What Think Ye of Christ?
By Jan Mayer, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . As a “Mormon woman,” Jan is a graduate of BYU and mother of five children. She has written for numerous publications, including The Denver Post, The Villager and NorthStar.
I worked in a small office area with a woman who had great disdain for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed “Mormons”). We had been briefly acquainted before she recommended me for a job. Although she knew I was a Mormon, she thought I had been deceived and that she could change my beliefs.
When she learned that I was a devout Latter-day Saint (Mormon)—truly converted–she was appalled. When I asked where her information had come from, she told me she had taken classes at her church. Shocked, I told her that I couldn’t understand why one religion would teach against another—that it didn’t seem very Christ-like. She told me that the world needed to be aware of evil so the enemy would be exposed and that no one can be like Christ because he is God. I was puzzled by her reaction.
We tried to refrain from religious discussions, but periodically, people would come to our office and innocently initiate conversations that led to outbursts from her.
“You don’t believe in Christ,” she accused. It pierced my heart to hear such words when I love Jesus Christ with all my heart and soul. He is my personal Savior, advocate and friend.
“The name of our Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” I explained. “He is at the center of our beliefs.”
“Well, you can call a school a bakery, but that doesn’t mean it makes bread,” was her response.
I turned back to my work to avoid the contention that was building. On another occasion, she blurted out that we, as Mormons, aren’t Christians and don’t believe in the same Christ as other religions. With narrowed eyes she asked, “Just what DO you believe about Christ?”
I responded: “I’m not sure what you’re asking… We believe in the same Christ as you do–that Christ is the Savior of the world, that He is the son of God…”
“You believe he was a MAN!” she declared. “Maybe like a prophet or a good man…but not God!”
For the first time, I understood why some do not believe we are Christians. The difference lies in our beliefs about the nature of God. Men have declared that Christ, God, Holy Spirit are one and the same. They believe that Christ was God—somehow his own Father who came to earth as His own Son.
Mormons believe that Christ is literally the Son of God and that there are three separate and distinct personages in the Godhead— the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost—not a three-in-one entity, but one in purpose. Christ was mortal because of His mortal mother, but had attributes of God because of His Father.
To me, the doctrinal differences between Mormons and some denominations have significant implications. For example, if the Savior was just the Father incarnate, in the flesh somehow, there would have been no need for Him to have free choice. As a separate Being, though, He did actually have agency. Every day, Christ could choose whether to live a mortal life or follow the guidance of his Father. There would not have been any purpose in Satan tempting Him if he had not had the ability to sin. He chose not to sin. He was a perfect man…not because he was incapable of sin, but because He made that choice to remain free from it.
Because Christ had these mortal attributes, I can try to follow Him as a Latter-day Saint, one of His disciples. When I read that He atoned and died for my sins, and that He suffered, I know that He comprehends me, and freely took upon Himself the sorrows of all mankind. Because He knew what it was to love His neighbor, I can try to love my neighbor and minister to the sick and downtrodden. I can worship my Heavenly Father as He did. Of course I will fall short, but because of His example, I can make strengthening choices that will lead me to Him.
Listen to a song about Jesus Christ from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Learn more about the gift of free agency.
Request a free Book of Mormon.
This entry was posted on Friday, April 13th, 2012 at 6:19 pm and is filed under Array. You can follow any responses to this entry through the http://jesus.christ.org/4253/what-think-ye-of-christ/feed feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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