RE: Focus on Faith Article “Mormons on the Religious Landscape” by Rev Dr Bobby W Leggett
As a lay leader of the “Mormon” Church in Fredericksburg, TX I would no more choose to expound and publish the tenants of another religion than to tell Robert Seymour how to fix my car. To say that Mormons are not Christian is a real stretch—I’d like to hear his definition. The fact is we believe that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, the only name under Heaven whereby men (and women) can be saved. It is through His life, death, atonement and resurrection that we have a hope to receive His grace. If this is not “Christian” Dr. Leggett is in the wrong pew.
I want to thank Rev. Dr. Bobby W. Leggett for last week’s Focus on Faith article, “Mormons on the Religious Landscape.” As always happens when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is portrayed as being a non-Christian “cult,” we as members of that church are deluged with questions about our beliefs, which we are always pleased to answer.
The article said that a “cult is a group that looks like Christians and uses Christian language, but the meanings are totally different.” It also said that “Mormonism is an entirely different religion from Biblical Christian Faith.” If I may be so bold, allow me to state some of our basic beliefs and you judge for yourselves how “biblical” they are:
Our first Article of Faith states, “We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost.” Another says, “We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.” We even believe in the same organization that existed in the biblical church, that is, apostles, prophets, elders, deacons, bishops, etc.
“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
So what is the Book of Mormon? It is another testament of Jesus Christ, written “to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations…” It tells of the Savior’s visit to his “other sheep” on this, the American continent. It states unequivocally “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints easily meet the definition of Christians as implicitly defined in the New Testament: we believe that ancient prophets foretold of Christ’s coming, that Jesus Christ suffered for our transgressions, that he was put to death but rose from the dead, that through Him we may obtain forgiveness of our sins, and that He will come again in glory.
The doctrinal reasons some give for excluding the Latter-day Saints from “Christianity” make little sense, because many of the doctrines used by “orthodox” Christianity are late developments, reflective of creeds formulated in the fourth and fifth centuries or developed during the Reformation.
The word “cult” when referring to the Latter-day Saints is undoubtedly meant to conjure up images of Druids burning captives alive, of painted priests flinging virgins into volcanoes, or of satanic rituals performed in the dark of night. In reality, “cult” is a subjective word meaning, to the particular person using it, “a religion I don’t like.” Christianity itself was once a new religion with dynamic leadership, strong in-group bonding, high moral expectations, missionary zeal and additional scriptures, all of which greatly offended the mainstream religions of its day. Its leaders were not professionally trained clergy, but they did attempt to convert the world to a truth no one else had. By most objective definitions that have been used for the term “cult,” early Christianity was one. That’s not bad company to be in.
Given the wide variety of beliefs among the various Christian churches, I think it is better to take persons claiming to be Christians at their word and to let the Lord be the judge.
If you are truly interested in knowing what Latter-day Saints really believe, I invite you to ask one of us or go to the Church’s official website at mormon.org. I promise you this - when I want to know about your church, I will not go to your detractors to get the information.
Keith J. McClellan
I was on my way home the night of November 4th when I almost got hit by an erratic driver. I had just passed Chimney Valley Road going East on 165 when I noticed a vehicle (westbound towards Blanco) go into the brush on their side of the road (no shoulder). The driver never stopped but kept going until the truck was back on the road… heading straight in my direction until the truck was inches away from hitting me head on! As soon as I got to a safe stopping place, I reported the driver. Someone else also stopped to make sure I was okay, although she was as shook up as I was! Shortly afterwards, I found out that Blanco Police Officer Robert Stewart, assisted by Blanco County Sheriff’s Department, had stopped the individual. Turns out the driver was under the influence, of what I don’t know, only thing I know is that the individual did not need to be driving. Traffic was busy in Blanco as the football game had just ended, folks were heading home in all directions, someone could have gotten killed by the irresponsible driver.
In reading the letters to the editor it is apparent that the city police department has a lot of problems, thanks to the lack of support from the city council. Letting Carl Bragg go was not the answer to the problems the police department has, it just added more. I hope, for Officer Stewart’s sake, that he is not fired like Carl Bragg when there is more than one thing going on at the same time. Officer Stewart could have easily been tied up with something else.
Flora R. Morgan