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Friday, October 14, 2011

Mormonism and the Christ no. 3 - Elder Russell M. Nelson

Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
In today's Deseret News, an article compares the venomous Reverend Robert Jeffress - who made remarks about Mormonism, saying it wasn't Christian and a member thereof is "not a Christian" - with the example of Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  The article reads,  

Daniel Ruth, a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times, had a lot to say. . . . For Ruth, the Christianity of Mormonism was illustrated by a recent visit by Elder Nelson to his newspaper's editorial board.  "At 87, he was lean, fit, mentally sharp and about to embark on a multi-nation tour on behalf of the church. . . . There were no horns.  No signs of Beelzebub.  No harems.  This was just a thoughtful, spiritual man.'  Ruth said Elder Nelson 'readily acknowledged the church's image problems.  His solution?  Simply live a moral, decent life.  Be a responsible member of the community.  And by living a virtuous life, you set an example for others to recognize Mormonism is not a threat to anyone - except perhaps Starbucks."

Ruth does no consider himself a religious man, and is probably not even a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, but he asks,

What if I suddenly faced some personal crisis and I wanted to talk to someone for spiritual insight, guidance or consolation?  Whom would I be more comfortable with?  Would it be the bloviating little God-baiting parson in Dallas who is so quick to condemn, to judge, to exploit the worst ignorant fears in people?  Or would it be the octogenarian gentle man, who may hold dogmatic beliefs I don't subscribe to, but nevertheless yearns to simply lead a meaningful life?  I think . . . I would be on the next plane to Salt Lake City. ("Columnist contrasts Elder Nelson and Rev. Jeffress", Deseret News, Friday 14 October 2011, A3).

What a remarkable example is Elder Nelson!  I say this not to extoll him, because it is not he whom we should extoll, but rather Him who gave His life as the perfect example, even Jesus Christ the Son of God.  Elder Nelson is a true Apostle of the Lord, don't get me wrong.  However, as is demonstrated by the account of Elder Nelson's love for people, it is because of Elder Nelson's Mormonism - not in spite of it - that he is the way he is.  It is ultimately Jesus Christ who sets Elder Nelson's actions, because Elder Nelson tries to emulate Him whom he serves.  Well did the Savior say,  

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:15-20).

He also saith, "What manner of men ought ye to be?  Verily I say unto you, even as I am" (3 Nephi 27:27).  May we ever be like the Lord Jesus Christ in all our actions, so that the world may know that the Latter-day Saints follow Christ, and that Mormonism is true Christianity.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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