Well I have one day left and then I am back home to sunny North East of England. This has been easily my favourite ministry trip of any kind and I have done a lot more learning than I have, shall we say teaching this week.
I have been to a session of general conference, visited institute classes at Weber state university, been to Provo, as well as meeting Christians like Bill Mckeever, Shawn Mccraney, Aaron Shafovaloff and others and have had a great time.
I have had the chance to meet a Mormon man named Eric who has been a Mormon many years, and through this meeting and others have grown in my respect for these people.
Many Christians and myself at times can look at the Mormon people and think how can they believe that it is crazy etc, however from being around the people and in the culture and having dialogue, I can see exactly why and how intelligent people can believe Mormonism, the Mormon people in many cases deserve genuine respect for their commitment, and love for their faith and what it represents. And I would challenge Christians reading this to have genuine respect when speaking to people in the LDS faith as they are not crazy they just believe a faith that is contrary to the bible.
Being in general conference I was there when the announcement came for 5 new temples and there was a genuine sense of awe in the crowd people looking at each other and smiling amazed at this news.
When the prophet Thomas S. Monson walked in people stood straight to their feet out of respect and were looking at him who they believe is God’s mouthpiece to the world again with a sense of awe, right before singing the classic LDS hymn we thank thee O Lord for a Prophet.
So in terms of commitment and sincerity towards their faith Christians should come to Utah to learn from them as well as preach to them, however this sense of awe I am talking about did not go towards Christ the true centre of Christianity in that same way. I think back to my home church and the worship and adoration Christ recieves each week and when I think of this general conference session the closest we came to that was when the new temples were announced.
In the book of Mormon 2 Nephi 25:26 says this And we atalk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we bprophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our cchildren may know to what source they may look for a dremission of their sins.
This is often what is quoted to born again Christians when we say what I am saying, however to LDS people reading this I would say look past just what is said and look at where the real passion and devotion lies in the LDS church, the unspoken things, when people are bearing their testimonies on testimony sunday who gets more glory, Christ, or Joseph Smith or Monson? Look in the bible at the heart of Christians in there, the apostle Paul yearned to die to be with Christ, He knew nothing of exaltation or seeking Godhood for himself. Its not enough to say all of the things in our church point to Christ, does the person of Christ recieved glory over everything? When Jesus was sat with Mary and Martha he praised Mary sitting with him while Martha ran around getting things done.
So this blog despite my new found rise in respect for LDS people is very much going on, however with love and not with a desire to win arguments (as I do not always do that anyway) and not with a desire to put people down but with a desire to share biblical truth, look at the background of Mormonism and its beliefs and let people reading decide for themselves.