Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016 – Easter Sunday at the MTC

This morning we attended a devotional that was simultaneously broadcast to all of the other MTC's around the world. Our only speaker for the hour was Apostle M. Russell Ballard. It was a great devotional; Elder Ballard is truly is an amazing man. His entire talk bore testimony of Easter and of the Savior. He is an amazing personal witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. My reaction to the entire experience was one of awe, how sweet it was to be literally seated at the feet of an Apostle of the Lord.
We were also spiritually uplifted by the music of the devotional. There is nothing better than a choir made up of 500 plus Elders and Sisters. Then we had a soloist sing “Behold the Lilies of the Field”. This young Elder (Elder Lunt from Gilbert, Arizona) had the voice of a seasoned recording artist. Along with his accompaniment of a violinist and pianist. I still get goose bumps thinking about the music at the devotional.

During Elder Ballard’s talk he referenced an article by a Professor of Theology Stephen H. Webb. It was titled “Mormonism Obsessed with Christ”. I was fascinated to hear Elder Ballard quote from the article and then to realize the author was not LDS. Wow!

February 2012
Stephen H. Webb (March 13, 1961 – March 5, 2016)

“I came to realize just how deeply Christ-centered Mormonism is.”
Mocking Mormonism is one of the last frontiers of verbal lawlessness to be untouched by the vigilante powers of political correctness.

I too used to think of Mormonism as little more than an exotic and abnormal addition to Christianity. When I taught Mormon history to my students, I emphasized its remarkable spirit of endurance, its organizational savvy, and the sheer scope of its religious imagination. Yet I regret to say that I did not try to hide my condescension.

I have come to repent of this view, and not just because I came to my senses about how wrong it is to be rude toward somebody else’s faith. I changed my mind because I came to realize just how deeply Christ-centered Mormonism is. Mormonism is more than Christianity, of course—most obviously by adding the Book of Mormon to the Bible—and that makes it much less than Christianity as well. Nevertheless, the fact that Mormonism adds to the traditional Christian story does not necessarily mean that it detracts from Christianity to the point of denying it altogether.
After all, what gives Christianity its identity is its commitment to the divinity of Jesus Christ. And on that ground Mormons are more Christian than many mainstream Christians who do not take seriously the astounding claim that Jesus is the Son of God
Mormonism is obsessed with Christ, and everything that it teaches is meant to awaken, encourage, and expand faith in him. It adds to the plural but coherent portrait of Jesus that emerges from the four gospels in a way, I am convinced, that does not significantly damage or deface that portrait.
I came to this conclusion when I read through the Book of Mormon for the first time. I already knew the basic outline: that it recounts the journey of a people God led from Jerusalem to the Americas six hundred years before the birth of Christ. In America, they split into two groups, the good guys (the Nephites) and the bad guys (the Lamanites), who battled each other until there were no good guys left—except for Moroni (Mormon’s son), who buried the chronicles of their wars and then, in 1823, told a farm boy from upstate New York where to find them. . . . 

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