Monday, September 22, 2008

Misunderstanding Among Friends

We are currently experiencing great turmoil in our financial sector which reaches far beyond our nations borders. We regularly see, hear and feel the effects of war and terrorism throughout the world. Our children are bombarded constantly with inappropriate images, innuendo, jokes, peer pressure and a general cultural pressure to ignore God and his laws. Satan makes effort at every turn to discourage and divide us because he knows what is prophesied to happen in preparation for the Saviors 2nd coming. In an attempt to destroy the Savior and His people, Satan creates chaos and adopts a divide and conquer mentality among Christian denominations.

More than ever, it is critical that as Christians we find common ground and join together in purposes that will strengthen the family. These common purposes could include serving the sick and afflicted, emergency preparedness, disaster response, teaching financial independence and preparation, and combating the spiritual drift of society. It is time we concentrate on issues and beliefs that unite us instead of focusing on the differences that divide us. It is possible for different denominations to maintain doctrinal independence while working with others in a common cause.

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of local ministers in an attempt to find common ground, to find ways in which we could serve together within the community to help build it into a stronger, safer place for our families. Although we had a cordial discussion, I was disappointed that these ministers were so fearful of the LDS church that they were not willing to work together in any way, not even in causes we both identify as critical needs of the community. I was even told that because of LDS belief in a “different Jesus”, and the perceived LDS exclusion of other Christians from the “Mormon Heaven”, they would not even be comfortable offering a simple prayer with us. These are fears that come from misunderstanding. Such misunderstandings keep us divided.

Even though my discussion with these ministers did not yield the result I had hoped for, I believe it was a successful failure. I failed (for now) in my attempt to build common ground and find ways to serve the community, united as Christians. But, I succeeded in opening a dialogue with these ministers. I was able to bear testimony of the Savior and His mission and kindly challenge them in their assumptions about the LDS church. I was able to provide them with literature, which defined the LDS belief in the Savior and His role in the eternal plan of happiness.

This may be a small beginning but it is an important step for me personally. One minister was open to the prospect of continued discussion, while the other stated there was no purpose in additional discussions since it was not possible for minds to be changed. I hope that minister will reconsider after reading some of the literature I provided. In any case, I will continue to build a positive relationship, and hope for the best.

In this one experience I learned a great deal. It appears that for the moment, in my little community, Satan may be finding some success in dividing Christian denominations from one another, but then again, maybe his success will come to an end with additional focus and effort by the LDS community, in building relationships of trust within the community. Relationships are not built and attitudes are not changed over night. Hopefully we can continue to find opportunities to have open, honest dialogue and maybe someday we will able to be unified in our common goals.

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