Good Churches

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In Moroni, chapter 7, Mormon talks about the nature of good and evil:

“Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil . . . ” (v. 12)

So, I wonder then if we can consider Christian churches other than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be from God, presuming of course that they are (inherently) good. I think that many, if not all, of them are good. Many of them put a lot of money and resources into humanitarian efforts, for example. Some of them led the way for the Restoration. Which actually brings us to another question that came to my mind.

If the Jehovah’s Witnesses church is good, and thus God played some role in its development (it “cometh from God”), how does that fit into the fact that it was not established until at least 40 years after the Mormon Church? Why would God influence a post-Restoration church after his “only true and living church” (D&C 1:30) was established? For that matter, why would he influence more than one (Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostals, etc).

Unless of course the Jehovah’s Witnesses church isn’t good, or cometh of God means something very vague.

17 thoughts on “Good Churches

  1. To me a church is ultimately a source for the teachings and doctrines which lead to joy in this life and eternal life in the world to come. Along these lines are these churches ultimately teaching false methods of gaining eternal life?

    There are many ‘good’ things in life other than churches. But they do not lead to eternal life either. While they may do some good along the way they do not have the fullness of the plan of salvation.

    Do any of these other churches even claim anything similar to a restoration? It is my understanding that they don’t. Their claim on the ‘good’ appears to be borrowed good that is part of the leftovers from a previous dispensation.

  2. I would say they are Godly in nature, good and Christlike (speaking of Christian churches, but there are others, as well, which are not Christian).

    I honestly think this is going to work itself out and these guys are just as good as any Mormon.

  3. I always look at it from the perspective that the disciples of Christ stand to gain the greatest number of blessings from following that organization that teaches the greatest number of eternal truths.

    When we say that the church has the Fullness of the Truth, I think that should mean that we have been given more revelations of truth and wisdom than any other truth.

    We also believe that there are many great and important truths yet to be revealed which also would imply that we don’t have all of the truth yet.

  4. The question seems to be stubbornly refusing to parse the churches into their various elements. If a church teaches people to believe that Christ is the Redeemer, that’s good and comes from God. If a church teaches that all revelation to apostles and prophets has been done away, that’s bad and comes from Satan.

    Our church teaches good things, but the members don’t always do good things. Those actions that aren’t good don’t come from God. Sometimes members of the Church may teach principles that aren’t correct. Those incorrect principles don’t come from God.

  5. “Why would God influence a post-Restoration church after his “only true and living church” (D&C 1:30) was established?”

    My guess is, because he wants the members of those churches to be led to a greater fulness of the truth.

  6. “My guess is, because he wants the members of those churches to be led to a greater fulness of the truth.”

    But those churches did not exist until decades after the LDS church.

  7. That’s right. That doesn’t mean they can’t function as means of leading people toward the fuller truth and power that is found in his own Church.

  8. Good point. It’s too bad we can’t verify the rate at which Jehovah Witnesses (or the other post-Restoration church members) leave their church to join ours.

  9. I don’t know. I suspect it’s rather low. On the other hand, even if such people are never led to cross over to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they can, through the Light of Christ, perceive the goodness of their correct teachings and come closer to their heavenly Father through living by them.

  10. Maybe that gets them closer to a position of accepting the ordinances of the Gospel, such as baptism, in the next life, if not in this one.

  11. Kim – the sad truth is that recently the number of people converting to Jehovah Witnesses is a higher number than those becoming LDS. The JW’s are either better at getting their message to those seeking religion or their message is more appealing.

    My gut feeling is that when missionaires had to memorize the lessons, they did a better job then the current plan does. Much like the 2 year mission converted more people than the 18 month plan did.

  12. Sunday our lesson was on the Prophet Balaam (Numbers). I wanted to ask about this during SS. The Prophet Balaam lived near Moab (close to Jericho) and Mosses had brought the people out of the desert and was destroying the people the Prophet Balaam lived among. We have to assume the Prophet Balaam had people who believed on him and they had the same religion as Mosses since Balaam was a Prophet.

    There were people who believe just has Abraham did and this same religion was still there when Mosses return with Abraham’s children out of Egypt. Remember how Abraham paid tithes?

    The religion Balaam was the Prophet over had been there for hundreds of years while the Jews were in Egypt. Balaam spoke with God so he would have the same religion right?

    So why did Mosses have the existing members of the Lord’s Church killed?

    Is the Israelite religion an off-shoot of the orginal religion that Noah taught?

    Think about this – What if a family of Mormons had moved away when BY was the Prophet and now a hundred years later they come back to SLC in the thousands and were killing and taking over city by city in Utah all in the name of God. If you lived in SLC and this new group had their own Prophet – which group would would want to associate with?

    History is written by the winner.

    So – could God have different religions that appeal to different people with the goal of having his children taught his gospel?

    If so, could the other religions be of God like LDS is?

  13. “The JW’s are either better at getting their message to those seeking religion or their message is more appealing.”

    When a church gets to a certain size, growth becomes stable. For the last three years in a row, the number of converts coming into the church has been just over 240,000. Perhaps we have reached the point where we will not see accelerated growth. Perhaps we are at the point where we simply have sustained growth.

  14. I might be off a little, it has been awhile since I saw the numbers for JW growth but if memory serves me correctly – their growth has been averaging about 300,000 a year.

    The numbers that are not discussed is the number of members who leave the church each year. They may not take their names off the rolls but they stop attending.

    During the past 4 years, my ward is shrinking at an alarming rate yet no one wants to admit that something is wrong. 4 years ago we filled the overflow. Now we clsoe the curtains and still cannot fill the pews. We really do have empty pews. Yes some have moved away but lots of families have simply stopped coming.

    We had a convert baptism last week but 1 person does not replace a family that quit coming.

    I would like to know the number of baptisms vs the number that go inactive. If we could keep the inactives coming, we would need to build more buildings.

  15. I think of most churches/religions “being of God” if they have some sort of Abraham/Monotheism concept within their doctrine or customs.

    Abraham married Hagar who begot Ishmael who built the base for Islam to come forth. Islam strongly identifies with Abraham.

    Abraham married Sarah who begot Isaac and went on to build the twelve tribes which had a tribe that brought forth the lineage of Christ. Each tribe was blessed. Many societies believe Christ visited them during the time he was buried and resurrected (Tonga, Mongolia, and so on) and we are now finding through missionary patriarchal blessings that these groups have lineages that also coincide with the migration patterns of the lost tribes. Today, these peoples may practice a splintered religion, but it is still grounded in monotheism and Abraham.

    Abraham married Keturah who begot seven sons who were blessed before they were sent to travel eastward. Eastward was to China, India, etc., where religions grew from monothesistic belief (yes, even Hindus ultimately believe in one God – but also acknowledge deities). Religious thought during this time and later, morphed in many teachings of the Jews and Abraham – and remember, the seven sons were blessed by Abraham.
    On Balaam…
    Balaam was indeed a prophet – however he sorely lacked discernment and could not fully use the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Balaam led a group of non-practicing Jews and according to Torah study, he was highly favored by these people – and considered an equal to Moses in their eyes.

    God just couldn’t get through to him to use the gift of discernment – and he became an allegory for us to “listen to the still small voice”.

    Balaam is also an allegory for us to be aware of those leaders of churches that rack in the dough for personal use and for using to forward their own political-religious ideas.

  16. TO – I enjoyed your comments but I have a couple of thoughts – I heard somewhere that Abraham had lieved with Noah before Noah died. I guess I need to research it.

    The people Balaam was the Prophet over would not have been Jews. Remember the Jews came from the loins of Jacob and Jacobs family was in Egypt for several generations. So if the people of Balaam had the Gospel (and we assumed they did since Balaam was a Prophet) why would the Jews kill Balaam and his people? Could an answer be that since the winner writes the history books that the story of Balaam was written to give an excuse for killing a righteous man?

    What if one of the large Mormon families from Mexico came back to their promise land (their old farm/ranch in Utah) and killed the people who live on the land currently and took possession of the land. Would it be any different than what the Jews/Mosses did to Balaam and his people?

  17. Noah/Abraham/Moses – Noah was 600 years old when the flood came and lived 450 years after the flood. Abraham was born 200 years after the flood. It is very likely that Abraham knew Noah.

    It is also very likely that Balaam was a prophet after the same order as Noah and Abraham.

    Did Moses created a different religious order than the one Balaam was a member of and Balaam group had to be replaced for the Isralites to be in charge of?

    Any thoughts on this?

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