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dear mormons:
an open letter to latter-day saints

Dear Mormon Friends,

First of all, thanks for reading this.

I know that just being on this website might make you uncomfortable. Maybe you're starting to quietly question things about your religion. Or perhaps you're quickly moving toward the "exit door" of the Church. Or you just want to see what others have to say about their journeys.

Or maybe you're a "True Blue Mormon," steadfast in the faith, and you're checking us out to see if we're just a bunch of "anti-Mormons". (And if that's why you're here, please bear with me for a minute, I'd like to make a case for why we're not.)

Whatever the case may be, please know you are welcome here. We hope you'll explore the site, and if you have any questions, concerns, or even criticisms, don't hesitate to contact us. We'd be happy to be in touch with you.

If you're like many Latter-day Saints, you might be quick to take any challenge to Mormonism as an attack. But please hear us out. We've got no axe to grind. We certainly don't gain any benefit, financially or any other way, from this. We just have friends and neighbors who are LDS, and we are genuinely concerned about them.

So, then...what on earth are we doing this for?

The answer is simple: Jesus.

Jesus Christ, and His gift of eternal life is the thing most precious to us. If we were "anti-Mormon", then why would we want to share with Mormons something that is precious to us? It goes deeper than that, however. The Bible teaches us that to reject the truth about Jesus is to embrace the path to destruction. (John 3:18; Matthew 7:13-14) So if that's really true, then the truth about Jesus is very important, right? It would be far more hateful to not "bother" people with this truth.

Think of it this way. What if you saw that someone who you really cared about getting ready to set sail on a ship that you knew wasn't seaworthy and had no lifeboats...wouldn’t you want to warn them? Even if it meant telling them something they didn't want to hear? Even if it meant that they would accuse you of ruining their holiday at sea?

Would you just shrug and say, “Well, I respect your choice to go on that boat. I hope it all works out for you. Good luck!" How could failing to warn someone about certain destruction be considered "loving"?

Here's the deal. As Christians who read, study, and believe the Bible, we understand that this earthly life is what God has given us to determine whether we embrace Him or reject Him--that is, whether we are destined for eternal life or eternal destruction. (Hebrews 9:27)

We also understand from the Bible that no matter how good we might think we are, none of us are worthy of eternal life, no matter how hard we try. (Psalm 53:3; Isaiah 64:6-7; Romans 3:19-20) And the Bible gives us no reason to expect any second chances after death. So that is why we consider this a very urgent matter. It's not just something that will get all sorted out after we die. No. At its core, it's a matter of life and death. Heaven and hell.

Jesus...or no Jesus.

I'll grant you that judgment is not a comfortable thing to talk about. It's awkward (at best). But...we do talk about it, because it matters to us what happens to you after this life. Our purpose is not to offend you or anyone; but we will risk offending if it means that someone might stop and think about the reality of God's judgment against sin...and more to the point, how we can be spared from that judgment!

The solution doesn't come from us. We aren't saved because we're better than anyone else, work harder than anyone else, are smarter than anyone else, or more privileged than anyone else, or even made better decisions than anyone else. We're saved because we have been given the FREE GIFT of eternal life that Jesus offers to all who will turn away from their old life, and trust, follow, and believe in Him. We are, as one evangelist put it, "just one beggar telling another where to find bread."

Some of you might be thinking, "That sounds like easy-believism. You say your little prayer and you think you're saved to go do whatever you want. Too simple. Too easy. Nothing is free."

If that's what you think, then you've got it all wrong. That's not what God's free gift of grace is all about. It's not about setting us free to go sin all we want. On the contrary--it sets us free from sin itself. God's grace in our lives actually changes us. It shapes our desires, and causes us to want the things that please God. No, we don't achieve sinless perfection in this life, obviously. For now, we're still tainted by the sin that plagues all humanity. But there is a difference...because of Jesus, we no longer pursue a life of sin, because our very appetites are changing. We grow to love the things that God loves, and hate the things that God hates...not by our own efforts or will power, but by a deep change that Jesus does in us. The idea of grace freeing us to go sin is a repulsive thought to someone who has truly been changed by Jesus Christ.

It may seem simple, but Jesus wanted it to be simple enough that a child could understand it. Even so, living and resting in God's grace is a lifelong process of growth that involves its own share of struggle (but it is oh, so worth it!) As for being free--well, it is free...to us, but it cost Jesus everything.

I know some of you might be thinking, "But Mormons believe in Jesus, too; why do you think you need to preach Jesus to us?"

That's a common (and worthwhile) question. So let's talk about that for a minute. Mormons generally consider themselves "Christian." After all, the name "Jesus Christ" is prominent in the name of the Church. So aren't we just "preaching to the choir"? Why do we think that Mormons need to hear about Jesus, when Jesus already seems to be an important component of their faith?

Well, because the biblical understanding of "believing in Jesus" is much, much deeper and more powerful than many might realize. There are some important ways in which Mormonism and biblical Christianity differ when it comes to Jesus.

First, we differ greatly in what we believe about Jesus Christ--his being, his nature, and purpose; and secondly, we differ in what it really means to believe in Christ. These are not trifling details. These are essential truths.

It really is a matter of life and death.

So it deserves, at the very least, some thought and discussion, don't you think? They strike at the very core of that most central of all questions about faith: What happens when we die? How can we know we'll have eternal life?

Jesus declares emphatically that he is it: (John 14:6-7) So the question of "Who is Jesus?" is not just important; it is central. It is the main thing. Perhaps the only thing that really matters in life. Jesus didn't just come to show us the way; He is the way. He didn't just come to share the truth; he is the truth. He didn't just come to tell us about eternal life, he is eternal life!

When Mormonism calls Jesus the "Son of God" the idea that this conjures up for most Mormons is that he is the literal, physiological offspring of Heavenly Father, who is Himself a man with flesh and bone.

But when the Bible calls Jesus the "Son of God" it has a much more profound meaning than mere physical procreation. The Bible teaches that He is the human incarnation of the One and Only Eternal God--entirely and completely unique (not simply one of a myriad of spirit children). (Colossians 2:8-10) God--as an all-powerful Spirit, inserted himself into His creation by becoming a human being, as an act of His will and his desire to become intimately relateable to His creation.

Look closely at the Bible accounts of Jesus' interaction with the Jews (especially John 10), especially when he refers to himself as the "Son of God." The Jews knew exactly what Jesus meant. He was claiming to be God Himself. (And that, by the way, is why they picked up stones to kill him.) His claims would have been blasphemy--punishable by death--if they were not true.

If we get the nature of Jesus wrong, then we get everything wrong. And we have no excuse for getting it wrong, because Jesus was pretty plain when talking about himself. But if we ignore Jesus' own declarations about himself, and instead believe in a Jesus of human invention, then we're putting our faith in something that doesn't exist. Basing a life-and-death decision on bad information. It's like boarding that sailboat, which might look beautiful and sturdy, when in fact, it's full of holes and will soon sink and bring us down with it.

The confidence, trust, and hope that we have in Jesus as the Almighty God who always was and always will be, who is able to do all things...that is a world of difference from a hope placed in a mere man who is, when all is said and done, simply our older brother. Someone who is a good, but not all-powerful. Someone who did us some great favors in our journey to Heavenly Father, but not someone who took upon Himself ALL of our sin and guilt and did ALL that was needed in order that we might have eternal life. Only God Himself can do that. Not an older brother.

You see, eternal life is either something we must earn (and therefore we have to work hard to gain it), or something we cannot earn (and therefore our only hope is that it's a free gift). (Romans 6:23; Titus 3:4-7) And the Bible makes it abundantly clear--we can't earn it. (Galatians 2:16) Not only that, it's a gift so vast and enormous that for us to even try to earn it--even a little--is to insult that gift and nullify it completely. (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9) We all know what a gift is; and a genuine gift, given in love, comes with no strings attached. Otherwise, it's not really a gift. And to try to "earn" a true gift is not just unnecessary; it would actually be an insult to the giver.

That is why we do what we do. That is what is at stake. This Jesus--the all-powerful, all-able, loving God who stands ready to save you, if you will trust Him as He has revealed himself to be--that is Who we want to share with Mormons. He stands ready, the gift in his hand, extended to you. All you need to do is receive it, and in so doing, your life will be forever changed.

So what does that have to do with posting ex-Mormon videos and distributing DVDs to tear down another's beliefs? How is that loving? How is that "Christ-like"?

Well, when truth is being obscured by a falsehood, the falsehood has to be dealt with. It's not an insult, it's not an attack, it's just dealing with truth and reality. This is not our opinion, this is not our "interpretation," this is simply taking the Word of God for what it says. And it's not always easy. But before you suggest that this is not "Christ-like," I'd recommend you actually read the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And pay special attention to how Jesus dealt with the false teachings of his day. You'll find that his words were sometimes harsh, his tongue was often sharp, and even went so far as to make whips out of ropes and drove people away! Jesus was no wallflower. He displayed great anger at those who complicated the simplicity of his gift, and attached heavy baggage to his free grace.

Too often we want to just picture the meek and mild Jesus with children on his lap and little lambs on his shoulders--the way you see it in some of that sentimental artwork. But too often we fail to see that this was also the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, whose unfailing and eternal love...and his outrage at falsehood and injustice...go hand in hand. Jesus is not to be trifled with. Do not sell this God short!

Jesus is a God to worship and serve and love, with all your heart, strength, and mind. If ultimately we're not all about that, then we're all about nothing! All that we do is with that in mind.

So what do we want from you?

Nothing. We're not trying to recruit you to "our" church. It's not even about church, it's about Jesus. We don't stand to gain anything at all, except the joy of seeing you embrace Jesus in spirit and truth, and welcome you into the one and only true and eternal "forever family."

Do you have questions? By all means, contact us. We're happy to talk some more. That's what we're here for.

Want to learn more? Check out our "Good News" pages and learn more about why it really is very good news that we're sharing.

Want to hear what others have said who have found new and abundant life in Jesus Christ? That's what this website is all about. Check out our video stories. We'll even send you a free copy of our DVD, Unveiling Grace, for free, no obligations. Just in case you're wondering, it's not a Mormon-bashing video. It contains the stories of several people (yes, who were Mormons) who have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus that set them free. (Click here for more information about that.)

But most of all, we just want you to seek out the true Jesus Christ.

May God bless you, as you seek His truth!

--Sacred Groves

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