In the Visiting Teaching Message for March you’ll find a continuation of the LDS series, ‘The Attributes of Christ’ and this time its focus was about ‘long suffering and patient’. Dieter Uchtdorf (LDS apostle) defined patience as ‘active waiting’, ‘staying with something’ and enduring whatever God ‘inflicts’ upon us – Mosiah 3:19. Here in part is what he had to say –
“Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something … even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”
If that was a standalone comment, I might be impressed with the author’s insight. However, knowing the background on this statement and from where it came…not so much…In light of the comment I’m wondering why the founder of this church didn’t take heed.
Why was Joe Smith in such a hurry to dismiss the word of God and proclaim the Bible doesn’t contain all that man needs to know to gain a full salvation? For the record, they listed Mosiah 3:19 which is a sad, sad predicament for every Mormon –
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
Keep in mind Mosiah supposedly lived c. BC 124. Between Uchtdorf’s admonition to endure everything in life and Mosiah 3:19, Mormons are given the impression God is an unreachable, unknowable god who’s ready to zap people with unknown trauma. Take note that Mosiah’s talking about Jesus’ death before he even lived…
All that aside, let’s see if it lines up with what God says so here we go! Remember, this was supposed to be about Jesus’ attributes.
The LDS apostle continued on by saying;
“In our premortal life, our Heavenly Father prepared a plan for us—His spirit children—and we shouted for joy at the opportunity to come to earth (see Job 38:7). As we choose to align our will with His during our earthly life, He “will make an instrument of [us] in [His] hands unto the salvation of many souls” (Alma 17:11).”
Instead of taking the opportunity to teach about the attributes of Jesus and bringing Him glory, this lesson turned into another account of telling Mormons how they should behave, the LDS pre-existence & our approval of God’s proposed plan for life on earth. While it’s important for us to emulate Jesus, the most important rule is to observe and uphold the proper interpretation of who He is and who we are.
Using Job 38:7 as an apology for the false teaching of a pre-mortal life is flagrantly wrong. The prideful hearts of these men are a wonder. Here’s what it says in Job –
Job 38:7; “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
The proper transliteration of ‘sons’ of God here is the Hebrew word ‘bēn’ which in this case is actually a miscellaneous translation of the word. Of the 4,900+ times it shows up, the interpretation of a literal son accounts for 2,978 times. The remaining times the Bible uses this word it’s done so as a loose interpretation of people in general and/or angels. The example in Job is just such a case.
Mr. Uchtdorf then went on to remind people they have to accept what they can’t change in life, which to me, sounded a lot like the makings of an AA meeting.
The next phase of this lesson focused on Luke’s gospel and the woman with a 12 year bleeding issue. We must always remember that it’s important for us to incorporate godly behavior into our daily lives and I would never want to intimate otherwise. The problem here is what they’ve historically taught about Jesus, the power He has, and how they’ve maligned God’s word.
If you’re LDS there’s a really good chance you wouldn’t believe the biblical account about the woman based on a healthy mistrust of God’s word. Sadly, not believing the Bible prevents you from placing yourself in the shoes of those they’ve used as an example.
Result: you don’t trust the story in the Bible and you don’t trust Jesus because the lies about Him have driven a wedge between you and the Lord. How can you relate to someone you don’t know, don’t understand and don’t trust?
They used Luke 8:43–48 as ‘an example of patience and faith’ and nothing else with it to describe what was going on at the time, where Jesus was at or what it said about His character.
At the end of their lesson we read;
“Like her, we can find blessings and comfort, and even healing, as we reach out to Jesus Christ—whose Atonement can heal us.”
How can someone find comfort like the woman in the Bible if we didn’t learn anything about Jesus? All we heard is another example of how they misused the word atonement.
Think about it…
Jesus healed the woman before He was crucified so what does the atonement have to do with this?
At the beginning of this Visiting Teaching Lesson the Church asked:
“How will understanding the life and roles of the Savior increase your faith in Him and bless those you watch over through visiting teaching?”
This Visiting Teaching Message didn’t address one single thing about Jesus as a person, nor did it address the specific attribute the lesson was to focus on which was supposed to be Jesus’ patience.
Outside of the passage in Luke 8:43–48 no other specific teachings about Jesus were offered and as already mentioned, they didn’t address His attributes. The other biblical references they cited were Psalm 40:1; Galatians 5:22–23; 2 Peter 1:6, but again these made no mention of why or how they relate to the subject matter.
As always, we’re asking you pray those who use this lesson will be prompted to open their Bibles and be curious enough to learn the truth about the real Jesus of the Bible!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18