Many of you may know a Mormon. You might work with them or have members of that church in your family. Some recent news have brought the Mormon church back into the spotlight, and it makes for a great time to ask some simple questions to your Mormon friends, especially if you have never known how or where to begin.
The Mormon Church has a living prophet who they believe speaks for God on all relevant matters. The ideas of the prophet and other leaders are distributed to local wards through many publications including their leadership manual. One of the recent additions to this manual included instructions on how to deal with children of same-sex couples.
Although we may hold similar views about the moral rightness of same-sex couples, they have taken that view to an unthinkable point. The new church manual instructs that any child who has parents who are of the same sex can no longer be baptized into the church. The ramifications of such a view are huge. This means that even if a convert loves Jesus and obeys His teachings, he is in essence punished for the choices of his parents and can not be saved. Yes, Mormonism requires baptism into the church in order to be truly saved.
Although the Mormon idea of Heaven has several levels, they all aspire to reach exaltation. That is where they get to live with Heavenly Father. It has some major differences from our understanding of Heaven, but we don’t have room to talk about that here. Essentially, a young Mormon boy or girl, cannot receive any of the main benefits that come with their faith until they turn 18 and move out of their parents home.
Can you imagine someone coming to your church who has repented and turned to Christ only to be told “sorry, you have to wait five years and disown your family before God can accept you.” My Mormon friends are struggling with this new teaching. They are aware of the verse in Matthew that says, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
We know, as well, that Jesus taught, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Can you imagine, after saying that, He included, “as long as your parents are not gay.” These types of teachings come with the approval of their prophet, the man they believe speaks for God. They call their church the “one true church,” but what do you do when that church says things that contradict the teachings of Jesus.
This is not the first time the Mormon Church has placed such restrictions. For a very long time, African Americans could not receive the priesthood, another believed to be essential to reach exaltation. This ban was reversed in 1978 when their prophet received a revelation reversing previous revelations, as is often the case in man-made religions.
The best thing to do in these situations is to ask questions. Ask about how this makes them feel. Ask about how they understand this in light of what Scripture teaches about salvation being open to anyone who seeks it.
Most importantly, be gracious and kind but never be afraid to point out that, perhaps, the prophet and the leaders of the church are not as close to God as they say they are. Let them know that there is a Gospel that does not require you to pass through a temple built by man or be punished for the sins of your parents.
There is a Gospel that has no age limit and welcomes anyone and everyone who would confess with an honest heart that Jesus is Lord. The teachings and requirements of the Christian faith have never changed because Jesus is the only prophet we need. Whenever you try to put a man on God’s throne chaos ensues.