North Korea and Mormonism

North Korea and Mormonism – 2006

     Last week Kirk and I took a rare opportunity to sit and watch television one night last week.  About the only thing that remotely appealed to us was a documentary that Diane Sawyer did on North Korea so that’s where we parked the channel.  We haphazardly listened while talking about the day’s events that we’d forgotten to share with each other when we both turned to the television at the same time and said; “Hey she’s talking about a cult”!

What we had heard her say was that everyone had the same look on their face.  She was doing an expose` on the condition of communist North Korea.  The apartment buildings they took her to see were nothing but a hollow mess inside.  Water and electricity are not trustworthy if and when they run at all.  They have refrigerators but little to no food inside.

In North Korea over one million people have died from malnutrition, yet the military personnel are always fed first.  In Pyongyang, the model city, she found no one who would speak out against the dictator Kim Jong Il.  People have to receive permission to leave the city and the people tend to be 4” shorter than their counterparts in South Korea.  Everyone dresses identically and there wasn’t an animal to be found anywhere near where they stayed or visited.  When and if the South Koreans come to site-see the North Koreans are not allowed to speak to them or ask questions.

Pictures of leaders were posted throughout the city as the news group traveled around and one meal they bought at a restaurant was equivalent to one month’s salary for a North Korean.  One item of interest that really caught my attention was when she visited a local school in Pyongyang.

The children had been taught to hate America and Americans.  She handed them a copy of “Us” Magazine and had them pass it around to get their opinions of what they saw.  She said; “They were passing it around like it was a poisonous snake”.  When she asked them what their favorite western song was they began singing “Doe a deer, a female deer” in unison from the Sound of Music.  Their favorite movies are Toy Story and Shrek.  They were surprised to learn they were American made movies.  That simple truth had been held back from the “congregation”.

No cell phones are permitted in North Korea so obviously the internet is out of the question as well.  Diane Sawyer remarked on several occasions how closed the society was there and much more so than any other communist country she had visited in the past.  It was a fascinating look inside a closed society.  And it instantly reminded me of my travels while living in Europe.

I’ve mentioned before that Kirk and I lived in Germany while he was stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base, just southwest of Frankfurt.  On two occasions we had the opportunity to visit East Berlin; once in 1986 and again in 1987.  Kirk and I traveled a lot in the three years we lived overseas.  I was a tour guide for two of those years and if we weren’t working, we were site-seeing.  In those short three years we put over 100,000 miles on our car!

With that being said, communist East Berlin was the only place I felt the same way I had always felt in Utah.  Back then I didn’t understand it, but after God saved me I realized what that “feeling” was.  A familiar spirit hung in the air of East Berlin just as it does today in Utah.  The people of communist East Berlin had sunken eyes that held no signs of life.  Every time I tried to make eye contact with anyone they would look down and instantly seem nervous.  No advertisements or flags of any kind hung on street lights or the sides of buildings.  The only thing we ever saw on the side of a building was cameras and the sign of the Hammer and Sickle, which signified it, was the property of the U.S.S.R. – communist Russia.

The apartment buildings in East Berlin were just as they are in Pyongyang and the people there also had to ask permission to leave the city.  If you were old enough to be retired you could apply for permission to visit relatives in West Germany or West Berlin, but only if you had been separated from them at the end of World War II.  The opportunity had other strings attached as well.  You could only travel for a visit every 24 months and your visit could not last more than a few weeks at a time.

I realize Utahans obviously have permission to leave the state and travel wherever they choose because of our society.  However, the control that the leaders exude over the people and their reaction to it is eerily similar.  When I first got out of Mormonism I kept hearing Utah being referred to as the “Zion Curtain”.  That phrase didn’t click for me in the beginning, but as the Lord began clearing the fog from my brain it finally dawned on me what that meant and what that feeling represented when I visited East Berlin.

One of the most common similarities I noticed between Utah and the two communist countries is the understanding of language.  Diane Sawyer said; “When asked [students] in English class what the word democracy meant, their only answer was “the noun that goes with democrat”.”  Wow.

It is also interesting to note how Satan can’t come up with anything new.  He just recycles the same old garbage over and over again.  The only difference is that the garbage has a pretty new bow tied around it as he hands the gift of lies over to mankind.

In North Korea, no outside information is allowed to infiltrate the media.  There are three government-run television stations which all laud the fame and wonderment of their dear leader and that is what carried in the tone of everyone’s voices as she traveled around the city and asked questions.

When I got out of Mormonism I began recalling experiences I had as a Mormon.  One time while at work at my office, my boss asked me if I’d be interested in helping out with the military tours.  I jumped at the chance and began training.  One of the tours I led was for the in-processing stage of military bases in the Kaiserslautern area.  The military had contracted out to the USO for their members to go through a two day lesson of the local area.  The first day of their seminar was spent in class as I taught basic German, how to ride the trains in Europe, how to use phones, order food, how to get a driver’s license, basics of the customs, laws, etc.  The next day I would take them on the economy via buses and trains for hands on training.  It was a cool job!

One of the places I would have to take them to would be the church in their local city or town.  In two of these towns were churches that had the blessing of having copies of the 95 point thesis posted on their doors written by Martin Luther.

After going on a few tours with my supervisor I was let loose on my own after she had seen I could manage on my own.  I assured her I had no problems but one.  I said that I understood everything and wrote down all that she shared with the groups.  I told her I could keep that script memorized, but I was “curious to find out who Martin Luther was and why did some people cry or have tears in their eyes when we visited those particular churches”?

I’ll never forget the look on that woman’s face.  She looked more confused than I felt right then!  She asked me, “I thought you said you were a Christian”?  I assured her I was most certainly a Christian, but had never heard of Martin Luther.

Same words, same language, different meanings, different results.  Sound familiar?

Mormons use the same words with the same language the Christian community uses.  For instance just one example would be salvation.  Another would be the meaning of Christian.  Roughly ninety-nine percent of the time, Christian churches use a cross to symbolize their faith.  Not so with the Mormons or the Jehovah Witnesses, etc.

Mormonism (other “isms” as well) is the only “Christian” faith that denounces the body of Christ.  I have repeatedly spoken about the hatred and animosity the LDS doctrines propagate against the real Christians.

The reaction North Korean students portrayed towards the “Us” magazine reminds me of what the LDS prophet Joseph Fielding Smith is quoted as saying about members of the Church and the cross.  In Answers To Gospel Questions, 4:17 when asked by a convert of the Church why they didn’t use the cross as a symbol of their faith he replied;

While we have never questioned the sincerity of Catholics and Protestants for wearing the cross, or felt that they were doing something which was wrong, it is a custom that has never appealed to members of the Church. The motive for such a custom by those who are of other churches, we must conclude, is a most sincere and sacred gesture. To them the cross does not represent an emblem of torture but evidently carried the impression of sacrifice and suffering endured by the Son of God. However, to bow down before a cross or to look upon it as an emblem to be revered because of the fact that our Savior died upon a cross is repugnant to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To start off with, he has lied to the convert.  The entire reason for a restoration was because Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed that God told him all the churches of the world were wrong and the whore of Babylon.  See Joseph Smith’s Testimony.

Secondly, I don’t know of any Christians who bow down to worship the cross in and of itself.  I do believe that it is highly over used, but not by the Christians!  Today in the secular world it is worn as a “fashion statement”, but that has nothing to do with the tradition of identifying ourselves with Christ.

Repugnant?  The cross is repugnant to the Latter-day Saint who calls themselves Christian?  Why?  What is repugnant is the sin that had to be placed upon the sinless Man whose only desire was to have His people with Him for eternity!  The official meaning of repugnant is:  distasteful, objectionable, or offensive when used as an adjective.  (www.dictionary.com)  In the American Heritage Dictionary it says; “arousing disgust or aversion; offensive or repulsive.”   I noticed that in the original form of Old French and/or Latin the word means “to fight against”.

After I got saved I was floored to discover the verse 1 Cor. 1:18; “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”  Foolishness is what God thinks of their message.  This word, foolishness in the Greek means “absurdity, silliness, impious, or godless”.  Can you just imagine God saying that about your idea?

In Utah there are more crosses now than there were twenty years ago, however more times than not you’ll only see a statue of Moroni or a steeple that protrudes to the skies.

While all residents of Utah are allowed to travel throughout the land, members of the LDS Church are highly discouraged from entering any Christian bookstore or Christian churches.  My question is why would any Christian not be allowed to go into another Christian church?  And why would it be discouraged to not read about the original Christian church?

The other similarities between communism and Mormonism are blatant as well.  The people of North Korea give all their adoration to their dear leader.  The LDS hymns “Praise to the Man” (meaning Joseph Smith), “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet” and bearing testimony to knowing that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, is the same thing the prisoners of North Korea are suffering through.

The “magazine incident” also reminds me of not only the reaction to the cross, but to the Bible as well.  The eighth Article of Faith says; “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”  Notice how the only “safe” books or writings to read and trust in are the Church sanctioned books and how the North Koreans aren’t allowed to use cell phones or the internet.

We are continually in prayer for the people in Utah as well as Mormonism and trust our God and Savior will deliver these people from the grips of this dictator-like false religion!  The arm of God is Mighty as the word proclaims in Isaiah 60:4 so this is where we lay our faith.

With Love in Christ; Michelle Grim

1 Cor. 1:18

To read the entire encounter Diane Sawyer experienced in North Korea see:

http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=2706339&page=1

4 Responses to “North Korea and Mormonism”

  1. Daniel November 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    Your comment about mormon church is complet wrong.
    If you used to be mormon and now you are not:
    (1)- What you are now?
    (2)- Please exmine yourself? how much cleaness you lost.
    When you was mormon , you was so clean and trustworth.
    because , you used to have a right faith of something.
    and you was clean from many evils that mormon church
    doctrine prohibited to do. Now, the question is:
    What keep you doing from bad thing.
    I am from Ethiopia, and when landed in American soil, I have not yet sow any
    people who behave as people of faith except those you call Mormons.
    Hey, American who are shirking in number, if you want to be saved , go to Mormon church.

    • LifeAfter December 3, 2013 at 2:45 am #

      Daniel -

      Thanks for writing in to us at Life After. We want you to know that we’re praying for you.

      I want to be sure I answer all your concerns/questions so let’s start with your statement that what we’ve said about the Mormon Church is wrong.

      Specifically Daniel what information have we provided that is incorrect? I don’t want to post incorrect information as that isn’t Christlike behavior so if I’m wrong I need to know.

      You said;

      1-what are you now?

      I’m a Christian.

      You said;

      2 – Please examine yourself? how much cleaness you lost.
      When you was mormon , you was so clean and trustworth.
      because , you used to have a right faith of something.
      and you was clean from many evils that mormon church
      doctrine prohibited to do. Now, the question is:
      What keep you doing from bad thing.

      I’m not sure what you meant in your question. If you’re asking what kept me from doing bad things as a Mormon I would say that knowing right from wrong is a basic thing taught to most humans no matter what religion you belong to or even for those who don’t belong to any religion. But being a good person or a nice person isn’t what gets you into heaven.

      Being in a covenant relationship with Jesus is what gains your salvation! He said He is the way, the truth and the life – John 14:6. God said there are no other god besides Him in Isaiah 43:10-11 but the Mormon Church teaches they can become gods so this obviously contradicts all of Mormonism. Ephesians 2:8-9 says we’re saved by grace through faith and not of our own works. Mormonism teaches men are saved by grace after all you can do. 2 Nephi 25:23. Again, this is completely the opposite of the Bible.

      The Bible tells us no other name is given under heaven whereby we’re saved – Acts 4:12. Mormonism teaches that if you’re not part of their church you can’t go to heaven. This is completely against what the Bible says!

      You said you’re from Ethiopia and since you’ve been here in America that Mormons are the only people you’ve met that act as a people with faith. May I ask where you live now? If it’s in Utah have you had the opportunity to visit the Christian churches there?

      Daniel since you’re Ethiopian I have a question for you. And I mean this with all due respect and sincerity. What do you know about the history of the Mormon Church? Are you aware of their racist teachings and their past? Did you know that in the Book of Mormon it talks of the Lamanites who aren’t white people as being dark and loathsome?
      Have you read in the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price they believe that black people are cursed of God?

      This is one of the main reasons I left Mormonism. I’m not completely “white and delightsome”. One of my grandmothers was black and I was taught that anyone who isn’t completely white didn’t side with Jesus in the preexistence. Have you studied about this yet? Has the bishop or the missionary told you about the true teachings of the Church?

      Daniel I’m deeply concerned for all Mormons no matter their color, but I’m concerned for people of color who join Mormonism and don’t know about the true teachings of the Church. Especially the dear people throughout Africa. Why would God punish anyone just for being a certain color? The God of the Bible would never do such a thing! He created all men and women in His image – Genesis 1:26. Does God hate himself? If not then why wouldn’t He be pleased with His creation because of their color when they’re made in His image?

      Know that we’re praying for you Daniel and hope to hear from you soon!

      With Love in Christ;
      Michelle Grim
      1 Cor 1:18

  2. Melinda April 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Michelle,

    I am sorry you have had a bad experience with the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I would like to address some of your concerns with our faith. You seem like you genuinely love the gospel and just want others to find truth.

    First and foremost, one needs to realize that in all religions one will come across people who (1) are misinformed or their understanding is not yet mature and (2) some don’t relay the doctrine in a way that is understood by all. This is why I would like to take a stab at clearing any misunderstanding up.

    My family has been “mormon” for many generations but I too am always on the path of gaining greater light and truth and in no way perfect in my own knowledge. I came across your website not because I am questioning my faith I just discovered the great tragedy in N Korea and was curious if we were spreading the gospel over there yet. So if you put North Korea and LDS in the search your website pops up. :)

    You quoted John 14:6 and Isaiah 43:10-11 …..this is correct there is no other God in which we will be saved. When we teach that we have the potential to be like our Heavenly Father it is to be like Him some day (but not in this life), not to replace God but to be like Him. I like to explain it in this way…..Just like your mother will always be your mother, God will always be our God; I cannot return to HF with out Jesus Christ as my savior. There is no other name in which we can return. This is the analogy I use…. Some day you can be a mother just like your mother, you won’t be a mother to replace your mother, but you will have children of your own to raise. It can be a hard concept for others to even fathom. We are like spiritual babies and the idea of being a “mother” seems absurd; that is because we aren’t ready.

    Ok now to Ephesians 2:8-9…. I will admit that many in my faith are misinformed or don’t understand the doctrine behind this. I try to clear this misunderstanding whenever I can. It is His grace that saves us. No matter what we do, we can not go to heaven without His grace. His grace is the atonement, the suffering in Gethsemane of our sins. The price of our sins had to paid and he said ” here am I send me”. He was willing to pay this price for all of us; so yes, with out this mercy and grace we would have been doomed / damned. We should never boast and say look at all my great deeds I am going to heaven because I am such a good person. You take away from His glory when you do that. (I don’t know too many in my faith who say that anyway). But when you accept Him as your Savior, you can’t just say it and NOT actually follow Him. Part of accepting him as your Savior is following Him, taking on His name, to represent Him. When we represent Him we do His work. We become His hands. So when we quote James 2:20 this is what we mean. Without the Faith in him as our savior your works are dead and without doing His work your faith is dead. We need both. But never should boasting in ones self be a part of it. In the Book of Mormon we are taught by Ammon’s example “Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefor I will not boast of myself, but it will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things….”

    Now as to the the paragraph with Acts 4:12 you are again correct there is no other name except through Jesus Christ in which we can be saved. Yet your understanding of our doctrine concerning who goes to heaven is amiss. Our doctrine is the most liberal when it comes to who will go to heaven. Pretty much ALL will go to heaven. In 1 Corinthians 15:4o-42 Paul describes 3 different “bodies” and “glories”. And in verse 42 he says “So also is the resurrection of the dead…” . These 3 bodies are the type of bodies we will have when we are resurrected; the glories are the 3 types of glories or heavens we will go to after we are resurrected. They are all glorious and all “heaven”, one being greater than the other. So depending how well you follow Christ, will depend on which glory you will be placed in, but they are all heaven! It’s a message of hope, and love, the kind of God we believe in.

    I am sorry most about the last thing you said, the “main reason” you left the church. Whoever told you or made you believe that if you have dark skin that you are less than “white” people was sadly mistaken. I know some of history of the church I know of the “curse” you are referring to. I however have never heard anyone in all my years say that those with dark skin didn’t follow Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you are on this earth that means you DID follow Christ in the pre-existence. If you have more specific questions on that matter I would gladly discuss them with you.

    Just know that our 2nd article of Faith states that “We believe men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgressions”. That being said I personally interpret that to saying that just because my father or mother makes a bad choice and receives a punishment or a consequence doesn’t make me a bad person. My adopted “dark skin” daughter is not a bad person because her mother took drugs. But unfortunately she has health things and even sometimes sadness from being adopted that she had to deal with because of her mothers poor decisions. But there is joy to be found in what we might perceive in a curse. When God “curses” people, land or things it is to set us apart, teach a lesson, or with hold blessings. And sometimes our bad choices affect others and leaves evidence of the bad choice but it no way makes you cursed.

    I believe all who love and believe in God are my sisters and brothers in the gospel. We are all trying to make choices that we think are best for ourselves. I hope this clears any misunderstanding and I hope you would feel safe to ask more.

    Your sister in the gospel of Christ,
    Melinda

  3. sharlee August 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    thank you Melinda

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: