Enduring in What?
At the recent General Conference (April 2018), a LDS leader gave a talk on a favorite topic in Mormonism: enduring unto the end. He quoted Jesus’s words in Matthew 24:13: “he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
He then quoted from lds.org. Endure means “to remain firm in a commitment to be true to the commandments of God despite temptation, opposition, and adversity.” So, he answers the question, “enduring in what?” by pointing to the commandments. As he says later in his talk, “We must strive to obey all the commandments and pay close attention to those that are hardest for us to keep.” And a few sentences later: “Obedience will give us the strength to overcome sin.”
But was Jesus talking about enduring in keeping the commandments? As we look at the surrounding verses, the commandments are nowhere in sight. Rather, Jesus warns about being deceived by false prophets. He talks about how some will turn away from the faith. It’s not about enduring in the commandments, it’s all about enduring in believing in him!
This, then, is another example of how Mormonism consistently points people to their works. In Mormonism, it’s not so much about trusting. It’s all about trying. And did you catch how he thinks obedience will empower us to overcome sin?
Although we will never be able to overcome sin, we can say no to it. Obedience, however, isn’t the thing that gives us the strength to do that. God’s grace and our trust in it does. “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). Where Mormonism points people back to themselves, the Bible points people to God.
Not only does this dishonor God, it also burdens so many people. Imagine the people sitting and listening to this talk who are fighting a particular sin. They try so hard but the good they want to do, they just can’t do. Instead of hearing a message about God’s forgiveness, they hear they have to work harder. As the LDS leader said as he was wrapping up: “Success in the Lord’s way has a price, and the only way to achieve it is to pay that price.” Think of how burdened, how despairing people could be.
Friends, we have the only message which frees people from their spiritual burden. We have the only message which brings hope instead of despair. Let’s not keep it to ourselves. Let’s share it far and wide.