LDS converts write about building bridges with other Christian faiths

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Rob and Kathy Datsko are converts to the LDS Church. They provide a fantastic overview of relating the various aspects of Latter-day Saint gospel living and beliefs with that of "Spirit-filled Christians." In the authors' description, that can include anyone from Catholics to Protestants and Evangelicals.

In their e-book "Building Bridges Between Spirit-Filled Christians and Latter-day Saints," the Datskos provide several great suggestions how Latter-day Saints can better communicate with this vast demographic. Spirit-filled Christians are referred throughout the book as "SFC" in the same way that "LDS" is used for Mormons:

Break down the language barrier. For instance, understand the depths of what SFC interprets when the term "eternal life" or "Godhead" is used. Speak the SFC terms where appropriate in order to convey a gospel principle more effectively.

Understand that SFC feel the need to share the "gospel of Christ" as LDS members do. Use the similarity to rejoice in a love for the Savior and revealed truth from God.

Comprehend why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is viewed by SFC to be non-Christian, or a fourth branch of Christianity, after Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism.

Avoiding "sacred cows" can lead LDS people to communicate the gospel in a more pure way, rather than emphasizing cultural norms. This can include prayer language, church dress and Sabbath observance, among many others.

Remember the differences the LDS Church believe between the light of Christ and the personage, power and gift of the Holy Ghost. That will help LDS discern how SFC are describing their encounters and understanding of what they often describe as the Holy Spirit.

Understand the differences that LDS believe about the blessings of the celestial kingdom (in terms of exaltation) compared with what SFC understand to be the fruits of what they may usually describe as the "kingdom of heaven."

Know the differences between LDS and SFC beliefs concerning the relationships between the commandments and the Spirit. LDS often emphasize keeping the commandments in order to be worthy of the Holy Ghost, while SFC often prioritize the necessity of following the Spirit first as the key to subsequent obedience.

Comprehend how LDS pray (in terms of language, timing in meetings and its structure) from the SFC approach (often more casual and spontaneous).

Understand the shared LDS belief in the love for truths from the Bible, and the consideration of the Bible's full truthfulness.

Know the LDS emphasis on ordinances and blessings being administered through the priesthood from the SFC’s belief in performing the Lord's work "in the name of Jesus." A correlation is the reality of operative spiritual gifts in either faith.

Know the key doctrinal differences concerning the physical nature of deity, what it takes to accept Christ and the experience and inviting of the Spirit.

Rhett Wilkinson attends Utah State University, is a Capitol Hill intern and the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint. He's previously been an intern for the Deseret News. He can be reached at rhett.wilkinson@usu.edu or on Twitter: @wilklogan

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