Today, within minutes of each other, I read testimonies from two sincere followers of Christ. While each focuses on his current life in Christ, the paths each traveled have been very different. Yet, both are enlightening and worthy of reflection.
In Why I Left The Mormon Church, Mike shares his testimony about how Jesus, not a church, is the head of our salvation. Thus, his is a testimony with which I completely agree. I only feel sad that this truth was not reinforced and made more obvious during the dozen years Mike was still a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This line of his struck me as so very tragic: "I had believed in [Jesus Christ] for years, but I had been taught that the way to salvation was by obedience to the Mormon church. The church had effectively stood between me and God".
I can't blame him for leaving. I can only hope that his experience is a rare exception. If there are others who feel this way, how can we ensure that the ball doesn't get dropped? All I can say is that I'm so glad my personal experience has been quite the opposite. I have come to truly know Jesus and feel of his saving grace and power. I've also been a life-long Mormon.
In Ray's A Testimony for My Birthday, the "central point is that I have experienced and continue to experience God in my life as a follower of Christ who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
While my own experience more closely reflects Ray's, reading these two testimonies back to back made me curious how many people out there would fall into the experiences of the former or the latter. It's disheartening to think about even one person who can go for a year, let alone a dozen, being outwardly active in the Church while not truly inwardly active in Christ. It reminds me of Stephen Robinson's analogy of those sitting in a cold, dark room pretending to be warmed by all the heaters and the lamps without actually having turned on the power switch. Or put another way, truly being made "alive in Christ because of our faith" (2nd Nephi 25:25).
While I don't think this challenge is necessarily unique to the Latter-day Saints, it is nevertheless a challenge. I feel part of my personal mission is to share the "good news" with those who still haven't "got it", whether LDS or not.
Origins of Baptism for the Dead
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