Maybe you've seen this video floating around in your facebook news feed lately?
It seems that all my fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are taking a stand against these attacks on our faith and the people in it through the power of social media. Today, I've seen many of my friends proclaiming boldly in their statuses, "I'm a Christian, and I'm a Mormon." or "I'm a follower of Jesus Christ, and I'm a Mormon." among other variations of the same sentiment. I read this well-written blog post shared by a friend on the issue. In attempts to clear the air on this issue of our "Christianess", many have shared this video from our most recent church General Conference:
Every time this issue comes up in the news I remember back to a few personal experiences I have had. Today I thought I would share one of them with you.
As a high school student, I remember a conversation I had with a fellow marching band member. She was one of the leaders of the school's "Christian Club." She and I began to talk, and I suggested that I might like to stop in some time for a lunch time Bible study. But, she looked at me shook her head and with a wry smile on her lips snorted and informed me, "You're not a Christian."
I had always believed myself to be a Christian or a follower of Jesus Christ. So I was hurt and confused by her words. I asked, "Well, what's your definition of a Christian?"
"You have to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
"I believe that."
"You have to believe that He died for us and was resurrected on the third day."
"We believe that too."
"You have to believe that He is the only way to salvation."
"I believe He is!"
"Well, you're just not a Christian," she said as she shook her head and dismissed me to return to practice. The break was over. And I was blushing in frustration and anger. Not only had she completely failed to express a logical reason as to why I was not a Christian, but she wouldn't even consider a word I said!
It has been quite a few years since that day. But the banter and the labeling (cult) and non-labeling (NOT a Christian) never ends. And every time I see something flying around in the news about members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints not being Christians, I shake my head in tired frustration.
As I've been contemplating all the things that have been said on both sides of the issue, I've come to a conclusion: as hurtful as those words are, they do not have the power to determine who I will continue to love, and serve and follow and praise every day - Jesus Christ! He is the one who gives me strength through the pain of loss, and tragedy. His power over death is my hope! His life and love are my hope for salvation!
And though I may not have the "Approved by some Evangelicals" label on my forehead, I've found I do not have to stop looking to the Holy Bible for peace or some common sense on the issue! Matthew 7:17, 20 - "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit . . .Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
(If you're going to judge me and the doctrine I strive to follow, would you naysayers at least consider the fruits those doctrines are producing?) I know in my own life the fruits (Galatians 5:22) of following the doctrines of my church have only been peace, happiness and a desire to be a little better each day. All those labels won't take those away.
Call me what you will, but I know where I stand. I know who I am and who I follow.