I wanted to take a moment and answer a question that a lovely friend of mine left here on my blog.
" I have many questions for you, as we live in an area where there are many Mormons. In fact, they just built a huge temple here. I feel like I need to better understand my neighbors whom practice Mormonism."
First of all, Sally I am blessed to know that your heart is in the *right* place. The Lord has called us to be a "light" unto the world, and to not hide it under a "bushel". Most of us don't have "bushels" laying around, but basically that means, Jesus wants us to share the message of salvation with the world! If you all knew Sally, you would know what a "bright" light she is to those around her.) Sally is a mom to 8 precious children. I "met" Sally , via an online support group for Guatemalan adoptive parents. Sally at that time, was in the process of bringing home her daughter, Marissa from Guatemala. I was at that time, still very much LDS. Sally was a "light" that the Lord used in my life, and I know she continues to be one to others!! The fact is, my friends the Lord does use us , His people to share the good news to the world. If we are willing, He can use us in marvellous ways, as He did Sally. I was blessed by many other "lights" in my life, thru the process of adopting my 5 children from Guatemala. Many of you are reading this blog, and you *know* who you are. :) Bless you my friends for being that "light" to me when I was lost.
Sally, you mentioned the need you feel to better understand your LDS neighbors there in California. I agree. It's important to understand the culture and beliefs of those we hope to reach for Christ. That is one of the reasons why I started this blog! It is my prayer that the Lord will help me to share about the doctrines and traditions of the LDS , so that you may more effectively shine your lights to the LDS in your own communities.
Stick around, as it is my prayer that the Lord will use this blog to help equip believers to reach out effectively to your LDS neighbors and friends. I will tell you that the most important thing you can be doing *right* now for your LDS friends and neighbors is to pray for them. Taking time each and every day to go before the throne of grace in behalf of the LDS in your community. Ask the Lord for specific opportunities to witness to them, and you will be surprised at who He will bring your way! Also, ask for the very words to be given to you to speak. The Holy Spirit will give you the necessary words at the very moment. There is no need to "practice" a speech or such. The Lord will speak thru you at the very moment that it's needed.
" .. do not worry about what to say or "how" to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. " ~ Matthew 10:19 & 20 NIV
Sally also asked the following:
" How do intelligent rational people in the Mormon Church put their trust and faith in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and disregard Biblical truths?"
First of all, Latter-day Saints ( this is the name they preferred to be called) do not believe the Bible is God's inerrant Word. That is, the official teaching of the LDS is that the Bible is only correct as "far as it is translated correctly". The LDS Church teaches it's members that the Bible is mistranslated and as such can not be trusted as God's word in completeness. That is they take some parts of the Bible and accept it as truth, but then they take other parts and say it is "mistranslated". The LDS Church believes that thru the years, God's word was changed and that "plain and precious parts" have been removed from it. They only recognize the King James Version. They use no other translations. The LDS Church publish their own KJV version. It is word for word the same as any KJV translation, with the exception that at the beginning of each chapter there is brief commentary by LDS leaders on what the chapter contains. There are also cross references including cross references to other LDS canonized scriptures. At the end of the LDS KJV is a section called the " Joseph Smith Translation". This section contains all the verses that Joseph Smith changed in the Bible. These are the parts the LDS teaches that are "mistranslated".
The LDS do not view the Bible in the same light that Christians do. They do use it, and read it, but it is not given the same credence as the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is considered to the LDS, the *most* correct of all books ever written.
Joseph Smith, plays a major role in the LDS Church. He is the founder of their Church. The LDS believe that it is Joseph Smith, who 'restored'... that is brought back the 'original' teachings of Jesus. They believe that the original teachings of Jesus were "lost" and that the early Christian church became "apostate" and that after the death of the early apostles, the 'truth' was lost. They believe Joseph "restored" that truth. Thus, they do place their trust in what Joseph taught and preached while he was alive. His teachings can be found in the Doctrine & Covenants, another book of canonized scriptures in the LDS Church. I will be writing more about Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism in the future.
So you see, Sally... the LDS do not place their trust in the Bible, God's word. They do read it, but do not regard it in the same stature as you and I do.
I hope this helps you understand a little.
Check back again as I hope to share more about "why" the LDS have such high regard for Joseph Smith & the Book of Mormon.
God bless you my friend as you prayerfully reach out to your LDS neighbors,