It’s likely many of you missed this news, but for those of the Mormon Church, the passing of their prophet and president Thomas Monson was heard around the world. Monson was 90 years old and had been the Church Prophet for nine years. Most of the prophets are fairly old when they get the job, and the same can be said for the newest one, Russell M. Nelson at 93.
Why are they always so advanced in age? It has to do with the fact that founding prophet Joseph Smith never really left a clear path for who would follow him after his death. This caused lots of confusion and disagreement after Smith died, but now they just pass it on to the oldest serving apostle.
I have heard their new prophet speak before in person, and it was one of the most terrifying sermons I have ever heard. Years ago I was able to get tickets to a priesthood conference in Salt Lake City that is typically reserved for Mormons. It is a yearly gathering of thousands of Mormon men coming together to be motivated and to hear their leaders speak. I was the only one there not wearing a white dress shirt, and needless to say, it was obvious I didn’t belong, but one of my good Mormon friends wanted me to have the experience.
This was a few years before he would become the church prophet, but he still carried an important role within church leadership. Nelson was a former heart surgeon and one of the top surgeons in the world at his time. He began to tell of a story of an operation he had performed on two young girls who had congenital heart failure. Their family was Mormon and had high hopes for the surgery, but unfortunately both little girls passed away shortly after the operation was over.
For 60 years, Nelson felt a sense of guilt because this incident shattered the faith of the parents, and they stopped being active in the Mormon faith. Until one day, Russell Nelson claims he was visited by the two girls from beyond the grave.
These two young girls begged him, “Brother Nelson, we are not sealed to anyone. Can you help us?” In Mormonism a girl must be sealed either to her husband or her father in order to obtain everlasting life with the rest of their Mormon family. This sealing must be done in a special temple and contains a long list of things that have to be done before someone can be worthy to enter the temple.
Without this “sealing,” the two girls would remain in a lower level of heaven apart from the presence of God. The now 88-year-old father of the two girls was moved by the supposed plea of his two lost daughters and agreed to begin all the work needed to become temple worthy.
A person cannot just simply wish to enter the temple. You first must do a list of interviews to make sure you are temple worthy. All tithes must be paid as well as avoiding tea, wine and coffee, and applicants must confess their belief in the prophet of the church.
As Nelson spoke, my heart began to break. I could not believe what I was hearing, and I was terrified at how many people were smiling and nodding at his story. This supposed holy man was telling us all that God doesn’t allow innocent little girls into his presence until their dad pays his money and serves his time becoming temple worthy.
Nowhere do we see Jesus talking about temple marriages or sealing. What Nelson was describing was salvation by works in the worst way imaginable.
I turned to my friend and told him it was time for me to go. I was visibly shaken as I went over the details in my head, trying to get a grasp on everything I had just heard.
I told my Mormon friend that the god I had just heard described was a moral monster. This “god” would not let these young girls enter into his presence until a man paid enough money and served enough time to become temple worthy.
Can you imagine such a god? One who demands entrance into heaven must be purchased by good deeds and financial gifts? Can you imagine a god who would turn away young innocent children simply because their dad hadn’t kept up his payments to the church?
Russell Nelson is now the prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. We should as Christians pray for him and all those who sit under his leadership that they may come to know what grace truly is.
Next time a Mormon missionary comes to your door, welcome them in and share with them the Gospel as many times possible. Our God is a God who provides, not a god who demands. Jesus is enough, and that message has more power than we could ever imagine.