Friday, February 4, 2011

God Will Honor Sincere Attempts to Follow Him, Regardless of Religion or Denomination

I believe God recognizes and rewards EVERY sincere, good action undertaken by EVERY one of His children - regardless of whether or not those actions carry any eternal efficacy in and of themselves as ordinances. 

If a Christian priest / pastor / minister acts according to her best understanding and attempts to glorify God through her actions, I believe strongly that God recognizes and will reward her for it. That is, after all, the heart of our proxy work for the dead - especially for those who were “valiant” in following the light they were given.

 In other words, while we believe it is necessary to perform a proxy baptism for someone who has been baptized without what we see as binding Priesthood authority, that does not mean we are invalidating the faith of the person who was baptized - or the faith of the person who performed the baptism. Just because I believe a particular creed is an abomination does not mean that I believe a sincere attempt to follow Jesus and express one’s faith through baptism is an abomination - even if I simultaneously accept the need to perform a proxy baptism. Not even remotely do I believe that there is no power and faith imbued in actions outside the Restored Priesthood.

I honor faith and sincerity -
wherever it is found, and I believe with all my heart that God does, as well.


Joshua said...

Living in a Buddhist country, I can sympathize with the heart of your post. The intent of the heart is one of the most important elements in any action, as Jesus taught. After all, what good is a "good" work if the intent is personal gain? It seems to me, from my experience, that a lot of so-called "good works" are done merely for personal gain; I've been guilty of it before, too.

On a different note, may I ask: Why do Mormons get baptised for the dead? What does it result in?


How would you define "His children"?


Papa D said...

"Why do Mormons get baptised for the dead? What does it result in?"

I see this a little differently than many members, even though I love the idea of proxy work for the dead.

I believe God can save us regardless of what we do in the way of ordinances, but I really like the way the apostle Paul frames baptisms for the dead in I Corinthians 15 as the ultimate example of our faith that ALL are resurrected through the grace / Atonement of Christ - and that we are willing to do for them what we do for ourselves and what they can't do for themselves. Verses 1-29 of that chapter are a great defense of the resurrection being a gift to all, and verse 29 is the clinching argument in that defense.

Is it "necessary" in some practical, God-binding way? I don't think so. Is it "necessary" in a very important, symbolic way? I believe so.

"How would you define "His children"?"

In multiple ways, as does the Bible and the rest of our scriptures - ranging from all who ever have lived to only those who accept Jesus and attempt to follow him. Really, that's a topic for another post. I'll see if I've written directly about that in a past post and link it here if I did.

Papa D said...

"What does it result in?"

Sorry, forgot to answer that part of your question:

Imo, it results in a changed heart within the person performing the ordinances - a "turning of the hearts of the children to their fathers" as stated in Malachi. In practical terms, I don't think it results in much more than that - but I think that's a very, very important thing, in and of itself.

Michelle said...

I've enjoyed reading thoughts in Preach My Gospel and in Elder Oaks' talk that he gave at Harvard that separate out the problems with the creeds of Joseph Smith's day with the people who may have followed them. There is so much of goodness in so many places and faiths and people.

Those concepts with the tension of the necessity of baptism and ordinances of salvation is an interesting one that I mull over a lot. I think 2 Ne 31 gives us some insight into why baptism is important to Mormons.

I like Joshua's reminder that good works done for the wrong reason can negate some of their good.

I am grateful to know that "God looketh on the heart."

Papa D said...

michelle, interestingly those who do good things for the wrong reasons "have their reward", as the Bible teaches. If they want worldly recognition, they get it; if they want public praise, they get it. If they "have their reward", they don't need "God's reward".

Doing good is doing good, and it will be rewarded. The issue, imo, is the soruce and nature of the reward.