Contrasting Thanksgiving between Mormons and Christians
We speed into Thanksgiving week where we looking forward to putting on the brakes in our lives to celebrate with family, football, and full stomachs.
One of the joys of Thanksgiving is to pause, slow down, rest, and give thanks to God for His many blessings. Not only do we give thanks for God abundantly providing the physical blessings -- a good home, good food -- but thanks for all that He has done for us. By Jesus substituting himself on the cross, we receive the free and full forgiveness of our sins. We rest in Christ's promises.
For Christians, every day is a day for thanksgiving. Our motivation for obedience is based entirely on giving thanks for what Christ has already done for us.
This thought is not necessarily true for those who follow the teachings of the LDS Church.
It is true that many Mormon families relish Thanksgiving Day and the opportunity to eat delicious food and be with family. It is a time for physical blessing, but they are missing the spiritual rest of what it means to be truly thankful for what Christ has done for them.
Thanksgiving for Mormons can be defined as "gratitude for blessings received from God." (lds.org) This certainly sounds similar to what Christians believe. The key is discovering the differences on how a person defines key words. In this case, a person will want to have a clear understanding on the word "blessing."
According to Mormonism, to bless, or be blessed, or to receive a blessing means,
"To confer divine favor upon someone. Anything contributing to true happiness, well-being, or prosperity is a blessing. All blessings are based on eternal laws. Because God wants his children to find joy in life, he grants blessings to them as a result of their obedience to his commandments, in answer to a prayer or priesthood ordinance." (source: lds.org)
[For more definitions on the teachings of Mormonism, click here]
For a Mormon to receive any physical or spiritual blessing, it is dependent upon their obedience to follow eternal laws and the commandments of the LDS Church. They give thanks to God [Heavenly Father] and the Son [Jesus Christ] for all that they have done in preparing a plan of salvation. Now, it is up to the Mormon to follow the plan to reach their divine potential and be like Christ. By valiantly following the plan and doing all they can do, it is possible to receive the forgiveness of sins. The many acts of obedience are ways for a Mormon to receive happiness, joy, and prosperity in this life.
Can you notice the difference? Christians focus on the obedience of Christ and offer their thanksgiving for what He has done. Mormons focus on their own obedience. They offer thanksgiving for what Heavenly Father has done through Christ, but use this as an opportunity to renew their covenant with Heavenly Father. All blessings are dependent upon what they need to do to fulfill their covenant.
Thanksgiving offers unique opportunities for Christians to share God's Word with Mormons. We can ask a Mormon on how they view Thanksgiving. By doing so, we can open up doors of opportunity and share what it truly means to be thankful for Christ's obedience in place of our own.
How can we share God's Word with Mormons? Click here to learn how to share the consequences of sin with Mormons.