yourLDSneighborhood News for Friday, 14 October, 2011
Speaks for Itself
by Lisa Asanuma
There has been a lot of public notice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Book of Mormon over the past few months. A lot of this attention has come from a seemingly-unlikely place, a Broadway musical with its main purpose as providing a satire of the Church and of our belief in the Book of Mormon and modern revelation. I’ve read some opinions of Latter-Day Saints that have been upset about this musical, and have felt like it is drawing attention to the church in all the wrong ways. The leaders in the Church, on the other hand, seem to share my own opinion of what is going on. Namely, that no attention to the Church is negative.
This is because the truth speaks for itself. The Book of Mormon speaks for itself. People seeking for truth about the Church and about the gospel will find it in The Book of Mormon. People not looking for truth will not find it, no matter where they look. It is that simple.
Lately, the Church has been taking great efforts to help any who are seeking to understand and learn about our religion. Maybe the most-visible effort is the “I’m a Mormon” campaign. This initiative has featured LDS members from different backgrounds who live interesting or exciting lifestyles, and encourages any and all members to put up a profile of themselves on Mormon.org, so that those investigating can see the kind of diversity that is rich in our Church.
I love the thinking behind this campaign. I know that growing up in California, I was the only member of the Church that most of my friends knew—or at least knew well. There are a lot of misunderstandings about our Church out there. In high school I was asked by various people if I could dance, if I believed in Christ, and even how many moms I had. The people asking me were genuinely curious, though, and I shared information about my beliefs freely and made it clear that it was my choice to follow the commandments I’d been given.
Because I was upfront with my beliefs, my friends were never surprised at how “normal” my life was as a member of the Church, but some people may not have such open communication with members of the Church, and these little profile videos of LDS lives can help bridge that gap.
The October 2011 Ensign also seems to have been designed specifically with nonmember truth-seekers in mind. The entire issue is an overview and introduction to the Book of Mormon—what it’s about, who wrote it, how Joseph Smith came to translate it, and even citing passages that highlight how the Book of Mormon serves as a second witness of Christ along with the Bible. If someone was looking for an introduction to understanding what the Book of Mormon is and how it came about, this Ensign would be a perfect place to start. It even lays out the promise that Moroni gives at the end of the book—that anyone who has read the Book of Mormon and prays to know whether it is true, asking in faith that Heavenly Father will answer them, will know for a certainty that it is true. I can testify that that promise is a valid one.
I also felt that the most recent General Conference was aimed largely at nonmembers who might be wondering about our Church—I’m curious how many nonmembers watch snippets of Conference, now that it’s often available on cable channels or via the internet. Maybe the number is very few, but I hope that some watched and were able to learn a little about our Church. Many of our basic beliefs—and so many of our beliefs are basic—were laid out simply for Conference, including things nonmembers may be confused about. General authorities talked about what we believe about personal revelation (we can receive it), marriage (between a man and a woman), and polygamy (that’s the Fundamentalists—hasn’t been us for over 100 years).
And again, Elder Tad R. Callister spoke in the Sunday Morning session about the Book of Mormon. He repeated something about the Book of Mormon that President Gordon B. Hinckley had previously said about the Church itself—that it is either entirely true, or entirely false: “That is the genius of the Book of Mormon, there is no middle ground. It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud.”
Elder Callister quoted C.S. Lewis, who said:
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 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…. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. 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.
Callister said that the same is true for the Book of Mormon. Either it is exactly what it claims to be—scripture written by ancient American prophets and brought forth by revelation—or it is an absolute lie.
There really is no in-between. And from that fact, the Church itself is also either true, or a lie. You can’t believe in this Gospel only partway. You can’t pick and choose what you want to be true. But you can without a doubt ask Heavenly Father and find out for yourself whether it is true. Because the Book of Mormon speaks for itself. It is true, and it is of God. All you have to do is read it with an open heart and ask of God. He will not lead you in the wrong direction.
And if we believe this, we also have to believe that Heavenly Father won’t lead our friends or acquaintances in the wrong direction, either. If they ask, all we need to do is answer. If they seek, we can help them find. The Spirit and the scriptures will do the rest.
Lisa Asanuma is a freelance editor originally from San Diego, California. Between editing jobs she’s working on a Young Adult novel and sells handmade journals and notebooks under CinderLisaDesign on Etsy.
Mini Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cakes
It’s amazing how quickly we start baking as soon as the temperatures drop. It’s one of the attributes of Fall, with all its wonderful smells.
Mary Nersessian at Bonbons et Chocolat came up with a sinfully delicious pumpkin cake. To make it even more tempting, they are mini shaped. They’re great to make and bring as neighbor gifts or for family get togethers. Go ahead, bake some, and then tell us how they turned out.