Skip to content

Robinson on Church Loyalty

November 9, 2009

After finishing Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson I have begun reading his follow-up book Following Christ.  Following Christ picks up where his first book leaves off and focuses on the application of the LDS gospel to the life of the believer.  I have found myself very much liking Robinson.  His writing style is simple eloquence.  However, I want to focus on the disagreements between his presentation of the gospel and my understanding of Biblical Christianity.

One of the key concepts of this new life that LDS believers must embrace is “enduring to the end.”  The commitment to follow Christ in faith to the end of our lives is a reasonable expectation from God for any Christian.  But when Robinson discusses “following Christ” he seems instead to be instructing believers to follow the Church. Indeed, instead of exhorting members to “know Christ” he asks them to know that the “church is true.”

Some people are basically saying “Well, today I think the Church is true, but ask me again tomorrow.”  But there must come some point at which our commitment to the gospel and our conviction of its truth settles such questions in advance and predetermines our response to whatever challenge we may encounter to our faith, to whatever commandments we may receive, or to whatever sacrifice we are called upon to make (p. 27). (emphasis original).

I can relate to Robinson’s encouragement to cling to faith and have found there have been many times in my life that I have had my faith challenged and yet was able to hang on to that knowledge that Christ was my Savior and that He had secured my salvation.  However Robinson isn’t asking believers to follow Christ but to follow the Church.

The deep chasm between the Church and Christ is seen in where the loyalty must lie.

Just as a celestial marriage says, “We are sealed, no matter what,” so a truly converted member says, “I am a member of this church, and my lot is cast with the apostle and prophets—no matter what.  Above all other issues, loyalties, agendas, and commitments, this is where I stand; this is what I believe; this is whom I serve” (p. 28)

Notice the glaring omission?  This is not a commitment to Christ, but a commitment to an entity.  And instead of encouraging members to follow Christ no matter where that might lead, Robinson instructs them to “send our roots deep—deep into the gospel and deep into the Church” (p. 28).

Indeed, just as for Roman Catholics there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, for Robinson there is no hope of “enduring to the end” without the LDS church:

We cannot endure to the end in those covenants without enduring to the end in that church (p. 30).

And there is also no room for questioning the Church.  “There are no side bets or private arrangements.  Enduring in our covenants means enduring in the Church” (p. 30).  Robinson supports his teaching by quoting LDS Scripture on the subject.

And now, behold, whosoever is of my church,

and endureth of my church to the end,

him will I establish upon my rock,

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them (D&C 10:69).

The expression “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them” is almost a direct quote from the New Testament book of Matthew, but notice the very different meaning given in that text.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter,

and upon this rock I will build my church;

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).

Can God lie?  Christ promised that He would not allow Satan to prevail against the Church that He built, that He leads.  Notice the twisting in meaning.  In the D&C God promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against members of the LDS church.  In Matthew, Jesus promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church.  Yet the LDS church claims that a great apostasy occurred immediately following the apostolic period, insinuating that Satan did prevail against the Church that Christ established.

The New Testament also talks about loyalty.  The Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) is full of references to abiding in Christ.

Abide in me, and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,

except it abide in the vine; no more can ye,

except ye abide in me (15:4).

The Apostle Paul’s object of faith was not the Church but Christ. In his second letter to Timothy he writes,

I know whom I have believed,

and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which

I have committed unto him against that day (1:12).

Peter also made it clear that it was not through the Church that God administered salvation, but through Christ!

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,

which is become the head of the corner.

Neither is there salvation in any other:

for there is none other name under heaven given among men,

whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:16).

Salvation does not come through the church.  We have been called to “abide in Christ.”  This same Jesus offers to us the very message that he shared with his disciples two millennia ago.

I am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me (John 14:6).

Where have you placed your trust?  In a church or in Christ alone?

Advertisements
42 Comments leave one →
  1. psychochemiker permalink
    November 9, 2009 3:19 pm

    It’s only slightly dishonest to say Robinson says Robinson only wants loyalty to an entity and not the person of Christ. For heavens sake, Stephanie, the book is titled following Christ.

    From the Mormon paradigm, obedience to Christ is also obedience to the organization we believe that HE set up. While I am able to understand that you don’t believe this, I at least TRY and see your viewpoint from your assumptions. It really seems like you are not just unwilling to do the same for us, but that you are incapable of doing so. And that’s sad.

  2. November 9, 2009 3:32 pm

    PC,

    I edited your comment above. Please refer to the comment policy. 🙂

    NChristine

  3. faithoffathers permalink
    November 9, 2009 3:36 pm

    Stephanie,

    If you were alive at the time of the NT apostles, would you feel comfortable going against their counsel and leadership? Would you still be following Christ if you opposed His apostles?

    We believe Thomas Monson is a modern day Peter, and the modern apostles the same as the ancient. You may not believe that, but that is the basis for our loyalty to “the church.”

    “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Matt 10:40

    The irony I see is that, if the church is in fact what it claims to be, you and other EVs are the ones rejecting Christ by rejecting His servants. You simply do not believe these modern men are apostles, and that is the issue.

    fof

  4. November 9, 2009 6:59 pm

    Add me in as one who thinks you’ve failed at capturing the heart of Robinson’s meaning. I’ve taken classes under Robinson, and I’ve read his books. Either you’ve twisted his meaning or you’re intentionally being misleading in saying that “Robinson isn’t asking believers to follow Christ but to follow the Church.”

  5. Stephanie permalink
    November 9, 2009 8:52 pm

    PC

    It’s only slightly dishonest to say Robinson says Robinson only wants loyalty to an entity and not the person of Christ. For heavens sake, Stephanie, the book is titled following Christ.

    I can understand what you are saying but in order to accuse me of being dishonest you need to show how I’ve been so. I’ve quoted Robinson in context. If you don’t think that this is what he believes you can show me that I’m wrong and I will change my opinion.

    Although you may feel that I have misunderstood the LDS perspective, I really feel like Robinson has misrepresented the Evangelical/Protestant view of the gospel. In Following Christ Robinson has this to say regarding other denominations:

    They would insist there is no process, no long-term goal, and no point to religion beyond the single event of being saved from death and hell. Once saved, they are left theologically with nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no reason to do it. Their train is stationary–no engine, no tracks, no journey. For them getting on the train isthe complete destination. No wonder the one-time event of “being saved” becomes for them the focal point for all eternity and the LDS insistence on working toward a further goal irritates them so–they deny the existence of any further goal beyond merely being saved from death and hell (p. 69).

    Talk about judging! I have never in my entire life heard this from a Christian teacher, pastor, leader, lay person, or author and it causes me to wonder how he could come to such an assumption.

    I don’t see any other way of interpreting Robinson’s words other than proclaiming that the LDS church is “the only” way to get to the celestial kingdom.

    And there is no acceptable substitute for the covenant relationship outside the church and kingdom of God upon the earth (p. 30).

    The Catholic Church makes the same claim. Why should people trust the LDS church’s claim over the claims of the Catholic church?

    Stephanie

  6. Stephanie permalink
    November 9, 2009 9:16 pm

    FOF

    If you were alive at the time of the NT apostles, would you feel comfortable going against their counsel and leadership? Would you still be following Christ if you opposed His apostles?

    Absolutely not! In what way am I going against the counsel and leadership of the original apostles? Paul was very clear to make a distinction between himself as an apostle and Christ. Paul had this to say in his first letter to the fairly screwed-up church of Corinth.

    I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. (1 Cor. 1:14-15)

    He was careful to make the distinction between having people follow him and following Christ.

    We believe Thomas Monson is a modern day Peter, and the modern apostles the same as the ancient. You may not believe that, but that is the basis for our loyalty to “the church.”

    I can understand this viewpoint but the problem is that Peter never established himself as the “leader of the apostles” in the ancient church. I think you would be hard-pressed to find Scriptural or historical evidence for some sort of hierarchy with Peter established as the head-honcho. Peter never claimed this about himself in his letters and no NT author makes an argument for this either. Peter was the “apostle to the Jews” and Paul was the “apostle to the gentiles.”

    The irony I see is that, if the church is in fact what it claims to be, you and other EVs are the ones rejecting Christ by rejecting His servants. You simply do not believe these modern men are apostles, and that is the issue.

    What I believe is that the gates of hell never prevailed against the church. Fox’s Book of Martyrs describes the torment and persecution suffered by believers from the time of Christ to the beginnings of the Protestant movement. Christ has always had a flock–albeit small–on the earth. There was no “restoration” because His church was never destroyed!

    Stephanie

  7. Stephanie permalink
    November 9, 2009 9:22 pm

    Clean Cut

    Either you’ve twisted his meaning or you’re intentionally being misleading in saying that “Robinson isn’t asking believers to follow Christ but to follow the Church.”

    Let me ask you a question. I am a follower of Christ. I’ve trusted Him as my Savior and when I study the Word I seek to walk in light of His words. Am I following Christ sufficiently to make it to the highest level of the celestial kingdom?

    Stephanie

    P.S. Congratulations on the birth of your son! He is absolutely perfect looking and you guys picked an awesome name. 🙂

  8. November 9, 2009 11:22 pm

    Thanks for your kind words, Stephanie! I appreciate that.

    As for your question, I’ll have to refrain from passing judgement on if you’re sufficiently following Christ. There is only one that can sufficiently make that judgement call, and as well all know, that is the Church. (Tongue-in-cheek)

  9. November 9, 2009 11:27 pm

    Actually, jokes aside, I do have a serious question. You seemed to suggest that Robinson is wrong about your goal being “to get on the train”, meaning, “being saved”. To clarify, if being “saved” is not the ultimate goal, what *is* your further goal beyond “being saved”?

  10. Stephanie permalink
    November 10, 2009 12:26 am

    Hi Clean Cut,

    You didn’t really answer my question. 🙂 How can I get to the celestial kingdom? I do not believe Joseph Smith is a prophet, I do not believe in the Book of Mormon, I have not been baptized in the temple, I do not sustain the First Presidency of the LDS church, I haven’t been married, I haven’t been sealed to a worthy Mormon, I haven’t received the laying on of hands by the members of the priesthood. What is my hope of getting to the celestial kingdom if I only follow Christ?

    You seemed to suggest that Robinson is wrong about your goal being “to get on the train”, meaning, “being saved”. To clarify, if being “saved” is not the ultimate goal, what *is* your further goal beyond “being saved”?

    I think that Paul answers this question most clearly in Phillipians 3:8-10.

    Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

    I know that many Christians often emphasize the importance of soul-winning and discipleship and these should both be the desire of every believer. Yet, we have also been admonished to grow in Christ and to deepen our relationship with Him so that we don’t just “drink milk” but are able to eat the strong meat of the Word. The good works that I do as a Christian are in gratitude for the grace that God bestowed to me even though I am unworthy. God promises to reward the Christian for his or her good works–as long as they are built upon the foundation of Christ (1 Cor. 3:10-15).

    I have never felt like I’m “spinning my wheels” as a Christian. Every year I grow closer in my relationship with Christ and grow in my knowledge of Him and His Word. I have watched new believing Christians grow in leaps and bounds as they submit their lives to Christ. Fellowship with other believers, evangelism, discipleship, prayer, Bible study, charity, and caring for others are all habits that mature Christians develop as they grow to become conformed to the image of Christ. When I make it to heaven I don’t plan on “progressing” on to Godhood (I don’t think I could do that as a woman anyway!) but I do plan on spending eternity worship the One God that I love and serve and that I have been getting to know during my years here on earth.

    Hope that answers your question. 🙂

    Stephanie

  11. November 10, 2009 2:09 am

    I think there will always be hope for you, Stephanie! 🙂

    How can you make it to the celestial kingdom? I think there will be a time and place in the hereafter where you’ll be able to figure out if there is more you need to either accept or reject. I hold out that hope for all of us.

    I think your answer is a good one. It serves as a good reminder that we should all avoid stereotypes and simplistic explanations. We also need to take into account that although we may be using different language, we may actually believe more alike than most people realize.

  12. November 10, 2009 2:11 am

    (In particular, I’m referring to your language of growing “to become conformed to the image of Christ”.)

  13. Stephanie permalink
    November 10, 2009 4:53 am

    I think there will always be hope for you, Stephanie!

    I’m glad you think so! 🙂 In all seriousness, though, this doctrine does concern me.

    I think there will be a time and place in the hereafter where you’ll be able to figure out if there is more you need to either accept or reject. I hold out that hope for all of us.

    The reason that this statement makes me feel concerned is that it seems to lay out false hope. Notice the very different warning given by the author of Hebrews:
    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Heb. 9:27)
    The following is taken from Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Sorry its kind of long but it really expresses well the way I feel about the importance of this concept.

    Death occurs but once in this world. It cannot be repeated, if we should desire to have it repeated. Whatever truths or facts, then, pertain to death; whatever lessons it is calculated to convey, pertain to it as an event which is not to occur again. That which is to occur but once in an eternity of existence acquires, from that very fact, if there were no other circumstances, an immense importance. What is to be done but once, we should wish to be done well. We should make all proper preparation for it; we should regard it with singular interest. If preparation is to be made for it, we should make all which we expect ever to make. A man who is to cross the ocean but once–to go away from his home never to return–should make the right kind of preparation. He cannot come back to take that which he has forgotten; to arrange that which he has neglected; to give counsel which he has failed to do; to ask forgiveness for offences for which he has neglected to seek pardon. And so of death. A man who dies, dies but once. He cannot come back again to make preparation, if he has neglected it; to repair the evils which he has caused by a wicked life; or to implore pardon for sins for which he had failed to ask forgiveness. Whatever is to be done with reference to death, is to be done once for all before he dies.

    Jesus Christ will ultimately judge each one of us someday. I can’t take comfort in the idea that there will be a “sorting out” period prior to this judgement because there is no such presentation of this concept in the New Testament. Look at the thief on the cross. That day he went to be with Jesus in the celestial kingdom/paradise (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:2-4).

    The ominous words of Jesus were not “narrow is the way but we’ll get it sorted out after death.” Instead He said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:14). God has given each person free-will or agency. The time to use that is now, not the distant future. If I’m wrong about the LDS gospel the time for me to convert is now not later.

    I do believe the words of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). I can rest assured that I will receive a glorified body when I reach heaven. The apostle Paul doesn’t present future glorification as a possibility for the justified–but the assured reality!

    Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    This passage reminds me of one of the messages of Corrie ten Boom, survivor of the Ravensbrück concentration camp during WWII. She would often say, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” He is not only the author of my salvation, but He is also the holder of that same salvation.

    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)

    Sorry to be so long winded. 🙂 I talk a lot at night.

    Stephanie

  14. November 10, 2009 4:23 pm

    I understand your concern. Without the perspective obtained through the Restoration, I’d probably share that disconcerting perspective as well.

    I don’t have as much time these days to respond in length, but the quick response to your interpretation of Hebrews 9:27 is that judgement most certainly will come after we die. That’s the truth. However, it does not say that the judgement comes “immediately” after death. After death, I believe there is a “holding ground” of sorts where all spirits go to await both judgement and the resurrection. Latter-day Saints call this the Spirit World, including both a paradise and hell. This is the place where we believe that evangelism of lost spirits continues until the earth has served the purpose of its creation and the final judgment occurs.

    We believe Jesus went to that Spirit world to organize this evangelizing work (see D&C 138)–and thus that’s where the thief on the cross also went.

    Concerning the postmortal place of human spirits, Alma sought an answer to the question “What becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for the resurrection?” (Alma 40:7). It was revealed to him by an angel that at the death of the body “the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life” (Alma 40:11). They are then assigned to a place of paradise or a place of hell and “outer darkness,” depending on the manner of their mortal life (Alma 40:12-14).

    I suppose this could be considered a preliminary “judgement” of sorts, but I also believe in the Final Judgement which will come after the resurrection. By that time, every person will have been given an opportunity to receive an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 3:19-20; Luke 4:18; Isa. 42:7).

  15. Stephanie permalink
    November 10, 2009 6:12 pm

    I can understand your perspective, Clean Cut. I don’t think that it is a conclusion you have come to based upon the New Testament alone, but rather on other LDS scriptures.

    We believe Jesus went to that Spirit world to organize this evangelizing work (see D&C 138)–and thus that’s where the thief on the cross also went.

    But Jesus promised the thief that he would go to paradeisos. When Paul described the vision / experience of being caught up to the “third heaven” the same word paradeisos is used (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Jesus promised that he would be with the thief in paradise. Later we see that the same word is used in connection with the dwelling place of God.

    He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)

    I’ll make an attempt at the interpretation of 1 Peter 3:19-20 but please be easy on me–this is a very complex passage! It seems that Peter is teaching that Jesus went to preach to the spirits in prison after his death on the cross. Roman Catholics have taken this passage to mean that souls go to a purgatory after death. I don’t believe that this passage is teaching a purgatory view or a “spirit prison” view. Note that the occupants of this prison were a specific group of people. “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” Adam Clarke has this to say about the spirits in prison:

    While the ark was preparing, only Noah’s family believed; these amounted to eight persons; and these only were saved from the deluge δι ‘ υδατος , on the water: all the rest perished in the water; though many of them, while the rains descended, and the waters daily increased, did undoubtedly humble themselves before God, call for mercy, and receive it; but as they had not repented at the preaching of Noah, and the ark was now closed, and the fountains of the great deep broken up, they lost their lives, though God might have extended mercy to their souls.

    I’m not sure if this is a good interpretation of the passage or not. But, I do think that it is clear that Peter is not describing a spirit prison loaded up with people throughout all ages past. He is describing a certain group of people who rejected the words of Noah and received the preaching of Jesus after the crucifixion.

    In Luke 4:18 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 42:7 and says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” Although this could be understood to mean literally the Babylonian captives who were miserable and suffering under bondage, it can also mean the very real freedom that Christ offers those who accept Him. Paul later describes the condition of the unsaved as being “slaves to sin” (Rom 6:17). Jesus came to free people from the bondage of sin. I don’t think that you can use this passage to assert that there will be a holding area for lost souls.

  16. November 10, 2009 7:38 pm

    Stephanie,
    This was a wonderful post!

    I can see that for the LDS, the church = the Lord Jesus. They don’t seperate Jesus from the LDS church. I think it’s safe to say for most LDS, when the “church” says something, it’s as if the Lord himself is speaking it.

    Christians do not view “church” the same way as LDS do. They see the Church = the body of Christ. That is believers make up the “church”. It is not found in any single denomination, and it is not a “building” per say.

    So, the defination of what is “church” is so different for LDS .

    The Bible is clear, as you pointed out so well. We are to abide in Christ Jesus, not in a particular church or religious system. Our faith, our trust, our hope lies in Him.

    In Christ alone,
    gloria

  17. November 10, 2009 7:49 pm

    No Gloria, this is not a “wonderful post” if it leads you to actually believe that “for the LDS, the church = the Lord Jesus.”

    You see, this is what is so interesting to me. Just because one person says something entirely subjective like that, it’s taken as a standard fact. It’s not that it’s offensive. It’s that it’s so completely ignorant.

  18. November 10, 2009 7:55 pm

    “I don’t think that it is a conclusion you have come to based upon the New Testament alone, but rather on other LDS scriptures.”

    Naturally.

    For Latter-day Saints, the Bible will always be viewed together with the rest of God’s revealed words, as found in the Standard Works.

  19. November 10, 2009 7:55 pm

    CC,

    Who/what do you consecrate yourself to in the Temple? Christ or The LDS Church?

    Darrell

  20. November 10, 2009 8:16 pm

    Gosh, Clean Cut,
    We all have a right to our personal opinions. We may agree to disagree, but just because you don’t agree sir does not mean I am wrong or you are right. We just have different opinions. I was LDS for 19 yrs, and I am not speaking in ignorance. You may see it as thus, but that doesn’t mean that you are correct.

    Kind regards,
    Gloria

    ps. I see congratulations are in order for the birth of your new son! Wonderful news!

  21. November 10, 2009 8:19 pm

    Darrell ~~

    Good point. The last time I attended an LDS endowment ceremony ( fall of 2007) there was a specific covenant made by the proxy to “consecrate all their time, talents and energies to the building up of the Kingdom of God and to the Establishment of Zion, and to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Now, this may have been changed since my last visit to the LDS temple, but as far as I expierenced, there was no covenant made to Jesus. To the LDS church, but not to Jesus Himself.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  22. November 10, 2009 8:27 pm

    You are correct Gloria. The exact wording is:

    “…you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion. [emphasis mine]”

    No consecration to Christ, but there is to the Church.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  23. November 10, 2009 8:41 pm

    Consecrating yourself to the Church is consecrating yourself to Christ.

  24. November 10, 2009 8:46 pm

    Consecrating yourself to the Church is consecrating yourself to Christ.

    Which is exactly the point we were making Seth. LDS view the Church this way.

    Darrell

  25. November 10, 2009 8:50 pm

    Okay, let me do my best to call this as I see it.

    Evangelicals bring this up because they don’t have an institutional church like Catholics and Latter-day Saints. Plus, they forget that for LDS, it was Christ who established His church, so when LDS show gratitude for the church, it is gratitude for Christ who established His church to do the things that he intends for it to do. One should not try to divorce the Bridegroom from the bride.

    It is true that some LDS forget that the Church is the “body of Christ” so the Church is not just an institution but it is the body of believers. LDS don’t typically emphasize that. But for us, it is both.

    Now, what I’m hearing the former Mormons say is that because we covenant in the Temple to build up the Church, our highest covenant is to the Church rather than Christ. I think that’s downright silly. Who are we covenanting with? We’re making the covenant with/to God!

    It is true some LDS forget Christ and get caught up in programs, but that is the same in any Church. I think it’s more cultural than theological. If you believed that Jesus established His church and wants you to serve people through the Church, then you will do that. I think Evangelicals or critics forget that the restoration was a restoration of the Church too, not just as body of believers, but of a restored organization with ordinances and priesthood. And we’re quite thankful for that!

    Since Evangelicals don’t have this, they don’t “get it” as easily as Catholics do, since Catholics have the Holy Catholic Church. So part of this is just where you’re coming from. People see what they want to see. But if you’re going to try to make this apples to oranges claim, you should also be criticizing the Catholics.

    Critics who are disgruntled don’t care, and some ex-Mormons think they know Mormonism and can’t learn anything from any Mormon about it because they say “Hey, I was Mormon okay, so I know everything you know and more”. And that just doesn’t lead to productive conversation.

  26. November 10, 2009 8:54 pm

    …nor does it lead to respect and mutual understanding.

  27. November 10, 2009 9:02 pm

    Now, what I’m hearing the former Mormons say is that because we covenant in the Temple to build up the Church, our highest covenant is to the Church rather than Christ. I think that’s downright silly. Who are we covenanting with? We’re making the covenant with/to God!

    I understand what you are saying CC, but I have a few problems with it. To consecrate my life to anything, other than God Himself, is in my view idolatry. For I am making that item more important than God. When we point out the errors of the prophets and the church (such as the things they have messed up in the past) Mormons are quick to point out that the Prophet/Church is not God and is not infallable. Yet, at the same time, in the Temple you consecrate yourself to THE CHURCH – an INFALLABLE organization that as you say IS NOT GOD.

    As a result, the wording in the Temple Ceremony is a big deal… for they could say you consecrate yourself “to God/Christ for the building up…”. But they don’t! They have you concsecrate yourself to “The Church… for the building up… “. To me, this is a big deal.

    All the best,

    Darrell

  28. November 10, 2009 9:04 pm

    I think half the gripes ex-Mormons have with the LDS Church can be accurately summarized in the desire to not have to wear a tie at church services.

  29. November 10, 2009 9:09 pm

    Darrell, I really think you’re twisting this. The covenant and promise you speak of is before God–and it’s in acceptance of the law of consecration.

  30. November 10, 2009 10:36 pm

    Wait, Mormons covenant to accept the Law of Consecration in the temple? They obviously aren’t practicing it though.

    Anyone have an explanation for his or her curious non-member friend?

  31. Stephanie permalink
    November 10, 2009 11:18 pm

    Clean Cut

    No Gloria, this is not a “wonderful post” if it leads you to actually believe that “for the LDS, the church = the Lord Jesus.”

    You see, this is what is so interesting to me. Just because one person says something entirely subjective like that, it’s taken as a standard fact. It’s not that it’s offensive. It’s that it’s so completely ignorant.

    I never made the statement “for the LDS, the church = the Lord Jesus” nor do I believe this to be true for most LDS that I know. I continue to assert what I did in the original post–that the LDS church teaches that salvation is administered through the Church.

    I think Gloria should be entitled to her own opinion because she was once a practicing member of the LDS church. One of the most disturbing trends that I see among LDS bloggers is the desire to run down ex-Mormons, categorize them and generally dismiss their comments. I’ve seen some LDS bloggers refer to them cuttingly as “apostates.” I do understand the LDS viewpoint that those who were Mormons but then turned away from the LDS doctrine are in a “state of apostasy.” Yet, there is also a distinct possibility that these ex-Mormons are right and that they have come to know the True Gospel apart from the LDS church. I’m not saying that you are calling people names, Clean Cut. You seem too nice for that. 🙂 I’m just saying that I have seen this before with LDS bloggers and it really bothers me. I feel that sometimes the LDS view people in a hierarchy that goes like this:
    *LDS people
    *Religious people of other faiths
    *Non-religious people
    *Ex-Mormons / apostates
    I could be wrong. Its just a pattern I notice in the bloggernacle. The ex-Mormons are considered “bottom of the barrel.” I am aware of at least one blogger who does not advertise his / her status as being an ex-Mormon. I am often amazed at the different conversations that person has with LDS compared to those who are known to be ex-Mormon. Its almost like they are walking around with a big target on their back.

    Stephanie

  32. November 11, 2009 12:24 am

    Stephanie,

    Usually we don’t really bug ex-Mormons on the bloggernacle until they start becoming obnoxious and attacking anyone who didn’t decide to leave like they did.

    Chanson is an ex-Mormon I know, and she is generally well-received most places on the bloggernacle.

    That’s because she doesn’t act like a jerk in other people’s houses.

  33. Stephanie permalink
    November 11, 2009 12:32 am

    Seth,

    I really don’t know. I was just making an observation. As neither a Mormon, nor an ex-Mormon I feel like I’m fairly objective. And, I’m just saying, from personal observation, I’ve seen some pretty powerful language from Mormons directed at the “apostates.” And, yes, I’ve seen them referred to as “apostates.”

    Stephanie

  34. November 11, 2009 12:38 am

    If you go onto the bloggernacle trying to push your own exit-story into a larger narrative of why the church we are all a part of sucks, then yeah… don’t expect a positive response.

    No-brainer.

  35. November 11, 2009 12:51 am

    Seth,

    You said: ” Consecrating yourself to the Church is consecrating yourself to Christ”……..

    That is the point I was making in my original response / comment I left here in response to Stephanie’s post.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  36. November 11, 2009 12:57 am

    Stephanie,

    You called a spade a spade my dear. Your observations are right on the money. The LDS online do not like people like me or Darrell or other former Mormons. Why? Take a wild guess. ( you’ll probably be right on the money there too!)

    It’s ok really it is. I wear my “apostate” badge with honor. ( Actually I polish it. LOL!) No, in all honesty I have been labeled all kinds of things, insulted, my family attacked, my person attacked, etc. I knew this would happen when I went online with my expierences with the Mormon Church. Instead of focusing on arguments, many LDS become so frustrated they begin to attack the “person” instead of focus their arguments on the topic.

    It happens, and it is rather telling if you ask me.

    Kind regards,
    Gloria

  37. November 11, 2009 1:08 am

    Gloria,

    I think I shared this with you once before. The attacks don’t even stop with adults, they also carry over to my kids. Last year my then 9 year old daughter was told by an LDS friend at school that her parents forbid her from playing with her because she left the “only true church”.

    BTW, I too wear my Apostate LDS badge with honor. 🙂

    Oh, and Seth, it wasn’t the ties that bothered me as much as it was the white shirts and the idea of being buried with that crazy outfit on. If it wasn’t for those, who knows, maybe I would have stayed! 🙂

    Darrell

  38. Stephanie permalink
    November 11, 2009 1:42 am

    Seth,

    If you go onto the bloggernacle trying to push your own exit-story into a larger narrative of why the church we are all a part of sucks, then yeah… don’t expect a positive response.

    Well, I suppose this could be true. However, the instances that I’ve seen ex-Mormons called “apostates” haven’t been linked with them sharing their exit story. One of my good friends recently has left the LDS church. She received a letter from one of the members of the church that basically jumped to all sorts of conclusions. The letter insinuated she left because she was angry, bitter, lonely, disappointed, etc, etc. None of these were the reasons for her leaving and she felt insulted that people would jump to conclusions.

    Jesus and the NT writers did not associate salvation / justification with being a member of a church. I think more than anyone you can understand how difficult it would be to leave the LDS church. It is not an easy decision to make. Your family, friends, history, and life are all tied up in the church. I think it is a tremendous testimony of the reality of these ex-Mormons belief in Christ that they didn’t just become irreligious scoundrels, but they have a real relationship with Jesus.

    Stephanie

  39. November 11, 2009 1:48 am

    Gloria and Darrell,

    My heart goes out to you, regardless of why you left the church, there is no good reason for anyone from within the church to treat you poorly. I would like to hope that members of the LDS faith would be above reproach in the dealings with anyone regardless of their personal circumstance. I know this is not true. There are many members in the church that feel it is their personal obligation to be the judge and jury. Although I personally did nothing (at least I would like to think I wouldn’t do anything) to you, I am sorry for the way you have been treated. No one deserves to be “shunned” for their beliefs. Apparently they didn’t get the memo, “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.” (AOF 1:11)

    My Best,

    Taylor

  40. November 11, 2009 2:27 am

    Taylor,

    You are truly a breathe of fresh air on the internet…..thank you for your comments. I agree that LDS should “know” better, but people are people.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  41. November 11, 2009 10:14 pm

    Jack, I just taught a Sunday School lesson a few weeks ago about the Law of Consecration. The purpose of the lesson was “to help class members understand the law of consecration and its eternal purposes and desire to consecrate their lives more fully to the service of God.” (You can read the manual online at lds.org)

  42. November 11, 2009 10:23 pm

    “One of the most disturbing trends that I see among LDS bloggers is the desire to run down ex-Mormons”

    Stephanie, I personally have not witnessed this trend. I have, however, witnessed people online treating each other like this from time to time–in a manner so very un-Christlike and uncharitable. And that’s disturbing no matter who it comes from. Whenever it happens it is indeed disturbing, regardless from whichever direction it comes. A patient commitment to respect and mutual understanding goes a long way.

    (FYIW, I’ve long had a link on my personal blog to a favorite post entitled “A Little Slack For Ex-Mormons”)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: