Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are Mormons Christian?

Perfect Love by Del Parson

There is a debate about whether Mormons are Christians.  I guess it depends on what your definition of a "Christian" is.  If you ask a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they will tell you that yes, they are indeed Christians.  Instead of arguing about it and trying to convince someone that I'm a Christian, I've decided to just live my life according to my beliefs and I feel that my actions will speak as to whether I'm a Christian.
Children of the World by Greg Olsen

My husband and I were chatting one evening and it dawned on us that religious labels was a very "worldly" concept.  On earth there are Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc, etc, etc.  In Heaven, there will be none of these.  We will all be one.  I wonder how many Christians have thought that when they get to Heaven, they will be surrounded by Christians as well as people who were not Christian in their earthly life.  How can this be?  Only people who are saved can go to Heaven.  Actually, that's not what I believe.  I believe that God loves us all so much that He has given us a Savior that gave all of us eternal life.  I believe that Jesus set the example for how we should live and what we must to in order to return to God's presence.  One of those things is baptism.  So, what you're telling me is that only people that are baptized can go to Heaven?  Yes, but only those baptized by someone who has the authority.  OK, so now we have a few million people that would qualify?  Nope.  After Jesus was crucified and his apostles died, the authority to perform baptisms and other ordinances was gone.  It wasn't until Joseph Smith restored the church and was given those keys that the authority once again was on the earth.  So what about all the millions and millions of God's children that were on the earth when there was no authority?  What about all the millions and millions of God's children that never heard about Jesus.  God is just and merciful.  He would never send spirit children to earth knowing there was no way for them to return to His presence.  Enter the temple.  There are about 160 LDS temples that are in operation, under construction, or announced.  They are spread across the United States, as well as North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and even Africa.  As I mentioned earlier, one of the ordinances that everyone must do (except for those under 8 years of age) is be baptized by immersion by someone who has the authority.  They must also be confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost.  There are also temple ordinances.  After an LDS member has completed all their ordinances, they can go to the temple and do the ordinances on behalf of people that didn't do theirs in their lifetime.  Now before people get upset thinking that we are forcing dead people to join our church, understand that this is completely done out of love.  Usually a person can only submit an ancestor's name, so we're not doing the work of your deceased grandma (unless you have a Mormon cousin).  Once the ordinances have been done by a living person on behalf of the deceased person, we believe that the deceased person has agency and chooses whether to accept those ordinances or not.  Since we believe that you must have these ordinances to live in God's presence, we want to do these ordinances for others so that they can have the joy of being with our Heavenly Father again.  For those under the age of 8, they have not reached the age of accountability, and will be in God's presence when they die no matter what.  Just because you've completed the ordinances doesn't mean that it is guaranteed that you will go to Heaven.  Jesus Christ atoned for us which made it possible for us to repent and through the Atonement we become clean and worthy to be in God's presence.  We also have to do our part to keep the commandments and live a good life.  So anyone from any religion, country, etc can return to live with God again.  That makes sense to me.  The God I believe in is one of justice and mercy.  He is perfect.  He has a very specific plan and He loves ALL of His children and wants ALL of them to return to live with Him again.  He has given us agency because His plan is not to force us back to Him, but I think He definitely gives us many opportunities to come back to Him.  I am so grateful for Jesus Christ who is the only way to return to live with God.  We would all be in a lost and fallen state forever if he had not come into the world to redeem us.
Los Angeles LDS Temple

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