Should Church be a Judgement-free Zone?

I recently read that one of the top three reasons Millennials leave the LDS Church is because they feel judged at church. After I read the article with this fact listed in it I read the comments on it–like almost anyone does. One comment stood out to me: “Of course Millennials need their judgement free safe bubbles.”

Call me a run of the mill Millennial if you must, but I think designating church as a place where you can go and not have to fear judgement is a good thing. There are a lot of people who might agree, like Mother Teresa (who is arguably one of the most inspired religious women of modern times). She once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

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That quote from her can be echoed by the Savior’s answer to the Pharisees when asked what the greatest commandment was. He answered them saying:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all they sould, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other greater commandment than these.

Mark 12: 30-31

You can see how the two fit together so well. When people come to church it can be a detrimental blow not only to ego, but to faith when the people who should be uplifting and sustaining us spiritually become nit-picky and catty because of past mistakes or what they’re wearing to church or how they interpret the Word of Wisdom at a specific point in time.

Jeffrey R. Holland said in a BYU Devotional, “Let people repent. Let people grow. Believe that people can change and improve.¬†Is that faith? Yes! Is that hope? Yes! Is it charity? Yes! Above all, it is charity, the pure love of Christ. If something is buried in the past, leave it buried.”

We should always  strive to improve ourselves while trying to help those around us. I believe that it becomes easier as time goes on, because when you progress you naturally want the people around you that you care and love to progress with you.

Making sure church is an all inclusive place, where anyone can come and not be judged is living the gospel at its finest. It will leave bad feelings and worldly problems at the doors so everyone can more fully feel the Spirit and get the much needed spiritual fill up we all need from time to time.

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-Nikita

 

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Are Mormons Christian?

"Mormons are weird. I mean, they read the Bible, but they have another Bible? Revelations says you can't add to God's word anyway. There's no way they can be Christian."

It's something I've heard over and over in my lifetime–in fact, I heard it yesterday when I was asked to leave my favorite Bible journaling group. Unfortunately, it's also technically not true.

Sure, Mormons are kind of weird. I mean, who else willingly wears long pants, capris, or Bermuda shorts with regular t-shirts in the middle of 100•F weather? We kind of stick out once in a while because of it, but we don't have another Bible. I mean, we have scripture that's different from the Bible that we accept as the word of God, but so do the Jews and followers of Islam.

Before I get to the Book of Mormon (and I'll get there), let's talk about Revelations. In the last chapter of the book it says:

"If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book".

Pretty serious, right? I'd say so. And since Revelations is conveniently placed at the end of the Bible many people have concluded that the warning is to anyone who tries to add to the Bible itself. What most of Christian people don't realize is that Revelations was actually written before a majority of the New Testament. Chronologically it was written concurrently with the gospels. That doesn't mean we disregard all of the New Testament after John ends. I mean, if we did we wouldn't have the admonition of Paul, we wouldn't have the epistles if the ancient disciples of Christ, we wouldn't have very much of any New Testament at all.

In reality, John the Revelator was speaking specifically of the codex he wrote. The Bible wasn't all nicely put together and added to from time to time. It's made up of different codices that complement each other.

So, by having additional scriptures, no one is violating John's warning.

Now, onto the Book of Mormon and whether or not Mormons are really Christian or not.

The Book of Mormon is scripture. That's what it is. You don't have to believe in it just like you don't have to believe in the Torah or Quran. The Book of Mormon can be summed up pretty neatly in one verse from the Second Book of Nephi (which is one of the books in the book). The scripture says:

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we write of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

2nd Nephi 25:26

Pretty neat little mission statement there. But that is literally the purpose of all Christian scripture. To bring people to Christ. The Book of Mormon doesn't take away from the Bible; it doesn't replace the Bible either, it complements the Bible. It testifies of the Bible's truthfulness while showing the "other sheep which are not of this fold" that Christ spoke about to the apostles.

So, are Mormons Christian? I'm going to answer with a resounding "yes". If the scripture above from the Book of Mormon doesn't convince you and if the fact that we believe and study the KJV (King James Version) Bible doesn't convince you, I'll offer this:

noun

noun: Christian; plural noun: Christians

1 1.
a person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Mormons are baptized at the "age of accountability" or later–which means eight years old or older. We are baptized by immersion just as the Savior was. And in addition to Christian baptism, we believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings.

In case you didn't know the actual name of the Mormon Church is "the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". His name is literally in our church name.

I know there are still going to be people who don't believe members of the LDS (Mormon) Church are Christian even after I've presented my case. You know what though? That's okay. I just want to emphasize that there is happiness in doing good to all people, even though they may have different views and different beliefs.

It's not enough to say you're Christian. Act it.


-Nikita