I’m becoming quite fond of a website called The Domain for Truth as of late. I’ve only visited it a few times, but find that each time I do I lose track of time while reading thought provoking articles.
This time around I checked out the article on their front page called “Presupposed Pain, the Preeminence of God in the Persecution of Jan Hus”. I highly recommend and urge all Christians to read this, but especially Mormons.
The article’s purpose was to show that during times of persecution even to the point of being burned at the stake as Hus was, we must remember what’s taking place in the heavenly realm as opposed to the earthly one we as humans find ourselves subjected to.
The results of being persecuted are aptly declared in 2 Timothy 3:12 as the article pointed out. It’s a warning to believers there will be trouble ahead.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
The purpose of persecution is to bring glory to God. If events that stem from a persecution don’t point solely and exclusively to Him, this isn’t true persecution for God.
While reading the article I couldn’t help but think of the Mormon Church’s history conference held earlier this month. One of the topics was on martyrs and while I was going to shove this to the back of my desk for later, it now sits front and center.
On March 7, 2014 in Salt Lake City the Mormon Historical Association held their yearly meeting to discuss a handful of topics, one of which included martyrs of the “Worldwide Church”. Mind you, that doesn’t include martyrs from all faiths throughout the entire world. No, translation in Mormon terms means Mormons who’ve died in religious conflicts for the sake of Mormonism.
Already we see there’s a problem in their misdirected focus of what it means to be a martyr. To confirm my theory, here’s how Craig Manscill, associate professor of Church History at BYU defined “martyr”.
“…believers who are put to death by violent means, missionaries who die of natural causes and pioneers or immigrants who died after having been driven from their homes”.
Of course Mr. Manscill put brothers Hyrum and Joseph Smith at the top of the list which in fact is an incorrect interpretation of true martyrdom. The Smith brothers both died in a hail of gunfire when members of the Carthage Greys stormed the jail in Carthage, IL where they and two other church members awaited trial on numerous charges.
The problem with this interpretation is with the sequence of events when they shot and killed two of their assailants before they were killed themselves.
Further problems arise from being classified as a martyr for the Lord when we see LDS Church leaders then and now who emphatically declare they died for the sake of Mormonism. Sadly, Mr. Manscill told Deseret News “that much of his study is driven by gratitude to those who faithfully serve God”.
Where is God glorified in this? How do the deaths of Mormons throughout its history compel people to convert to Christianity and worship and glorify the Lord so the He’s the object of their faith and He’s the one receiving the accolades?
As for Mr. Mascill’s definition of ‘martyr’ let me provide the true definition of this word from the online website dictionary.com
“1. A person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion.
2. A person who is put to death or endures great suffering onbehalf of any belief, principle, or
cause: a martyr to the cause of social justice.
3. A person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: a martyrto severe headaches.
4. A person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning or exaggerating pain, deprivation, etc”.
The Smith brothers didn’t die willingly.
You aren’t a martyr while serving a mission and die of a heart attack or because of a natural disaster.
You can’t be a martyr for God and Mormonism at the same time.
The early Mormons who were kicked out of every town they tried to establish aren’t martyrs because of their behavior. They were being chastised by the locals, Christians and non-Christians alike, who wouldn’t tolerate their behavioral problems.
Fake banks, conning people out of money for the express purpose of giving false hopes through the means of a looking-glass, polygamy, arson, assassination attempts on government officials and death threats to outsiders aren’t qualifiers for martyrdom status.
Jan Hus (1369-1415) was a Czech and the key reformer before the days of Martin Luther. He was burned at the stake for his protests and was indeed a true martyr for God.
Unfortunately, the Mormon Church has done a great disservice to younger generations by giving Mr. Mascill a place of prominence in the halls of BYU. He’s directly responsible, along with his colleagues, for teaching heretical lies about God.
Let’s pray for those who sit in his classes and those in attendance at the annual history meeting!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18