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I freely admit to my inquiring friends that as a Mormon, (I prefer calling Mormonism, Restored Christianity) I believe in some really bizarre things such as:
- Adam and Eve were real people; our first parents. Noah floated an ark. Moses really did torment Pharaoh with all sorts of plagues and literally parted the Red Sea.
- Jesus was born of Mary who was a virgin and God the Father was the Father although I have no idea how that took place. His ministry included many miracles including turning water into wine, fed 5,000 people twice with a few fish and loaves of bread; cast out literal demons; healed the sick and raised the dead, including Lazurus. What a sight that must have been.
- Jesus was crucified and died that same afternoon on the cross and was placed in a borrowed tomb. After being dead for three days, his spirit reunited with his body and he came forth from the tomb in a resurrected state. He was seen by many people and literally ate with them.
Now… if you can get past these amazing, bizarre, and outrageous claims that I believe in and that most Christians believe in, then everything else I believe in is going to be easy. Such as:
- Jesus began his ministry by being baptized, by immersion, by John the Baptist; that the Father literally introduced him and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.
- Jesus organized his followers, appointing 12 apostles who were given his authority and he and his apostles called others by the laying on of hands to be authorized to organize his followers so his Gospel would be preached first to the Jews, and later, with Peter, to all the known world.
- Jesus literally sweat blood from every pore in the Garden of Gethsemane where he suffered for the sins and pain of each person on this earth. In doing so He alone through his condescension and grace is the conduit or path to any of us gaining Eternal life although all mankind are saved from death with a guaranteed resurrection.
- As a resurrected being he ascended into heaven where Stephen saw him literally sitting on the right hand of His Father. Yes, Stephen saw the Father and the Son.
- His apostles carried on His work with miraculous feats and efforts and died, according to documents, violent deaths as martyrs except John. There is no record of his death.
Ok…we’re past the really tough stuff to get a handle on. Faith is required, no doubt. But once you’re over those high hurdles, try these easier matters:
- Joseph Smith saw God the Father, Jesus the Christ and a host of other heavenly beings. If you bought into Stephen’s vision, Saul/Paul’s, John’s revelations, then this won’t be too tough.
- Gold plates containing The Book of Mormon were delivered to Joseph Smith by an angel and when Joseph finished using these plates, the angel took them back. Jacob saw angels as did Peter, Paul, John and many others, so this shouldn’t be too tough to believe.
- God speaks to prophets still, including one who lives today, and will speak to the future prophet/president of the LDS Church.
- Miracles of healing, speaking in tongues where useful, and other miraculous manifestations happen today. Like they did long ago in events Christians have no trouble believing.
So there you have it. My bizarre beliefs. Takes some faith just like it always has. Atheists who usually only offer Nothing as an alternative to faith, do use faith in so far as scientific findings are concerned – it does take faith or at least hope, that the Theory of Uniformity will continue on Earth and will apply elsewhere in the universe.
And here are five things that I do NOT believe (and I don’t think Mormonism teaches) that various religions believe:
- That all things began when God decided to create man out of nothing… Ex nihilo. That we didn’t exist in any way or form before God created us out of nothing. That would mean He had been around forever with nothing else to do and one epoch day just decided to create us out of nothing. Bizarre. And for what purpose? And, that God created Satan yet gets mad at us if we follow Satan – His creation. Tough for me to understand that.
- That God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are actually three sides of one box. That God was really saying at Jesus’ baptism, “This is myself.” I’m not sure how to explain Stephen looking into heaven and saw the Father and Christ sitting at his right hand… doesn’t make sense to me. And I don’t comprehend that God is only a spirit and doesn’t have a body and never did even though one figment of God was Jesus and he had a body but died twice – once upon the cross and the second time AFTER his resurrection when he ascended into heaven apparently without his body because he melded into the Father again and only as a spirit. This all seems strange.
- That all Churches are right and it doesn’t matter to God what the Church is. So if you believe all Churches are right and my Church says you’re wrong, then I’m right and you’re wrong. And why would anyone belong to anything they didn’t believe was right? And if all the rest are equally right, then why mess with any of them? Being right obviously doesn’t matter.
- We can do anything we like so long as we just say Jesus is the Lord or “accept” him. Then we can eat, drink and make merry for tomorrow if we die all it didn’t matter how we lived – it’s all ignored. Nope…doesn’t make sense.
- After we die and we do just one thing a little better than the other guy, he goes to hell and we go to heaven. And while in heaven God wants us to sing praises to Him forever… so we go through the difficulties of life and then sing praises to Him… that kind of makes God sound like it’s all about him. Or, another variation on this afterlife is when we die we come back to earth as something else, like a horse or a worm. I don’t see the point.
Now, just because you believe those five things doesn’t really matter to me. That’s fine. We’re still friends. I don’t find you crazy, foolish, stupid, illogical, should be put to death, ostracized or I don’t want my kids to play with your kids. I actually find the similarities and differences fun and interesting.
I certainly don’t mind anyone believing their version of these things and don’t mind them sharing them with me. Knock on my door for all I care. I love freedom of speech. If we do that, things will sort themselves out and we’ll all be much happier.
In the end, we’re not getting out of this Earth alive so we ought to put our differences aside and relish the similarities.