One of the greatest things our stake president taught, was to learn to say "our church" instead of "the church" when talking to people of other faiths. I am the only member in my immediate family so I can understand how others can get offended when we make bold statements as our church is THE church. I focus more on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and share his teachings to those wanting to know more about us.
Thank you for this great article! My wife and I raised our children to understand the inclusivity of the Church, but have many times felt that we were a distinct minority among our church friends. As an adult convert to the Church, I personally know that many other denominations have wonderful truths available to them.
1 Nep 17:35
"Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh in one; ( this is the INCLUSIVITY ) he that is righteous is favored of God." ( this is the EXCLUSIVITY )
I have benefited from refering to the definition of true that is used in construction and engineering when I read D&C 1:30. Instead of a measure of the amount of truth it refers more to accuracy of position, or alignment. When a wall is perfectly true all the corner meet precisely and it is square and level. When an axle or shaft is true it spins smoothly and without vibration, in harmony. When you are constructing something you make adjustments until the thing you are making is "trued" up to the specifications, then it is "finished". I believe this is a helpful way of viewing the restored church. It is constantly being trued up by the guidance of the Lord and His prophets. Eventually it will be perfectly true, and its people will be one.
I once sat in a class with several new converts and those investigating the church. When asked if any of them had any questions about the Sacrament Meeting we had attended, one of them finally admitted, “It hurts me every time I hear someone say that he or she knows this church is ‘true’, because it sounds to me like they are saying the church I grew up in is false.” Every other newcomer immediately shook their heads in agreement and stated that phrase greatly bothered them. While that statement is meant to be an affirmation of the truthfulness of restored gospel principles and continuing revelation, reducing our testimonies to just that one-line cliché has the potential to create a perception of spiritual superiority within our congregations. And it can sound very judgmental and exclusionary to visitors. I grew up in another faith and am grateful to that faith for teaching the truth of a loving and redemptive Christ and for giving me the foundation of relationship with Him. The truth that they taught me was what prepared me to listen to the additional messages of this church. I wish we would stop using that cliché and instead bear our testimonies of our belief in Christ, in restored gospel principles, in continuing revelation through prophets, or whatever about the gospel is meaningful to us individually, instead of simplistically checking the box that we can say we know this church is “true” or teaching that phrase to our children. I agree with the article that ultimately insight and power does not come from checking the box that we, too, can make that statement. Instead, it comes from continuing to learn, yearn for, receive, discern, live and act upon the Lord’s truth wherever we find it.
Join the dialogue on this question by commenting with your "take" or questions. And thanks for reading!
Love this. So important and timely. Needs to be shouted from the rod tops.
I often read the literature of other churches. We do not have a monopoly on truth. One of the best definitions I have found of the path to salvation came from a Protestant minister. Paraphrased: While salvation can not be earned, it must be qualified for.
We do not have a monopoly on gifts if the spirit. Pope John Paul II definitely had the gift of tongues, being able to speak at least 15 languages. An uncle of mine was a protestant minister. Once he was asked to preach to a friends congregation. He felt the Spirit inspire him to call them to repentance and he came down hard on them. He later discovered that, without his friend knowing it, half of the congregation were engaging in mass immoral activities.
We do not have a monopoly on miracles. This same uncle has cast out demons and raised a woman from the dead.
The only thing we do have a monopoly on (in my opinion) is authority. No other religion has the authority to preform the ordinances necessary to return to The Father. I believe that this is the only thing that really sets us apart from everyone else.
Wonderful article! Over the years I have cringed at some members mistaken mindset that suggested that “If you ain’t Mormon, you ain’t.” Also, Pres. N. Eldon Tanner was once heard to say when hearing a member testify that “this is the only true and living church” “I wish they wouldn’t say that.”
"God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of his great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous, for any one people....Again I say, the Lord's Work has need of auxiliaries outside as well as inside, to help it along. Because of their worldly influence—which would depart if they connected themselves with the Church— many are kept where they are, where the Lord has placed them, and can best use them for the good of all." -Orson F. Whitney, 1828 Conference.
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