A Strange Place to Find Peace
Ask Christians where they find peace and most will immediately point to Jesus. After all, he is the one whom God used to establish peace with mankind, reconciling the world to himself in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19). It’s because of Jesus that we receive the peace of mind knowing that, through his sacrifice, we have the forgiveness of sins (Romans 5:1). He is the one who made peace between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:16). He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
But Jesus is not where Mormonism’s leader and living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, goes to when he talks about peace. In this month’s first presidency message (Ensign, October, 2016) he focuses on obedience to the commandments as the source of peace!
This theme is announced already in the introduction: “In the following excerpts from President Monson’s teachings as the President of the Church, he reminds us that the commandments are the surest guide to happiness and peace.” (my emphasis)
A little later, Monson quotes a LDS hymn which states: “Keep the commandments! In this there is safety, in this there is peace.”
The rest of the article centers on the importance of obeying the commandments. It concludes with a mention of Jesus as our example. “He beckons, ‘Follow me.’ He instructs, ‘Go, and do thou likewise.’ He pleads, ‘Keep my commandments’. Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His word. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.”
I don’t know about you, but the command to keep the commandments does NOT give me peace. In fact, it does the exact opposite. I know that no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep them. Therefore, every mention of keeping the commandments highlights my failure – a fact which disturbs me rather than quiets me.
This, however, is the very reaction God desires! “No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20). God intended the commandments to disquiet us, not to pacify us. By showing us our sins, the commandments are to drive us to despair – the despair of our own ability to keep them. That is what God wants because only then will we be eager to hear about being rescued by Jesus.
Holding out obedience to the commandments as the way to have peace is another example of how Mormonism victimizes its members. By urging them to do something they have no capability of doing, it either causes them to despair of peace or gives them the false peace of thinking they have actually obeyed the commandments. Either result is disastrous. Neither one will result in their being accepted by Jesus on Judgment Day. He welcomes only those who, through faith, rely on his perfect obedience of the commandments and his complete payment for sin.
Friends, highlight Jesus with your Mormon friends. Hold up Jesus, not as their example, but as their substitute. Talk about his obedience for them. Talk about his sacrifice for them. Speak the truth of Jesus Christ, the perfect Substitute, to Mormons.