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Friday, January 8, 2016

Questions from a Jew about Mormons




Why have Mormons felt the need to convert dead Jews?

When a person is Baptized they are making a commitment to keep the commandments of God. We do not believe that a person can progress and become more like God if they do not make this commitment. 

When vicarious baptisms are done, it has no effect unless the person who is dead receives it. We believe that the freedom to make your own decisions is a foundation of the Gospel. We came to earth to learn from our own experience (mistakes), and this freedom to choose for ourselves will continue after this life here on the earth is over.

We offer this baptismal commitment to our direct ancestors. We want to unite our families all the way back in time. We volunteer our time to do these ordinances, because we value family. The individuals we do vicarious baptisms for can commit to follow the Lord, but they are not baptized into the "Mormon" Church as many sects do.

There have been some people were over zealous and wanted to help everyone they could instead of just their family. Of course the baptisms they performed are meaningless unless the person they are doing it for, wants it.  It did concern their living relatives who thought their ancestors were being rounded up and forced to give up their faith as a Jew. Force is not the Lord's way. Finally, Church leaders had to threaten these zealous people that they would remove their privileges to perform baptismal ordinances if they did not follow Church guidelines and just do work for their own families.

What people don't realize is we believe that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament, Jehovah, the great I AM, the promised Messiah. He created the earth under the direction of God, His Father. It was Jesus Christ who gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. It was He who spoke with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah who was born on the earth, died for us, and will yet come in glory to reign upon the earth. 

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the tribes of Israel became scattered or "lost" as an identifiable people. Basically, only the tribe of Judah was able to maintain an identify as a people now called Jews. We believe that part of our mission is to fulfill the prophecies of the Bible which promise that the scattered tribes of Israel will be gathered in the last days.  This is why we send missionaries into the world, to gather the faithful from the tribes of Israel.

Though inspired Patriarchs, Church member's linage is revealed. Many members of the Church are descendants of Ephraim (one of the 12 tribes of Israel, I am), some from the tribe of Manasseh, Dan, Judah, and other tribes. Yes, from Judah. We believe that God is unchanging. Truth is always truth. You do not lose you heritage when you become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You return to the true teachings of the ancient prophets, plus you have the teachings of the modern prophets. You only gain.

When the Savior came to earth, he came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law. Some things will yet be fulfilled in the future. He followed the law of Moses. He was the giver of that law and came to show us how to live it. 

God's Gospel, or teachings, have been the same since the times of Adam. We follow the teachings God has revealed through His Prophets though out time.

If you believe that you should follow Jesus Christ, why don't you live the Jewish law? Jesus did. Why don't you keep the Passover?

Actually, we do remember the Passover each week. The first Passover was a test of the faith of the people of the tribes of Israel who where enslaved in Egypt. Those who believed that God could save them were "passed over" when the plague of death came. This feast and all other traditions were given to help the people remember that only God could save them. 

On the night of the Passover, the Savior, gave of the Passover bread and water to his disciples telling them that He was fulfilling the Law of Moses, that He was the Lamb of God who would be slain to save His people, and commanding them to remember him. Though we no longer enact all the Passover customs, we do remember its purpose each Sunday when we partake of the Sacrament. 

Church members are free to keep any holidays or customs which help to bring them to their Savior.  If a Jew decided to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and many have), they would still always be a Jew and free to keep all their Jewish Holidays (plus Christmas and Easter), eat Kosier (plus the Mormon health law called the Word of Wisdom). and would be encouraged to remember and honor their heritage. We believe in the same Gospel and covenants that the Lord taught to Adam, Abraham, Moses, and all the other prophets.  As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, Temples (like in the Old Testament), make covenants with God, and we try to remember our Savior, the Messiah, the God of this world, and keep His commandments. .   

(good video about the Passover. Sorry I could only get in the link)

I know that the full Passover feast is celebrated at Brigham Young University each year.      

Why do you feel you need to form another religion?

We don't. We believe in the same teachings of Jesus Christ that He taught to Adam, Abraham, Moses and during His time on the earth. We believe that Prophets are still on the earth and God speaks through them, just as He always did. God gave the Law of Moses to help people look to their Savior and to institute laws of justice and health. This law is the foundation of all European culture and is our hope for a better world. We do not follow the customs, but try to live the principles love, faith, and justice that this law teaches. The Law of Moses was given to turn peoples' hearts to God. We try and live the purpose of the laws given in the Old Testament, to help people love God, have faith in Him and keep His commandments.

see mormon.org  for more about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to Chat (top right) with a person who can answer your questions


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