A Spiritual Graveyard
This afternoon, I attended a Mormon sacrament service in preparation for a week long missions trip to Salt Lake City. Fourteen others from The Master’s College and I will be spending our Spring Break sharing the Gospel with Mormon students in Temple Square and the surrounding grounds. I had never before been to a Mormon service, and it was much different than I anticipated.
There are no sermons in Mormon services. Instead, four church members prepare talks to give to the entire congregation about a certain topic. Today the topic was Testimony. Mormon Testimony is different than what we would think of as protestant Christians. My Testimony is the story of God’s working in my life to make me the person I am today. This includes who I was before believing, my actual conversion, and the following sanctification process. Mormon Testimony is their personal experience in recieving the confirmation of their faith by the Holy Ghost. In essence, it is emotion.
There were four individuals who gave talks on Testimony today. All of them shared the same theme: Emotion. There were at least ten references to “I felt” in the last talk alone. That man started crying on stage, and this is seen as a mark of genuine faith. But one of the other speakers admitted she has never had a great emotional experience. It was obvious this troubled her. How unsettling for an adherent to a church which stresses experience to be unable to share in that. It made me thankful that I worship a God who does not judge based upon how great an emotional frenzy I can whip myself into.
The singing portion of the Mormon service was absolutely dead. People mumbled the words. It was obvious their heart wasn’t in it. Afterwards, I was talking to a friend who was saved out of the Mormon church. She said worship was something which made her wonder about this God professed by these people called “Christians.” We, as Christians, sing out of a love for God. We LOVE God. Mormons do not have a personal relationship with their god. He is the one who makes them happy, but he is not intimately involved in their lives. How empty to worship a diety who cares nothing for you, who offers no comfort, who demands adherence to a set of commands for fear of punnishment.
For sake of brevity, here is a brief list of the things which attending the ward made me personally thankful for. Realizing the spiritual deadness of these people made me realize wonder of my healthy relationship with my Lord.
1. I obey God because I love Him. The Mormons obey in order to get to heaven. When I sin, it is a betrayal of Christ, but it does not endanger my status before Him. He created the world knowing fully of the shame I would cause Him, and He offers grace freely to cover my every sin.
2. My eternal future is secure. There is no wondering where I am going upon my death. John 14:2, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”
3. My faith does not die when I am feeling poorly. If I were Mormon, my spiritual life could be very seriously damaged by an undercooked hamburger. If the feelings aren’t there, the Spirit is not present. God is described as a “warm blanket” which covers us. My God is soverign over every feeling. He is with me just as much when I feel like He is not there as when I feel happy. My God is not a God of emotion, but a God of truth.
4. Family is not the fulfillment of life, but is rather a portrait of my relationship with Christ. Unmarried Mormons are bad people. How awful to be condemned because you are not married by age 30! I have the peace being single until the Lord brings someone into my life. When I am married, my marriage reflects the love of Christ.
5. Finally, I have a relationship with God. This is highly in line with number one, but it stands to be repeated. The Living God is involved in a two-way relationship with me. I love Him and He loves me. He created me knowing the cost, and He died with me on his mind. How can I not worship a God such as this?