This month’s Visiting Teaching message is centered on the women in the church following the example of the Jesus Christ.
The message begins with a quote from the Book of Mormon:
“To the Nephites, Christ said, “For the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do” (3 Nephi 27:21).”
Later we read:
“As we understand that Jesus Christ is our example in all things, we can increase our desire to follow Him.”
And finally a quote by Eliza Snow:
“He marked the path and led the way,” wrote Eliza R. Snow, second Relief Society general president, of the mortal ministry of Jesus Christ.”
As I think about the works Jesus did and what He commanded His followers to do I can’t recall Him ever performing temple works for the dead. He never spoke of the need for us to seek out and be baptized by proxy for our dead loved ones. Did He ever tell His disciples to do baptisms for the dead? Or say that there was more to be done before one could go to the Father through Him?
If Jesus is their example, if they believe He is the way, the truth and the life then why do they need the temple?
The message goes on to quote Linda K. Burton, Relief Society president:
“When each of us has the doctrine of the Atonement written deep in our hearts, then we will begin to become the kind of people the Lord wants us to be”
When I read quotes like this I have to wonder if the Mormons really pay attention to what they’re saying when they use words like “Atonement”. As the character Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride said:
“You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Christ’s Atonement doesn’t mean if you do your best and do all you can do Jesus will do the rest. The Atonement is about Him offering Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. It’s about His final and perfect work on the cross for our salvation.
If the doctrine of Atonement was written deep in their hearts they would know that there’s nothing they can do to help their salvation along. They would also know that any good that comes from them is also a work of Jesus Christ.
God does write His word upon our hearts, it’s a circumcision of our hearts. In 2 Corinthians 2:2-4 we read
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”
Paul was telling the believers that their changed lives were like an open letter to the world. When God writes His word on our hearts it transforms us, it makes us a different person. And it allows us to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can be Jesus to those around us.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6 reads:
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”
Jesus never set up the works based system of righteousness that Mormons follow. It’s not what He wants for us, and by following it we’re not going to “become the people the Lord wants us to be”.
To become those people we must first have faith and trust in Him completely. We must know that we are secure in our salvation because of His work on the cross, and that nothing or no one can snatch us from His hand; not even ourselves.
Hebrews 7:25 –
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
If the Mormons don’t trust in Him how can they also trust in His example? When we understand these things, then we can be used by Him, and effectively follow His example.
Melissa Grimes firstname.lastname@example.org