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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Fruits of Church Membership: Example from Nigeria

"In Nigeria, the New Face of Global Mormonism" is a Seattle Time story about the Church in Nigeria. It begins by discussing the joy and other changes brought into the life of a man who is now a faithful Latter-day Saint. Very positive.

This has been my experience in so many cases. Those who gain their testimony of the Restored Gospel and become active members tend to make many positive changes in their lives, have stronger families, and find more personal joy. It was so dramatic for me on my mission to see the changes that came to people's lives from the message we brought. And I've seen those kind of changes many times since. The influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on people can be so dramatic and so positive.

I'm very sorry for those who have different experiences and don't find the joy that the Gospel tends to bring. May we all remember that we play a role in the experience that others have. Our kindness, our patience, our tolerance for weakness, our support in times of trial, can help others know and feel that they are part of a community grounded in the joy of Christ. Our bad behavior, on the other hand, can deprive others of those blessings - or make it harder for them to be realized.

6 comments:

NM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NM said...

Hi Jeff,

Good to have you back. =)

What did you mean by, "...tolerance for weakness..."?

Anonymous said...

I wish I could find greater joy in church membership. I am an active member and love the gospel but I sometimes get so tired. I have friends that attend a large Christian church nearby that enjoy going, live good lives, love the Lord, but aren't weighed down with responibilities of visitng teaching, FHE, temple attendance, meetings, etc. I envy the simplicity of the church in their lives.

NM said...

Anonymous,

These friends of yours are recipients of God's grace. God's grace is the sweetest thing on earth - made simple by the act of this 'God-Man' Jesus Christ. These friends live simple lives, because all they do is 'receive' =)

Those who 'work' for their salvation will find religion difficult, plus such people who 'work' will find 'grace' nothing but offensive.

Bookslinger said...

anon @ 10:42 Nov 30:

No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to do Visiting Teaching, FHE, temple, meetings, etc.

You're free to do as much or as little in church as you want. You won't be excommunicated for blowing off any of those things.

But I would hope you'd find joy in Visiting Teaching, FHE, temple attendance, and Sunday meetings. If those things are not bringing you joy, maybe there's something in them that you're missing.

NM said...

"No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to do Visiting Teaching, FHE, temple, meetings, etc."

That's a pretty drastic response to someone who is merely wanting to point out their dissatisfaction with their time at an LDS church, don't you think BookSlinger?

Anonymous, (10:42 AM, November 30)
Interesting, the first question in the Westminster shorter catechisms is this: "What is the chief end of man?", to which the answer is, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!"

I might carry on to say that the whole point of our existence is DOXOLOGY =D Paul, Peter, Jude and John were big fans of doxologies... that is, that the point of everything is: to give God the glory =)

The whole point of everything in the universe is: God enjoying God! =D

And you know what? God has chosen (from before the beginning of time) a people, set apart, to enjoy His glory! =D Isn't that just amazing?!

Church attendance, teaching, service to one another, and other such acts are firstly, to do with our response to God's ABSURD, yet AMAZING grace...and secondly, such acts of service are done as a means to enjoy Him =) Or better still, such acts are done as an OVERFLOW of our response to His love for us! =D

Interesting, in his book, 'Desiring God', John Piper changes a crucial word in that first Westminster catechism. So instead of the answer, "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever", he changes the word 'and' to 'by' and lengthening the word 'enjoy' to the obvious verb, 'enjoying' =)

So it reads, the chief end of man is: " To glorify God BY ENJOYING Him forever"

How amazing is that?! Once we have found our true use (and the original intention for God's creation, including human beings, was always to REFLECT God's glory), then we can do nothing else but revel in it and in Him! =D

Anonymous, if you have received God's grace, which exists in accepting what Jesus has done for you, then you will know the wonderful truth that we exist to enjoy Him! =D