Sunday School Old Testament: Lesson 45

11 April

old-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual-355700001Having the courage to stand up for their gospel’s standards is a desire all Mormons share. This lesson follows the stories of Esther, Mordecai, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they chose to follow God, instead of taking the easy way out.

These people are amazing examples of the courage it takes to acknowledge God in the face of danger, and take the unpopular and even life threatening path when you’re not certain how events will turn out.

A few years ago the Church published a booklet titled “For the Strength of Youth” to answer some of the questions young people may have about where the Church stands on certain issues. Even though some of its contents and wording are geared toward the younger generation adults are encouraged to read it and draw inspiration from its teachings as well. I provided a link to a pdf version of the booklet below.

Some of these “gospel standards” members young and old are encouraged to apply to their daily lives are:

Sabbath Day Observance
Dress and Appearance
Agency and Accountability
Music and Dancing
Entertainment and Media

There are others such as repentance, gratitude, honesty and integrity, and sexual purity that I think we all can agree are good qualities to have and apply in our lives. However, as I look over the list of standards and read the counsel the Church gives on these matters as a whole, my initial reaction is to feel sorrow for them.

It all feels very controlling to me, and void of the grace God gives those who might be struggling in one of these areas. It’s as though the Church wants to play the role as parent in the lives of its members and have a say in all they do and a consequence if the standard isn’t met. Why not allow them to go to God’s word, and pray to seek advice and counsel from Him on the issue instead of wanting the individual to rely on what the Church has say or think about the issue?

It gives the impression that they’re trying to craft their members into the image of the Church instead of allowing God to mold that individual into the image of his son. If you haven’t noticed already the Church is all about its image. I’m sure you remember the “And I’m A Mormon” ad campaign they had a few years go as they tried to convince the public (and themselves) that they were just like everyone else.

The longer I spend in ministry and the more I study, the more I’m convinced that the leaders of this Church want to stand in the place of God in the lives of its members or at least stand between them and God. Why else would new converts and faithful members have to pass a litmus test before being baptized or permitted through the front door of the temple?

God gave Esther, Mordecai and Daniel the courage to stand for Him in the face of danger, but who do the Mormons stand for? The god of Mormonism isn’t the same God who helped Daniel and his friends, or Mordecai and Esther out of a sticky situation when their lives were in peril. Oh, how I wish they worshiped Him and not a figment of Joseph Smiths imagination.

The one true God doesn’t have a test and a list of standards you have to pass before being permitted to go into the waters of baptism or come to Him. Jesus has already met those standards for us; He’s passed every test and met every requirement needed for us to be called a child of God. Should we have godly standards? Yes. Should we be in the word and in prayer daily, thus allowing God to mold and shape us as into the person He wants us to be? Absolutely!

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

In Christ,
Melissa Grimes (melissa@lifeafter.org)

References

Teachers Manual

Class Member’s Manual

For the Strength of Youth

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