Skip to comments.RELIGION: Group targets LDS women
Posted on 12/03/2009 11:43:34 AM PST by Colofornian
REXBURG -- A large media campaign involving billboards and mass mailings has been launched in eastern Idaho. Its goal is to draw women away from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The "Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons" campaign was started by the Truth in Love Ministry in Nampa, and its focus is on "witnessing to Mormons" and showing them the "truth of God's words" through "loving means."
This week a billboard was placed at the intersection of Yellowstone Highway and Seventh South in Rexburg showing a woman holding her head next to the words "Feeling Worthy?" The billboard also gives the campaign Web site, HisHealingNow.com.
The "Feeling Worthy?" message "targets a foundational fact of Mormonism, the need for all Mormons to achieve worthiness in order to receive eternal life," according to campaign literature.
The campaign says God's truth is "the concept of free and full forgiveness through Christ" rather than the "earned forgiveness taught in Mormonism."
"There is an important difference between LDS teachings and conservative Christianity," said Pastor Mark Cares, president of the Truth in Love Ministry. "The aim of the campaign is to talk about the great message of forgiveness in the bible that is obscured by LDS teachings."
Campaign literature focuses heavily on Mormon "stress points."
"Mormons are under a significant amount of stress because of all the commandments they need to uphold and all the duties they need to perform in order to be worthy to receive God's blessings -- including his forgiveness," it says.
"The teachings of Mormonism cause people to despair because they have so much to do," said Cares.
Cares preaches that God's forgiveness and blessings are available to everyone for free if they simply accept the "good news of God," that "we are already perfect and worthy in God's sight."
So the question is, are Mormon women actually plagued with guilt and stress because of their religion or is this campaign simply another form of anti-Mormonism?
The Speaking the Truth in Love campaign is different from many anti-Mormon groups in that most typically seek to argue or dispute facts regarding Mormon history or doctrine.
Instead of resorting to "Bible bashing," the Truth in Love campaign seeks to fellowship and love Mormons into accepting their views that Mormonism will lead to "eternal death" rather than "eternal life."
One reason for the change in tactic may be because of recent scientific studies by Mental Health America and Express Scripts, a national drug distribution company. The report ranks Utah as the most depressed state in the country and shows that Utah residents are prescribed antidepressant drugs at twice the national average.
Researchers have drawn conclusions that the large LDS population was partially to blame for the high levels of depression in the state.
But these statistics have their critics.
Brigham Young University sociologist Sherrie Mills Johnson recently did a comparative study of more than 3,000 non-LDS women and two national surveys of more than 2,000 LDS women.
According to Johnson, "to date, no conclusive evidence has been presented that proves that LDS women are more depressed or take more anti-depressants than other women."
Johnson stands by the "most significant finding of her study," that "increased religiosity predicted increased life satisfaction and mental well-being."
Local psychologists agree with those findings.
According to Reed Stoddard, the director of the Brigham Young University-Idaho Counseling Center, feelings of guilt, being overburdened and stress are issues that they deal with frequently, but he says there not necessarily caused by religion.
"Properly understood, our religion does not contribute to depression or anxiety," said Stoddard. "In fact, the church can be helpful in overcoming stress and depression."
Local LDS leaders and LDS religion professors agreed with this sentiment, and most said that the LDS faith is very liberating in its views.
"The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is fundamentally liberating," said Phillip Allred, a member of the BYU-Idaho Religion Department. "By definition it offers salvation from guilt, sin and weakness -- but he (Christ) provides those on his own terms. He requires our allegiance, our loyalty and our faithful obedience to his commandments and ordinances because they help qualify us to receive the highest manifestations of his grace."
Allred suggested a May 2007 address to LDS women given by James E. Faust, a deceased member of the First Presidency of the LDS Church, to further explain the LDS Church's stance on personal self-worth and forgiveness.
The address is titled "The Value of Self-Esteem."
"There are many whose self-esteem has been so devastated by the loss of loved ones, by divorce, or by other personal misfortunes," said Faust during the address. "Some carry an extra burden of guilt from grievous sins. Transgression is so devastating to self-esteem. After transgression so often comes rationalization and even lying. This is what makes justice so violent to the offender. Fortunately we have the great principle of repentance whereby sins that are 'as scarlet' can become 'white as snow.' I am grateful for this principle and pray no one will hesitate to find the peace that comes from repentance."
LDS Area Seventy Robert Chambers, who represents the LDS Church in southeastern Idaho, had no comment on the Truth in Love Ministry campaign partially because he had not heard of the group.
In addition to the billboard in Rexburg, two "Feeling Worthy?" billboards have been placed in Idaho Falls and another two in Pocatello. They are slated to remain standing for at least three months.
Cares said that the biggest thing he wants to stress is that "we aren't against the Mormon people -- our focus is against the Mormon teachings," and "bringing as many Mormons as possible to heaven."
For more information about Cares or his campaign, visit HisHealingNow.com or truthinloveministry.net. Faust's address can be found at http://lds.org/library/display/0,4945,538-1-4136-1,00.html .
According to Mormon writings, what makes you "worthy?" Your perfection (3 Nephi 12:48; Mt. 5:48)
[Whereas, in contrast, a good definition of a "Christian" is someone already perfect in the Father's eyes thru Jesus sacrificial death (Heb. 10:14) -- where His perfect righteousness is substituted for our imperfect righteousness. (1 Cor. 1:30). Heb. 10:14 ...because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.]
Just to be sure, I looked up "worthiness" (a key Lds concept) in the 1977 "Topical Guide to the Scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" published by church-owned Deseret Publishers.
I found verses like Doctrine & Covenants 59:4: "And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time--they that are faithful and diligent before me."
"Commandments not a few"? -- sounds like a long checklist to me.
I then looked at the 1979 "Topical Guide" in the Lds version of its KJV -- and turned to the "worthiness" entry there: It tells me right up top its related to the concept of "qualifying for" & then proceeds to verses like D&C 31:5: "Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live."
Ah. There it is: The Mormon "strategy." Don't "trust" for your salvation, "thrust in your sickle"
So it sounds like the Mormon god wants plenty of soul labor -- paid labor -- spiritual hirelings -- earned labor for salvation. No free gifts here. No grace here. Just follow the rules, ma'am.
Indeed, the LDS are the "rules oriented" ones: The purity and perfection we seek is unattainable without this subjection of unworthy, ungodlike urges and the corresponding encouragement of their opposites. We certainly cannot expect the rules to be easier for us than for the Son of God... (Lds "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 28)
Just look @ all the "rule extensions" Lds have imposed upon their followers in order to make it to the highest degree of afterlife:
(1) You have to be obedient to all the commandments & ordinances of the Mormon god
(2) You have to tithe -- what Lds reference as the "Law of consecration"
(3) You have to obey the "Word of Wisdom" -- not drink coffee, etc.
(4) You have to get married -- sorry, no never-married single people allowed
(5) You have to have as many children as possible
(6) You have to perform temple work for the dead
(7) You have to perform endowments essential for this highest degree of salvation
(8) You have to be a member of the right church (Lds)
(9) You have to receive & perform the rites and ordinances established by that church
(10)You have to have Joseph Smith's consent to enter into your highest afterlife
That is 19th-20th-21st century legalism!
Past "prophets" like Spencer W. Kimball & others then stress that you have to earn forgiveness -- Kimball even had a chapter in a book entitled, "Keeping God's Commandments Brings Forgiveness."
But as somebody once said, Jesus love is not something we earn, it earns us. Whereas, Mormon "scripture" is more like:
That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins... D&C 76:52
In the Mormon church, obedience is ground zero.
Even before faith -- obedience earns you faith (so said Lds "prophet" Joseph F. Smith)
Even before forgiveness -- obedience earns you forgiveness (so says Lds "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball)
Even before being able to be washed & cleansed from sins -- obedience must be earned (so said founding "prophet" Joseph Smith)
Even before grace -- restoration "grace for grace" only comes to Mormons "according to their works" (Helaman 12:24, Book of Mormon)
The Mormon "bad news" -- not a "good news" gospel at all -- is obedience not only now and later -- but before anything:
washing or cleansing from sin
None of it kicks in for the Mormon until all the obedient works are racked up! That, my friends, is a false gospel through and through!
I was heretofore unaware that the word "fellowship" could be used as a verb.
I guess you learn something new every day, right?
PS - Some of the most easy-going, laid-back people I have ever met have been Mormon.
Guilt and personal responsibility are such terrible things. If you could only drive all the Mormons out of Idaho, it would turn into a tolerant, guiltless utopia like Detroit or San Francisco, wouldn’t it?
What does Mormon doctrine say? "Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved." (Lds Doctrine & Covenants 132:32)
Indeed, the "great message of forgiveness in the Bible" is there! The Bible says that Abraham was saved by faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:2-3) -- not by following a law that had yet to be introduced to anyone of his generation. Rom. 3:20 very specifically says the purpose of the law was to gain knowledge of sin -- not to find salvation. In fact, that verse makes it quite clear that "by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight."
(No flesh = NO FLESH!)
Mormons say the primary impetus for God's forgiveness isn't based upon His grace & mercy, but rather upon living his commandments (legalism):
"To make our repentance complete we must ALWAYS keep the commandments of the Lord (see D&C 1:32). A person is not fully repentant who does not pay this tithes or does not keep the Sabbath day holy or refuses to obey the Word of Wisdom. He is not repentant if he does not sustain the authorities of the Church and does not love the Lord or his fellowmen. A man who fails to have his family prayers and who is unkind to his family and others is surely not repentant...President [Spencer W.] Kimball said...spend the balance of your lives trying to live the commandments of the Lord so he can eventually pardon you and cleanse you." (Lds church, Gospel Principles, p. 120-122, citing Lds "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 200)
The Lds church has it backwards. We are forgiven & cleansed; and therefore God works through us to assist us in good works and pure living. They think you have to engage in commandment-obedience so that God will eventually pardon & cleanse us. (That's legalism)
Some in their early teens.
When you look up "worthiness" (a key Lds concept) in the 1977 "Topical Guide to the Scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" published by church-owned Deseret Publishers, you find verses like Doctrine & Covenants 59:4: "And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time--they that are faithful and diligent before me."
"Commandments not a few"? -- sounds like a long checklist to me.
Well, aside from the countless do's & don'ts, hectic pace of having to uncover everybody who's ever lived birth & death info, temple rituals, seminary school for high schoolers @ ungodly hours, large-family care, extra work to pay for all your children's missionary work, I can see why the Lds spiritual cycle can invoke depression.
In Lds "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball's book, "The Miracle of Forgiveness," he said if Mormons "repent" of a sin -- but then re-commit that same sin...guess what? Well, that person never really repented of that sin in the first place! Imagine all the LDS "young people" who have "repented" of the sin of lust. But then they lust again. (Well, the LDS "prophet" said that then they never really repented of it to begin with -- they're all back to ground zero).
It's like imagining a spiritual game of Shoots & Ladders where most of the contestants always wind up back @ the bottom. Why? 'Cause it's a "game" based entirely upon the ability of somebody to self-will and self-repent once & for all from every single sin out there. Sins of commission. Sins of omission. All thousands of the types of sins out there. Catalogued 1 by 1.
Now that's depressing!
As long as they made all the Amish leave also!
Hey, the teachers of the law is Jesus' day were so adept at teaching "guilt and personal responsibility" they turned the Ten Commandments into over 500 applications of those commandments!!!
'Twas enough to provoke Jesus repeatedly: 45One of the experts in the law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also." 46Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. (Luke 11:45-46)
You can legalistically burden people down to spiritual death!
In that same chapter, Jesus continued: 52"Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering." (ll:52) ... Matthew said something similar in 23:13: 13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
The bottom line is that keeping the commandments isn't our "gateway entrance" into glory. The "gatekeeper" isn't our spiritual grades, our merit badges, or anything else that points to us. Our "Gatekeeper" is Jesus Christ Himself:
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. (John 10:9)
God grades only on perfection; we aren't perfect; Jesus was and is; the Q is: Do we trust in His perfect life & death to cover our imperfect life & sins? If not, judgment is not pretty because Jesus receiving judgment for our sins on the cross wasn't pretty. It was hell billions of times over.
If you could only drive all the Mormons out of Idaho, it would turn into a tolerant, guiltless utopia like Detroit or San Francisco, wouldnt it?
I don't understand, Vigilanteman, why we ONLY have a choice between either licentiousness or legalism? That's offering a false dilemma -- that we have to "pick our poisons."
The cross cuts through the middle of them both. The labor God delighted in was the labor of love of His Son on the cross. The reconciliation it brought with us, former enemies. A rebirth. Regeneration. New enablement, thru His Holy Spirit, to do good deeds out of love & not to earn a spiritual grade. It cuts out all legalism. 'Cause let's face it, if we keep commandments & do good deeds because we expect a boomerang "payback," it's chock loaded with selfish motivations.
At the same time, the cross humbles us to see our sin on that cross. To know IF there was another price that could be paid other than the Son of God taking the form of a mere man -- of which we see this Christmas -- & enduring what He did, God would have done it. Knowing what it cost is in itself innoculation and a self-check vs. an anything-goes tolerance.
I mean, why re-nail Christ to the cross over & over again?
Probably not your fault. Unfortunately, the contemporary church has treated that word as a potluck noun event.
"Koinonia (κοινωνία) comes from the verb koinoneo, which means to communicate and share in the same (realities, properties or even problems) with another person." Source: http://www.ellopos.net/mail/koinonia.html
From the article: ...recent scientific studies by Mental Health America and Express Scripts, a national drug distribution company. The report ranks Utah as the most depressed state in the country and shows that Utah residents are prescribed antidepressant drugs at twice the national average.
I like a nice Vodka Martini or two every day to take care of my occasional anxiety. Sometimes a nice Red Zinfandel or a Pinot Grigio with the dinner.
I rely on our special Thunderbird Blend as the eye opener in the morning. Life doesn't get any better!
I have been drinking a small glass of mulled wine on some chilly evenings, just to take the edge off. It is much nicer than prescription drugs and warms the heart. ;)
We had a nice Relief Society president in Aalborg Denmark back in the day that loved to get me a bit giddy with a nice warm mulled wine. She was a gorgeous 35 year old widow that understood all the finer things in life and didn’t let the religion get in the way of it. At that time I was the Branch President of Hjørring.
Forgot to add. They were the greatest two and a half years of my life.
I had some pleasant years as an active LDS young woman before I started taking is seriously. Nice neighbors, good friends, warm memories.
I wish it hadn’t all been based upon lies. Living a lie does strange things to people. It makes them plastic.
Thank you for posting this. Mormons aren’t the only ones who think they need to measure up to God’s righteous requirements to be acceptable to him. I like what a gal from church said once, “If you have to do something to maintain your salvation, then it becomes a “works” thing.
Indeed. The gospel is repeated both inside the Christian church and beyond it. And it's surprising how many "outside-in" driven messages we hear among Christian leaders -- versus the rivers of living water which bubble up from within:
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive." (John 7)
The Spirit is not simply a burning bosom. He's cool flowing and overflowing water from within. And as Jesus said, He's "received" -- not earned.
I pray those who are...
...thirsty for once-and-for-all forgiveness,
...for assurance of an eternal relationship with the true Jesus,
...and for grace & mercy to be received on this side of the veil
--who desire to receive both this good news & the Holy Spirit who yields new life in us
-- would pray with me:
"Father, our identity outside your Son is as...
"Dead people (Eph. 2:1),
"in bondage -- not free agents (Romans 6),
"enemies of yours (Rom. 8:7),
"once-born creatures (2 Cor. 5:17),
"unreconciled to you (2 Cor. 5:18),
"fearful of death,
"fearful of our enemies,
"anxious about the future."
"You've already done a 'recommend' on us and found us wanting...greatly...
"...but you still passed us into a new relationship with You via Jesus' perfect 'recommend'...
"Jesus, Your Son, the perfect proxy baptized into being washed in our sins...
"...So we could, as the even the book of Mosiah says, be born again...
"I pray that many would confess your true Son in this hour and in this season. So that, they, too, can say with full assurance, 'we HAVE eternal life' (John 3:36; 5:24).
"In His Name we pray, Let it be so."
So much sickle thrusting will over sap the Fruit of thy Loins!
It's that DANGED Joseph Smith!
Trying to drag you back!!!!!