They have a very high regard for Jesus. They are members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. Nothing seems more ridiculous to a Mormon than when a Christian tells them that they have a different Jesus. When Christians confront Mormons with that statement, than they typically will have cut off all lines of communication with them.

 It’s much more effective to get into a discussion with a Mormon not on who Jesus is, but what Jesus has accomplished for us. Instead of confronting them with what they believe about Jesus, ask them questions. Give them the opportunity to tell you what they believe. Focus especially on the question, “Did Jesus do everything for us to live with Heavenly Father or do we have to do something in order to live with Heavenly Father?” That’s a telling question because Mormonism says they have to do a lot to live with Heavenly Father. You then can share with them how differently you believe. You can tell them that you will be in heaven for all eternity with God the Father, not because of anything you have done, but only because of what Jesus has done for you. In this way, without saying it, you can effectively show them how differently you view Jesus.

 

So, my friends, may I encourage you today to speak the truth in love and respect to Mormons.

 

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8 Responses to “Don’t tell Mormons they believe in a different Jesus”


  1. 1 John Hoopman
    July 23, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    I was wondering if you mind taking a moment and sharing something with me about your beliefs? This could also apply to any of your visitors here at the blog: if anyone reading this would like to email me your answer, I’d greatly appreciate it.

    The question is this: thinking about your religious belief and its importance to you, what is the SINGLE greatest thing that you think your faith gives you know or will give you in the future? When thinking about it, please consider that you are trying to convince another human being that your faith is the one they should choose and you can only make one single argument for accepting it.

    I greatly appreciate the help. Again, I’m not looking for a series of good reasons for believing what you do. Please limit your answer to ONE thing or advantage that your faith gives you.

    Email me at hoopman4you@yahoo.com is you would like to participate.

    Thank you!

  2. July 23, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I love this question: “Did Jesus do everything for us to live with Heavenly Father or do we have to do something in order to live with Heavenly Father?”

  3. July 24, 2008 at 3:08 am

    This exercise is not intended to show that one side is right and one side is wrong overall but I think the written record is pretty clear in requiring would-be followers of Christ to take some action. This is not exhaustive but these are all statements from the Gospels all attributed to Jesus, no commentary here, where there appears to be a pretty strong injunction that we must do something or else have no part with Him–

    “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
    “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
    “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?…”keep the commandments”
    Parable of the wedding feast…man who came unprepared without a wedding garment was rejected.
    He rebukes the Pharisees for “they say and do not”
    Parable of the ten virgins, those who came late because they had failed to keep their lamps full show up and the answer was “I know you not”
    “No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
    “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”
    “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
    “then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”
    “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
    “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and men gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned…if ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love.”
    His final injunction “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commended you”

    I’m sure we could debate each one but I think when taken in aggregate it is hard to dismiss the idea that in order to realize the greatest communion with Christ, whether it is described as the kingdom of heaven, abiding with him, or simply being where he will be, some level of effort/action is required and potentially ceremonial action as well. If we go one step further and not just ‘do or have no part with me’ but to the wider scope of the teachings of Jesus then we would find that in the entire inventory of the recorded words of Jesus the greatest percentage is dedicated to instruction about behavior.

  4. July 24, 2008 at 5:46 am

    I think it is also a matter of Mormons not fully grasping their own doctrine.

    Some among us believe that life is meant to be an aggregate of accumulating good works – slowly filling up your jar, however slowly. Then, when you die, Christ steps in and “tops you off.”

    As a Mormon, I do not think this is correct, and it is not supported by a face-value read of the Book of Mormon. The good works “meet for repentance” are not “being truthful” or “giving to charity” or “be chaste.” The good works of Mormon doctrine are a reference to the ordinances that invoke a relationship with God – specifically Christ’s Atonement.

    Once you really understand what the Book of Mormon is saying, there is no talk of earning God’s favor on the strength of whatever good you’ve done in the world. It is simply a matter of whether you have humbled yourself and reached out to Christ. It is Christ that pays the full balance. None of my good works change the balance one way or the other. It is only a question of whether I have accepted Christ and chosen to become his.

    It needs to be emphasized however, that the Mormon way of coming to Christ is via symbolic and ritualized covenants and ordinances. All Mormon ordinances are performed with the ultimate aim of invoking Christ’s Atonement. You may object to a ritual coming between you and the raw experience of Christ. But I find there is still plenty of scope for experiencing Jesus personally and without barriers in spite of the the ritualized context, but also THROUGH the ritual context. For me, it is still intensely personal and immediate.

    Perhaps we are similar to Catholics in this sense.

  5. July 24, 2008 at 6:30 am

    How does an individual choose to accept Christ? Is it possible for a person to profess their acceptance of the Savior, be perfected in Him, and then act in a manner inconsistent with His teachings? If a person is acting in a manner that is inconsistent with the gospel are they still perfect in Christ? If a person becomes perfected in Christ today do they still have their agency? Are they still capable of making imperfect choices? Can they choose tomorrow to reject Him?

    I believe our agency is guaranteed through Christ’s Atonement and that individual choices matter a great deal. In Matt 7:13-14 it reads:

    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    By making conscious choices each day to stay on the narrow path defined by Christ, we are by definition believing Him and having enough faith in Him to follow Him and all of His teachings. This is what we do if we accept Him as our Savior. If we do anything else, then we are not accepting or believing Him, and we’re not on the strait and narrow path because all other directions lead to destruction. In other words, it’s the choices we make each and every day that determine whether we have accepted the Savior and been born again through His sacrifice.

  6. 6 Jay
    July 24, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Great post. You are right on the money! Your approach to Mormons is the way it should be, share your beliefs and show a Christ like example. The “different Jesus argument” can be circular and cause a lot of contention, which doesn’t really help anyone grow closer to God. The best way to approach a Mormon is to be respectful and share your beliefs.

  7. 7 markcares
    July 26, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I think it is important to distinguish between a person’s status and state. Take the current discussion about immigration. It has become very important that people are not illegal immigrants even though they have been in the US for years in some cases. If their status is that of an illegal alien, then they will constantly be on guard, looking over their shoulder. Even if they are doing a fine job at work, they know that they could quickly be deported, because of their status.

    Status is also important in my relationship with God. Because of what Jesus has done for me, I heen acquited (the biblical word “justified”). Because of Jesus payment for my sins, God has formally and officially declared me not guilty. That is my status in Christ before God – even though, in my current state, I still sin. This is grace – God’s unconditional, wonderful love of the unloveable.

  8. 8 Sabrina
    December 17, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Thanks for this post. I was unaware that this would be an offensive thing to say. I am really enjoying your blog, and the comments, as I learn about Mormonism (because I have in-laws who are Morman).


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