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Hudson Taylor and his Mormon Contemporaries

August 30, 2010

My pastor has been recommending a book of the month at my church and so this month I am participating in reading Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.  I have been challenged and inspired by reading this historical account of Hudson Taylor’s devotion to Christ and his life of sacrifice for the people of China.  During his time of preparation for going to China, he moved away from his family to a very poor neighborhood where the solitude allowed him to set himself to prayer, studying God’s Word, visiting the poor, and evangelistic work. By living mainly on oatmeal and rice, he found that he was able to sufficiently pay for his own needs with a third of his income so he could use the rest to give to those in need.  He experienced more blessing and happiness when he gave more and spent less on himself.  When he set sail for China he fully believed he would never see his family again. His self-sacrifice, stemming from a heart of deep love for God and for the Chinese people, makes me feel ashamed for ever thinking I have sacrificed anything for the cause of Christ.  But Hudson Taylor, preoccupied by his love for God and so richly blessed by the Lord’s anointing on his life and work, said in later years, “I never made a sacrifice.”

For LDS who might not be familiar with Hudson Taylor’s life there is a brief summary on Wikipedia worth reviewing.  One historian has commented that “No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the Apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematised plan of evangelising a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor.”  The mission agency that he founded (China Inland Mission) was non-denominational and accepted members from all denominations of Protestantism.  He wasn’t concerned with creating a name for himself or leading a religious enterprise, but in pointing lost people to salvation in Jesus Christ.  His legacy has continued to inspire countless numbers of Christian missionaries in the Church’s efforts to reach the unevangelized with the glorious gospel of the grace of Christ.

When I am learning about someone from a certain time period in history I am often curious to know what their contemporaries were doing at about the same time.  Since I have a blog devoted to Mormons I decided to research and see what was happening in the LDS church at the time that Hudson Taylor was preparing to go to China. Interestingly, in the same year that Hudson Taylor felt God’s call on his life for China (1850), Latter Day Saints were in the middle of significant denominational division as three men had stepped forward claiming they were the rightful successors of the late prophet Joseph Smith.   James Strang, who created an organization that at one point rivaled the size of Brigham Young’s, was proclaimed “king” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1850, a church that he claimed was the only legitimate continuation of the church that Joseph Smith founded.  Strang was murdered in 1856, but there is still a small group of followers of his sect to this day.  I find it interesting that Hudson Taylor sought to bring people of different denominations together to work for the cause of Christ while Joseph Smith and those that came after him tried to gather a following around themselves.

I want to invite all Mormons everywhere to leave the divisive doctrines of Mormonism, built on the teachings of men, and join with Christians in loving and proclaiming Jesus Christ alone and exalting His lovely Name! Just think how many missionaries we could send to unreached people groups if the GAs converted to Christ and turned over all the LDS church’s money to foreign missions.  They would stop spending money on lavish temples and would be ready to sacrifice all for the sake of lost souls!  This is my prayer for the LDS GAs and I have started praying for them on a daily basis.  I believe God wants to do a revolution in the Mormon church.  Dear Mormon readers, are you part of the revolution?  God can use you from within until He calls you out. Pledge your allegiance to Him alone and be willing to go wherever He calls you to go and do what He calls you to do. Submit to Him as your Lord and Master!

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me

(John 17:20-21)

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Martha permalink
    August 30, 2010 3:32 am

    Good example of how Christianity in that time was flourishing and alive. This is a great story of how the Holy Spirit was moving within the people devoted to Jesus Christ. Thanks Jessica!

    I have always wondered where all that money goes. If every Mormon has to pay 10% to the Mormon church, where has all that money gone? Do they have caverns of gold somewhere? Is there a record of where the tithings go? They could probably eradicate world hunger with all that money.
    Just curious.

    I was talking with a couple the other day who came to the conclusion that the Mormon church was false. However, they haven’t told their parents or family and “pretend” to be Mormon because of the fear of losing their family. They know that they will come under condemnation and ostracism from their family and friends. It’s the basic scare tactic the Mormon church feeds to the people that if they leave they will lose their family. I wonder how many others there are? If there are people like this, they must feel really alone. If you’re out there, let us know. You can talk here anonymously.

    God bless you

  2. John Scherer permalink
    August 30, 2010 3:32 pm

    Comparing a positive evangelical story with your negative spin of events in LDS history does not make for a very compleing argument. I’ve been a fly on the wall here for a while and I get the feeling that you are more interested in the sound of your own voice than any compeling argument.

  3. John Scherer permalink
    August 30, 2010 6:14 pm


    When I was baptised LDS I faced losing my family, but things have improved. Your insinuation that it is part of the LDS program for families to ostracize wayward children belies you ignorance of LDS doctrine and culture. I know many strong LDS families whose children vary in faithfulness and are all loved the same.

    Oh, and we thought about eradicating world hunger a couple of weeks ago, but we decided to save up for a really cool spaceship and a fleet of hovercrafts. Sorry! 🙂

  4. August 31, 2010 12:18 am

    Hi John! 🙂

    I’m glad you finally commented. I hope you will be able to look past your dislike of my writing style. I’d love to hear more of your story. How did you become LDS? What are you hoping to achieve by blogging with Evangelical Christians?

  5. Martha permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:41 am

    Thanks John for your comments. I’m pretty new to the blog and I guess I’m asking questions that may not be deep in appearance, but come from my heart.

    I was just figuring that if the medium yearly income for all the Mormon’s was $50,000 * 10% = 5000. 5000 x 13 Million = 65 Billion dollars per year. I searched looking for a financial statement. I found a audit statement and statistical report for 2003, but no financial. Google produces a lot of anti-tithing testimonies from ex-mormons, but no financial statement. Does anyone know where we can get a breakdown of last years financial situation for the LDS religion?

    When I was baptised LDS I faced losing my family, but things have improved. Your insinuation that it is part of the LDS program for families to ostracize wayward children belies you ignorance of LDS doctrine and culture. I know many strong LDS families whose children vary in faithfulness and are all loved the same.

    Tell that to my brother who was ex-communicated from the LDS religion and ostracized by my parents for a minor infraction. I would like to say that my father states that the excommunication wouldn’t happen today. My family has been devastated for 20 years, but they have lightened up since then and don’t slash and burn families like they use to. Sounds like a religion based on sand. But God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn’t change with the times. The God I worship is a loving God whose grace cleanses me daily. He doesn’t slash and burn families in the past or today.

    Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. It felt good. Good night.

  6. John Scherer permalink
    August 31, 2010 4:51 pm

    Hi Jessica,

    I have no problems with your writing style, it’s just your argument doesn’t make sense to me :). I can assure you that you could have found many examples of LDS giving their lives to missionary service in the same time period. However, you chose to contrast it with a secession crisis that only occurred because of the murder of Joseph Smith (We won’t even mention how that happened, it couldn’t have been christians behind that).

    Also, I’m pretty sure that you could find examples of power hungry evangelicals and similar schisms among christians in the referenced time period if you looked, but again you chose to highlight somehting positive from your tradition with something that you see as negative in LDS history.

    If you want to talk about your beliefs on the priesthood and church governance in comparison with my own (I believe this is your ultimate motive), that’s fine. Just don’t start with a backwards comparison of unrelated things to make your point. Comparing your best with my worst will just lead to contentious debate.

    Also, I’d love to share my conversion story with you some time, but I can’t right now as I’m running out of lunch break. This link contains alot of it though (feel free to remove it if you don’t want links to, I understand)

  7. John Scherer permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:04 pm

    Martha, I’m sorry that your family went through that. But, if you’re insinuating that the LDS church has a monopoly on dividing families you really have your head in the sand. There are plenty of similar stories from evangelical families.

    “The God I worship is a loving God whose grace cleanses me daily. He doesn’t slash and burn families in the past or today.”

    Ditto for the God I worship. I’d defy you to find anything in modern LDS teaching that would support your family’s behavior.

  8. John Scherer permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:22 pm

    One more comment (in addition ot the one in moderation).

    Martha, I’d love it if all 14 million members of my church had the faith to live the law of tithing and live a lifestyle as comfortable as you approximate. Maybe we’d be able to take a bigger bite out of world hunger. However, that’s a pipedream. I’d guess (uneducated) that maybe 35-40% pay a full tithe and more than half of our active members live outside the US: many in Africa, Mexico and South America. I’m pretty sure you number is vastly overexaggerated.

    That said, I have no interest in where my tithing goes after I pay it. I have an independent testimony that the leaders of my church are ordained of God and that is all I need to know. I regularly renew that testimony through study and prayer. I have been so richly blessed in so many ways by living the law of tithing that I would be an ingrate if I were to continuously demand affirmation of how the money is spent. It is not my own. I know insinuations about tithing misuse is low hanging fruit for you guys, but it doesn’t really have any sway on me.

  9. September 3, 2010 2:43 am

    Hi John,

    You said, “If you want to talk about your beliefs on the priesthood and church governance in comparison with my own (I believe this is your ultimate motive), that’s fine”

    Actually that’s not my ultimate motive as I don’t believe anyone’s salvation is dependent on either of these issues (not that I always blog about things that directly relate to salvation, but that is the overarching goal of the blog). Those are both good topics, though, that I’ve discussed in the past and will most likely discuss again.

    Thanks for the link – I was able to read your testimony of how you became a Mormon. Your boys look very sweet. Hope you stick around for some more conversations here!

  10. gloria permalink
    September 30, 2010 4:41 pm

    Jessica ~

    I have studied the life of Hudson Taylor ~ Amazing, Amazing!!

    I also would love to hear your thoughts on George Mueller ~ another amazing man of God who lived completely by faith.

    John ~ Many of us, who have lef the LDS church, have had family and loved ones deeply upset with us for our choice to leave the Mormon Church. It puzzles me truly because this is a church that professes ” Jesus” and yet if one of it’s members choose to leave their church and join another Christian denomination or simply leave for the love of Jesus, they are upset. Hmmm…..

    My marriage to my Mormon husband has all but been dissolved since I chose to leave the Mormons . To say he is angry with me is an understatement. Where is the love in all this?

    I hope you will stick around and read. Jessica is a wonderful woman, and I was a bit saddened by your comment about her “liking to listen to her own voice” comment you made. Why must LDS always make personal attacks? I see this over and over again, and honestly it’s telling.

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