Section 4: The Mormon Church- A Restoration of All Things?
The Mormon Church- A Restoration of All Things?
The Mormon Temple in Salt lake City, Utah, is, for the LDS (Latter-day Saints), a proud symbol of their faith. Diligence, family values, and financial self-sufficiency are Mormon watchwords. Mormon missionaries, with their lapel name badges, are a familiar sight around the world. But some inner affairs sacred to the Mormons are hidden from outsiders. So the church remains a target of sensational rumors.
Sacred things have always been kept hidden from the world at large. In Moses' day, the Ark of the Covenant was surrounded by many veils and curtains and could only be entered by designated priests1. Such sacred things are always made available only to specific people designated by the Lord, such as Aaron and his descendents, who were the only ones allowed to officiate in the makeshift temple that housed the Ark of the Covenant2. In fact, the opposite of sacred is profane, which means common3. When things become common they are no longer sacred. This is one reason the ancient Jews refrained from using the Lord's name. And yes, when people do not discuss sacred things, it is easy for detractors to spread "sensational rumors".
A fair evaluation, however, should be based, not on scurrilous tales, but on facts. What can we learn about this much-maligned faith?
In the search for truth, one of the most basic concepts I can think of is to seek learning from those who know; to find a "knowing advisor," as the Buddhists say. In other words, when you want to know something, you go to someone who knows about the subject matter and has mastered it. I'll give you an example.
It is extremely rare to hear anything negative said about other religions in a Mormon church meeting, but I once heard a negative comment about Buddhism and realized that I had heard similar things about Buddhists before, from other Christians not of my faith. I wondered if what I'd heard could be true, and then realized that I was not going to the source for my answer. Soon, I attended some classes at a local Buddhist monastery and learned that what others had told me was untrue. Ever since that time, I have visited the websites of other religions and collected their books so that I can have the facts directly from the source.
It seems inappropriate to me that any non-Mormon would profess to tell others what I believe, especially without providing references from appropriate sources. For example, this Awake! magazine does not provide any sources for its information; it just presents its information as though it were undisputed fact, which it is not. In the absence of facts, then, it is simply spreading "scurrilous tales". The worst part about that is that Jehovah's Witnesses the world over are spreading this disinformation unwittingly. Any who care about truth are being used to spread lies, making them an accomplice to Satan, the father of all lies4, and causing others to make decisions based on those lies5.
In an interesting turn of events, I recently received the May 1, 2014, Watchtower, which contains the following example conversation between a Jehovah's Witness and a neighbor:
Tim: The other day, I was speaking with a coworker. I told him about the pamphlets you gave me and how interesting they are. But he said that I shouldn't read them because Jehovah's Witnesses do not believe in Jesus. Is that true? I told my coworker that I would ask the next time you visited.
Anthony: Well, I'm glad you asked me. It's good that you are going straight to the source. After all, what better way is there to find out what a person believes than to ask the person himself?6
What great advice! Perhaps this signals a change for the Jehovah's Witnesses, and they will no longer use their magazines to attempt to tell people what Mormons, Catholics, and others believe, instead advising them to go ask a person of that faith for more information!
- Exodus 40:2-3
- Exodus 40:13-15
- Profane, Dictionary.com.
- Moses 4:4
- “They Wanted Me to Prove the Truth to Myself.” Luis Alifonso, Watchtower, Feb. 2013. http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20130201/prove-truth-to-myself
- Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe in Jesus? Page 8. Emphasis added. (http://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20140501/jehovahs-witnesses-believe-in-jesus/)