Question from a Site Viewer
I have been seeing Mormon Missionaries and was set to be baptized but something stopped me. I had this feeling that I couldn’t ignore and I didn’t go through with the baptism. I can’t describe the feeling but it was really strong. And I began to do my own resarch about the Mormon church and was shocked about the things Joseph Smith did. He’s just a con artist. The reason I got involved with the church is because I fell in love with a Mormon and really wanted to be with him. I have now discovered that the Church is not what it appears to be and some really weird things go on that don’t sit well with me. I kind of feel almost sick when I go to the church. It’s almost a brainwashing thing where little kids go and talk about Joseph Smith and how great he was. Little kids think Joseph Smith was great? At eight years old? Seriously? When I was eight I was playing on the beach.
Anyway, I guess what I want to know is this: what is the true church and how can I find one? And is there any way I will get my ex-boyfriend to leave the Mormon church and attend a true church that has the true teachings of Jesus Christ? How can I convince him that Mormonism is not Christianity? I still love him and it hurts to see him believe so strongly in something that is false. Maybe it’s a lost cause. Should I just leave him to it? I’m torn between him and his religion. I want to be with him but without the Mormonism. And I want to find the true Church.
Thank you for writing. Mormonism is not Christianity, at least not Christianity as taught by Jesus and His disciples. Mormonism claims that the church strayed from the truth over the centuries and Joseph Smith restored the true church. But that claim is simply wrong. Jesus and His disciples lived in the first century A.D. We have writings from the first and second centuries A.D. What the church believed then is what the church believes now. The church has not strayed from the faith. I like to challenge Mormons to go back and read Clement of Rome, who wrote during the time of the Apostle John; or Ignatius of Antioch, who wrote around 105 A.D. and knew the apostles personally; or Matthias (a word meaning disciple or follower), an anonymous work written around 100 A.D.; or Polycarp, who was a friend of John the Apostle of Jesus; or Ireneus, who was a disciple of Polycarp. And there are other sources of early church teaching as well. And, of course, one can always and should always go to the Bible itself to see if what is being taught is consistent with what God has given to us. Those who seek to follow the Bible will find that what they believe is the same as what the believers in the first and second centuries believed. Accordingly, I am glad that you have done some searching to discern the truth of these matters. We should not be gullible to fall for everything that comes along.
Ultimately, what anyone says, including myself, should be checked. It is not that we should all be skeptical of everything, but it is good to listen carefully and then check carefully.
You ask what the true church is. It would be nice to be able to tell you that the true church is the church around the corner, or the church downtown, etc. The truth is that the true church consists of those who trust Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible and seek to follow Him. Those who believed in Jesus gathered together to form the church (Acts 2:47). A true local church is one that teaches what the Bible teaches and seeks to draw its members into a closer and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Sometimes it might be a large church. Sometimes it may be a small church. It may have different names, but always its leadership seeks to guide church members into God; to read the Bible, memorize it, pray, and serve God; and to develop deep and personal relationship with the living Jesus. As Jesus taught, we need to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30) and abide (or stay) in Him (John 15:1-8).
Unfortunately, I do not know where you are and so I do not know what would be a good church near you that you could attend. I can tell you some churches not to attend, as they do not follow ancient and historic Christian teaching. Of course, you have already identified Mormonism. I’ll say it again–Mormonism is not Christianity. Besides Mormonism, I would encourage you to stay away from Jehovah Witnesses or the Kingdom Hall as it is sometimes called, as they have a deviant view of Jesus (they deny that Jesus is God) and have several other positions that are at odds with what the Bible teaches, what Jesus’ disciples taught, and what Christians have always believed and practiced. I would likewise avoid Unitarians as they also deny many of the historic Christian teachings.
I personally attend a local community church that is not associated with any denomination or association of churches. I like it because it teaches straight from the Bible and encourages us all to study the Bible and seek to live out our lives in love for God and love for humanity. But I am not against denominations, as long as they teach the Bible as the Word of God. There is a position that exists in many of the older established churches that is known as theological liberalism, where the Bible ceases to be the authority and Christianity becomes more of a morality religion than a personal faith relationship with the one true God. I would not want to send you to a church that would not hold to the truth of Scripture as Jesus taught.
I trust this will help you. I also encourage you to get a Bible, if you do not have one, and begin reading it. I know there are many English versions of the Bible. Most of them are very good. I might suggest a New International Version. The Bible is composed of 66 different books. About two-thirds of the way through the Bible there are the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). I would encourage you to begin reading them. You might want to read them more quickly at first and more slowly later. You also may want to read the book of Ephesians, one of the Apostle Paul’s writings. It is a little book but has much to say about Jesus and how Christians are to live in Him.
May the Lord Jesus guide you into a growing and living fellowship of believers.