To Be or to Believe
Last week I wrote about a vision President Nelson’s grandfather supposedly had of his father, President’s Nelson great-grandfather. This week I want to focus on a comment President Nelson’s wife, Wendy, made about it. She said: “I just love all those B’s. ‘Be humble, be prayerful, be submissive to the priesthood, be true, be faithful to the covenants you have made with God. . .Be a good boy.’ Six B’s brought to you by your departed great-grandfather.” (emphasis added)
With her love for these six B’s, Mrs. Nelson accurately reflects Mormonism. It is a man-centered religion. Beneath a veneer of talk about Jesus’ atonement, it’s all about what people need to do to be accepted by God. So much so, that any talk of salvation by grace alone is foreign to many Mormons.
Instead of loving those B’s, I love the B with which the word “believe” begins. This B turns my attention away from myself and focuses it on Jesus. It highlights, not what I must be, but what Jesus was for me. He was my perfect substitute. As such, he has already fulfilled all the B’s for me. And he has already erased all my F’s – all my sinful failures. “Believe” rather than “Be” is where God put the emphasis. We see this in John 3:14-18.
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
5 “believes”. Not a “be” in sight.
With this in mind, I reread President Nelson’s account of his grandfather’s vision. There wasn’t a “believe” in sight. But there were those six B’s.
Although Mrs. Nelson loves those B’s, many Mormons are heavily weighed down by them. Some are crushed by them. They realize they can’t “be” what Mormonism demands. This is one reason why many become inactive. Others struggle secretly, covering their pain with a happy face.
They need to hear the “B” of believe – of faith alone. May you share it with them.