Monday, September 30, 2013

Salvation: A Multi-Step Process?

Yesterday evening, we attended the 2013 Harvest America broadcast at Calvary Mountain View Chapel in American Fork Utah. What an awesome night.  We witnessed 3 of my nieces give their lives to Christ as well as many, old and young, do the same. 

I began thinking about our journey of when we were baptized in June 3rd 1998. As well as when we took out our LDS "Endowments" June 24th 1999 in the Manti Temple and went through the Salt Lake temple June 25th 1999 to be sealed. We had to wait a full year after getting baptized to be able to take out our endowments and have our family sealed. On top of that, we wanted to be baptized in early March of 1998 but couldn't because we had to be interviewed by a man (an Apostle) who chose if we were deemed worthy enough or not because of our past life in a polygamist group.  

Watching these people, who had previously not known Christ, make the conscious decision and make a public stand, walk up to the front of the sanctuary and publicly profess they are sinners and ask Jesus to be their Savior was amazing. No one stood between them and their Savior. No one judging their "worthiness". It was a personal decision to accept him without anyone standing between them and their decision, judging them.

In the LDS faith you have to go down the line of authority. What would have happened if we were, for some reason, deemed "unworthy" and unable to be baptized? What if something were to have happened to myself, husband or children before we were able to get baptized or be sealed? It was a weight I held onto and a fear I lived with each day.  Having a husband that worked construction, walking roofs and in dangerous situations, most days, didn't help matters. The Mormons believe that they can do the work for their dead if they were unable to do it themselves in this life, but this was something I wanted to do myself. I wanted to personally do my own "Work" and personally do the things that would guarantee my families eternal salvation. Do what I was taught to "Not trust in the arm of flesh"... How long would we be in "spirit prison" (A place where Mormons are taught you must wait after you die if you have never taken part in the Mormon teachings and ordinances) waiting for someone to do our work if we didn't do it ourselves?

Being pulled through the veil by my husband into the Celestial Room in the Manti Temple was for me yet another step completed.... but we were still not done. We still needed to be sealed in the Temple as a family in order to be together, as a family, forever. The very next morning we took our family of four into the Salt Lake Temple.

Baptism was the first step, endowments was the second and the next was the temple sealing. When all 3 steps were complete I finally felt that I had done everything in my own power to make sure our family would be together forever. All because of my worthiness and my "Work". We would now be okay if something happened and one of us were to suddenly die.

In order for a convert to enter into an LDS temple you must first be found worthy, by a man, to be baptized. You must then go to your meetings regularly. Fulfill any callings you are called to. Keep the "Word of Wisdom" (Abstaining from coffee, tea, alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco) and pay a full 10% tithing for an entire year. What if you have a problem with Alcohol and/or Tobacco? Then you have to kick that habit and stay clean for a set amount of time before you can then be found "worthy", by men, to enter the temple. After that you are then interviewed, by men, and asked certain questions that involve what you believe. 

The 14 Years I was a Mormon these are the questions that were asked by both my Bishop and Stake President before being found worthy enough to be issued a "Temple Recommend". 

1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
5. Do you live the law of chastity?
6. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
7. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
8. Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
9. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
10. Are you a full-tithe payer? Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?
11. Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
12. If you have previously received your temple endowment: Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple? Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

You must make yourself acceptable, clean and worthy to enter one of the most holy buildings to a Mormon.

On the flip side, what we experienced last night at Harvest America, were broken, sinful people, recognizing they were sinners and couldn't do anything alone. They recognized they needed Jesus and his Grace. Jesus then takes them, as they are, and HE cleanses and changes them. It was between them and Jesus alone. Not them and their Bishop, Stake President, General Authority and/or Prophet. Men deciding the fate of someone. Can a man know the true heart of a person or is that God's place? Religion puts men between Jesus and the individual. There is no waiting game when it comes to a personal relationship with God. Once the decision is made, it is done! They are then made part of the "Church".. The family of Christ. The Body of Christ. Jesus enters into your heart and won't leave. He does the changing. You do nothing.  

When Jesus died, on the cross, there was an earth quake that caused the veil in the temple in Jerusalem to be rent and torn. (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45 ) The veil was originally there to separate men from God when man was under the law. Men had to go through the Priests (Levites) to converse with God. That veil, separating men from God, was torn for a reason. We no longer have anything between us and God. No men and no veil. It is done and Jesus finished it! 

The Mormon Temple has it's own veil in each and every one of their temples. They set themselves back under a law and again set things up that separate themselves from God, setting up men and other things to stand between God and themselves. Why would someone choose to put themselves under the law when Jesus already fulfilled it?

There are only 2 commandments we are to keep and they are both about Love.  
Matthew 22:37-39
"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" 

Love God and Love your neighbor.

Praise God for his Gift of Grace. Thank you Jesus for your freedom from the law and freeing me from the burdens of my sins. You, and only you, knew my heart. You are my Sovereign Lord. My righteous judge. My Savior and my God. Praise your name, always. 

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 
-Romans 8:1-2