While I was serving as an LDS (Mormon) missionary in Virginia many years ago the other lady missionary I was serving with had to go in for an eye doctor appointment. We arrived at the eye doctor with our name tags on. We didn’t go anywhere except on our preparation (laundry) days without our name tags.
A few days later we got a call from this eye doctor telling us that he wanted to meet with us to discuss a matter of religion. We both got the feeling that he wanted to Bible bash with us. We felt strongly that we should leave our scriptures in the car.
As we entered his office he asked us to sit. He then proceeded to tell us that because of our belief in the Book of Mormon and in Joseph Smith he could not in good conscience treat my missionary companion. He told us that because our religion teaches that faith is more than just an acceptance of Jesus Christ that we were children of the devil and we should change our ways or we would be going to hell.
I was reminded of this event recently as I have posted comments on a few blogs. As I have used verses from the Book of Mormon to back up what someone else has said or to demonstrate why I believed something I have been met with a myriad of responses. I have been told things that I believe—or think I believe that have little to do with what I actually believe. I have, on an occasion or two, been told that Joseph Smith got the Book of Mormon out of a hat. That last one has got to be the most bizarre. Do people really believe that he did that or are they just passing on something they heard?
As we were reading after meeting with the eye doctor that day in Virginia I came to some verses in the Book of Mormon. This gave me my view of all of this.
2 Nephi 33: 10-12In the end it will be Jesus Christ who will judge whether we have followed his teachings or not. It will be Christ who will say whether the Book of Mormon is the word of God or not.
And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.
As for me, I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God as much as I believe the Bible to be the word of God. I believe that it was written by people in ancient America who came from Jerusalem 600 years before Christ. I believe that if God could help the children of Israel cross the Red Sea on dry land that He can teach a man to build a boat to cross an ocean—just as He told Noah how to build the ark.
I believe, as the scriptures say in John 10: 16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
I believe that God is no respecter of people. We are all His children and that we are not alone. He has not left us to stumble through this life without His help. I know for myself that He has guided me in my own life. He has given me direction in the things that I should do. God has not stopped talking to his children. It is only when we stop listening that His word fails to get through.
Hey Kelly. Mitt was the best tonight.
I wish I could congratulate James (Phelonius) on his presumptive candidate's performance (Dr. Paul), but he came off as the worst of the bunch (way off the reservation).
I missed the debate due to kids schedules, but I heard he did alright. I also heard that no one was the clear winner.
John, glad to see you out and about.
Kelly, it is interesting to me that you bring this up. As you are probably aware, and if not by now then be aware that I am Roman Catholic. One of the reasons that I seldom comment on scriptural references that you take from the Book of Mormon is that I am largely ignorant of your theology.
I came from a protestant background where I was taught that Roman Catholics AND Mormons were all going to hell. My relatives were mostly confused and horrified by my conversion. *I* think they should be happy, as I converted not from their religion but from hard-core atheism.
I think it is the height of hubris to presume to know how God will judge others. I have my own opinions, of course, but I have never in my life told anybody something as presumptuous and arrogant as "you are going to hell."
On the other hand, I have been told that myself. I care not what somebody like that thinks. I have also been told that The King James Version is the Bible that God uses, and all other versions are tools of the devil. That is an interesting thought since the original scriptures were Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. I do not personally think Christ had a lot of interest in speaking Elizabethan English when he was alive.
I personally think that your eye doctor there violated everything that Christ taught us. He healed sinners, he ate with the lowest members of his society, and he fed the masses.
As to the Book of Mormon itself, I can say that I have read it. It does not figure in my personal theology, per se, but it is just not a part of the theological tradition that I hold to. Again, judgment is for the Maker and the Maker alone.
I brought it up here because I would rather do it here than on someone else's blog--though I have done that before, but not in this detail.
My point in this was just what you said, "judgment is for the Maker and the Maker alone."
The 11th Article of Faith which WAS written by Joseph Smith says, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
James, I really appreciate your comments. I have never had a problem with you not commenting when I make reference to things I believe.
I know you didn't. My mother always told us kids that if you assume that other people know what you think when you never say anything you are living a fool's game.
That being said, you deserved an acknowledgment of my activity on your site when you do bring up the Book of Mormon.
At least according to some of my relatives, you and I will be able to discuss all of this in the fires of hell......
I just about said something about sharing time in Hell...so I guess we need to get used to a little heat. If we can't take it here...we won't take it there. ;)
According to my ex-Born Again Christian girlfriend, I'll be joining the both of you.
John, most of the flack we all get is from the "Born again" and evangelical Christians.
So, you, James and I can all get together in the after life and have a party... as it seems we are all headed to the same hot place. ;)
It would be sorta strange down there considering that we are all firm believers in Christ.
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