If your a Christian and reading this, my apology and confession that will be stated to Atheists comes from my sincere beliefs I have acquired through prayer, study, and heavenly manifestations. If your an Atheist, I love you and my faith in the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints have a different view on those who don’t believe in God. I am not excusing the members of our church for not approaching you to share the Gospel. This is probably since we did have an extermination order (Missouri Executive Order 44) a few hundred years ago where we were legally pushed to leave a state (forcefully if necessary) To this day, Mormons are considered part of a cult and not considered Christians by some ignorant populace. In a figurative sense, if you got kicked out for stating your opinions on a “non-existent God” and were kicked out of a church or clergy..then we would be probably be following behind you for our beliefs. You would be dismissed for your “non-beliefs”, we would be kicked out for our belief in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith Jr, and for our theology. As my mother would say ” Where their is truth, their will be persecution.” I would like to spend the time to share why this Mormon loves Atheists.
My CONFESSION IS SIMPLE: I AM SORRY IF CHRISTIANS HAVE RUBBED YOU THE WRONG WAY OR IF YOU HAVE BEEN SPIRITUALLY VIOLATED BY A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST. I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOU WHAT YOU MEAN TO MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS (MORMONS).
I have a sweet lady in mind as I am writing this post. She certainly has inspired me in more ways than one. She clearly told me that she was an atheist. We were able to share our beliefs in a polite manner and we were both edified in our reunion. Why can’t this happen more often? Did she feel the love I have for her. She is probably accustomed to Christians approaching her with potentialities of damnation. As Christ would say:
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7)
We need to be a group of people that tolerates different beliefs and respect those who choose not to believe.
I would write a letter to all my atheist friends and it would have an apologetic tone to it. It has to have that tone, because as Christians, we have done a ton of damage. Although I am biased towards the Christian faith, I would like show you how I would try to bandage the wounds of any Christian that has done harm to you. I can do that by not only stating my personal beliefs, but by also introducing some things I have learned outside my specific faith.
I want to apologize for those Christians that have tainted you in a despicable way. I am here to tell you what my faith has taught me about those who do not believe in God. First, I want to start on how I visually see you.
1. We are all children of God: PRE-MORTAL LIFE
The life before earth life. All men and women lived with God as his spirit children before coming to the earth as mortal beings. This is sometimes called the first estate.
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job: 4-7)
An interesting thought to entertain is what got you hear to this earth? I don’t expect for you to believe what I am saying…but please humor me and understand where I have gained the reverence for all people. WHO ARE THE MORNING STARS? You were a morning star (according to our theology). We all were or we wouldn’t be here. We all sustained the Savior Jesus Christ as our leader and our Redeemer. Have you ever met someone who you knew had potential, even when they might not see it themselves. That is how I look at my Atheist friends. I don’t share their potential unless we are talking about faiths, but I must make something clear. I am not alluding to the fact that Atheists need to know this doctrine, they just need to know that we as members see it this way. We all have a “veil” put over us where we don’t remember speaking boldly about Christ or sustaining him as our chosen Leader. Recollection only comes through the Holy Ghost and we must be willing to be a truth-seeker to the things we fear. Fortunate for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we only baptize those who receive a witness. As far as believing anything, the church asks us to pray for wisdom. (James 1:5)
2. CASE FOR CHRIST AND AN ATHEIST C.S. LEWIS : Lee Strobel is not a Mormon but I happened to run by his DVD called CASE FOR CHRIST when I was looking into other faiths. My background is in Catholicism and I felt I reached a ceiling in spirituality. I was shocked that someone who was Atheist took a logical journey to discover Christ that took him two years of researching. He has a journalistic approach (almost like an inquisitive yet skeptical detective or lawyer) to approach the history of Jesus the Christ. Here is a trailer of for his movie. I tried to trick myself that I didn’t believe in God to see if this movie would move me and the way Lee questions his own findings kept me enthralled throughout the whole movie. Here is a trailer of the movie.
I love how C.S. Lewis put it and this challenge needs to be accepted to be appreciated:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. This man we are talking about either was (and is) just what He said or else a lunatic, or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form. (C.S.Lewis; Mere Christianity)
Have you ever heard that quote before? Did you know C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest Christian writers of all time and yet he was an atheist at 15? Something must have happened to him for him to write a book called Mere Christianity. It was very known by his family that he was also very “angry that God didn’t exist”.
I would highly recommend that movie CASE FOR CHRIST for someone who just wants to hear a story about an atheist convert. It’s probably free at a local library to rent and it didn’t have the preachy feel to it. It was just fact layered that would entertain an honest seeker of truth. In fact, Lee Strobel almost quit his investigation and his wife started feeling tension at home because he honestly didn’t want their to be a God for one main reason. This reason will be stated within the movie.
3. TOLERANCE AND THE ARTICLES OF FAITH: I think Christianity should be brought up when friendship is first established. A Christian should be as excited to learn about other faiths, as he expects others to be excited to hear his. My mother once said as she was looking into my faith (MORMONISM) at the age of 63:
Seems like Americans always need to have their hand in everything. Now your telling me that Mormonism started in the Americas and Jesus showed up here as well? I am definitely not surprised that America claimed that since we are always trying to bring more power to our country!
I Love you mother and love your honesty. However, she was very unaware that we were the most persecuted religion in America’s history. As far as persecution goes, we are the most attacked verbally on social media as well. Satan is quite aware that times have changed, so we continue to be attacked in a more civil manner.
Two years before he died, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote a letter to a newspaper editor, John Wentworth, who had asked for information about the Church. Joseph wrote 13 statements regarding our beliefs. My mother loved how we could just pass along these cards that had them all stated.
Ever since the Articles of Faith were written, they’ve inspired and directed us in the basic principles of our gospel. They enhance our understanding of certain doctrines and help us commit to living them. They invite further thought. And they’re a good tool for explaining our beliefs to people unfamiliar with them.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
I would like to add something on this article. We allow others to not worship as well. It is not mentioned here but if this suggested complete tolerance of worship, we must give tolerance to those who don’t worship. You will never hear us from a pulpit bashing those who do not believe in what we believe. You are always welcome to state your opinion and we will not damn you to a place you don’t believe in anyway. I love this article. I have embraced this article since 2006, from the time I was converted into the Mormon Church. I know that God would ask us to not be judgmental and to be a faith where we embrace all children of God.
The largest attacks that derive from Christians to Atheists has been damning their current lifestyle. You cant do this, you can’t do that, you can do any of this because God said! Blah ! Blah! Blah! Let me tell you one of my favorite quotes from Joseph Smith, our founding prophet, that might shock you! He was counseled by God himself to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and hot drinks (coffee) and he began preaching it at a time where everyone did that. Not an easy job in my opinion. Although he did this, he realized he open a can of worms in regard to those who struggled with this commandment. Judgmental He called intemperance a “monster” and the “bane of humanity”. The Lord gave Joseph Smith instructions on how to He “never interpreted the revelation as demanding of total abstinence, but stressed moderation and self-control.” (Abraham Cannon, Journal, Oct 1,1895; Church History Library). Though Joseph rarely used tobacco, some unconfirmed evidence suggests that he may have once preached a discourse on the Word of Wisdom (abstinence of tobacco, coffee, and alcohol) and then, to make a point, smoked a cigar. (Abraham Cannon, Journal, Oct. 1, 1895, Church History Library) Here is the key:
Joseph urged intemperate Saints to be temperate and tee-totaling ones to be tolerant.
In other words, we as members of the church, we should not force your abstinence on anyone else or curse those that don’t understand the law we abide in. For example, if promiscuity is done by a non-member; they are not damned. If you have acquired a testimony for fidelity through the power of the Holy Ghost, then you are judged according to the light you have received. You might think…Ignorance is bliss!! I knew it!! The happiness enjoyed on the other side of the fence of ignorance may lead you to more happiness, but you will never know unless you seek your own testimony. The Gospel taught to the Mormons or the early saints is not a procedure where we believe the flesh and bone of our family and inherit beliefs blindly. Of all the faiths in the world, we are asked to test truth and question it coupled with the Holy Ghost. So if you have ever been accused of sin, I apologize. We are only held to the light we receive through a personal witness. My challenge to my friends is why not try to live these commandments we live? Try it for a whole year and see if your not a happier person? If your not, go back to your old ways. No one should judge you except for God himself. I have found more happiness in the last 8 years, than the other 25 combined since I acquired my faith through those Mormon missionaries.
5. Millennium (The Thousand Years of Peace)
I believe this will be the biggest surprise of all! In our canon of scriptures, we are taught that God will come again and reign for a thousand years. However, who are the people that will remain on the this earth? Their is a stigma that pervades our society that needs to be eradicated. It has been rumored around these delicate ears and it has hurt every cell in my body. This doctrine supposedly states that people who don’t believe in God will not be with us during these 1000 years. Are these Christians trying to impose a fear-based faith by sharing that doctrine? In my eyes, this is completely false. Joseph Smith Jr communed with the Lord in the 1830’s and was concerned where his brother would go since he passed away before the Gospel was restored. He wondered what would happen to him and to those that don’t believe in his faith.. In the book called Gospel Principles it states:
Because of the destruction of the wicked at the Savior’s Second Coming, only righteous people will live on the earth at the beginning of the Millennium. They will be those who have lived virtuous and honest lives.
Can I be the devil’s advocate for those who are not Christians and who don’t believe in God? If you are a good person and serve humanity, we will see you at the Millennium more than the Christian who judges and sins behind closed doors. Whatever faith you live (or if you have no faith), lets just be good to humanity. Lets serve one another and forgive easily. We were meant to love our neighbors in every capacity and I would like to echo what Joseph Smith stated in his last Article of Faith (Article 13).
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
My biggest prayer is that we can rid our own judgements to the children of God. Let us focus on being a world-wide group of people that learns to build bridges faster than create separation. My Book 25 Catholic Mormon 26 is not about convincing you to join Mormonism. It will be released this summer! Its about the story of someone who took a year off to find truth. My greatest admonition is that everyone (no matter what faith you have or don’t have) to take some time off to find truth wherever it may lead you. In this post, I did recommend you ( my atheist friend) to look at a movie and ponder on some Mormon doctrines. I just wanted to show you the spirit behind our eyes when we see you. I respect your thoughts and your opinion, and I truly love you. I didn’t seek religion to be religious, I was looking to find Happiness. I personally found what I was looking for and happier knowing what I learned in my faith and knowing that I should learn to love everyone. We should be able to share our beliefs without getting offended and we should awaken the truth seeker in all of us.