Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are Clearly Christians: They espouse and follow Christ’s pure and restored gospel teachings.
It is an unfortunate reality that the death or departure of a great leader is almost immediately followed by a fracturing of his followers. Though followers may continue to adore the departed, be it Lincoln, Kennedy or Ghandi, there almost always arises a division in how the adoration and the legacy of the leader should be continued after he or she is gone. Most often, division occurs and the once-united people walk their separate ways.
Early Christians were, tragically, no exception to this general rule. Following the death of Jesus Christ, many groups sprang up with many different viewpoints. Judaizers declared that new converts to Christ’s gospel should be required to accept Judaism as well as Christianity. Other groups, scholars have found, insisted on restricting Gentiles, keeping particular Jewish traditions, integrating Greek philosophy or changing the official doctrine on resurrection, baptism, or the Law of Moses. Paul lives out his converted life refuting false beliefs and attempting to protect the truth and the one authorized Church of Jesus Christ.
Peter was the leader of the apostles by Christ’s own decree: “Thou art Peter… And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:18-19). As the leader of Christ’s church, it was fitting and right that he should receive divine direction for the entire Christian body. One example of Christ leading through Peter comes in Acts chapter 10.
Acts 10 addresses a divisive issue in the ancient church: Gentile conversion. Through fasting, prayer, a vision, and listening to the Holy Spirit, Peter learns the will of the Lord: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him” (Acts 10:34-35). Then, almost as confirmation that Peter got it right, the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles that were with him.
Despite the best efforts of Peter, John, Paul and other early leaders, Christians remained divided on many issues through the apostasy, or falling away from truth, prophesied in the New Testament. Many of these factions still exist and others continue to promulgate. Many among us call ourselves Baptists, Methodists, Quakers, Catholics, Adventists, Amish, or non-denominational. Our division is one reason I believe God still talks to prophets in our day as he spoke to Peter—to teach us His will and unite Christianity with one eternal truth.
God is no respecter of persons. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He atoned for you and He atoned for me. He is at the center of the gospel, the ultimate example, the Good Shepherd. I believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel (see Articles of Faith 1:3 of The Church of Jesus Christ). And I know that as I have sought to fear God and work righteousness, I have frequently felt the Holy Ghost guiding me, comforting me, and giving me strength and wisdom beyond my own capacity.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s in the name: I’m a Christian. I’m also a Mormon. Understanding that you and I may differ on some of our various beliefs, the Christ we both recognize as the Son of God has taught us that we do not need to be antagonists but we can be united in our cause: the cause of Christians. As Christ instructed the apostles to, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19), we can share our mutual conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the World. We can invite our friends, family, colleagues and complete strangers to come unto him and believe in Him. We can share the enriched life that comes with a belief in Christ.
Just as in the ancient Church, Jesus Christ wants his followers to be united still today. As He guided Christians through Peter in Acts 10, He continues to direct those who believe in Him through modern prophets. He appeared in our day to Joseph Smith, whom the Savior called to be a prophet, and restored His true Church on the earth and the authority to act in His name. Like Joshua followed Moses or like Elisha followed Elijah, the Lord has called Thomas S. Monson as a successor to Joseph Smith and a living prophet. Through these prophets we can know the will of the Lord for our day, we can be united as followers of Christ, and we can know that as we partake of gospel ordinances (rites of salvation) we can return to live in His presence with those we love after this life.
There is no greater message for the world.
Living out a great season of my life, thanks to Jesus Christ, and two wonderful daughters, a great life's work. Loving this opportunity to share faith online... I'm a single Mom, convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, second-gen Italian, from the East coast originally. Love the fine arts, dance, frozen yogurt, temples, scriptures, writing, jazz, helping others reach their potential, king salmon, ....and not in that order. God is good. I feel it deeply when people have a misconception of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ, His Son, that lessens or cheapens Them and blinds one's ability to feel His presence or to trust in an ultimately good eternal end to life's circumstances.