Visiting Teaching Message: May 2014

30 April

Visiting Teaching MessagesAs you may already know, April and October are Conference months for the Mormon Church. For one weekend in each of these months various church leaders, from every organization in the Church give talks to their fellow church members via satellite, the internet, or in person at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, UT. For the months of November and May the Visiting Teachers in the Church are to scan the General Conferences talks in the Ensign (a Church publication) for one that catches their eye, and use it as their message to the women they visit that month.

As I glanced over the titles of the talks there was one the caught my eye by Henry B. Eyring, one that I might have used as a Mormon for my Visiting Teaching Message.

It’s simply titled:
Daughters in the Covenant

If I didn’t already know where he was going with this talk, the title alone would be enough for me a Christian to pause and ask the question “What covenant?”

He begins by saying:
“I will speak tonight about the path—which in such beautiful ways has been described today—that we must take on our journey back to our Heavenly Father. That path is marked by sacred covenants with God. I will talk with you about the joy of making and keeping those covenants and helping others keep them.”

Now this quote floods my mind with many questions, but the one most prominent question I have, the one at the top of my list is, where does Jesus fit in no this “path”?

It sounds as those their lives are “marked” with obedience to a religion, and mortal men rather to God.
The covenant he bases his talk on is the one Mormons make when they’re baptized, most enter into this “covenant” at the age of eight while a few like myself become adult converts and are baptized later in life. During this section of his talk he focuses a lot on the “feelings” members felt when they were first baptized, and tries to attach their emotional response with the truthfulness of this milestone in their lives.

He said:
“To you that memory is fresh. Others were baptized long ago, so the memory of your feelings of that covenant experience may be less clear, but some of those feelings come back whenever you listen to the sacramental prayers.”

Feelings should never be a test for truth. Instead of trying to evoke the warm and fuzzies on his audience I wish Mr. Eyring would have pointed to God’s word and the definitive test of truth.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: hat the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Later in his talk he goes on to basically sing praise to Eve for her role in the Fall, quoting Russell M. Nelson he says:

“Consider Eve, the mother of all living. Elder Russell M. Nelson said this of Eve: “We and all mankind are forever blessed because of Eve’s great courage and wisdom. By partaking of the fruit first, she did what needed to be done. Adam was wise enough to do likewise.”

Then he goes on to say:

“We don’t know all the help Eve was to Adam and to their family. But we do know of one great gift that she gave, which each of you can also give: she helped her family see the path home when the way ahead seemed hard. “And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient.”

A huge part of Mormon doctrine is that Adam and Eve had to sin against God, and that it was not only a good thing, but part of God’s plan all along. Which begs the question; what if Adam and Eve had obeyed God’s command and not eaten of the tree?
In the clear light of day their belief that God not only wanted them to sin but needed them to so that mankind could not only bring sin and death into the world but procreate is unfathomable.

And this is the example Mr. Eyring and the rest of the Mormon Church wants little eight year old girls to emulate? It’s truly amazing to me how Mormons can be so caviler when it comes to Eve’s disobedience to God.

Finally I just have to add his concluding thought on Eve in this article:

“By revelation, Eve recognized the way home to God. She knew that the Atonement of Jesus Christ made eternal life possible in families. She was sure, as you can be, that as she kept her covenants with her Heavenly Father, the Redeemer and the Holy Ghost would see her and her family through whatever sorrows and disappointments would come. She knew she could trust in Them.”

This statement brings up so many questions. Is Mr. Eyring really saying that Eve foreknew the pain her sin and disobedience would cause, and that Jesus would need to come to atone for that sin?

If so why did she disobey God?

What “covenants” could she have made?

There’s no record of her and Adam making covenants with God in the bible, nor is there any reference to her being baptized and going through an endowment ceremony in any Mormon canon.
Mormons are taught to be grateful for what Adam and Eve did, and to not find fault in Eve’s actions. How a religion that claims to be Christian can rejoice in their disobedience is beyond my understanding.
In Christ,
Melissa Grimes (melissa@lifeafter.org)

Reference:
Daughters in the Covenant, Henry B. Eyring, May 2014 Ensign

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