Wednesday, May 7, 2014

# 43: Interfaith Efforts

Lately I've been noticing that the LDS Church has been doing a lot more interfaith efforts.  For example, the LDS Church participated in a Bay Area Interfaith Group Honoring Christ Through Song and Service.

I think participating in events like this is a change in the right direction.  And it is a change.  I doubt this would have happened fifty years ago.  It definitely would not have happened a hundred years ago, when Mormons were not so quick to identify themselves as "Christian."

But I think there's this slow and soft change among Mormons.  It's a change toward a more mainstream Christianity.  For example, in my ward, there are people who listen to Christian rock music.  And then there's been some chatter lately among the Latter-Day Saints around here about the recent movies "God's Not Dead" and "Heaven is for Real."  The Mormons I know think these are great movies.  They acknowledge that there is some real spirituality coming from other Christian denominations.  There's just a lot more understanding and mutual respect between Mormons and other Christians these days.

Sure, our scriptures of the Restoration still say, in Joseph Smith History verse 19, "I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof."

But, in the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley, "I don't know if we teach that.  I don't know if we emphasize it."

There's a lot of crazy stuff in the scriptures that never seems to get taught or emphasized.  Like all of section 129, for example.  You never hear about that section in seminary or Sunday School or General Conference or in the home teaching message or anywhere!

The same stuff happens in other Christian Churches.  There's a lot of stuff in the Bible that gets ignored, like Joshua and his army being commanded by God to kill the men, women, and children who lived in the Promised Land.  And the weird summoning ceremony in 1 Samuel chapter 28, where King Saul calls up the spirit of Samuel, the Prophet.  That's a trippy chapter, man.  I doubt you'll ever hear about it in a Christian church, unless you bring it up.

Anywho... the recent interfaith efforts being made by the LDS church are great.  Maybe you can help the good work move along.  Put your shoulder to the wheel!

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  1. While I agree that the new efforts to seem more christian are good, I also cannot ignore the obvious reason for the change: decline in activity and conversion. Over 78 THOUSAND members requested their names removed in 2013. Up from 52000 in 2012. It's unfortunately increasing. Elder Marlin Jensen, emeritus GA and former Church Historian, was pushing the church to be more transparent with historical issues, even though there may not be complete answers. Many members are falling away due to doctrinal and historical doubts. Some say that is why he was suddenly released but I don't know. The main problem that I see isn't whether the church is more transparent about the issues, but if there are adequate answers at all. Or have we all just been duped?

  2. Yeah I think the Church sees that it needs to change into a more generic Christian Church in order to survive in the age of the Internet. I don't think you need to be a prophet to see that. Where did you get that 78,000 figure? And yeah, if the trends continues, more and more will leave every year. I'm trying to to my little part to help the Church survive. I love the Church and I love Jesus Christ and I love my TBM parents and I love my upbringing. And I'm choosing to stick with the religion for the rest of my life, and I'm choosing to raise my daughters, and any other children that may come along, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

  3. Anonymous, you wrote, "The main problem that I see isn't whether the church is more transparent about the issues, but if there are adequate answers at all. Or have we all just been duped?"

    Are there adequate answers? That depends on your definition of "adequate." If I haven't been up front about my testimony enough in this blog, I'll be up front here: I think Joseph Smith pretty much made up our religion. I don't think that President Monson holds exclusive priesthood keys. But he's probably a good guy and a nice guy. I don't think that the Book of Mormon is a literal historical record. But it's a good book and a nice book, and it brings people closer to Christ. I pretty much agree with the book "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins" by Grant Palmer. I suggest you read that book and then read the FAIR responses to that book and see what you think. But even though I no longer have a traditional testimony of the LDS Church, I do believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe that the Mormon Church is a good Christian Church, and I believe that God wants me to stay in the LDS Church. I've had a lot of spiritual experiences that have guided me to staying in the Church. I intend to stay.

  4. That makes more sense. I still believe the church is true in that it is guided by men who seek to do God's will. I'm an Executive Secretary to an Area Authority and so I meet with GA's on a weekly basis. That's how I know how many people are falling away. The shift to Mainstream Christianity is a real thing. There are many people in high profile callings who are pushing to change things.