Skip to comments.Viewpoint: 'Hold on to what you believe' [Lds: 'Does it feel...everyone you know is falling away?']
Posted on 02/17/2013 8:50:07 PM PST by Colofornian
A couple of months ago I ran into a dear friend of mine. After exchanging pleasantries and walking along campus, she turned to me and said, Does it feel that everyone you know is falling away from the church? Relieved that someone could understand how I feel, I looked at her and sighed. It seems like more and more of my friends are losing their faith in God and leaving the church.
She and I have a close friend who recently told us that shes now an agnostic. Or maybe shes an atheist. Im not too sure at this point and shes not too sure either. For her there is a war waging inside her heart as she tries to reconcile what she believes. For her it was a difficult decision to concede that she does not know whether or not God exists and it breaks both her heart and mine. I cant really understand it. And her family cant really understand it either. She has given up not only her beliefs, but the support of her family and her culture all at once.
I will be honest that hearing that my dear friend doubts Gods existence gave me pause to reflect on what I know and what I believe. I looked out the vast window in the law library, tears streaming silently down my face as I thought of how devastated I was for my friend, how alone she must feel.
And then I thought of how good God has been to me. And I could not deny His existence. I have had too many experiences in my life and have felt of His specific and dear love for me too many times to deny that there is a Heavenly Father who not only exists, but who also knows me personally and has a plan for me.
I know that I am becoming a minority on the international and national stages. Religion has fallen out of favor in our society. In many circles, it has become a four-letter word to say you even believe in God, and where saying you go to church is almost laughable. And this in a country that was founded on principles of religious devotion. Ive lived in a country where atheism is the norm rather than the exception, and America is not far behind in the trend.
But I believe in God, and Im not ashamed of it. Im proud to be a woman of faith in a world that I can see is becoming so cynical and prejudiced about religion.
Our generation receives a lot of criticism that we are lazy and entitled, but I dont know of a group that has had to work harder collectively than ours to hold firm to what we believe.
So what is to be done in a world that is systematically removing God from its corners? How should we respond when faced with friends, family and strangers alike when they choose to turn from God? Well, first do as Mumford and Sons says and hold on to what you believe. Faith is a choice, and the choice is ours to make.
I ache to share my beliefs with those I love the most. Of course I would want them to know what I know, not so that I have a corner on the faith market, but because my faith brings me so much peace and joy. Of course I would want that for them.
But when I think of my dear friend who is going through this crisis of faith, I know that the best thing for me to do is to just live my life in the best way possible and show her I love her and want her to be happy.
Maybe she will come back to the church and have a renewed faith in God and Jesus Christ. Maybe she wont. All I can do is live the faith that I love so dearly and love those around me as best I can, hoping that they will see the joy in my life that results from living the gospel and want the same thing in their lives. But if not, it wont change the love and respect I have for them. Thats not why we were friends to begin with. And thats not the reason were friends now.
And if youre struggling with your faith, just hang in there, do the best you can and hold on to the things you do know. Even if its not very much. Some things take time to work through.
This has easily been one of the hardest things Ive had to go through, to see one of my friends struggle with something so difficult. I havent really known how to handle it and she hasnt either. We try to be open, but sometimes its hard. And I dont think were alone in this. As a church we need to do better at talking about this and trying to understand one another, especially when we dont agree. Silence doesnt solve anything.
There's NO doubt about it: The Lds Church is hemorrhaging members deeply!
* When He Stopped Believing [Mormon exodus underway] [July 2012 Official Lds magazine Ensign]
* But Im a good Mormon wife: Sean and I had the perfect life. Then his faith started to crumble...
Around the globe:
* A Glimpse of Mormonism Around the Globe [Vanity] [See links within this article for additional shows of Mormon hemorraging]
* Notes: Mormonism and the Internet [Duplicity/mixed messages cited; baptism-of-dead issue lingers]
* Survey on Mormon Disbelievers to be Released at UVU Forum [74% point to theological concerns]
* Why Mormons flee their church
* Number of faithful Mormons rapidly declining
* Mormons opening up in an Internet world [& Losing members accordingly]
* Special report -Mormonism besieged by the modern age [Lds church is hemorrhaging in member losses]
* See also 2010 posting: Why Mormons Leave
perhaps what is needed is a sense of common goals and values, not attacking each other...
Perhaps what is needed is the truth? As in the Word of the Living God..If not now, than when? If not you, then who?
I agree with you. People should feel free to share their interpretation of the Gospel, but the constant attacks on “those people” are wearying and counterproductive.
And before I get flamed, I said "so many", not "all".
Yeah, I never read that from evangelicals, never.
Do I need a sarcasm tag?
Out differences are microscopically insignificant compared to the differences we have with individuals/collectives who want to deceive, enslave, kill YOU. Know your crucifier.
SOME Evangelicals are even worse, true.
It's 'believing in' Joseph Smith's LIES that will put you on the wrong path to 'god'.
MY GOD does NOT want me 'interpreting' His gospel - but to PROCLAIM it.
(And ALSO to point out and expose FASLE 'gospels' and FALSE 'christs'.
So; here we go...
Honey: I know JUST what you MEAN!!!
It’s those that give the 1% a bad name...
Out differences are ETENALLY significant compared to the differences we have with individuals/collectives who want to rule, enslave, kill YOU. They can only hurt your body.
Know from where your SALVATION comes.
(It'll be a LONG time...)
Would you listen to how that sounds?
Let me provide a parallel situation for you...
Say there's a long-time con artist who works the doorbells of your community daily. You know it...most of your neighbors know it...but your female neighbor down the street doesn't.
The con artist winds up taking 10% of her ongoing income -- not just a one-time "hit job" -- but 10% for the rest of her life; he also takes up a LOT of her time...getting her to do a LOT for dead people...feeding her lies, perversions...
And then you see one of your neighbors on your street repeatedly talking to this poor lady...encouraging her to stop "doing business" with the con artist because she's getting burned financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc.
Your response, Cherry (& by extension, ccmay & vanders9), to that?
Well, instead of joining in the warning you actually berate your neighbor who's doing what the Bible says to do -- to warn and engage in admonitions -- while you "look the other way" over the $, emotional & spiritual "rip-offs" that's taking place of your neighbor.
Do you want to tell us exactly how that's being "neighborly" to your victim-neighbor???
And then, the second part of your "sage" advice?
perhaps what is needed is a sense of common goals and values, not attacking each other... [cherry]
And so you three "neighborly" types (cherry, cc, vanders) all march down the street to your ripped-off neighbor and the person who's warning her about the con artist and you, Cherry suggest: "Perhaps what is needed is a sense of common goals and values. Maybe, the con artist could join our 'Better Business Bureau' where we all rally around common goals and values, and then we won't ever have to utter a negative word about him."
(And then I suppose, Cherry, you'll excuse yourself from that get-together since you have dandelions to go pick)
There's a 5-volume work from the Lds church's 10th "prophet," Joseph Fielding Smith...called Answers to Gospel Questions...published by the Lds-church owned Deseret Book Company.
In that work, JF Smith twice outlined the key mandates of an Lds missionary. In both volumes 1 and 4, Joseph Fielding Smith cited the same Mormon "scripture" Doctrine & Covenants passage: 88:81-82:
"Behold, I sent you out to testify and
WARN the people, and it becometh every man who hath been
WARNED to WARN his neighbor.
Therefore, they are left without excuse, and their sins are upon their own heads."
Joseph Fielding Smith then, after citing these verses in volumes 1 and 4, mentioned the following:
"This commission to go forth which was given in the beginning is still in force and binding on every missionary who goes forth today to declare the gospel of salvation in the world." (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. I, p. 134, 1957/1979)
"...there are certain commandments missionaries should remember...they are sent not only to preach and bear testimony and bring people to repentance...but to WARN ALL men..." (Vol. 4, p. 55 1963/1979)
You know what I took away from reading Joseph Fielding Smith is that I'm glad to live in a country where Lds missionaries are free to "warn" others as they see fit.
Well, guess what that means, Cherry, CC, Vanders? Has it dawned on you yet, that there was a second sentence to that comment that mutually applies?
I'm also glad to be a member of my church and worship as I see fit -- and that includes the freedom to engage in an exchange of mutual warning with my neighbors, the Mormons.
You wouldn't begrudge me the same freedom you extend to Lds missionaries, would you Cherry, CC, Vanders? Joseph Fielding Smith said the very essence -- the commission and commandments -- of an Lds missionary is to warn all men. Right?
Yet somehow when Lds missionaries go around and bug/warn people re: the so-called complete universal "apostasy" -- that ALL Catholics, ALL Protestants, ALL Orthodox are apostates -- & that they "need" the Mormon gospel...that's all "a-OK" eh???
Don't we take our cultural cue from a certain "Lord" named Jesus Christ? Who are we to follow when it comes to setting cultural priorities? Jesus and the apostle Paul? or PGalt?
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)
So does Jesus say, "fear the 'enslavers?'" (No)
Does Jesus say "fear the 'crucifiers'??" (Hardly! Jesus Himself subjected Himself to the crucifixion to save your soul and my soul from our sin)
Instead, does He say to exercise fear of the One who has authority to cast somebody into hell? (Yes)
So, indeed, our "fear" is on behalf of those who are placing their eternal spiritual lives at risk. As for somehow treating our "differences" as "microscopically insignificant" ...
(a) Mormon missionaries don't do that...and there may be 100,000 of them out & about by 2014...
and (b) I could probably guess that the folks who the apostle Paul warned the church @ Ephesus about had the bulk in common with the sheep there. Both groups were "religious."
So, did Paul play the "allies"-game-don't-divide-us-you're playing? (No)
As Paul was leaving the church of Ephesus, he warned them with this high-priority alert:
"I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts 20:29-31)
Paul's cultural priority? (Defend against the false disciples who will proselytize the flock and draw away men unto themselves!)
Tell me something, PGalt: If you did something tearfully night and day for three years, do you think it's rather important? So what? We're just to conclude, "Oh, the man who contributed a good chunk to the New Testament -- what does he know about cultural priorities?"
There is no trashing of mormons, there is exposure of mormonISM.
This article was written at BYU, a mormon college about mormonism.
And more importantly this is the religion forum, discussion of religion - who would have thunk it.
Insignificant? That’s a new one.
lds god - man who worked his way to godhood
Biblical God - Eternal
(hardly insignificant differences)
lds jesus - once a man worked his way to sort of a god status
Biblical Jesus - Eternal
(hardly insignificant differences)
lds salvation - must be worked for
Biblical Salvation - Grace
(hardly insignificant differences)
Well...some religion does need a falling out.
My Bible has only one "reference" to "true religion" -- the book of James...where he says "true religion" is to help the orphan and widow.
Other than that, it's been the legalistic religions that wind up turning off so many to the true God and the true Jesus.
Too many disaffected and disassociated Mormons think that Ldsism represents "Christianity" -- and wind up not wanting any of it, or anything they think might resemble it.
In this way, Mormonism becomes a poor "PR" example of so-called "Christianity" to these jack Mormons.
What IS needed is a true relationship--not a religious structure.
In the Bible people are baptized INTO Jesus Christ; not into a religion or church.
And Jesus Christ defined "eternal life" as knowing the only true God, and Jesus whom God sent. (see John 17:3)
Thanks for posting. Informative, educational.
We are smart...
I have no problems with anyone engaging in the expression of free speech. I DO have a problem with someone whose revelling in being "saved" seems to be largely augmented by looking down their noses at the poor rubes who are not part of their heavenly club. I dont care whether they are mormons, catholics, evangelicals or reformed toadstool worshippers. Triumphalism, i.e. the arrogant belief that your preferred set of ordering worship is superior to that of the church down the road, has no place in Christian thought. The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that Christians have going for them is that we have a savior. Everything else is window dressing.
I applaud you talking to the poor lady in your example. But I would stop you if you did it by beating her around the head with your bible.
Your opposition to exposition of cult doctrine and the posting of opposing biblical scripture is best presented to the Religion Moderator, who I’m sure will enlighten you as to the propriety of these topics on this forum.
Did Jesus engage in "Triumphalism" versus the Pharisees with his message of Matthew 23?
Did the early Church fathers of Christianity engage in "triumphalism" vs. Gnostic sects & Arianism heresies?
What do you do? Do you just go about totally revising the New Testament and early Christian church history where-ever it doesn't "fit" with your sectarian brand?
...I DO have a problem with someone whose revelling in being "saved" seems to be largely augmented by looking down their noses at the poor rubes who are not part of their heavenly club...arrogant belief that your preferred set of ordering worship is superior to that of the church down the road...
IOW...your set of ordering outreach MUST BE "superior to that of" my church down FReeper road, eh?
So how is it that...
...as you look down your nose at my engagement of what every major Christian denomination regards as "heresy" that you manage to escape your own finger-pointing of "arrogance"?
If my outreach technique doesn't match your elitist standard, am I not a "poor rube" in your eyes?
If you accuse me of doing something that "has no place in Christian thought" -- are you not engaging in your own intolerant heresy hunting whereby you flunk your own standards of perceived tolerance? Are you not thereby engaging in your own version of "Christian triumphalism" where you're expressing, "Boy, I'm glad I'm not a sinner like that Colofornian is"???
I applaud you talking to the poor lady in your example. But I would stop you if you did it by beating her around the head with your bible.
EXPOSING people to Biblical concepts is not automatic IMPOSING upon people from the Bible...'tis your unproved assumption of hyperbole that translates such to "beating...round the head."
Elsewise, you'd have been guilty of beating me over the head with your Bible in your last post...
...since your accusations were plenty...(elitism; triumphalism; arrogance; superiorism; "no place in Christian thought"; assaulting women)
...If you were somehow representing some kind of "kinder and gentler" humble version of Christianity, sorry, you flunked your own personal standards with that post!!!
I’m sorry I don’t understand what you are talking about. I havent expressed opposition to anything except smugness and trampling over other people. I dont mind if people want to fire bible verses at each other, or engage in rationale debate.
Well, to set the record straight, I'm not trying to revise the NT or early Church history - I dont think I mentioned any of that. I just think that witnessing to someone is more effective if you respect their situation, even if you disagree with it. Honey catches more flies than vinegar. Or if you want to be more scriptural, Jesus talking to the woman at the well.
I'm sorry if you thought I was speaking about you personally with the bit about those "revelling in being "saved" seems to be largely augmented by looking down their noses at the poor rubes who are not part of their heavenly club" and "arrogant belief that your preferred set of ordering worship is superior to that of the church down the road". I was speaking in general terms. The tragic fact is that kind of thing does happen. There are Christians who seem to spend more time bashing other Christians about points of theology than they do standing up to secularism, islam, or neo-paganism. I've been on the recieving end of a lot of that, and so I'm quite sensitised to it. Its very saddening and very painful. Friendly fire always is.
I'm a Baptist. I'm a baptist by conviction. I disagree with some of the beliefs and practices of the Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans and Catholics I have come across, but I don't deny they are Christian. Some Catholics (and extreme protestant groups) dont afford me the same consideration, and I resent that. I resent that an awful lot. I particularly dont like getting it on this site.
Mormans and Jehovahs Witnesses are heretics, but that just means they are wrong. Of course exposing people to the correct Biblical concepts is not automatically imposing upon people from the Bible - but some people do that, and I think that although with God's grace that can work it's more usually counter-productive. Again I wasnt attacking you personally - I don't know how you work - I was making a general comment. I apologise if you've taken that to heart.
is not automatically imposing upon people from the Bible - but some people do that, and I think that although with God's grace that can work IOW, some people still go after Heretics and non believers with what used to be called "bible-bashing" - a heavy handed stream of assertions. Increasingly people you witness to today won't put up with that. Your post will be reported.
I’m absolutely terrified.
Religion is and always has been the problem. Religion is man made way, a human invention, to worship God. He doesn’t want a man made system to worship him. That is what Leviticus is about. Under that system, there is no way for us to get close to Him- or to get it right.
He want’s us to love one another, show mercy, and follow Him humbly- exalting only the one God (because everyone else wants to consume us), and nothing else.
Religion is this woman’s problem- not unbelievers.
You should be. You’re in danger of hellfire.
My, thou art full of thyself. What’s the matter, troll, is nobody paying attention to you?
You bear false witness. And you indulge in personal attacks.
I can tell you’re very lonely. But I already have a date.
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