Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

Archive for the ‘Inter-Faith Relations’ Category

Can a Mormon be a Christian?

Posted by Kerry on March 27, 2008

It’s that age-old question: are Mormons Christians? It seems like every time I read an LDS news website or happen across a Christian blog, one of the topics that always boils to the top is whether the Christian world considers Mormons as sitting inside or outside the revival tent.

This question usually comes down to how each individual party defines the word Christian. Some say it is defined as a disciple of the biblical Christ, others as a member of a protestant church, others define it as a person who has “accepted Christ as their personal Savior” (which I, as a Mormon, have done), while others say that unless you have a cross on your church you cannot be considered a Christian.

What do I say? I don’t care if they think we are Christians.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Church News, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations, Mormon Culture, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

How Mormons Are Buddhists & Vice Versa

Posted by Andrew on March 12, 2008

BuddhaFirst VisionA few months ago, I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting in which I discussed how studying other religious faiths and their scriptures had enriched my life. When the meeting was over, a couple approached me and said they wanted a copy of the talk to give their daughter because she described herself as a “Buddhist Mormon.” The couple said their daughter couldn’t decide whether to be a Buddhist or a Mormon, so she was trying to be both. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Book of Mormon, Inter-Faith Relations, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , | 40 Comments »

“The church must be true, or the missionaries would have ruined it by now.”

Posted by Kerry on March 11, 2008

Have you ever heard that statement? It’s kind of funny, and in some cases, probably true. I have to admit I did some pretty stupid stuff as a missionary. Good thing we didn’t have Facebook or MySpace back then. 🙂

LDS Church issues apology in missionary vandalism case

LDS Church apologizes for ‘senseless’ vandalism of Catholic church, shrine

“Olsen said the LDS Church has initiated a “thorough investigation” of the incident and has arranged for a meeting with Catholic leaders to offer apologies.

‘We are providing the names of those involved to law enforcement officials and will continue to cooperate fully with those investigating the incident as well as with officials of the Roman Catholic Church. Those missionaries who have since returned home will face disciplinary action from the church,’ the statement read. ‘The missionary who was still serving in Colorado has also been disciplined and his mission terminated.’ “

Posted in Church News, Inter-Faith Relations, Missonaries | Tagged: , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Gathering God’s Words to “All Nations”: When, Where, How, and Who Cares?

Posted by Andrew on March 10, 2008

VishnuAt a recent General Conference, Elder Oaks reiterated the Book of Mormon prophecy that “the Lord will eventually cause the inspired teachings He has given to His children in various nations to be brought forth for the benefit of all people.” [1] So inquiring minds may want to know: when, where, and how will God’s words to “all nations” be brought forth and gathered? Fortunately, I just happen to have all the answers. 🙂 Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bible, Book of Mormon, Inter-Faith Relations, Restoration, Scripture, Theology | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

The Parable of the Elephant

Posted by Andrew on February 28, 2008

ElephantSometimes I recall nuggets of spiritual wisdom but cannot remember when or where I picked them up. One in particular has increasingly taken on new meanings for me as I’ve wrestled with some of life’s tougher questions. You might call it the “Parable of the Elephant.” This is how it goes, as best I remember, with a few adaptations of my own:

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Posted in Apologetics, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations | 2 Comments »

The Ammon Approach: Redefining Missionary Work

Posted by Andrew on February 20, 2008

MissionariesWhen it comes to Church growth, the Church sets high expectations for itself. Likening the Church to that scriptural stone that rolls forth to fill the whole earth, Church members may expect to see exponential Church growth, with significant year-over-year gains in the number of convert baptisms. However, over the past several years, the number of annual convert baptisms has actually dipped and plateaued somewhat, corresponding in part with a decrease in the number of full-time missionaries. Moreover, retention of new converts remains a challenge, as we are often reminded by Church leaders. In this situation, it is natural for Mormons to consider possible ways to improve the Church’s missionary program to increase the number of genuine converts to the Church.

The mission in which my stake is located is currently testing a pilot program that hearkens back to a familiar Book of Mormon story about a man named Ammon who wanted to build a bridge between two long estranged peoples, one of which was completely unfamiliar with the Gospel. Setting aside the direct proselytizing approach to missionary work, Ammon embarked on a mission of simple Christian service that inspired thousands who were previously considered the most unlikely potential converts to join the Church. If every stake and ward in the Church were to adopt Ammon’s approach to missionary work by conducting a wide-spread campaign of consistent, meaningful, no-strings-attached community service, could the Church experience the same miraculous growth that occurred in Ammon’s day?

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Posted in Church News, Inter-Faith Relations, Missonaries, Mormon Culture | 16 Comments »

Is There a Deeper Reason Why Mormons Don’t Use a Cross?

Posted by Kerry on February 7, 2008

Most modern Christian churches use the cross as the symbol of their worship. More specifically, it represents and memorializes Christ’s death for them. They place the cross on the walls of their churches, hang it around their neck, even tattoo it on their arms. To most Christians, it serves as a reminder that Christ suffered and died for them. But still, I have to admit that in today’s world, seeing a cross around a person’s neck is a gratifying sight to me, because I know that in that person’s mind the cross is one way to demonstrate their love and devotion for the Savior.

Now, for some reason I grew up thinking that the cross was bad…that people who wore it were mocking Christ…that it was a ghastly symbol that should be shunned…that we as Mormons didn’t use the cross because it represented and reminded us of His horrific death. And focusing on His suffering and death on the cross was bad. It was like I was taught to avoid all of those appalling Catholic illustrations and statues of the Savior with a crown of thorns on his head and blood running down his cheeks, to get those images out of my mind because the cross is a reminder of his suffering and death, which is something we shouldn’t focus on.

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Posted in Bible, Book of Mormon, Faith, Inter-Faith Relations, Mormon Culture | Tagged: , | 20 Comments »

MYTHBUSTERS: The “One True Church”

Posted by Andrew on January 21, 2008

There are a lot of myths both inside and outside Mormondom about the LDS claim to be the “one true Church.” That claim is difficult for people of other faiths to accept for obvious reasons. But it may also be difficult for many Mormons to reconcile that claim with their belief in a just and merciful God who loves all his children. I do not expect it will ever be “easy” to accept the “one true Church” claim. However, I think Church members sometimes make it more difficult to accept by drawing implications from the “one true Church” claim that do not necessarily follow from it.

In order to correctly understand what the “one true Church” claim truly means, we first need to understand what it does not mean. The following is my attempt to bust the myths surrounding the “one true Church” claim and its companion doctrines, the Apostasy and Restoration, using the words of Church leaders and Church publications. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Apologetics, Inter-Faith Relations | Tagged: , | 24 Comments »

Would you die for your faith?

Posted by Kerry on January 14, 2008

I received word yesterday that a former co-worker had passed away. We worked together at Synopsys in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She was a young 39 years-old, single mom, with a 10 year-old boy. Apparently, 4 weeks ago doctors discovered a blood disease (I never heard what it was, but possibly leukemia?) that would require blood transfusions to survive.

 This lady was a member of the Jehovah’s Witness faith, which prohibits any type of blood transfusion. She chose to refuse the transfusion and accept the fact that she would die in a few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Faith, Inter-Faith Relations | 1 Comment »

Appreciating Other Religious Faiths

Posted by Andrew on January 10, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley has admonished us to cultivate “a spirit of affirmative gratitude” for those of differing religious persuasions. He has given us this counsel: “Be respectful of the opinions and feelings of other people. Recognize their virtues; don’t look for their faults. Look for their strengths and their virtues, and you will find strength and virtues that will be helpful in your own life.”[i] President Hinkley’s inclusive message echoes the words of Joseph Smith, who taught that “[o]ne of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism’ is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.”[ii] In a similar vein, the Lord instructs us in the Doctrine and Covenants to “seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom”[iii] and to “become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people.”[iv]

I’d like to share some experiences about how I’ve benefited from learning about other religious faiths, and to quote what modern-day prophets have told us about how other faiths and churches fit into our Heavenly Father’s plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Inter-Faith Relations | Tagged: | 8 Comments »