Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Friday, July 22, 2005

"The Congregation of Saints"

"Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints" (Psalm 149:1). This verse is a reminder that those who covenanted with God both in Old Testament and New Testament times were called "saints." The LDS Topical Guide entry for "Saints" lists several other interesting scriptures. For example, in Romans 1:7, Paul speaks to the Christians in Rome - to all of them, not just a few outstanding examples - and notes that they are called to be saints: "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. . . ." Likewise in Ephesians 1:1, Paul states that he is writing "to the saints which are at Ephesus," and in 1 Corinthians 1:2, speaks to "the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. . . ." Those who join the Church of Jesus Christ were said to be "no more strangers . . . but fellowcitizens with the saints" (Ephesians 2:19). And as we read in Ephesians 4:11-12, one of the reasons for the existence of the Church, with its organization that included apostles and prophets, was "for the perfecting of the saints" - the imperfect members of the Church who needed the blessings of divinely authorized guidance from leaders called of God.

Many people assume that we call ourselves Latter-day Saints because we think we're holier than everybody else. Not so. The term "saint" is what the Lord calls members of His Church. It reminds us that we are called to live His laws, but we are utterly imperfect and have no monopoly on righteousness.

The term "saints" in our name is just one little part of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, bringing back some of the ancient ways that the Lord has seen fit to apply in for our day as well.

I suppose that if Joseph Smith were just making everything up by absorbing elements in his environment, he may not have used the terms "saints" as he did. In the modern mainstream Christian world, it has generally taken on a different meaning, referring to rare individuals rather than the members of the Church in general. Indeed, the entry for "saint" in the 1828 Webster's Dictionary gives definitions that do not suggest Joseph Smith's usage:
SAINT, n. [L. sanctus.]

1. A person sanctified; a holy or godly person; one eminent for piety and virtue. It is particularly applied to the apostles and other holy persons mentioned in Scripture. A hypocrite may imitate a saint. Ps. 16.

2. One of the blessed in heaven. Rev. 18.

3. The holy angels are called saint. Deut. 33. Jude 14.

4. One canonized by the church of Rome.
I truly believe that there has been a divine restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, and to me it only makes sense that this tiny little aspect of the original Church would be one of the many components that were restored. I say this not as any kind of serious evidence for the Restoration (turn to the Book of Mormon for that!), but by way of sharing some thoughts about that puzzling term in the name of our church.

3 comments:

AlexG said...

Maybe that is why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are refered as 'Mormons'. I suppose that the rest of Christianity has attached a worshipping connotation to the term 'saint', hence, it is reseved for some type of oblation. Oddly enough, most versions of Bible would indicate that Paul referred to the members of the Church in Rome as 'saints' (Rom. 1:7). Maybe in the name of the Church we find another sign of the Restoration, but I would agree with you that is not the strongest. Even though, lets share the gospel that we might show the world the what do we mean by the fellowshipping of the saints.

AlexG

Anonymous said...

How stupid are you! yeah christian call Mormons, Mormons. NO people everywhere call Mormons, Mormons because there main belief is in the book of mormon. The book of mormon is: as my 'preach my gospel' manual says "is the keystone of our religion".

Are you completely stupid, and I wouldn't call Mormons 'Saints'. We all know Joseph Smith was capable of lying. He lied to his wife emma about his relationships with teenage girls calling it polygamy.

Mormons right now are know for polygamy. Ask ten stranger (who aren't mormons) about them and they'll mention polygamy. Very soon Mormons will not only be know as those polygamous people but as liars. Mormonism increasing culture of 'Milk before meat' which translates to half-truths and lies, is widely being know amongst ordinary people.

Ive know so many mormons to lie through there teeth to non-mormons about the kooky parts of mormonism its unbelievable! People because of the web are waking up to know: 'milk before meat'

Anonymous said...

So true. Mormons need to be more realistic and have more vision. If they insist on this "milk before meat" approach in order to convert people, many people will feel deceived once they know the truth. Are people baptized BEFORE they know the truth? Is this true? Please explain this to me, if so.

That comes across as deceit - pure and simple. I'm sure Mormons have other ways of explaining it, but for any potential Mormons, they will feel deceived. Just because they don't come up and tell you this, doesn't mean they don't feel deceived.

Instead of Mormons keeping to themselves and NOT reading "anti-Mormon" literature, I think they should make an effort to see how their practices really come across to outsiders. That is - if they really want to convert people.