Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Finest People in the World

"But I love her, and I want to not just spend my life with her but my death too!" My freshman in high school wailed.

She went on, "It would be easier if they were bad.  But they're not, Mom.  They're good people.  How do you tell good people how wrong they are?"

My stomach sank and I wanted to cry.  In her young life she has been blessed to be instrumental in helping others come to know Christ, mourned friends who rejected the Savior, and hurt for people who never had a chance to hear.  But this was her first encounter with a deeply religious and deeply misled friend.

The friend in question is growing up "LDS" as they say around here. If you're not from Utah or the surrounding states I'll fill you in: LDS is short for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the full name of what is commonly called the Mormon Church. In other words her friend  started in "Primary" (the Church of Latter Day Saints version of Sunday School),  and now as a teen goes to "Seminary" at the building beside the High School every day in lieu of one of her regular classes.  She attends at her local ward building with the others in her geographic region and may one day be a full-fledged temple Mormon like her parents.


I was too.  The LDS church is huge in Wyoming, our new home, and to be honest we knew next to nothing about it.  My girl has lots of young friends who have been baptized and are devout Mormons.  I had a sad and worried kid, a personal wealth of ignorance, and a need to prepare her to share the truth about Jesus while protecting her from being evangelized herself.  I needed more information and fast.
So off we went to our local library.  Since we live in LDS country I was hopeful that there might be something appropriate there.  I was hoping for "Mormonism for dummies". It's a real book with two authors, one an expert in diverse religions and the other a devout Mormon. I read the Catholic version and loved its clarity, fairness and balance.  But no such luck.

Instead I found a shelf full of books focused on polygamy. I am not the least bit interested in "Sister Wives."  Finally though, I did locate a volume entitled, Out of Mormonism.  I took it straight home and devoured it in a single evening.
Out of Mormonism was very easy to read and a fascinating story. The book was the first person account of Judy and Jim Robertson's experience with Mormonism.  Casual Christians, they were converted to Mormonism as adults and left again while their children were still small.  It captured my 13 year old's attention immediately, and she was almost late for the bus as she had to read one more page before heading off to school.  Although there was far too much detailed information to share with you here, there were several very important lessons that I took away from the book

1. Take away: Protect those I love with Bible knowledge and a rich life in the Spirit: Judy and Jim account for their initial conversion to Mormonism by two factors.  They were unhappy and unfulfilled in the culturally Christian life they had been leading and were sadly unaware of what the Bible said.  Protecting my child from false doctrine starts with a firm knowledge of God's word, not just from Sunday School but learned at home.  However if she isn't walking in the Spirit and producing his fruit in her life, she is still a ripe target. God's true worshipers worship in Spirit and in truth; it was this neglect that made the Robertsons vulnerable and would endanger my daughter as well.

2. Take away: Reach out to others based on scripture: Crucial Mormon doctrines, including the idea that Jesus was a created being and that God exists in heaven with a flesh and bone body, can be countered with simple to understand scriptures like "God is spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." and "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." (John 1:1, 4:24).

3.Take away: These are "the finest people in the world": The book emphasized several times that in terms of morality, generosity and sincerity the Mormons they knew were wonderful people.  Believing that they can and will earn a higher place in the future life by their good works/good life, they are hardworking family oriented people.  Its no wonder that my serious minded and godly child is drawn to their children as friends. 

I am only at the beginning of my learning about the LDS church and I would welcome conversation and clarification from any of my Mormon friends.  I'm still searching for more detailed books so that I can prepare my girl not only to resist ideas that aren't rooted in God's revealed word, but also to reach out to her friends! 


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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