Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The other day I came across an article on PBS.org written by a man who shares his experience in converting from Catholicism to Mormonism. In summary, he says that he didn’t choose Mormonism at first, but eventually it chose him. He states that deciding to leave the religion he knew for the Mormon Church was result of his parent’s conversion, a decision he said he accepted without any complaints. Later, however, he realized that he couldn’t continue to rely on someone else’s faith and spiritual experiences, these were things he had to discover for himself.
In his closing remarks, he states “I am a Mormon”, a statement I can recall saying many times when I was asked about my faith, or religion. As a Mormon, my identity was in the Church. My mind, my heart, my soul, my whole being belonged to the Church. Anytime I was faced with a new idea, or situation I always thought, “what would the Church have me do”.
“The Church” was this thing in my life that controlled the way I thought about things, how I behaved towards people, and how I reasoned when it came to making choices. It was very difficult for me to separate myself from Mormonism. I can see why he believes Mormonism chose him, it gives people a list of checks and balances that’s very self-satisfying to a lot of people. There are many people who like being able to check off things they’ve done right, it gives them a sense of accomplishment, not to mention the boost it gives their ego when they’re complimented for their moral, noble acts.
Mormonism helps people succeed, quite successfully in living an apparent righteous and holy lifestyle based on their own strength alone. Sadly, this gives way to a false sense of worthiness, that makes them believe the work Jesus did for them wasn’t enough, and that He needs them to do their part so His grace can be fully active in their lives.
While they’re going about maintaining this persona the Church wishes them to have who, or what are they putting their faith in? It certainly isn’t Jesus. When you put your faith in yourself, when it comes to living a godly life you’re bound to fail. As I Mormon I struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Even though I appeared to be doing all I should be doing, per Mormon teaching, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I would never feel good enough, which resulted in me feeling estranged from God.
The good news is that Mormons don’t have to go on feeling that way. Their identity doesn’t have to be wrapped in a religion that puts a heavy weight on their shoulders, and binds them to false doctrines that will only lead them away from Jesus Christ. When our identity is found in Him our whole world changes. From the moment, we come to Him, He begins a good work in us (Phil 1:6) We don’t have rely on our own spiritual strength alone, because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us.
In the article, he states that “Mormonism isn’t to everyone’s taste.” The thing is, it shouldn’t be to anyone’s taste. The only ones, myself included, who seem to be deceived by Mormonism are those who have never heard, or accepted the true gospel of Jesus Christ, or those who have just never taken the time to study and read God’s word. Before willingly converting to Mormonism without question, one must study it out and use God’s word as the starting point to compare the doctrines of the religion to what He has already said.
It’s ok to question who and what you put your faith in, prayer and study play an important role in that process. I pray that Mormons will consider whom do they want to belong to, and devote their lives to? Do they want to pour their faith, and themselves in a religion that will eventually leave them feeling empty, or do they want to give themselves to Jesus Christ, who will give their lives meaning, and purpose?
I hope and pray they will choose Jesus.