November 2013 Visiting Teaching Message
Because the November issue of the Ensign contains all the General Conference talks from October it doesn’t provide a Visiting Teaching message. Women are encouraged to “prayerfully select” one of the conference addresses to use as their message this month with those they visit.
I choose Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “Come, join with Us”.
He begins his message with a story about a man who had a dream. In his dream he meets a missionary couple (who would later be revealed to be members of the Mormon Church); in this dream they discussed what was required of someone who joins their church. After learning what would be expected of him he asks “Why would anyone want to join such a church?”
Preceding this story Mr. Uchtdorf goes on give an account as to why people should join the Mormon Church. He begins:
“First, this Church was restored in our day by Jesus Christ”.
Saying something needed to be “restored” implies that it existed prior, there’s no evidence that any of the core doctrines and beliefs Mormons hold dear existed before Joseph Smith came along. These include:
Sealing and Marriages for time and all eternity
Baptisms for the dead,
Belief in the pre-existence
Word of Wisdom
The constant need for a “living prophet”
The Law of Eternal Progression
The Mormon Church would have us believe all these “plain and precious truths” were removed from the Bible by evil men with an agenda to destroy the gospel. And to say Jesus had to restore them is akin to saying he messed up the first time and had to come back to do it right, or that He just wasn’t all that powerful to keep His church together in the first place. Which Christians know is far from the truth.
Mr. Uchtdorf then says another reason to join the church is that it “provides opportunities for doing good”. I don’t know of any church or organization that doesn’t provide that, I’m sure than even an Atheist club would provide opportunities to “do good” in their community.
A third reason he gave to join the Church is “because walking the path of discipleship leads to precious blessings”. In other words being obedient to the church leaders and doing the “works” you’re told to do will lead you to exaltation and eventual godhood.
He then goes on to talk to those who question the church. He asks them to “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith”. His comment reminds me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the Wizard tells Dorothy and her friends topay no attention to the man behind the curtain. He believes so strongly in the church that he would have people ignore the Holy Spirit’s pleas to think about what they’re being taught, than risk them leaving the church.
Mr. Uchtdorf goes on to tell his listeners that the church is run by imperfect people, people who have made mistakes. I wonder what “mistakes” he’s referring to. Could it be Blacks being forbidden to hold the priesthood? Polygamy? The thing is prophets aren’t supposed to make mistakes, not when their responsible for leading God’s people. They don’t have the luxury of making a boo-boo when they stand before those they’re called to lead and saying something that isn’t true.
He wants people to come and join with them, to ignore the feeling that says something isn’t right, and not “worry about those little flicks of history”. Sadly, many people do just that despite their friends witnessing to them, despite reading the history of the church and despite the Holy Spirit’s pleas they still dig their heels in the sand and refuse to pay attention.
The most important thing to Mr. Uchtdorf is that you come and join the Mormon Church. For Mormons it’s all about a relationship with this religion, but for those of us who are in Christ it’s all about Him. When Christians share the gospel we aren’t trying to convert someone to religion but to a relationship with Him.
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