The games people play on social media can be entertaining and revealing. Some will post about their feelings, but won’t give details as to the reasons why…even when their friends inquire. Others post statements or memes to incite reactions. Newsfeeds are filled with names of people, places, and things that interest us. Personally, I like finding pictures and video clips of my grandchildren on my newsfeed.
But it can also be a place to push people’s buttons and exercise passive-aggressive behaviors.
For instance, the other day, a former sister-in-law posted the following on another sister’s timeline:
I have a question for you. In the scriptures, it says how great will be our joy if we bring but one soul unto Christ, my question is… if that is true, will the opposite be true also? If someone is responsible for pulling someone away from the Church and turning their hearts against the Church… will their sorrow be great? Just something that has been on my mind for sometime now.
She is referring to a scripture found in Doctrine & Covenants 18:15 which reads: “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!”
Contrast this with the promise spoken of by Jesus, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:10,11)
This post intrigues me for two reasons. First, if she had wanted the question and answer to be a private dialogue, she would’ve sent it in an email, text, or private message. Therefore, it’s obvious she wanted other family members and friends who’ve left the church to see the post. Mission accomplished! Secondly, she quotes a scripture about bringing souls to “Christ,” then in the next sentence refers to ‘the Church” as if Christ and the Church are the same thing…words that can be used interchangeably. That’s because in Mormonism, they ARE considered the same!
When a message comes forth from Salt Lake City, it’s considered the word of God. If a man in authority from the Mormon Church speaks, it’s as if God, Himself, is speaking. Consider this statement published in a church magazine: “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan—it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354).
This philosophy was reiterated again at General Conference last weekend when President Eyring quoted from D&C 68:4. “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”
Given this viewpoint, it’s no wonder Mormons interchange the words Christ and Church.
I debated whether or not to share what I’ve learned this year regarding “bringing souls to Christ” and eventually sent her a private message. Because I’ve been blessed with wise, patient friends who have solid Biblical foundations, we’ve had this conversation before. In John 6:44-45, Christ Himself tells us, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”
What a relief to know that I’m not responsible to win souls over to God in order to earn joy in the next life! I can love, serve, and speak truth to others, but ultimately, God takes the responsibility to draw us to Him.
Another comforting truth is found in John 10:27- 29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
There is nothing more reassuring than to know I belong to God and no person or thing can change that!
I suspect the intent of the post was to induce fear in those of us who have left the Mormon Church and have opened the door for others to reevaluate their beliefs by sharing our reasons why. That mission, however, was not accomplished. But it did open the door for me to share biblical truth with her without inciting a riot on Facebook. And when I remember that I don’t need to draw her to Christ because Christ is powerful enough to do that without my help, I can rejoice in knowing He has called me His own…and I have nothing to fear.