The last couple of days I’ve posted on topics related to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Today, I’ll finish up this short series with a humorous memory from long ago.
This story may be a little offensive to some so I apologize in advance. I mean no offense to my Lord or fellow believers but I think the words are a valuable part of the story. As a little background, our son, Steve, was around five years old at the time and I hadn’t accepted the Lord Jesus Christ yet. The language around our home may have been a little raw at times.
Sometime back around 1982-83, our youngest son, Steve, and I packed into the car and headed to Fayette, New York, about 50 miles away. I had studied the origins of the Mormon church for several years and had already visited the church-sponsored visitor centers and historic sites in Palmyra (Smith family home, Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah, and Grandin print shop where the Book of Mormon was printed). In Fayette was the Peter Whitmer farm and visitor center. Whitmer had been an early and important follower of Smith. The Mormon church was formally organized at the Whitmer farm in 1830.
So Steve and I arrived at the Whitmer site and we began strolling through the visitor center exhibit. The elderly husband and wife Mormon missionary couple assigned to the center came over to greet us and commenced with their sales pitch. I had no intention of joining Mormonism (I was already well aware of much of the church’s dubious history and theology at that point) but I enjoyed engaging the couple in conversation and impressing them with how knowledgeable I was. After about ten minutes of conversation, our young son began losing his patience and piped in, “Dad, can we go now? ” I replied with that pat parental answer, “In a little while.” After ten more minutes of talking, a much more frustrated Steve said, “DAD! Can we go now???” I was disappointed my son had interrupted us again so I gave him a stern look and said once again that we would be leaving soon. Sensing their opportunity was coming to an end, the elderly couple began pushing VERY hard to close the deal. After several more minutes, Steve could no longer contain himself and blurted out very loudly, “DAD, LET’S GET OUT OF THIS G** D*** PLACE!” The couple’s jaws dropped right down to the floor. I was stunned and very embarrassed. My son had never spoken that way to me before, in private or public. But I was also relieved that he gave us a good reason to walk away. I apologized and we scooted out the door. As I looked back, the old couple was still standing there in a state of shock. I think I remember buying my son an ice cream cone on the way home. Steve, was only five but he had nailed it right on the head.
The chronology is a little fuzzy after 30+ years, but I believe my wife and I accepted the Lord just a few months after this encounter. That poor couple was selling a false gospel of works religion and much of their church’s unorthodox doctrine had no connection to the Bible. We Christians proclaim the Good News of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone! And we stand on the Truth of God’s Good Word, not on some home-brewed religion or traditions.
Sola Fide, by faith alone.
Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.