A Stark Reminder
Today we attended Tara’s grandpa’s LDS funeral service and were blown away about how obvious it was that Mormonism is not a Christian organization. I have been to several of these services now, and here is the common denominator: The Lord is always, at best, a means to an end rather than the end itself. Past services have been more subtle; this one today was so clear!
Near the end of the service, the bishop of the LaBelle Idaho 4th Ward, Mike Hunter, made some brief remarks alluding to the Opening Hymn “Families Can Be Together Forever.” (The second line of that song sings: “When I am in my early years, I’ll prepare most carefully, so I can marry in God’s temple for eternity.”) He referenced a 1973 talk entitled “Heaven Doesn’t Matter” by the late well-known General Authority LeGrand Richards. Hunter read the following words:
Now, in the last general conference, which just ended a week ago, I spoke a little on the eternal duration of the marriage covenant and the family unit, and I quoted from a survey that had been made of nine of the largest churches indicating that there wasn’t one of those churches that believed in the eternal duration of the marriage covenant and the family unit. If you were to take that out of our church what would there be left to look forward to? I remember a little statement that appeared in the Reader’s Digest some years ago from Channing Pollock, entitled “Heaven Doesn’t Matter,” and I just wonder whether heaven would matter if we didn’t believe in the eternal duration of the marriage covenant and the family unit. I’d like to read that little statement from Channing Pollock. After philosophizing on the kinds, [sic] of heaven that people expect to obtain, and, referring to Aunt Jane, he adds:
Shall we like her, or ourselves, as disembodied spirits? I’ve never thought of myself as a materialist, but the things I’ve enjoyed all seem to have required body and mind. . . .
In the resurrection, there is to be no marriage nor giving in marriage—and that’s a big drawback, too. Personally, I can’t conceive a heaven without it. My own ego is so inextricably blended with that of my wife, and my own happiness has been so long part of hers. Nor would it help much to be vaguely associated with her in spirit. Married life is made up of so many physical and mental contacts, of so many shared fears and hopes, sorrows and joys, pains and comfortings that both of us, and millions of other wives and husbands, couldn’t help missing terribly in any conceivable resort of souls. [Reader’s Digest, 30 (January 1937):23]
Now we have a message for those millions who couldn’t be happy with that kind of philosophy, because we have a true conception that has come to us through the restoration of the gospel in our day and time.
...I’d just as soon believe that death was a complete annihilation of both body and spirit as to think that I had to live forever and forever after I pass out of this life without a continuation of the love ties that bind me and my wife and our wonderful family together. I don’t know what there really would be to live for. I’d just as soon call it quits. So I thank God for this great eternal truth of the eternal duration of the marriage covenant and the family unit. I hope you will all live and set your mark to achieve that objective and goal in life.*
While listening to these words, I turned to Tara and said, “Sick!” I said it loudly enough to where others close by could hear. As soon as Hunter read, “If you were to take that out of our church what would there be left to look forward to?”, Tara and I both said out loud: “Jesus!” Again, when Hunter read, “I don’t know what there really would be to live for”, Tara and I both said even more loudly enough for others to hear around us: “JESUS!”
It was truly a shame that the only time the Lord Jesus was quoted during the whole funeral service--"In the resurrection, there is to be no marriage nor giving in marriage" (cf. Matt. 22:30)--it was to throw Him under the bus! The verse was in the context of asking Him who would be married in the resurrection to the woman who had seven husbands. If Mormonism were true, the obvious answer would be: it depends on whom she was sealed to. However, Jesus never said that. Instead, He was clear in verse 30 when He went on to say that we would be “like the angels in heaven.” Even LDS scripture in D&C 132:17 says angels are single!
Tara said that Richards’s talk should have been more aptly titled “Jesus Doesn’t Really Matter.” Ultimately for LDS, she’s right. However, LDS would obviously and quickly reply that Jesus does matter… just as a means to the end of having our eternal families and exaltation. For genuine Christians, though, regardless of the denominational affiliation, Jesus is the end. That is foundational to the Christian faith. He is what life is all about. He's the King of all reality. It's His will that Christians pray will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Christians rejoice in His kingdom while crucifying their own. This idea is nicely summarized in the song "You are My All in All." Mormons on the other hand have turned the family into an idol. In making the family an end in itself and subjugating the Almighty as a means to this end, they are clearly involved in idolatry. In proper LDS categories, the Lord turns into a genie of sorts who promises to fulfill the penitent’s deepest desires so long as the right incantations are given. The Apostle Paul said that unless one repents of this sin, one will not be able to inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
It is no coincidence that earlier in His ministry, Jesus said that He did not come to bring peace and by implication, make eternal families. Rather, He came to divide father against son, mother against daughter, and one’s enemies will belong to his or her own household (Matt. 10:34-6). When LDS begin to truly understand this, they are not far from the kingdom of God.
Tara and I love each other. We love our kids. We love our extended family, including our LDS family, and wish only the best for them… including spending eternity with them in the presence of God. But we will never make our family God... the ultimate purpose in our lives! That position has already been properly filled from eternity, and that is why He says that He knows of no other God besides Himself (Isa. 44:6, 8). There is nothing disrespectful intended to our family by saying as much. There is something infinitely disrespectful and damaging in making the Almighty a means to our own pleasures, and the only proper payment for that is spending eternity away from the only true God. He alone deserves our worship… regardless of any gifts He graciously may give.
* This statement is very similar to LDS Apostle Jeffrey Holland's words heard at every temple opening. He cannot imagine heaven without his wife and family. It would not be heaven for him.
President, Courageous Christians United
West Jordan, UT
November 21, 2022