Sunday, January 05, 2014

Why Would Anyone Join the Mormon Church? by Brad V Base

I recently finished the book "Why Would Anyone Join the Mormon Church?"

The book had very good information for those wanting to explain doctrines of the Church to those that are not members of the Church.  Some of the conclusions the author made were not explained well enough for me to recommend the book to directly those who are not members of the Church.  I think that this is a very good resource for Church members wanting to gain scriptural resources as they try to talk to others about our beliefs.

I have often found that in my life when I have been confronted with criticisms of Church doctrines I have often gotten defensive and not opened a good dialog.  I was not prepared with scripture references and other authoritative resources to use as a point of reverent discussion.

Over the years I have taken many notes from the scriptures and read many books like "Why Would Anyone Join the Mormon Church?" to better understand how to articulate our beliefs and also to better show where those beliefs were taught by the Savior, the ancient Apostles, and other ancient Christians.

Behaving Like We Think A Bishop Should

The prophet receives God's will for the Church in general.  A stake president receives God's will for the stake he presides over.  A bishop receives God's will for the ward he presides over.  A father receives God's will for the home he presides over.

In this example I am going to use a bishop, since they are the Church authority closest to us and we likely have the most contact with.

Often members of the Church see their bishop or a bishop with all of the faults of a man.  They expect a higher standard of him because he is a bishop and is to receive revelation from God on how to lead the ward.

We aren't doing ourselves any favors by dwelling on his flaws, but it could productive to place ourselves up against the standard we have set in our minds for bishops. We are to receive revelations for our lives, which means that if there is a requirement for receiving revelation for a ward, then those standards likely apply to being able to receive revelation in our personal lives.

I think if we try to live up to the standard we have set for our bishop, we will likely appreciate and understand him more and will likely find ways to make ourselves closer to God.

Baptism Unto Repentance

Baptism Unto Repentance
Mosiah 26:22
  22 For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance. And whomsoever ye receive shall believe in my name; and him will I freely forgive.

Acts 19:1-6
 1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
  2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
  3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
  4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
  5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
  6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Except in extreme circumstances we are only baptized once, nonetheless we need to repent every day.  We are told frequently in the scriptures to repent and be baptized. Why are we not told to repent and be baptized and repent, since we are to repent more than just when we are baptized by water. I believe this is because repentance and baptism are always together, even though we are only baptized by water once.

Some want that experience of being baptized again to wash away their sins.  When we are baptized we are baptized by water.  Then we have had hands laid upon our heads and are instructed to receive the Holy Ghost.  Receiving the Holy Ghost is often referred to as a baptism of fire.

While water baptism generally happens only once, the baptism of fire or of the Holy Ghost is to happen daily as a matter of our daily repentance.

The call to “repent and be baptized” is a daily event.  We repent and then are baptized again by the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost works within us to testify of our repentance.  This process is the cleansing us of our sins through repentance and baptism of the Holy Ghost, to give us access to the atonement of Jesus Christ.

It is true that when one wants to be baptized they repent before hand and then they punctuate that repentance with a covenant and the ordinance of baptism.  We will likely sin after our baptism, so we also should repent daily and be baptized by the Holy Ghost daily and make our covenant again when we take the sacrament, thus becoming clean again.