More U.S. self-identified Christians mix in New Age and mystical sorts of beliefs in their worship. Check it out. One in a five believe in the “evil-eye” (casting a cursing glance), and one in six claim that there is spiritual energy to be had from mountains and trees. According to one study, elements of Eastern faiths and New Age thinking have been widely adopted by 65% of US adults, including many who call themselves Protestants and Catholics, or spiritually religious.
I’ve somehow been often made keenly aware of these trends. Deconstructing children’s and some mainstream movies and watching the progression of syncretism–mixing up mysticism or any ‘ism’ with truth–has come almost naturally to me, for better or worse. Hard to sit still in a theatre sometimes watching nuanced and blatant assumptions running through characters’ dialog, imagery, associative techniques, and overall plots of even the seemingly innocuous or most humurous of films. I’m all for working through conflict, having intensity and depth, but sub-themes that tend to pop up that are counter-family; pro-androgenous, counter-gender identities, and that endow entitlements to children and put halos around those who defy authority made wicked catch my full attention.
Media is powerful; someone said, second to the power of the priesthood. That’s because, I believe, it can move us toward God’s truth and power, be a conduit for it, or violate truth and be a ‘craft’ of another sort. What I do get is that there is a hunger to know how to control evil, and to have power over it. The answer the world is giving, though, is the wrong one. This hunger reflects, in my mind, a starvation for the power of the priesthood of God, of Jesus Christ. My question to each of us is, how will we course correct? How are we teaching our children and the next gen, the Milennials, to discern the difference between the gospel and other ‘isms?” How will we post and write and testify of the real power available through the gospel and authority of Jesus Christ?
I have had thoughts analogous to those expressed by Robert Matthews:
In recent years, there has been increased interested throughout the Western world in the occult and mystical-type religions. This is not a revival of the spirituality characteristic of the ancient patriarchs and prophets of Israel, but is a type of magic and spiritualistic wizardry that the true prophets vigorously opposed. For example, the Lord spake through Moses: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your god’ (Leviticus 19:31). And also: “‘When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God goeth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divinaton, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord; and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times,…but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee to do so’ (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). It is clearly seen from the foregoing passages that belief in astrology, spirit mediums, etc. did not constitute the true religion taught by prophets and patriarchs, but was characteristic of the false religions practiced by the surrounding nations that had departed from the Lord” (Searching the Scriptures: “What the Scriptures Say about Astrology, Divination, Spirit Mediums, Magic, Wizardry, and Necromancy, Ensign, March 1974, p. 26).
So, if 26% of those who attend religious services say they do so at more than one place occasionally, and an additional 9% meander around regularly seeking another, how can we get the word out that there is a home, a true Church, to these people? More Good Foundation enables members to engage in this conversation and reach out to those around us, as invited and challenged and called to do so by living prophets and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ. This is a particular subject to write about, if you’re writing, and to get out to those who are all over the map spiritually, searching and not finding. Let’s put our arms around those we can and help them sort this out. Mohler, leading voice in Baptist orthodoxy, commented on this spiritual confusion that exists and indicated that he felt it was largely due to a “failure of the pulpit to be clear about what is and is not compatible with Christianity and belief in salvation only through Christ.” That is true in watered-down mega-sermons often and in some denominations, but we’re pretty dauntless at the pulpit within The Church of Jesus Christ, and our doctrine itself is not diluted; so perhaps for us, it’s a “failure to have enough cyber-messages accessible that are also clear about what is and is not compatible with Christianity and belief in salvation only through Christ.”
John Taylor’s words also ring out here:
As a servant of God I tell you mankind cannot be redeemed, worlds without end can not evolve or crystalize, or get into the condition entitling them to become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, and to partake of the fulness of His glory; cannot go on to perfection, and sit down in the councils of heaven with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and those bright intelligences who created this world and others, only through the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. All the evolution in the world will not save a single soul; neither will…spiritualism, nor hypnotism, nor any other ism that is not of God. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so plain that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein” (Conference Report, Oct. 1903, p. 97)
Challenge: Action Item
Can each of us post this week on Salvation through Jesus Christ and respond in positive outreach to those who are confused by these spiritual trends, mixing and making of religions that have no power to save or direct or produce individual happiness, and we share those and help them circulate in social media? Responses welcome.
Thanks for all you do. For more information on More Good Foundation, please email us at email at moregoodfoundation dot org or respond to this post.
More Good Foundation would like to include your reflections upon temples and temple worship on our websites. These should be personal — in the first-person voice, 300 to 1000 words. Be sure to tell us which temple is closest to you, or where you were when these thoughts occurred to you. Include a photo of yourself or of you and significant others if you’d like (preferably on temple grounds) and a simple sentence giving us permission to mount your article and photo(s) online.
Click here for a sample article on Mormon temples, written by a lay member, for you to consider. We’re looking for authentic thoughts and feelings to share with the world. We are not necessarily looking for gospel scholars’ doctrinal statements–though those are welcome–but our desire is to capture the kaleidoscope of faith-promoting insights and experiences we have as we regularly worship in the Lord’s house. This will assist us in dispelling misperceptions that 1) we are secretive people generally, 2) that we are anything but Christian, 3) that unusual things occur in holy temples–again, “misperceptions” that still largely prevail in a world that needs to hear from you.Read More
Mormon.org–a newly redesigned site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons, LDS) has launched today!
A rich, lucid venue through which thousands of voices of genuine, everyday Mormons join the online conversation, Mormon.org address questions often asked by friends of other faiths. Responses are individualized, submitted by authentic faithful members of the Church. They appear in brief snippets or a few paragraphs of thoughtful reflections and personal witnesses of doctrinal beliefs, with accompanying personal photos. This personal outreach by unofficial voices is matched with some official responses to questions by the Church leaders. The blend and diversity of profiling and messaging is intended to open up genuine dialog and communication with online seekers and curious onlookers–you can “meet the Mormons” over the virtual fence. An initial group of 2,000 have not only already posted profiles visible to the public, but have added explanations of their beliefs and shared glimpses into their own applied faith and lives.
The site offers live chat options and frequently-asked questions, selectable even by gender, age, and location. So friends of other faiths can narrow down their communiques to those in their own socially relevant or preferred demographic.
Share this with your friends of all faiths, and with members of the Church! Tweet about it and visit us on Twitter.
Learn more about the launching of the new mormon.org site at the Mormon news Official website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”)Read More
We all love short-cuts. Those that are valid. Those that work.
Consider some faves:
- The F-11 key that enables you to use your full screen without toolbar interference; Control X to wipe out text
- The “undo arrow”–what would we do without it?
- The Iphone GPS, showing detailed shortest routes to our destination
- Boxed hair color (maybe not)
- Instant brownie mixes
- Templates for projects
You name it; we’ve gotten a shortened version of it.
Well, it’s not surprising that the world has taken to a shortcut for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: “Mormons.” It is, after all, a long and holy name of the Savior’s restored Church in our day. While we keep the sacredness of the full designation of the Church–receiving the name itself from the Lord Himself in revelation to His leaders–we do accept, as a people, the nickname “Mormons.” Mormon, according to Joseph Smith, means, “more good.” Mormons believe in bringing the Savior’s light and truth–more good, the best good, the saving good truths of the gospel and all that attends that–into the world.
Online searches for information about the Church include the frequent search for Mormon-themed words, including Mormon, Mormons, Mormon beliefs, Mormon religion, and Mormon doctrine. Some of our friends don’t make the connection even between LDS (a Latter-day Saint or member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and “Mormons.”
If you are visiting this site for the first time and are unaware yourself, we are one and the same. Mormon is a nickname derived from a prophet who lived anciently, on this American continent, and after whom an amazing, true, profound and clear record of Christ’s visit, is named. (If you have not read this book, please drop us a note and we will be sure you receive one from us or Mormon missionaries, as you prefer at this point in your journey.)
Although there are millions of searches for LDS, we, as members, have reason to believe that most friends of other faiths seeking information about us do so by keying in the term and nickname, “Mormon.” Few search for us from other faiths, using the official name of the Church.
There’s a difference, though, in calling the individual, lay members of the Church, “Mormons” and combining that nickname with the official Church name. While many will often Google, “Mormon Church,” the actual full inspired appellation is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Just so you’re not confused by the nickname itself.
Still, for journalists, the Church requests that the initial reference to the Church be a full-named one, and that subsequent references to the Church include “The Church of Jesus Christ.”
In 2009, there were over 31 million searches for the terms Mormon, Mormons, and Mormonism. This compares with about 32 million for LDS (Latter-day Saint).
In terms of the members, says Mike Otterson, of the Church of Jesus Christ’s Public Affairs office, “It’s simply a reality that people think of Mormons, they don’t think of Latter-day Saints,” Otterson said Thursday. “Mormon is here to stay.”
“Mormon is here to stay.”
For those Mormons blogging, remember to use vernacular that friends of other faiths would understand when addressing families, the temple, your personal gospel insights and experiences, and to define terms or link to definitions and scriptures.
A Relief Society function sounds like a generic humanitarian fundraiser to a friend of another faith rather than a gathering of Mormon women striving to emulate Christ who reach out to those in need, and who are organized into a global affiliation, under the direction of a living prophet and his counselors.
Comments, questions welcome.Read More
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