Ask Your Preacher
What is with Mormons?
Scratching My Head
Dear Scratching My Head,
Those well-dressed, bike-helmet wearing young men traveling in pairs through your community are known as Mormons, and they are part of the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). The LDS church was formed in the early 1800s by a man named Joseph Smith, Jr. Joseph Smith professed to have been visited by the angel, Moroni. Supposedly, Moroni directed Mr. Smith to a set of golden plates which he then dug up and translated from their ancient language into English. This “translation” is known as the Book of Mormon and is one of four books that the LDS church uses for guidance.
Okay, now that we’ve explained who they are, let’s see what the Bible says about Mormonism. God tells us that even if an angel preaches a different message than the Bible, he is accursed (Gal 1:8). That means that even if Moroni were real, Joseph Smith shouldn’t have listened to him. Secondly, the Bible tells us everything we need to know about life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). We are also told to never add or subtract from the Word of God (Rev 22:18-19). Either the Book of Mormon says more than the Bible – in which case, we shouldn’t listen to it, or it says exactly the same thing as the Bible – in which case, we don’t need it! Ultimately, the LDS church is a false religion that is leading people astray and destroying their souls.
Sometimes I feel like the harder I try to keep my thoughts and my actions pure, the harder the devil works to try to put road blocks in the way. I was raised in a christian home in which sex or any idea related to the naked human body was not discussed. I have tried to do a better job of preparing my children for what they will be faced with as adults, but I really don't want to expose them to too much. I guess that I'm finding that the relationship between a man and a woman doesn't seem to be a sacred relationship anymore. Even some of my best "christian" friends make jokes or comments that seem offensive to me even around my children. I guess my question: am I too uptight about this type of open discussion because of my upbringing, or is this type of banter something that we as christians should steer clear of?
Dear Mother Hoverer,
You aren’t crazy; the world and culture that we live in doesn’t treat the male and female relationship with respect, and that culture has bled into the church. God warns christians against any sort of lewd jokes, crass language, or irreverent speech (Eph 4:29, Tit 2:7-8). Heb 13:4 says that we should all hold the marriage relationship in a place of honor. If anything that we say or do treats marriage as crass, common, or cheap – that is wrong. We can’t tell you exactly where the line is between humorous banter and crass joking… but it is there, and we need to avoid that line.
The second part of your question deals with raising children. You are wise to not expose your children to too much too quickly. God tells us to train up our children in the way they should go (Pr 22:6). Whenever you train someone, you start small and slowly introduce them to more complex issues as they learn. That is how God would have us treat children – someday they will have to face all of these issues themselves, but until they are ready, parents are to be the filter through which they are introduced to the ethics and issues of life.
I'm caught up in a sinful lifestyle, and I'm trying to fight it and change. My question: why won't God change my heart? I beg and pray, but nothing seems to change; I really want to be a good christian, but at this point, I'm not sure what to do or what God wants from me or what He wants me to do.
Looking For Change
Dear Looking For Change,
God desires for all of us to purify our hearts and minds and turn from sin, but He also gives us the freedom to choose for ourselves. God has multiple principles that He must keep in balance at all times. If God simply forced people to become better people, that would remove our freedom of choice. After all, He tells us that we reap what we sow in this life (Gal 6:7). We make certain choices that get us addicted to sin… we must make choices (often painful – like disclosing the sin) to remove the addiction.
However, God also provides another principle. God promises that He will never allow our temptation to sin to become so strong that we cannot overcome it. He promises that there is always a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). The way of escape is often difficult (which is why we don’t choose it!), but it is there. God won’t miraculously change our hearts, but He will always make sure we have a way of escape from our bad choices. If you keep fighting and making the difficult choices, you will persevere.
Should you shoot somebody in self-defense?
Dear Trigger Unhappy,
When the Bible commands us to not kill, the word used for ‘kill’ is the word that we would use for ‘murder’. Some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14). These are all examples of the difference between murder and self-defense (or war-time killing).
In the Old Testament, God made specific rules that allowed an individual to kill if they were defending their home or family (Ex 22:2). In Lk 22:35-39, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will begin after He leaves and that they ought to “buy a sword” – this is certainly an endorsement of self-defense. All of these point to the fact that God distinguishes between defensive force and vigilante murder.
I was wondering if it should be counted as wrong if you are a christian and believe in heaven but use words that are considered bad on Earth. I'm just confused because some of my christian friends use those words.
Dear Higher Vocabulary,
Your friends are wrong for using foul language, and just because they call themselves christians doesn’t mean they can say whatever they want. Eph 4:29 tells us to avoid all corrupt speech. We need to avoid any and all language that sounds filthy or derogatory – this would include all swear words.