Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It Resounds Within You?

"It resounds within me." That is the expression that my friend, who has been coming out of Mormonism and turning to a sort of universalism, used to explain to me how she knows her new beliefs to be true. Coincidentally, it is the same expression used by another friend who is now returning to her LDS roots after having been non-religious for most of her life. In her case, of course, it is the teachings of Joseph Smith that "resound within" her.

Yesterday, the second friend and I were talking about the Isaiah verses (i.e. Isaiah 44:6, 44:24, 45:5-6, etc) in which YHWH God says He is the only God in existence. She believes that the context of Isaiah forces a smaller meaning on these verses - that YHWH is only trying to get people not to worship their little hand-crafted idols. Her belief, like that of many Mormons, is that "Heavenly Father" is the one god FOR US (here on this planet) to worship, but that there are many other real gods out there for other people on other planets. And even though Mormonism teaches that God the Father ("Elohim") had a father that also progressed to godhood, his god/father is not our god, and so he also is not to be worshiped by us.

Obviously, I could not and do not agree with her interpretation of the ONE GOD ONLY verses. But as I tried to look at it from her point of view, I was blessed with the fleeting memory of how it felt to believe that way. And suddenly it hit me...

My Mormon life was cursed with my relying on what felt right to me at the time. Coming to the Jesus of the Bible was completely different. The real truth didn't placate me. It DRAGGED ME OUTSIDE OF MYSELF and forced me to submit to our Creator God. Confronted by the real truth, I finally understood that God Almighty was not interested in my current beliefs, my plans, my works or "goodness"; the promises I tried to make with Him and the deals I wanted Him to make with me. God wanted me to stop dreaming up my own god, and being my own god. He wanted me to find Him, see Him, and recognize Him as the Sovereign Lord of my life.

The experience of coming to Christ was the complete opposite of having something resound within me. I didn't feel a happy, nice feeling. I didn't have my hopes emotionally confirmed for me. I was crushed (Matt 21:44). I had been defeated. With my nose to the floor, I surrendered all my desires, my understanding of how things were, my attempts at controlling my life - ALL I HAD AND ALL I WAS - to Him. And that is where I BEGAN to see things clearly.

Our natural hearts are wicked and foolish (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 1:21). Our natural self is an enemy of God, and blind to His truth (Romans 8:7, Matt 13:15). We can't look for deep and meaningful truth inside of ourselves. The truth does not resound within our evil and fallen natures (1 Corinthians 2:14). The truth DOES shove us outside of our SELF and our self-love, and offend us in many ways. We're not naturally "in tune" with God's truth, but must let the "old man" be crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6), and the new man be created and sanctified by God and His Word (Romans 12:1-2, 8:29). If we have not been born again, what we feel to be true is coming from an unregenerate heart, which loves itself, and likes to manifest its selfish desires.

It is a good reminder for me, and perhaps someone else out there -- when you go to the Bible, don't take your religion with you. How many people have convinced themselves from the Bible's pages that what they want (or have been taught) to be true IS true, and must as a result, ignore other parts of the Bible that do not, therefore, make sense? I cannot push my beliefs on God; YHWH and His Word will not submit to ME. I am the one who must bow and be corrected. It may not FEEL good - but do I want something that feels good even if it is not the truth?

Good Bible study Tips:
1- Take the Bible verses in their context. Take the Bible as a whole.
2- Interpret the vague and hard-to-understand passages in light of the passages that are easy to understand.
3- Look for your Savior God; the #1-gotta-get-this-right issue is who God IS.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

© Copyright 2002 Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach, Inc. All Rights Reserved. —Permission is granted to reproduce, provided content is not changed and this copyright notice

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Rocky and Helen Hulse

Rocky and Helen Hulse
Defending Christianity From Mormon Doctrine