People love to read good rescue stories. When all hope seems lost, we enjoy reading how a person was miraculously rescued from perilous situations. Whether a house on fire, a car trapped in a flash flood, or an overturned boat in the open sea, people risk their lives to rescue a person in dire need.
In the June issue of “Ensign,” Connie Goulding wrote an article entitled, “Seeking Rescue.” [https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/06/seeking-rescue?lang=eng] She recalls the story of thirty-three men who were trapped in a mine in Chile. It was a dramatic story of how the miners placed their hope in the rescue attempt. And after sixty-nine days of waiting, every miner was brought to safety.
The author also told of her own tragic story of losing an eight year son when he was hit by a car. She recalls holding her dying and bleeding son in her arms, calling to Heavenly Father to allow him to live. The pain and grief were unbearable until Jesus rescued her from the overwhelming grief.
We can’t ignore the deep emotional impact of almost losing a loved one in a terrible mining accident, nor the actual loss of a precious eight-year old son. But what we find in these stories is a sharp contrast between the LDS version of rescue and what is taught in the Bible.
A faithful Mormon will agree with Christians by stating that Jesus has rescued them. The key question to ask is, “What are we rescued from?”
And from this answer, we also discover how Mormonism and Christianity view hope.
The LDS author pointed to the Chilean miners as an example on how to have hope. There were encouraged by the rescuers to wait and place their hope in their plan to rescue them. In the meantime, there were to do all they can to survive. In her grief over the death of her young son, she placed her hope in Jesus’ plan that someday she will be reunited with her loved ones. While she worked through her pain and loss, Jesus rescued her from the unbearable load of grief.
In Mormonism, Jesus rescues people from earthly problems so that they can take full use of Jesus’ Atonement and follow the plan of salvation. Jesus becomes a Comforter by placing his hand on your shoulder and encourages you to continue to follow him. Hope, then, becomes a principle that is based on a person’s ability to “strive to live the gospel.” (True to the Faith, p. 85) While a Mormon continues to follow the commands and ordinances of the LDS Church or the Plan of Salvation, hope will be increased with the thought that someday they will be rescued from their problems and grief.
Christians have the wonderful opportunity to share with Mormons that they have already been rescued. Even though we continue to experience problems in this life, our confidence and hope is placed in what Christ has already done for us. By his death and substitution on the cross for us, we have been rescued from the eternal consequences of sin.
In a few short weeks, I will be in Provo, Utah going door-to-door and inviting Mormons to go and visit our website, beyeperfect.org. If I receive an opportunity to have a conversation with this woman, I would say the following:
“I am truly sorry over the loss of your son. I can’t imagine the grief and the pain. And I rejoice with you that Jesus has lifted that burden of grief from your shoulders. If I can go back to your story about the miners in Chile, I would like to talk about hope. I appreciated the illustration of how the miners placed their hope in their plan to be rescued and in the same way, you pointed to Jesus’ plan of salvation as a source of hope. Well, allow me to share you about my hope. The gospel clearly states that all of us are trapped like the miners. Our sins have separated us from God. And only Jesus can rescue us from the consequences of eternal death that awaits all people as a result of our sins. The only way for us to be rescued is to be perfect in our obedience to follow Christ. (Matthew 5:48) Only one sin will make us forever trapped in eternal darkness (James 2:10). But I have great news of rescue! Just like the miners were rescued, Jesus has already rescued us! By his death and His substitution, we have been declared perfect and worthy. By trusting in this wonderful promise from God, I have been rescued. And for that, I have great joy and peace --- just like the miners had great joy and peace in being rescued. Please visit our website, beyeperfect.org, so you can find out more about Jesus’ rescue from our sins and how we can receive forgiveness right now.”
We encourage every Christian to understand the language of Mormonism while they attempt to share God’s Word with them. Use the Dictionary of Mormonism at tilm.org to help you. For this article, I encourage you to look up Atonement, Plan of Salvation, and Hope.