I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the “Mormon Church” by friends of other faiths), as such I am a believer in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. I love Him, I praise Him, and I adore Him. Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. He is the Creator and the exemplar for all mankind. How do members of the LDS Church grow closer to Jesus Christ through Mormon beliefs? Let me share:
How do Mormons grow close to Jesus Christ through doctrines?
What is doctrine? Robert L. Millet (professor of ancient scripture) quoted the Holman Bible dictionary and Bruce R. McConkie by saying:
Doctrine is “the basic body of Christian teaching or understanding (2 Timothy 3:16). Christian doctrine is composed of teachings which are to be handed on through instruction and proclamation.”… Further, “gospel doctrine is synonymous with the truths of salvation. It comprises the tenets, teachings, and true theories found in the scriptures; it includes the principles, precepts, and revealed philosophies of pure religion; prophetic dogmas, maxims, and views are embraced within its folds; the Articles of Faith are part and portion of it, as is every inspired utterance of the Lord’s agents” (“What is Our Doctrine,” The Religious Educator, 2003).
So how do these doctrines bring the Mormons closer to Jesus Christ? As the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Boyd K. Packer, has said, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior” (“Do Not Fear,” Ensign, April 2004). Mormons learn doctrine, the word of God through scriptures and prophets, their behavior then changes for the better and naturally they are brought closer to Jesus Christ.
How do Mormons grow close to Jesus Christ through covenants?
My heart is tender at this time as I ponder the power of covenants (an agreement between God and a person or group of persons, upon which eternal blessings are based), because of a recent event that took place in the life of one of my high school friends. We have been graduated for five years now, and a lot of us have started our own families. This friend is expecting her first baby—a son. Her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer a little while ago and has fought a tremendous battle. But just yesterday his frail body slipped through the veil of this mortal existence. What was her response? She exclaimed to her friends that she knows he is being reunited with his family who have already passed on, and that she will be with him again as well.
Because of the sacred temple covenants
that have existed since ancient times, and which Mormons still practice today, families can be together forever—rather than until “death do you part.” All of the covenants that we make in the LDS Church lead to the sealing covenant (wherein families are eternally bound). This knowledge of having my family be a forever family brings me closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, because I know it is through Him that this was all made possible (through the power of His atonement). Of course, the blessing of having an eternal family is all predicated upon our own faithfulness, after we have made the covenant with God.
Another covenant that Mormons renew each week, by partaking of the sacrament (communion) every Sunday, is the baptismal covenant. In this covenant we promise to obey Heavenly Father’s commandments. Inevitably when we follow God’s commandments we are brought closer to Jesus Christ.
How do Mormons grow close to Jesus Christ through practices of the Church?
Common practices that are notable to Mormons range from doing family history, serving 2-year full-time service missions (in which the missionary funds the mission), going to the Mormon temple regularly to worship the Lord in addition to regular church meetings, to having family home evening on Monday nights. Each of these practices brings the participant closer to Jesus Christ.
The famous scripture of Elijah found in Malachi 4:6 reads “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” In this scripture the Lord is letting us know the importance of doing family history. This is done to link generations, and fulfills what we discussed earlier of being able to seal families together. Mormons believe “If it were not so [the linking of families], the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (Doctrine and Covenants 2:3). The work of family history brings Mormons closer to Jesus Christ because of the nature of the work and also because they are preparing for His second Coming.
How missionary work and temple work bring Mormons closer to Jesus Christ: It is obvious that if a missionary’s whole objective is to bring others closer to Jesus Christ (which is the objective for Mormon missionaries), they themselves will grow closer to Him. The work done in the temples all lead to Jesus Christ, and the ordinances are all done in His name. Mormons are also especially brought closer to Christ in the temple because part of the Mormon temple ceremony consists of covenanting to serve Him with all of their might, mind and strength.
Lastly, a practice among Mormons is to have Family Home Evening. The MormonWiki explains Family Home Evening as follows:
Members of the Mormon Church use Family Home Evening to strengthen family ties. Parents have the opportunity to teach their children about spiritual and secular matters and prepare them for life. Family Home Evening is held once a week as a time for families to sit down together and study the scriptures, talk about important life lessons, cultivate talents, discuss pressing issues, and plan activities and goals.
Usually a prayer accompanies each Family Home Evening meeting, which of course means the meeting is done in the name of Jesus Christ.
I don’t know how to emphasize enough the fact that everything Mormons do leads to Jesus Christ. To illustrate this truth I will end with discussing one last thing: I used to teach seminary for high school aged youth and the objective that we lived and breathed was first and foremost, “to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ…” I remember vividly planning for seminary activities when I was a student, and the principal of the seminary always had us ask, “how is this activity going to lead the people to Jesus Christ?” If it didn’t help lead us closer to Christ then we would not do it—for as Sister Julie B. Beck (former Relief Society General President) has been known to say, “It is time to get out of the entertainment business and into the business of salvation” (see lds.org).
I invite all who read this message to follow the words of Peter to “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2:31). Please take the time to prayerfully ponder how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints devote themselves to Jesus Christ—and meet with Mormon missionaries to discuss ways that you can grow closer to the Savior yourself. I know and believe in Jesus Christ with all of my heart. Like the Prophet Nephi from The Book of Mormon, I will go and do all the things that He commands (1 Nephi 3:7).
Article was written by Ashley Bell
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.