If you had asked me ten years ago if I thought members of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were Christians, without hesitation I
would have told you NO! But that was before I met Kathryn Skaggs, and today I am not so
I met Kathryn as LDSNana via Twitter less than a month ago. She is a dedicated
wife, mother, and for more than 30 years a devoted Mormon, whose faithfulness to
her church and her Lord Jesus far exceeds what I am accustomed to seeing in many
Protestant churches. She
sees herself as a minister, and is dedicated to helping people understand
Mormons, and the LDS Church. As long as you show respect and courtesy, she will
answer almost any question about her faith.
Before I go any further, let me be candid and say that I will never be a
Mormon. My beliefs in the Bible prevent me from believing in the Book of Mormon
or the revelations of Joseph Smith. But as I poured over LDSNana's blog and read
the answers to some of the questions she has been asked, I could not help but
come to the conclusion that today's Protestant churches need to take some
lessons from the Mormons. What follows are four areas of faith in which Mormons
truly excel, to which the Church needs to wake up and pay attention.
1. Marriage and Family — Long before Covenant Marriage became the new
Christian fad, the Mormons were practicing it as part of their faith. By way of
making marriage a covenant union — as opposed to just making a vow — the marriage
is taken more seriously. And the numbers speak for themselves. Religious polls
from various sources consistently show divorce rates among Mormons (24%) to be
less than that of Protestants (27%) and less than the national average at the
time (around 25%.)
While all Christians place an emphasis on the family, Mormons do it exceedingly
well. It begins at the altar, and is carried throughout the home. Emphasis
is placed on faith, fidelity, and the universal concept of family of God.
Indeed, all Christians believe in it, but Mormons practice it better than most.
2. Sanctification — Many years ago, my father, a Protestant
pastor, told me about Mormon underwear. I laughed at the idea — as most ignorant
people do — and filed it away, surely to be pulled out the next time two guys
riding bicycles, wearing white button up shirts with ties came to my door.
Then the other day I found out that the holy underwear, or Temple
Garments as they are called, are a symbol of the Mormon believer's sanctification
unto God. Like the linen
ephods worn by the priests of the Old Testament, the Temple Garments are a
symbol of the sacred, and a reminder of how God's children are separated unto
I know of nothing within my own Baptist faith to which the church holds as
sacred to remind them of their value to God, or the Price He paid to redeem His
children. I would even say that except for the occasional sermon from a
well-meaning pastor, Christians in America no longer even consider their
sanctification in Christ.
And yet, as the Church we are called out and commanded to live separately
from the world around us. We are commanded by God to sanctify our time, our
talents, our abilities, our money, and live our lives in deference to His
purposes. Mormons wear holy underwear to remind them of their sanctification
while the majority of the rest of the church seems to conveniently forget it.
3. Missions — We've all seen Mormons riding their bicycles, or
sticking out like a sore thumb in Wal-Mart in their freshly pressed white
shirts, black slacks, and ties, or knocking on doors telling people about Joseph
Smith and the LDS Church. Those well-dressed cyclists are Mormon missionaries,
young men and women usually fresh out high school in the middle of college who
have chosen to take two years out their lives to share their faith with the
At last check there are approximately 13 million Mormons worldwide. Compare that
to the 60 million members of the Southern Baptist
Convention. Dare I say that if the SBC sent out in direct proportion the
number of missionaries as the Mormons, you would see the SBC growing instead of
declining, and a lot more people coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?
Can you imagine what would happen if all Protestant churches did what the
Mormons do? When was the last time your church systematically went door to door and asked an entire city if they wanted to follow Jesus Christ?
4. Social Enterprise — You will never see the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints in financial jeopardy. In a world of downsizing,
government bailouts, and market crashes, Mormon businesses and the Mormon Church
are alive and thriving.
In all fairness I don't know how many Mormons own businesses. And I don't
know how many companies the Mormon Church owns, if any, or if the church
partners with a holding company of some sort that owns airlines, and hotels, and
marketing firms and whatever else. What companies Mormons own is not the point.
The point is that individually and collectively they own these companies, and
give liberally to support their ministries and their churches.
Fault them if you so choose. I have been trying to convince my little Baptist
church to start a social enterprise for
a year. You would think that after three solid years of budget shortfalls they
would take the hint. I even proposed a social enterprise venture to help our
local homeless shelter who made a desperate plea for funds lest they go bankrupt
within a year. Again, no one listened.
Why not run a business and turn the money over to the church, or the local
mission, or some Christian ministry? Do you think no one would support it? Do
you think the idea of a religious organization running a business would deter
people from patronizing your company? Think again
Even if the number of Mormons tripled today, they would be insufficient to
self sustain the number of businesses they own. In other words, whether you like
them or not, you probably have patronized a Mormon business; that is unless you
have done your homework and purposefully avoid them.
One note worth mentioning is that while you may not know you are patronizing
a Mormon-owned business, there are signs to look for. Mormon businesses
typically offer top shelf customer service. Customer satisfaction surveys have
for years shown that most Mormon owned businesses treat their patrons with
dignity, courtesy, and the deepest of respect. Complaints, while rare, are
typically handled efficiently and expediently. Why the Protestant church as a
whole has not latched on to this concept is beyond me.
I'm sure by now many of you are shaking your heads and screaming. I can see
the comments even as I write these words about how Mormons believe weird things
and are not real Christians. To your screams may I share two final thoughts?
First I do not care what Mormons believe. Mormon theology is not the subject
of this post. As previously stated, I do not agree with many of their beliefs,
and chances are more than good that I will never be a Mormon. However, and this
is my second point, I am not stupid. When two companies selling the same
products have the same goals, and one succeeds while the other one flounders, I
want to know why. No doubt if I want to succeed the best way to do that is to
follow the example of the company that does the job the best. My suggestions to
those who claim to be God's true church is to stop playing church; stop
criticizing the Mormons for what they do well. Once the criticism stops, then
perhaps the Church will find the means to follow the Mormon example and win the
world to Christ.
About the author: Today at age 40 Tim is happily married and lives with his two children and
two cats. He serves as the college pastor at Buies Creek First Baptist Church in
Buies Creek, North Carolina, home of Campbell
University, and is the teaching pastor of the church's evening worship
service, Sunday Night Praise. Drawing heavily from the lessons of his past, Tim
teaches the application of God's word in a way that is unique, practical, and