July 2020 The Cross Newsletter

FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

With July 4th just passing the thought of freedom and independence crossed my mind.  Those of us who were World War II babies remember the effects that war had on our lives even though we were children.  We had limits on consumer goods such as tires for our cars and gasoline.  Most of our natural resources were required for the war effort.  Our daily lives were restricted for the overall good of our combined national needs.  No one complained because we were all ‘in’ for the good of our military effort.  I remember Christmas as a child.  My brothers and I received toys made in Santa’s workshop.  Even as children, we knew that our nation was fighting for its freedom.  The inconvenience was worth the eventual reward.  Many lives were lost and much blood shed for the sake of our country’s way of life.  Freedom was not free.

Currently the whole world is undergoing the inconvenience of dealing with the COVID-19 health issue.  Our leaders in federal and state governments have assumed authority and directed certain protocol requirements on all of us individually.  Unlike World War II, our country is NOT totally behind the requirements.  Some think our freedom for personally making our own health decisions has been inappropriately abridged by our leaders.  I am not here to debate this issue.  I am just pointing out that some folks think freedoms have been lost.  Others think differently. They believe these requirements are being done for the good of all.  The bottom line is, we have given up a portion of our personal freedoms for a purpose.  Freedom is not free!

So, what does this have to do with Concerned Christians ministry?  The ULTIMATE PURCHASE of FREEDOM was made for each of us by God’s son Jesus less than 2000 years ago.  It did not take long after the Church began for followers to be deceived about God’s gift.  The Apostle Paul warned Christians in Galatians 1:6-9.  The followers of Jesus were being led away from the simple, uncomplicated message of freedom.  This was just the beginning of hitchhikers perverting the Perfect Message of Freedom.  Many others have followed this pattern over the centuries.  The 1800’s produced a number of these including Joseph Smith.  Many people today have given up simple freedom offered by Jesus.  Their freedom has been compromised.  Rules made by man have replaced God’s simplicity.  They have become their jail and jailor.  As Micah Wilder has stated when leaving the LDS corporation, “It is Jesus plus nothing else.”  Freedom in Christ is simple, not requiring manipulation by man.

We pray for the freedom of all who have fallen under the influence of worldly men.

Gary Keating

NO COMPARISON

The differences between Mormonism and Christianity

by Judy Robertson

Mormonism GOD IS:

1.  ONLY ONE OF MANY GODS

     “The head GOD called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world.  The grand councilors sat at the head in yonder heavens and contemplated the creation of the worlds which were created at the time.  “..in the beginning, the head of the Gods, called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it.”
     (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph by Joseph F. Smith.  pp. 348-349)

     “There were many meetings, conferences, councils and schooling sessions held among the Gods and their spirit offspring in pre-existence.”
     (Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, p.163.)

     “The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us, and when you take that view of the subject, it sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods.”
     (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith by Joseph Smith, p.372.)

See also:  Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, p. 576-577, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith by Joseph F. Smith, p. 370, Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 4:1

Christianity  GOD IS:

1.  THE ONLY GOD, THERE IS NO OTHER GOD BESIDE HIM.

     “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.” 
     (Deuteronomy 4:35)

     “Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.  Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have I not told thee from that time, and have declared it?  Ye are even my witnesses, is there a God beside me?  Yea, there is no God:  I know not any.”
     (Isaiah 44:6,8)

     “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no  God formed, neither shall there be after me.  I even, I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no other Saviour.
     (Isiah 43:10,11)

     “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together; who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord ? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
     (Isiah 45:21,22)     See also: Exodus 34:14

The following is an excerpt from the soon to be released book:

Freedom for the Latter-day Saint Soul

by Judy Robertson

(To Contact Judy write her at: judy.robertson57@yahoo.com)

How does the Latter-day Saint handle sin?

Latter-day teaching proclaims Adam and Eve’s fall was meant for our good. Mormons need only to keep the rules set down by the church and be good or worthy enough and they will be able to make it to the Celestial Kingdom (the Mormon highest heaven). And generally that is what we see, wholesome living from clean-cut people. But what if a Mormon can’t be good enough? What then?

What many Mormons experience

At one of our support group meetings, Steve said, “I began to dread going to the LDS church because every time I walked in that door I felt guilty…unworthy. I just never felt good enough.” Jennie chimed in, “I guess you could say I was Molly Mormon. I was just about as perfect as you could be as a Mormon. It was like climbing a ladder. I did so many good things—just like the church taught me. Then I would do one little thing wrong, fall all the way down to the bottom rung of the ladder, and have to start all over again. I would try hard to repent and be as obedient as I could to the Mormon teachings.But no matter how sorry I felt for my sin, I never felt I’d done quite enough.”

Carl and Karrie sat with me talking about the burden they felt as Mormons trying to keep on top of this righteousness ladder. “I felt a need to constantly conform,” Karrie said. “Conform to the program. Conform to the rules set down.  Otherwise I’d have to go and tell the bishop what I’d done wrong.”

Carl agreed. “When I disobeyed one of the rules or sinned even in some small way, I’d go through a list.

• One, Can I take care of it myself?

• Two, Do I need to talk to my bishop about it? Wherein I’d have to make an appointment with him and confess my sin. Then I’d have to do whatever he decided I needed to do to repent.

• Three, If I didn’t talk to the bishop I’d have this fear built up that always hounded me.

• Four, I’d have to say I’m sorry to anyone I offended and promise God never to do it again. If I did it again, it would really get daunting because I’d carry around with me that one sin, along with other sins I’d committed previously.”

Carl knew well the Mormon “scripture” that kept him feeling guilty:

And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sin return, saith the Lord your God. And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you; Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation. I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise (Doctrine and Covenants 82:7-10, emphasis added).

Karrie squirmed in her chair, “I worried the Holy Spirit would leave me. I’d lose the Spirit if I wasn’t worthy. And then you never know if the Holy Spirit is back or not,” she said. “So much guilt I carried around, years of not feeling worthy.” “When I repented,” Carl confided, “and then took the sacrament, I felt clean for about two minutes—until I sinned again. It was a cycle that never ended.”

Dwayne shared with our group how unworthy he felt. “I thought nobody liked me because I was so unworthy,” he said. “One day when I was home alone I sat in the bathroom of my home with a 30/30 stuck in my mouth. I just couldn’t take it any longer. The reason I didn’t pull the trigger when it got right down to it, is that I was afraid. I knew the commandment, thou shalt not kill, and I was afraid to see what was on the other side.”

Jill, an ex-Mormon, says that many other ex-Mormons tell of their pervasive feeling of “never quite measuring up” when they were Mormon, of “never being good enough.” And, as she added, “It’s hard to let go of this lack of confidence. I’m troubled by my continual need to do good works.”

Indeed, Mormons appear to be the finest people on earth. However, all is not well in—as the Latter-day Saint church calls itself—Zion. There is another side of the picture.

Earth life, Mormons are taught, is a test to see whether we will choose right instead of wrong. If a sufficient amount of “good” choices are carried out, including obeying all the laws and ordinances of the Mormon hierarchy, and having a temple marriage, then a loyal Mormon who “endures to the end” will gain an exalted place in the highest of three heavens—the Celestial Kingdom.

Ginger told us how she joined the Latter-day Saint church after becoming disappointed in a Christian church social activity that left her searching for spiritual food. Two days later the Mormon missionaries appeared on her doorstep. I figured God had sent them. Here were two handsome, neatly dressed young men my age who said they’d come to tell me all about my heavenly Father and His plan for my life. Wow! They seemed so devoted, so spiritual, so confident, so kind, so interested in me. They could even pray out loud. I was impressed!

Over several visits those missionaries proceeded to show me how Mormonism started, why it was the one true church, and how it was the perfect plan. This was totally different from Christianity, but I didn’t recognize that because I knew so little of the Bible. It sounded biblical and was so organized, precise and convincing. The Book of Mormon said Jesus visited this continent. There was a living prophet in Salt Lake City who spoke for heavenly Father. Here was the true church with authority and meaning! So at the age of twenty-one I joined the Mormon church.” Ginger’s husband, Craig, didn’t take the lessons and claimed he was agnostic.

The first few years were a happy and growing time. I made friends immediately. Mormons are busy doing, doing, doing, and everyone is measured by what he does. There is a complex hierarchy of callings and titles, and they mean a lot. I got very involved and worked hard to be accepted by the church, which equaled God in authority. I became successful, self-confident and self-righteous. My mother thought it was great; it had done wonders for me! But she did not know the half of it.

When I was a Mormon, the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith took precedence over the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Bible was considered full of errors. Every blessing was considered dependent on obedience to Mormon rules and laws, which were legion. There were dietary laws, money laws, food storage expectations, genealogy work requirements, and secret temple ceremonies to perform. “Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect…” The whole emphasis was on striving to be “worthy,” the key demand. Everyone was trying to earn a place in the Celestial Kingdom, the highest level of heaven where men would become gods for other worlds. (There was a lot the missionaries had not told me about!)

After ten years of Mormon life I was pretty exhausted. I was running on a treadmill of perfectionism and often failing, but I didn’t know how to get off. By now I had three children who were very involved in Mormonism. Craig never joined but supported me, although I made him feel ignored and judged by my self-righteous attitude. We were leading parallel lives. Deep down I did not feel worthy; I felt guilty. But how could I admit that to myself or my family? What could I do? Inside I was tied in knots, but I kept plugging along, looking okay on the outside.

How do Mormons handle sin in their lives?

I received a letter from Kim who, as a young Mormon woman, strived to live according to Mormon precepts. While attending Brigham Young University my belief in Mormonism was strengthened even more. However, I remember one Sunday school lesson on sin. The teacher wrote a list of sins on the blackboard and then drew a line separating one list of sins from another. He said every sin below this line would have to be confessed face-to-face with a bishop, or we would have no salvation. I remember coming home from class and writing in my journal “This is one of the darkest days of my life.” I never did confess my sins to the bishop and was convinced for years that I had no chance to attain one of the Mormon levels of heaven because of it.”

Be worthy or look good

Mormon doctrine teaches that only those who go through the Mormon temple will gain the Celestial or highest Kingdom. And to be able to go through the temple, one has to be found worthy by the bishop and stake president. What does it take to be found “worthy”? Mormons must constantly strive to do and be good or else miss the goal of achieving the highest heaven, or kingdom as Mormons call it. This includes paying a full tithe, being an “active, worthy church member for at least one year,” keeping the Word of Wisdom, and obeying all the laws and ordinances of the church. In addition, “Men must hold the Melchizedek Priesthood” and “be interviewed by the branch president or bishop. If he finds us worthy, he will give us a temple recommend” (Gospel Principles, pp. 244-45). In other words look good to those in “authority.” These are only a few of the many requirements.

Pharisees’ bad example

What does Jesus say about this? As mentioned before, when Jesus was teaching His disciples what not to do, He used the Pharisees as a bad example. “Everything they do is done for men to see” (Matthew 23:5). He also said, “The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12).

Even if a person is clean by man’s standards, God judges the heart. And “what counts is a new creation” (Galatians 6:15). Clearly, all the efforts of Latter-day Saints to appear good in the eyes of their leaders are absolutely worthless in the eyes of God. Paul said he was more zealous than all the Pharisees, and if anyone had reason to look good in the eyes of his fellowman, it was he. “As for legalistic righteousness,” he writes, he was “faultless” (Philippians 3:6). But Paul’s attitude totally changed after he met Christ.

Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ— the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Philippians 3:7-9).

Our righteousness…just filthy rags

Sadly we watch as many good and sincere people knock themselves out to gain nothing. As stated earlier “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

Jesus is our righteousness. He called Himself “the gate” (John 10:9). People can become righteous only by going through Him. We “enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,” by the “way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body” (Hebrews 10:19-20). No matter how hard we try, we can never become righteous by our own efforts.

Witnessing Tips 

COMBAT INTERCESSION?

Although most Christians do pray for their LDS friends in a general way, the use of intercessory prayer to strip away the spiritual blindness from the eyes of the lost is often forgotten in the spiritual arsenal. Combat intercession is what it takes! There is little Satan fears more than Christians who really travail in prayer for the lost !

When praying for the cultist, you need to do spiritual warfare against the blindness which has trapped him/her! 2 Cor.4:3-4 says “if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds ·of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

SATANIC SHELLAC

This illustrates the problem that those in Mormonism have, it is difficult to discuss the Lord reasonably with them because of the LDS priestcraft which blinds them. Most Mormons have had many “priesthood blessings” given them by bishops or stake authorities when being given new callings.

Each time this is done, the demonic deception of LDS doctrine is powerfully reinforced. This is because they are submitting to
   1) a priesthood which falsely appropriates the Melchizedek priesthood of the Lord JESUS, and 2) to a false prophet. You can bet       that when Satan 1″blesses” them, it is to keep them ever farther from the truth.

What has been said applies even more to Mormons who have been sealed in their temple: for within its walls, they are exposed to the raw power of the Deceiver. This is what makes them so difficult to witness to, and why prayer is the key. The praying Believer must peel away layer after layer of Satanic”shellac” until the Mormon finally stands able to behold, with eyes unclouded, the glorious beauty and love of JESUS.

This is part two of a three part article by Bill Schnoebelen.  www.withoneaccord.org

Our friend in the ministry, Matt Wilder, of Adam’s Road Band, has developed his own YouTube channel.  It is called “Adams Road Piano.” For a preview Matt posted a video on his Facebook page: Sermon on the mount Part 7: Piano and the Spoken Word.  Matt is trying to grow his channel. Enjoy!

If you would like to share your testimony from Mormonism to Christianity with our readers, please send it to us using our email address. (info@concernedchristians.org)  Please keep it roughly 200 words if possible. Submissions to Concerned Christians for The Cross must be attributed to the author.

We at Concerned Christians meet every   Monday evening for an hour of prayer at 6:30 p.m. If you are not local, please set that time aside to voice your concerns from your prayer space.  If you are local and would like to attend, we ask you to call 480-833-2537 for directions. We truly look forward to meeting and praying with you in the War Room.  We ask that you add   Concerned Christians to your prayer list along with any other Mormon witnessing group you are familiar.  The importance of intercessory prayer cannot be stressed enough. We have seen God grant many blessings to us over the years.  If you have a ministry related request please send us a short email.  info@concernedchristians.com“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.”
 I Thessalonians 1:2 

If you are changing your email address in the future, please do not forget to make those changes in the preferences link at the bottom of the page. Please do not mail anything to our our old street address.If you ever have questions please call Concerned Christians at 480-833-2537  or email at     info@concernedchristians.com
Concerned Christians has effective and seasoned speakers for any sized gathering 2-500.  Great education for Youth Groups, Bible Study Class, Small Groups, Senior Adult Gatherings, Pastors meetings. Call to schedule.
Concerned Christians is a Non-Profit 501 (C) (3) organization and donations are tax deductible. We thank you for your support.