Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Do Not Mourn As Those Without Hope

My friend, who uses the pseudonym Artemis online, lost her baby girl in a premature birth on Saturday. My tears flow freely for her grief.

Even though we know the plan of salvation, the death of one so innocent and helpless is wrenching to the core of our souls. Today in our priesthood meeting, the lesson from the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith was appropriately timed yet painful to hear.

“… The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope.”

Even with our knowledge of the plan of salvation, we can't expect that the momentary pain of loss will be any less. Our solace comes in knowing that the sting of that death need not be eternal.

We pray for you, Artemis and family, and hope the hole in your heart will always be a little window back to heaven.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Obama Embraces a Heresy

Traditional Christians have been trapped in an uncomfortable box for quite some time. They insist that the only people who can be saved are those who have accepted Jesus in this life. According to this line of thinking, it doesn't matter how wonderful a life is lived; sins were still committed and without Jesus there will be eternal consignment to hell.

Think of all of the people who have lived and never heard the name of Jesus. Can you honestly believe they are all eternally damned? This, I believe, is a depressing lie based on an incomplete truth. Yes, Christ is the only way to salvation, but his grace is so much broader than the traditional Christians will admit.

God's plan, as taught by the Mormons, includes a provision for those who don't have an opportunity to accept Jesus in this life: They will have an opportunity to receive him in the next life. They will be judged for the life that they lived in relation to their understanding. This is a merciful theology. Mormons are accused of being non-Christian for exactly this sort of heretical belief.

Barack Obama, presidential candidate, has raised the eyebrows of some Christian leaders because he seems to believe the way I do on this issue. Here's how it was reported in Newsweek.

When Franklin Graham asked Obama recently how, as a Christian, he could reconcile New Testament claims that salvation was attainable only through Christ with a campaign that embraces pluralism and diversity, Obama tells NEWSWEEK he said: "It is a precept of my Christian faith that my redemption comes through Christ, but I am also a big believer in the Golden Rule, which I think is an essential pillar not only of my faith but of my values and my ideals and my experience here on Earth. I've said this before, and I know this raises questions in the minds of some evangelicals. I do not believe that my mother, who never formally embraced Christianity as far as I know … I do not believe she went to hell." Graham, he said, was very gracious in reply. Should Obama beat John McCain, he has history on his side. Presidents such as Lincoln and Jefferson were unorthodox Christians; and, according to a Pew Forum survey, 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement that "many religions can lead to eternal life." "My particular set of beliefs," Obama says, "may not be perfectly consistent with the beliefs of other Christians."

Welcome to the heretics club, senator.

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