I really loved that series. Everything else I knew as a child was Mormon, through and through. I have many fond memories of my life as a Mormon. It was the time when I was closest to my family. I appreciate the emphasis that was placed on family life, and I miss that connection with them. For example, on Sunday morning, instead of hearing a traditional sermon, we would hear one family in the church present a topic on morality, such as tithing or honesty. Throw in a few hymns and prayer, and that would be the service. The emphasis that Mormonism placed on the family was practical and effective.
I also enjoyed family home evening on Monday. This was a night set aside by the church for families to be together in their homes. Each of us would have our assignment. My sister might be responsible for the game, and I might be responsible for dessert, while the other kids prepared a lesson and took care of cleanup.
For the most part, we could count on the family being together that evening. But my favorite event was of course the father-and-son outing if you were a girl, you would have the daddy-daughter dinner date.
That was when we did fun things, like fishing and camping or going to the arcade. As a child and even as a young teenager, the doctrines of the Mormon church were very simple. I and the other children in the church would recite them regularly to everyone in worship. We called it testimony meeting, and it replaced the regular worship service once a month. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I know this church is true. If we were older, we might add a statement about the living prophet and his apostles. For me that would have been Spencer W. There were spiritual highlights too. I talked to God all the time, mostly to confess my sins and promise to be a better person. The problem was that I never heard him talk back, at least not in any comforting way. I had an opportunity to move to Washington, where my sister lived. He was bringing me there to hear the gospel. I remember how truly afraid I was to die, because I knew that facing God would not be good.
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So I began looking into other Christian faiths. My sister had been converted to Christianity many years before, and she was happy to indulge my eager questions about God and religion.
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In time I became a believer. It did not matter whether a six-year-old kid gave a talk on Sunday about the importance of honesty or a bishop preached a message on the importance of faith and obedience to the unique commands of the church. The duty-centered message of Mormonism always drove me to the same conclusion: I was guilty of sin. The problem was that Mormonism never gave me a way to get clean, to find forgiveness for my sin. Sure, Mormons have their version of an atonement and forgiveness. They believe that Jesus died for sin, but in my experience their version of the atonement was unable to make me right with God.
It only made it possible for me to make myself right with God. I remember a recurring lesson in Sunday school.
The teacher would draw a ladder on the chalkboard and say that our spiritual life was like being on it. We all stood on a ladder somewhere between the Celestial Kingdom and Outer Darkness. Mormons today have little to say about the thousands of "corrections" made to their book since Smith's first edition.
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Smith's Book of Mormon was first printed in Although claiming that The Book of Mormon was the inspired Word of God, more perfect and complete than any other, Joseph Smith later began teaching doctrines which were contrary to his own book. By , Smith had thousands of followers.
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He found himself in jail at Carthage, Illinois over the destruction of William Law's print shop after Law had printed a paper revealing Smith's polygamy. An angry mob attacked the jail and Smith, using a pistol which had been smuggled to him, began firing into the crowd. Smith died in the blazing gunfire which ensued. Although the Mormons broke into many factions, Brigham Young became president of the largest group.
He led them to what is now Utah, arriving in the summer of Young was a brilliant colonizer who was able to organize the Mormons into a powerful group in Utah. Married to 53 wives, Young added many new teachings to Mormonism. Among these was the concept of "blood atonement," writing that there are sins which the blood of Jesus Christ cannot atone. Young claimed that the culprit's only hope was to have his own blood shed to atone for his sins.
It is possible that this doctrine was responsible for the infamous Mountain Meadow Massacre, in which men, women and children, ages 8 and up, were slaughtered without warning. Mormon Bishop John Lee, having led the attack, died at the hands of a United States firing squad claiming that he had simply followed orders from his Mormon superiors. Mormonism has since grown into one of America's largest religious movements, with tens of thousands of "missionaries" recruiting more members each year. See Isaiah and Ezek.
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In recent years, polygamists in India have been accepted into fellowship without requiring a change in family status. The Church of Christ is a remnant of the original church of , being neither disorganized nor reorganized. Its priesthood may be traced back, intact, to Joseph Smith and the angel. Early Church innovations were accepted for a time, but we later repudiated them, reverting to the scriptural pattern in organization and doctrine.
As the Bible and Book of Mormon were said to contain the fullness of the gospel, a fullness will admit of no new doctrine nor priesthood office.