Converting to a Religion
Now that I’m a Christian I’ve discovered there’s a big difference in converting to a religion versus being converted to Christ. As a Mormon I never felt like I could do enough to earn God’s love and could never measure up. Now I can see the reason I never felt good enough. I was trying so hard to conform to the image of a religion and not to the image of Jesus Christ.
It was only after I began looking to Him and trusting in Him completely that I felt whole. I felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. Nothing compares to the peace you have in your heart when you lay all your burdens and insecurities down at the feet of Jesus. When you let Him into your heart and have control of your life, you begin to conform to His image.
The culture of Mormonism is very different from anything you will see or experience in Christianity. With being LDS comes a constant yearning to be perfect. As soon as you convert to Mormonism, there is a list of “to do’s” in order to stay a member in good standing with “the Church”.
You’re told you must do these things for the Holy Spirit to remain with you and to receive blessings from God. When someone can’t meet the requirements, or do things that the church considers grievous sins they are stripped of their church membership and they aren’t allowed to participate in the basic tenants of church membership.
One of those tenants is partaking of the sacrament, or communion. In the Gospel Topics section of the LDS Church’s site under sacrament it says, “Today the sacrament is an ordinance which Church members partake of bread and water in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice. This ordinance is an essential part of worship and spiritual development.”
It’s odd that when a Mormon is going through a rough time in their life, trying to get back into the good graces of their church leaders and to God, the church would strip them of something that might give them comfort and hope.
When it comes to salvation, the LDS are taught their religion holds all the cards and there is no salvation, meaning living in the presence of God, outside of their church. Bruce McConkie stated in Mormon Doctrine page 670,
“If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”.
It’s because of this idea the Mormons have an undying loyalty to their church, and an unyielding superiority complex when it comes to “non-members”. When someone decides to leave the Church it causes the active family members to weep and mourn for family member as if they were dead. Many times I’ll read stories of those who have left and they often talk about their active Mormon family members who have accused them of separating the family in the eternities
Mormons are taught salvation comes through church membership and don’t realize it comes through, by and because of Jesus Christ. We see this in 1Timothy 2:10 and 2 Timothy 3:15 respectively;
”Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
When your salvation is tethered to a relationship with a religion you will always have a salvation that is conditional. Case in point; in the Gospel Topics section of the LDS Church’s web site under the topic “eternal life” it reads;
“Like immortality, this gift is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. However, to inherit eternal life requires our “obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel”
It’s very important to remember when an LDS resource or individual says “the Gospel” they are talking about the Mormon Gospel, not the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. Another thing to remember; Mormons believe the atonement only makes it “possible” for them to live with God.
There are many stipulations to becoming exalted and having the gift of Mormon salvation. They don’t believe Jesus did all the work necessary for our salvation. They believe there are other things needed for salvation and eternal life. They will always fall back on their individual “works”.
They don’t have a full understanding of grace. Everything is attached to living the Mormon gospel, and doing what it says for the grace of Jesus Christ to kick in. In the Book of Mormon it says, “We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2 Nephi 25:23)
Usually when a Mormon is challenged by examples of the duplicitous nature of the past and present LDS leaders, they fall back on the works of their church. They will say things like “Look at what our church has done!” or ask “What has your church done?” In a recent email to the ministry one Mormon said,
“The LDS Church is usually one of the first to give humanitarian aid to others who live across the world when tragedies appear. (Example- Immediately after the great flood happened in New Orleans from the hurricane, the LDS church already had millions of supplies on trucks headed for the city, before others could pull their forces together.)”
Everything points back to the church. Even when God may use them as a body to do good things to bring comfort and meet the physical needs of others, they still don’t see it’s Him doing the work through them. They pat themselves on the back and give glory not to God, but to their church. In the May 2005 Ensign, then prophet of the Church Gordon B. Hinckley said;
“Now, as a Church we have worked with others in lifting the sorrow and sufferings of those who are in distress. Our humanitarian efforts have literally blessed the lives of countless thousands not of our faith. In the terrible tsunami disaster, and in other disasters incident to conflict, disease, and hunger, we have done a great and marvelous work assisting others without worrying about who gets the credit.”
In this year’s October General Conference, speaker Ann Dibb said,
“Heavenly Father has not left us alone during our mortal probation. He has already given us all the “safety equipment” we will need to successfully return to Him. He has given us personal prayer, the scriptures, living prophets, and the Holy Ghost to guide us.”
Jesus is, as one former LDS puts it, nothing more than a “footnote” to their religion. If you were to ask a Christian what “safety equipment” God has given us, they would say Jesus Christ. With Jesus Christ we don’t have to clean ourselves up first before we come to him. We read in Romans 5:8
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
When we have a relationship with Him, His love is unconditional. He loves us no matter what; He wouldn’t rescind the gift of the Holy Spirit when we fail or fall in our spiritual walk as the LDS believe!
I am so thankful I now have the one true God in my life that is so much bigger and awesome than the god I left! Jesus Christ doesn’t want you to be indebted to a religion. He wants you to have freedom from legalism. Most of all He wasn’t you to have a relationship with Him, not with a religion.