I was too exhausted to write last night, so I’m covering Saturday and Sunday. The reason I was exhausted was because I was acting like a pioneer woman or a farmer’s wife.
The first day we arrived home, Mark tried to get everything turned on and discovered that the gate valve to the boiler had a crack in it so we had no water in the house, and the hose to the water pump in the RV had burst and we lost all the water in our fresh water tank. Mark has been working off and on this week to fix the water problems and he finally got them resolved yesterday.
However, we had hoped that with the water on, we would be able to get heat and hot water in the house and that hasn’t happened yet. Now there are problems with both the boiler and the water heater. At least we have hot water in the RV now, so we were able to take our first showers in a week this morning before church.
In the meantime, I have been going through the firewood we had left over from last summer to try to stay warm, and I used the last of it on Friday evening. The good news is that last year, Mark cut down two trees in our back yard and stacked the burnable stuff in a pile under a tarp to try to season it over the winter. It was stacked on a pallet in the back yard beyond the trees. I got a wheelbarrow and brought load after load up the hill to the front yard and dumped it in front of the garage. When I had the last of the wood in front of the door, I began taking handfuls of it into our boiler room and stacking it.
Later, I asked Mark to take the dog out to do her business because I was “dog tired”! I sure enjoyed the results of my labor, though.
Today, we started out at Mark’s church. The topic in his church this morning was why the LDS members believe they are Christians in spite of what other churches may think. There were three arguments and rebuttals presented.
- Mormons don’t believe in the Trinity the way mainstream churches do. They believe that the godhead is three separate personages and all have actual bodies. They believe that Christ is the Son of God, but not actually God Himself. They base this on passages where the three are seen together, such as at Christ’s baptism. Christ came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended as a dove on His head, and a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” My answer to that is in John 1 where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God.”
- The argument has been made that Mormons aren’t Christians because they have added their own scriptures to the Holy Bible: The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. The speaker said that other churches add creeds and traditions to the Bible, but my response to that is that we don’t hold creeds and traditions at the same level as the Bible. They hold their books as equivalent to the Bible, and even as explanations to clarify the Bible. Our best equivalent to their books would probably be Bible commentaries, and pastors usually only refer to those briefly in their sermons. No one in the congregation generally reads through commentaries. Mormons hold the Book of Mormon and the others in such high regard that when their missionaries go out to proselytize, they almost exclusively use the Book of Mormon. I once challenged them to try to convince me using the Bible, but they only referred to a few Bible passages and then it was back to their book.
- The third argument presented was that Mormonism doesn’t share the antiquity of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches. Their response is that the authority given to the early church died out with the death of the Apostles and that the church went into apostasy until Joseph Smith discovered the golden plates and started the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I admit that the Catholic church went through a dark period of apostasy, but that was when they broke with the Orthodox church. The Orthodox churches say that they still worship in the same way that the early church did. The Protestant Reformation was a reaction to the appalling teachings the Catholic church had fallen into, and yes, there are many denominations now, some with vastly different beliefs. We have everything from unprogrammed Friends meetings that listen for the Inner Voice rather than anything that could become a ritual to high church Episcopalians where there is a lot of ritual. Differences in beliefs about worship and who God is and what He wants don’t bother me so long as we all agree on the basic sacrifice and resurrection of Christ for our sins. I think different personality types respond to different forms of worship and different doctrines. God is big enough to encompass them all.
I believe that LDS members are also Christians. My thinking on this has come around since I’ve been attending Mark’s church with him. There are some things I admire about Mormons. I like to call them “the Christians with something extra”. It’s the something extra where I disagree with them, but I have seen them be moved by the Spirit and I have heard stories of unshakable faith. I’ll leave it to God to sort out the sheep from the goats.
Then we went to my church this afternoon for a hymn sing. It was a celebration of the 105th anniversary of the hymn The Old Rugged Cross which was first sung in its entirety at a revival meeting that met at my church. It was reported that 600 people came to Christ at that revival. At the celebration today, there were people from other local churches as well as members of Friends Community Church in attendance. We started with a reading that combined scripture with some of the words from the hymn. Then people called out their favorite hymns that they’d like to sing. Even several children asked for their favorites. After an hour of singing many beloved hymns, we ended with singing The Old Rugged Cross in its entirety. There were desserts in the basement following the hymn sing, and many of my friends came up to greet us and welcome us home. It’s so good to be back!