I’m not a Mormon … but by the skin of my teeth.
My maternal grandfather grew up Mormon. When he met my grandmother, who was a United Methodist Christian, he left the Mormon church and began a life with her.
When you put it that way, it sounds so simple to someone like me who’s never experienced what it must be like to leave the Mormon church. One doesn’t just up and leave without a whole lot of drama. Clearly to him, she was worth the sacrifice. All I can figure is it must’ve been one massive boner!
I’ve had one eye on the Mormon faith for decades – out of pure curiosity. When I learned about our family heritage, I was like, “Whoa! But for the decision of one, I would likely be a Mormon!”
Anyway, my curiosity was sparked the other day when I ran across an article about a letter written by a Mormon man with serious faith questions. It’s called The CES Letter written by Jeremy Runnell.
I read it from top to bottom and while the lion’s share of the document is directly aimed at Mormon teaching, there’s section in there that could be applied to Christianity on the whole. For those who wish to read it, it can be found online at the link in the above paragraph. I’m referring to pages 69 & 70, particularly this paragraph when referring to several problematic Old Testament scriptures:
As a believing Mormon, I tried to rationalize some of the craziness [of the OT] by saying, “Oh, this is in the crazy Old Testament when the Law of Moses was in force. Christ came and fulfilled the Law of Moses.”
How many times did I hear and use that excuse during my days in the faith?! Anytime some nasty atrocity from the OT would rear its ugly head, we’d slap Jesus on it and lay it to rest. Unless, of course, it was a scripture we found useful to make a point. Then all bets were off. (Kinda like Leviticus and the homosexuality argument.)
The CES Letter took me down a rabbit trail that eventually led me to the following video and I’ll tell ya, I was fascinated by it. Much of it could be applied to ANY religion. It’s 14 minutes if you have the time:
As a Christian, I was never encouraged to test the truth of the bible in the way described in the video – by praying and receiving an inner witness to its truth. We weren’t encouraged to question its validity in the first place. It was a well established fact that the bible was true. No further witness needed. So I differ there.
However, the method in the video was the method by which many of us claimed to hear from god or were led of god. It was a feeling, or a compunction to go in one direction verses another most often felt during prayer or when reading scripture.
Never was such a fine point put on this method for me but when someone said, “Go pray about it” that’s what was meant. It was a method taught by practice. You receive an answer from god often by a ‘sense’ or a ‘feeling’.
Religion separated me. For a time I was completely closed off from other ways of thinking just like the video demonstrates. My religion was right – others were wrong. And I surrounded myself with others who believed the same. It’s very isolating while not feeling isolating at all. In fact, we were all quite busy telling ourselves how free in Christ we were!
Oh the irony.