Sunday, January 31, 2010

Come and See - An invitation to visit the LDS church

This is a copy of a recent YT letter I wrote to another you tube user.

You write; so why do you not allow some people into your temples, if ALL are welcome? I've always found that frankly offensive. If I have a Mormon friend and I'm not allowed to attend their marriage, this is out and out exclusion. It's NOT the form of Christianity I was raised in, where EVERYONE was welcome. A town drunk used to routinely walk into services in our church, and people would not shun him, but try to help him.... Why do LDS exclude people? Such as blacks in the early days...

Who may enter a temple.
At baptism, we make certain covenants; to always remember Jesus Christ, to keep his commandments and be a witness unto God as a member of the body of Christ's church. In doing so, we are promised the spirit of the Lord. This is the beginning of our journey.
After 1 year of being baptized, those who have lived after the "law of the Lord" then meet with a bishop. He asks them questions about their convictions and recommends the member to enter a temple, after ample preparation is complete. One does not and ought not to enter a temple on a whim. There is no "Sunday School" test that someone has to pass save ones desires to make additional covenants as discovered by the Bishop, the father of the ward. (A bishop is like a pastor who is given charge to be a judge in Israel)

Furthermore, Christ himself said, "Give not that which is holy unto Dogs... cast ye not your pearls before swine..." and he doesn't say this to belittle anyone... but a certain amount of preparation must be in order for those who are temple bound. Just as a child must be weaned from the milk before it can eat meat, so must a member prepare to enter into a temple. None are withheld from achieving this goal. Preparation is needed. The church has a program and does its part to prepare the membership for temple blessings.

In a world of "Instant Gratification," the Lord has it in mind to ensure that we prepare for eternity and that we don't do so lightly! The purpose of the church is to edify and prepare its members to keep baptismal covenants and continue to make additional covenants that prepares them to return to God's presence as Kings and Queens... priests and priestesses unto the most High God. (Compare Revelations 1:5-6)

None are or have been discouraged to be members of the LDS church and it is a common work to suggest otherwise. Although racists, bigots, and intolerant people exist in all walks of life and not just pertaining to things outside of religious organizations, the LDS church has always been the forerunner to tolerance. If you put away the pamphlets you've read and actually dig deeper into things, you'll discover that the LDS church was among the first to have multi-ethnic church service in the South while segregation remained a common attitude there and at no point were they denied membership, marriage, or other essential saving ordinances given to the faithful disciples of Christ.

We were first in the idea of abolishing of slavery in fact Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for US president in 1844 and one of his platforms would have been to "Abolish Slavery" altogether... we were the first to shun segregation but this is not what you've been programmed to accept.
We're not a different church from before... we never were the evil that some suggest we are or were. We never had horns growing out of our head or any other silly concoction developed by fearful people. Misunderstanding breeds fear. Fear of the unknown... which is why LDS folks are labeled a cult... because in the minds of those who say, "You're a cult!" they're saying, in fine, "We do not understand you and we're afraid to find out so by saying you're a cult, it makes us feel better about not getting to know the real you..."

Who has been allowed to enter?
Blacks have never been excluded from receiving the sacrament, having callings in the church, or been excluded from church services and other social events... ever! One passage in the Book of Mormon sums it up! "...and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." 2 Nephi 26:33

Apparently, you've not been to a sacrament service... or a Sunday school at an LDS church, have you?
You'll find a warm welcome and possibly startled group of folks wanting to make your experience comfortable. You'd find the peace that Christ brings to the meeting and experience the joy that we all feel when we enter the chapel doors. Until you've experienced church for yourself, how could you know what goes on inside these doors? I welcome you to experience it one day just for yourself. I pray for this opportunity for you. May you know the Love that pours out of our church membership while you are yet around to enjoy it! Do not let your whole life's ideas or choices be based on what you see on "South Park" or what you've read on a deplorable pamphlet made to denigrate the LDS church!

Josh Nelson

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