Response to a Friend
Firstly, we the Latter-day Saints believe we have more truth. Since truth is power, the old adage applies “with great power comes great responsibility”
For instance, you are a Christian. Since you know about the motivating love of God, and the need to avoid hell, and the need to follow the teachings of Jesus, I can expect you to do more in that regard than I could expect from a heathen who never learned about why those things are important.
For example, a Christian teaching is “thou shalt not commit adultery”; so if a heathen commits adultery, he could be “expressing himself”, but if a Christian does it, he is damned to hell (however, there is conscience (the latter-day saints have a name for conscience, ‘the light of Christ’) which everyone has, which warns against evil, so depending on how steeped a society is in sin, even the non-religious person is accountable before God for his acts, as his conscience warned him against the evil, and urged him toward the good, and he quenched that spirit/conscience.)
one of the fundamentals of LDS and I think overall Christianity is that if you have more knowledge about true laws, you are held more accountable for obeying them.
Like how we expect a child to not walk in the road because they know it’s bad, but if an infant crawls into the road we treat it differently, it didn’t know any better.
Every religion which claims to be “the true” religion, could in some form claim that they are expected to do more since they have more truth.
For example, the Pharisees placed emphasis on outward observance of the law. Jesus came and told them a higher truth, to not only love one another, but to love one another as he loved them.
Another metaphor is that when a person is contracted to do a high paying job, they are often required to do more than the people that are being paid less. In LDS temples, we make contracts with God to not only be saved in heaven to live with God and Christ forever, but contracts which set us up to become like God and Christ forever. (Some say “ah Lucifer wanted to be like God, so he got thrust out of heaven and is a devil”; no, he was thrust out for rebellion. To become a God you have to do it in Gods way. Also, Lucifer wanted to not have anyone to answer to, but that is not the way of the universe. Everyone has someone to answer to. Christ answers to Father, Father answers to his father, etc. Lucifer wanted to subvert the entire eternal system and ‘be a law unto himself’. This could not be. Further, Lucifer wanted to be a God without putting in the work to get there, he wanted to overthrow Father instead of following the ways of Father. For more on this topic, see Elder Christofferson’s address in 2017, a BYU Devotional titled “A Message at Christmas”. I have notes on it and a link to it under the title of “The Need for a Savior: God’s Plan of Justice vs Lucifer’s Tyranny”.
This doctrine of theosis was in the Christian church for several centuries after Christ among the Christian Fathers, until opinions of men rooted it out, and it’s not in most Christian churches to this day;
or if this appeals to you more I’ll put it this way, deleting the word churches (that seems to be popular), “most Christians say the bible says you can’t become like God.” Or better yet, “The bible obviously says you can’t become like God” (since there is no private interpretation and anyone in their right mind should agree with them!)
Well, that actually is a private interpretation. Indeed the author of the bible meant it to say one thing and one thing alone, but that one thing seems to not be very popular.
I declare that God has appeared in 1820 to Joseph Smith to call him as an authorized prophet and again reestablish the true non-private interpretation of the bible.
…Like CS Lewis put it; it wasn’t just that Jesus made the world lighter, it’s that all things were seen new via the light he shined on me.
… thus you see the need for a church, so that the rules are defined, and people can’t have “their own personal Jesus”, but that they answer to “THE Jesus” the real one, and there is only 1 Jesus (1 Lord 1 faith 1 baptism it says). Without an organization that represents Jesus, people can get the wrong idea about WHO Jesus is and WHAT he expects of them (and yes, I think that the bible isn’t enough, so many people read the bible and profess to adhere to it 100%, yet they all have many different interpretations about how we can/should live.).
If I’m not mistaken your religion emphasizes a confessing of Jesus as being the bar for getting into heaven. While this idea is in the scripture, the LDS believe that confessing Jesus also means conforming to his laws. And lest people be confused about his laws, Jesus has a church on earth, his organization for teaching what those laws are (again the bible is insufficient in this regard, look at the many churches disagreeing).
Let me give an example:
a man writes a book.
100 people come and start companies saying, “hey come live by the book!” but the companies all have their own way of doing it.
Then the author of the book shows up and says “what’s going on here? You guys are perverting what was supposed to be clear and uniting. From here on out, I will declare in person what I meant by my book. The book is still critical, but in case of dispute, I’m here, come ask me. When I have to be away on business, you can come talk to this person, whom I myself have declared as my representative. I will communicate with him, I trust him to do this, and will strike him down if he ever goes astray in passing on exactly what I tell him.”
thus the truth is kept alive and honored the way the author meant it to be.
I give you this slightly more elaborate response to teach you, not to say that salvation comes from all these things. LDS believe Jesus Christ is the source of all blessings we receive. LDS believe that we are saved only through Christ. But when you get into “who” is Christ and “what” does he expect of us, that is where the church comes in handy.