GUILT AND SHAME
The Mormon lives his/her life on the precept that they must work for salvation. In Mormonism there is a “general salvation” that is given to all mankind. After this general salvation comes the placement of souls, which is dependent on your good works here on earth. This causes a myriad of problems as you can well imagine so our focus is on the impact it has on the soul.
There are several ways to work for your salvation in Mormonism, but for now I’m only listing a couple. The Mormon will always feel shame if they are not accepted into the highest level of heaven – this is known also as the Celestial Kingdom and there are three requirements to get in; temple marriage, good works which includes proxy work for the dead and last but not least, a full ten percent tithing.
The most important “must” in getting to the Celestial Kingdom is by making sure you are married in the temple. Yes, marriage is the way to salvation ladies and gentlemen. If you are not married in the temple you lose your right to see your relatives in heaven, you will be placed in a lower kingdom; only to become a servant to those in the Celestial Kingdom.
There are the remaining two things required for “true salvation”, but keep in mind marriage is a definite must in the mind of every single Mormon. From the series Doctrines of Salvation, 2:58-59 it says;
“Marriage, as understood by Latter-day Saints, is a covenant ordained to be everlasting. It is the foundation for eternal exaltation, for without it there could be no eternal progress in the kingdom of God…Marriage is the grandest, most glorious, and most exalting principle connected with the gospel. It is that which the Lord holds in reserve for those who become his sons and daughters; all others are servants only, even if they gain salvation. They do not become members of the household of our Father…”
LDS theology dictates that you will receive a calling from the Lord to work in different areas of the Church. The bishop will take a look at his list of who has served where and for how long. If your name has not appeared on the list of who has worked in the nursery for example, you should expect your phone to ring. You cannot refuse this “calling from the Lord”. The structure of the Church is made up of lay clergymen and women. There is no compensation for your hours spent in working until you’ve been called to the status of high priest or above.
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 48 says this;
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized to benefit all who participate, and all are expected to assist in its labors (see Activity in the Church; Lay Participation and Leadership; Ward Organization). The Church is administered according to the principles of individual involvement, service, and self-government. There is no paid ministry in local wards or stakes, and the work of the Church is carried out through volunteer service by the members, who are called by priesthood leaders to contribute in various capacities.”
LDS theology also dictates that you must tithe a hard 10% to receive a temple recommend. These small slips of paper are coveted by members of the Church as their token of being righteous and worthy enough to be in God’s presence. It is God’s permission slip for you to get in the doors. There is no higher calling in the Church than to hold a current temple recommend and they can keep their recommend only if they have a good standing at the “annual tithing settlement”. For those who haven’t divvied up by January there is a line at the local banks with people applying for personal loans.
D&C 119:4 says;
“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.”
Also see Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 1481;
“At the end of each year, ward members meet individually with their bishop in a tithing settlement interview to verify Church records of their individual contributions and to declare confidentially to the bishop whether or not the amount contributed is a “full tithe.””
The members are obligated to pay their ten percent and this amount goes solely to the Church for more church buildings, temples, supplies, etc. Then once a month they hold a “fast and testimony” meeting. The members will fast from food for two meals before they attend these meetings and take the money they would have spent on that food to donate to a benevolent fund. These funds go to help the needy in their local food banks or if there are special needs within their own ranks. There is a fair share of people who will not be able to meet the financial standards of giving the church requires.
These things will produce the inevitable; guilt and shame. For others there might be guilt and shame experienced if they are a convert and get out of the Church. Or there is the guilt associated with converting others into the Church and/or bringing children into the mix. Many adult ex-Mormons are riddled with shame by watching their adult children making the choice of staying in the Church after they have been saved. It is heart-wrenching no doubt to see them still in the Church while you have found freedom in Christ.
Several years ago while working through my exodus from the Church the Lord showed me an amazing truth. It’s an easy enough thing to remember which is good for me! But it also packs a powerful punch in the way of a learning tool for any of us in regards to our own spiritual life with Jesus. He showed me this:
Guilt and Shame are never the same.
It rhymes and is so very simplistic. Guilt and God both begin with the letter “g”. God convicts us of our sin – this is the guilt – we repent and He remembers it no more as He promised us in Isaiah 43:25;
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
Shame and Satan both begin with the letter “s”. Shame is death to the soul dear one! Shame is experienced when you repent for the same sin repeatedly. At the website of www.dictionary.com it says this about shame: “a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness or disgrace”.
Isn’t it sad that this is what the Church would want for the majority of its members? Less than 10% of active Mormons are considered temple worthy! The bishop knows who is worthy and who is not; and you can bet the farm that everyone else in the ward will know as well when you don’t stand up to “bear your testimony” about your temple experience last month. Yet no one gets together to compare notes because the temple experience is also considered “sacred” and shouldn’t be spoken about in detail with anyone at all.
In Deut. 28:66 God warns the Israelites that He would curse them if they didn’t obey His commands of staying pure in the land of Canaan. The curse is not having a restful assurance of their lives. Ask the ex-Mormon what kind of assurance they had for their salvation while being in the Church. I don’t know of one Mormon who can say for sure that they’re going to heaven. They have no hope at all because of shame; they never feel as if they’ve been forgiven or they haven’t done enough. Share with the ex-Mormon from the Bible how they can be assured of their salvation.
2 Tim. 1:12 – I know whom I have believed
Phil. 1:6 – He will complete the work
Heb. 13:5-6 – He will never desert me
1 John 2:12 – Your sins are forgiven.
Isaiah 40:8 – The word of God endures forever
© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.