Kingdoms of Glory

I recently watched a video of an evangelical minister preaching alone to a large crowd and taking questions from individuals in the audience. One man stepped to the microphone and introduced himself as a Catholic with a life long question about the salvation of non-Christians like Hindu’s, Muslims, Jews and Mormons. He wanted to know if all these peoples were destined to be sent to hell.

In answer the preacher quoted the Apostle John who says that we have eternal life only through the name of Jesus (John 4:14; 5:11; 5:24) and thus his conclusion was that anyone who doesn’t know about and accept Jesus are doomed to be sent to hell. The audience applauded.

I was astonished on several levels:

  1. Who is this man who has elevated himself to be a judge and to abrogate the judgement which belongs to God?
  2. Who is He to say that I do not believe in Jesus? – and that somehow I need His approval to label myself a Christian?
  3. Does this preacher really believe that Gods plan is to condemn 99% of his children? He apparently doesn’t believe in a loving, merciful God who gives righteous judgement.
  4. Personally I trust in God’s judgement but not the blasphemy of this man.

I was reminded of the story in the Book of Mormon about those preaching at the Rameumptom. Here is the story with a few of my own words added in brackets:

Alma 31:8-26

8 Now the Zoramites were dissenters from the Nephites; therefore they had had the word of God preached unto them.
9 But they had fallen into great errors, for they would not observe to keep the commandments of God [e.g. to unreservedly love all mankind and to leave judgment to God], and his statutes, according to the law of Moses.
10 Neither would they observe the performances [covenant ordinances] of the church [like baptism], to continue in prayer and supplication to God daily [and not just the Sabbath only], that they might not enter into temptation.
11 Yea, in fine, they did pervert the ways of the Lord in very many instances; therefore, for this cause, Alma and his brethren went into the land to preach the word unto them.
12 Now, when they had come into the land, behold, to their astonishment they found that the Zoramites had built synagogues, and that they did gather themselves together on one day of the week, which day they did call the day of the Lord; and they did worship after a manner which Alma and his brethren had never beheld;
13 For they had a place built up in the center of their synagogue, a place for standing, which was high above the head; and the top thereof would only admit one person.
14 Therefore, whosoever desired to worship must go forth and stand upon the top thereof, and stretch forth his hands towards heaven, and cry with a loud voice, saying:hat thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever.
16 Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our [fellow Christian and pagan] brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our [Mormon] brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us [completely arbitrarily by grace] to be thy holy children [whether we repent or not]; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ [who is a merciful judge of all].
17 But thou art the same yesterday, today, and forever; and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee; and we also thank thee that thou hast elected us, that we may not be led away after the foolish traditions of our brethren, which doth bind them down to a belief of Christ [with an inclusive salvation], which doth lead their hearts to wander far from thee, our God.
18 And again we thank thee, O God, that we are a chosen and a holy people [and the only ones who are saved]. Amen.
19 Now it came to pass that after Alma and his brethren and his sons had heard these prayers, they were astonished beyond all measure.
20 For behold, every man did go forth and offer up these same prayers.
21 Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.
22 Now, from this stand they did offer up, every man, the selfsame prayer unto God, thanking their God that they were chosen of him [randomly], and that he did not lead them away after the tradition of their brethren, and that their hearts were not stolen away to believe in things to come [by contemporary prophets], which they knew nothing about.
23 Now, after the people had all offered up thanks after this manner, they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they had assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks after their [self righteous and elitist] manner.
24 Now when Alma saw this his heart was grieved; for he saw that they were a wicked and a perverse people; yea, he saw that their hearts were set upon gold, and upon silver, and upon all manner of fine goods.
25 Yea, and he also saw that their hearts were lifted up unto great boasting, in their pride.
26 And he lifted up his voice to heaven, and cried, saying: O, how long, O Lord, wilt thou suffer that thy servants shall dwell here below in the flesh, to behold such gross wickedness among the children of men?

Of course members of the Church of Jesus Christ totally and fully believe in Jesus Christ and also that salvation comes only in and through His name. In the latter-days God has revealed many details of the Plan of Salvation wherein we are informed that everyone, prior to God’s judgement day, will have a complete and unfiltered opportunity to accept Jesus Christ and His atonement for sins. Thus, do Latter-day Saints believe in the Merciful and Righteous Judgment that Christ shall render to each person.

Certainly the Apostle John would not be pleased to have his teaching of hope perverted into a doctrine of condemnation to hell for all eternity for the innocent ans willing who are waiting to hear about Jesus.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a true apostle of Jesus Christ, has often been my favorite speaker in LDS General Conference when it comes to explaining doctrine (exegesis). He is so clear, complete and precise about it. So when it comes to the Plan of Salvation, rather than explaining the judgement and mercy of Christ myself I refer you to an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. See Kingdoms of Glory.

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