Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Do vs Be

I just found this blog post comparing an article in the Ensign to the Bible. (The Ensign is the official magazine of the Mormon church.  The article in the Ensign was a talk (kind of like a sermon) given by the current Mormon prophet, Thomas Monson, in the April 2012 General Conference of the church.)

Look close to the bottom of the post.  It's the classic viewpoint of the church, the one that has every Mormon wondering if they'll really be good enough to make it to heaven after all.  Monson said "Such blessings are earned through a lifetime of striving, seeking, repenting, and finally succeeding.”  The blog's author contrasts this with what the Bible says, "“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9) 

I liked the author's statement earlier in the post that the command to "be perfect" is not a process, but a result of justification, of being born again.  Again, it is a gift because of grace. Humans are not capable of being perfect by ourselves.  When I was an active member of the LDS church, I remember worrying sometimes that I just wasn't doing enough to make it to the "celestial kingdom," the Mormon's idea of a highest level of heaven.  I might have been paying a full tithe but I wasn't volunteering to take time off work and go work for free at the cannery or donating a big enough fast offering.  I did genealogy, but only sporadically.  I didn't make it to the temple every week. As a Mormon, there's always more to do. 

The more I read the Bible now, the more I see what a tremendous difference between the Word of God and the words of the LDS church.  I was easily fooled into following what church leaders said because I never really read the Bible--not with the love and respect I have for it now.  And like Jesus said, His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

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