Ray Degraw wrote:
I don't want the LDS Church to become a more mainstream Christian Church. I want it to remain the unique, peculiar, paradoxical oddity that it is.
"The only way I see that this situation be avoided in the future is if the lds church becomes a more mainstream Christian Church"
That, to me, is the heart of its glory and power and potential.
The lds church history will always be peculiar and unique. I see no power or glory in it all because of issues that are often discussed on this board. I do
see power and glory in all believers being unified in their faith in Christ and His Good News. No matter their history, dogma they once believed in, religion they once or still belong to- acceptance of the true Good News of the Gospel is what should unite us. That is Power!!
I just wish all of the members could understand and love better those who struggle - seeing the sinner in ALL of us and loving ALL of us just the same. That's NOT "mainstream Christianity, as mainstream Christianity (at least theologolically) is anything BUT accepting and understanding and empowering of those who are different. Many mainstream Christians are, but mainstream Christian theology is not. I'll take the natural tension within the LDS Church between an inclusive theology and many non-inclusive members any day over the tension between an exclusive theology and some non-exclusive members. (If you don't understand what I mean by that, ask mainstream Christians where Mormons [and Buddhists and Muslims and Jews and many others] will end up and ask mainstream Mormons where non-Mormons of all kinds will end up - then analyze the responses to gauge inclusiveness on a sliding scale. The difference, in general terms, is shocking.)
You need to visit my church and I think you would have a new perspective. Your view of "exclusive theology within Christianity" would change if you came with me this Sunday
Looking for love and acceptance within the lds framework/doctrine is like looking for the Great Wall of China in Brazil. You will
find it with certain, wonderful, loving, free-thinking members- but the doctrine is what creates this lack of acceptance. The doctrine of the church creates non-accepting people that would otherwise be totally accepting if put in a different doctrinal system. I have experienced it- and it is clear to me now where before I just thought there were a lot of self-righteous people in the lds church. That's not the case- the lds church's doctrine produces this fruit. It's almost unavoidable...unless you see or sense it and then proactively decide to break the mold like many here in this forum have done.
Any church that puts forward a gospel of works to merit salvation will always create a large segment of proud,non-accepting people. Look at any religion and those who are faithful followers- they become dogmatic, proud, judgmental etc. They can't help it in that system if they are devout doctrinal followers. That is not the Gospel the Christ taught. You can be a non-judgmental member of a religion- but you won't be a strict follower of their dogma. You actually become more loving and accepting by getting away from a religions core doctrine and their works/rules that they promise will save you.
The Christian Theology that you refer to is only as exclusive as you want it to be. There are New Order Christians just like New Order Mormons. I believe most of them choose to go to some type of Non-Denominational church. They go there because they don't want the dogma generally found in religions. They want to worship God and be accepted solely on the fact that they are a believer in Christ and Him crucified. That's it. We don't have to agree on the Trinity, what heaven will be like, who goes to hell, etc, etc. It's wonderful!! I find myself becoming more ok with knowing less and believing more. And any issue not pertaining to my Faith in Jesus as my Saviour is just not "a hill to die on" for me. And I try to influence other Christians to be more tolerant of those who may not believe the same way they do. It's all "Trivial Pursuit" knowledge in my book anyway- if it doesn't center on the Atonement of Jesus and the Grace offered us through faith and not of works.
The LDS doctrine of salvation is different than what is taught in the New Testament- particularly Romans. Until the lds church changes the doctrine of "saved by works then some grace" it will continue to produce the fruit that many in the religion find so bitter. In my opinion the lds gospel is a "Heretical Gospel of Worthiness" and is the main source of all the ills. It will continue to produce self-righteous followers because that is the end result of that doctrine. Members will continue to seek the peace they want and deserve- but will always be left wanting. That is why there is so much accommodation and mental gymnastics required to salvage their membership and feel a semblance of peace they seek.
My hope is that those of us who decide to remain in the lds church will be able put God before religion and find worthiness, peace and perfection in Christ alone. His Atonement makes you worthy and perfect right now- in spite of your works, not because of them. He just wants us to be broken and contrite...He stands ready and willing to save us daily.