Comments about ‘In the Whirled: Why Christianity needs a church’

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Published: Wednesday, April 11 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Moontan
Roanoke, VA

I want to say this is a very nice piece before the critic's begin picking it apart.

Of course brick and mortar churches have problems; this should be expected so long as humans attend them. But we should rise above the negative and grab the good with a tenacious hold. In doing so, we can't help but become better followers of Christ.

AZ Border Dude
Naco, AZ

As a twenty-something I had the same feelings about my fromer church's shifting focus from God to Dollar, it upset me. I that religion, became the epitome of the scripture, ".... because they know not where to find it," and drifted for fourteen years. I rejected any religion that did not worship Jesus Christ. None met what I was seeking.

Then I contacted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Two very patient missionaries took their time and exerted a lot of restrtaint to let me set the pace. I was baptized and it was a wonderful experience. For the last forty plus years I have been with the same church.

The community feeling that the article mentioned extended far beyond the limits of my neighborhood. In my career, I had to travel often. Wherever I went, I was made welcome and accepted at any branch or ward in the world. My travels took me to over a dozen foreign lands, and almost half of our states. Some trips were for a couple of weeks, others for months and years. But, I was welcome as if I lived there all my life.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

I guess I am one of those critics. And my problem isn't with the church per se, but the culture the church creates almost as an unintended consequence. It seems at times that the "church" part sometimes overwhelmes the gospel part. That there is such a pre-occupation with doing tasks (aka the "work"), that we loose the humanity of the whole thing. Unfortunately it sometimes takes a tragedy like hurricane cleanup to get people to snap back from getting tasks done to what it the whole process about. It is in the unstructured events like a clean up that peoples humanity really shows through, where as on a typical sundeay what you see is the hurried rush from task to task, meeting to meeting.

In any large organization, churches included, size and growth creat issues around governance, where process starts to overwhelm the intent. Sometimes we need to step back from worrying how many kids get their duty to god award versus just how they are doing, at a personal level.

Religion is a deeply personal experience. The administration of a faith needs to be very carefull to not overshadow that very important fact.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

@UtahBlue ... Your comment doesn't read like a criticism to me. More like a healthy caution. We all should be continually vigilant that we don't take our eyes off of what really counts ... loving our neighbor. It is easy to lose sight of the mark in all the drama of daily living.

Jeanie b.
Orem, UT

I agree with everything said in this article as well as posted so far.

I have felt great peace being a member of a global church - like gathering under a large tent filled with people who are trying their best to do what's right while a storm rages outside.

It has made me a better person to be in the company of people I would not ever have known or chosen to know with out being a part of an organized religion. There have been opportunities to exert myself and behave more like Christ - opportunities that would not have come if I had picked the people I associated with.

I also agree with UtahBlueDevil that we need to be careful that the "check-off list" does not overshadow the real condition of the soul.

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

It depends on the individual. Some Christians would have their faith be strengthened with a church, others it may be weakened. Some may draw the most benefit from a Southern Baptist church, others a Catholic, Methodist, or LDS church.

The Atheist
Provo, UT

I have a bit different perspective.

1. They provide community

No, they provide exclusion of others from YOUR "community". 

2. They give aid, 3. They provide service

The number of religious people who "give aid" is a drop in the ocean compared to the total membership of "believers, and the dollar amounts are equally trivial. Do the math. The average amount of "aid" given by Mormons since 1985 has been less than $4 per year per person. Organized crime families give more "aid" as a front, and greedy corporations give more money and service in the name of good PR.

4. They expand your circle

No, you have befriended MORMONS from Africa, Germany, Peru, Haiti and Russia. That is not an expansion, but a contraction of your "circle".

5. They provide a school for learning
for learning about your own religion (in monotonous repetition), and learning completely false and distorted things about other religions. In short, you learn pure propaganda.

6. They provide opportunities for growth
Reality provides opportunity for growth. Religion denies and distorts reality, which thwarts growth.

garybeac
Chapel Hill, NC

Why is it that the best articles and talks come from especially feminine sisters? Alas, I suppose we must continue limping along with an all-male priesthood. Apparently, only men need its opportunities for growth. Anyway, the question seems to be, "How do we evade the stunting parts of Mormon culture without throwing out the Mormons?" My best suggestion is to get rid of the missionary program all together or transform it totally. My son was deeply disappointed by the attitudes of his companions. They openly disrespected other cultures and beliefs and practically admitted that they were serving to please their parents and come back to BYU and get a pretty wife. Sheesh! We need a movement: "It's okay to stay!" and "Serve God, not yourself!" Look into your heart and see if you're inclined to unfavorably judge a young man who chooses to pursue a career that will serve his family and community instead of going to Russia for two years to seek out the dissatisfied. The elect will seek out an LDS visitors center on their own. Also, the Word of Wisdom: Really? You feel sanctified by not drinking coffee? Ever heard of the atonement?

Kith
Huntington Beach, CA

UtahBlueDevil, garybeac, you both bring up a valid point. So many in the church simply "go through the motions". They become so focused on the physical duties (and as those companions did, the benefits) they lose sight of their purpose, which is spiritual growth. In the parable of the ten virgins, the virgins represent the church members (whether the term 'church' in this example means, well, church members, or the righteous of the world or most likely something in between I haven't figured out yet). Only five of the ten are prepared for the bridegroom (The Lord). the other five are shut out while preparing. If you were to take this literally, fifty percent of the church will be unprepared and consequently will not make it. Probably more. We are all given free agency, we may choose as we will. Does this mean our doctrine is flawed? No, just the members.

M. Matchette
Syracuse, Utah

In a time when TPTB are succeeding at dividing this country and starting a new religeon (Gov't dependancy), enticing women to work out of the home because the standard of living is lowering as this depression deepens, destroying the family and it's values and trading them for unfullfilling and fake ones, is it any wonder that neighborhoods around the country don't know their neighbors? How are we to get together for a common cause and protect our freedoms? Wasn't that a great idea to kick God aside? Those Churches and their places of worship are more than a shallow athiest can see. They are a refuge from the world, and good place to know your neighbors and the issues specific to the area...

Brahmabull
sandy, ut

Churches, and the LDS church in particular seem to focus too much energy on things that have very little weight in the eternities and forget to do the big things. Example: people get so caught up on the word of wisdom, yet fail to serve others. Being christlike has nothing to do with not drinking coffee or tea, as I am sure there will be no eternal punishment to drinking a certain beverage. There will, however, be eternal punishment for not treating people kindly. Religious people are often judgemental of those in other religions, and even in their own religion. This is not what christ had in mind based on what he taught. Point is, there are things that will matter, and the little things won't.

LValfre
CHICAGO, IL

"Are there churches taking advantage of their members and losing sight of what “religion” is all about? Absolutely. Do we need to look outside the facade of religion and return to the fundamentals of Jesus Christ’s teaching? Certainly."

What a hypocritical statement. Let me guess, your going to condemn other churches for being this way but not mention your own.

donn
layton, UT

RE: Mormon #1. reason They provide community(man centered).

Biblical #1 reason Christ centered. Going to church is a visible, tangible expression of our love and worship toward God. It is where we can gather with other believers to publicly bear witness of our faith and trust in God, something that is required of all Christians (Matt. 10:32-33) -- and it is where we can bring Him offerings of praise, thanks, and honor, which are pleasing to Him. "I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You" (Psa. 22:22). People are often motivated toward church attendance for how it will bless themselves, however we should remember that the primary purpose of the corporate gathering is to bring "service" to the Lord as a blessing to Him (Psa. 134:2). Indeed, the Lord is deserving of our time and energy to honor Him with our service of devotion. "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power.. (Rev. 4:11). There is the promise of a special visitation of the Lord's presence whenever two or more gather specifically in the name of Jesus. By implication, this means whenever "Jesus" is the object of gathered prayer, worship, praise.

BeckiD
Boise, ID

Your article reminded me of my life, I spent years searching for God’s true church. Then God revealed to me that His Church isn't religion, it's made up of people. Those with faith in Jesus are part of God’s true church. Paul wrote “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth... with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Co 1:2)

The foundation of God’s Church is made up of people: Jesus, His apostles, and Old Testament prophets: "...and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." (Ephesians 2:19b-21)

Since we are also commanded to not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25) it's important to find a place to worship God. Finding a church that is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, [and] Jesust" is paramount! That foundation is their teachings, found in the Bible.

non believer
PARK CITY, UT

Because by hearing the same things over and over again, one starts to believe what they are hearing as truth! Even though there is no physical evidence to support their teachings! If you are not in attendence, they do not have the same ability to instill fear and guilt in their members, thus leading to false hope!

LValfre
CHICAGO, IL

How many families of a professed religion DO NOT raise their kids from birth into their chosen church? I've rarely ever seen the parents who keep faith neutral with their kids so they can make their own decision when they're an adult. The indoctrination starts young ... and that's why Christians need a church.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

You know, I find it funny that some feel what seems to be so insecure with their own beliefs that rather than professing and sharing what their beliefs system does right, they instead spend their energy trying to tear down those who don't believe as they do.

Truth doesn't require you to tear down something else to make it true. It should stand alone on its own merits. Needing to tear down what someone else believes only shows a shallowness in ones own beliefs, whether it be religion, or politics.

If you path is so good, take it, and let those who have found their own path to do what works for them. And I say this to members of my own church - the LDS faith as well. But it is particularly irritating that there are a few who constantly say how superior their belief system is, and yet never spend a second sharing how that belief system has enriched their lives. Rather, they focus on trying to tear down others beliefs.

If what you have found is so positive, share that, not what is wrong with the way I believe. The "easy" negative path just shows weakness.

Supporting LDS Church
Salt Lake City, UT

"The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is a sign to the entire world that the Lord has commenced to gather Israel and fulfill covenants He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

We have a church- and it's not one that man established, but God. That's how it works. God authorized the restoration of His Church and His priesthood in the latter-days, to spread the message of repentance, forgiveness, and joy. It's a literal gathering, a literal tiding of joy, and so on. The Church is a literal fulfillment of the Bible. Just as Christ came and the Jews said they had a Bible- Christ didn't do away with it, but fulfilled it. The Book of Mormon is no different. It does not negate a thing of the Bible, but fulfills it all the same.

The idea that 'Christians' need a church rests on the idea that God has not established His church and that the gathering of Israel in the latter-days is not a real doctrine. It relies on ignoring the Bible. The truth is that God's church has been restored.

LValfre
CHICAGO, IL

@UtahBlueDevil,

"Truth doesn't require you to tear down something else to make it true. It should stand alone on its own merits." - Yet the truth I've been told doesn't stand.

"Needing to tear down what someone else believes only shows a shallowness in ones own beliefs, whether it be religion, or politics.

If you path is so good, take it, and let those who have found their own path to do what works for them. And I say this to members of my own church - the LDS faith as well." - Yet missionaries travel the world telling people their faith is wrong and their church is only one true church.

What you're saying is sounding very hypocritical.

The Deuce
Livermore, CA

To: The Atheist - Provo, UT: First, I am not of the LDS Faith and reading your comments seems to me that you have been attending a far different branch of the LDS Church than anything that I have ever experienced across the world in my travels. First, my experience with LDS members is vast over the years and I find them all inclussive of any and all people. I suppose that your experience my relate more to your Utah experience than actual LDS Church experience on a broader scale. Religion is reality and the many examples of such can be found in writings such as the Bible where examples of people's charity and love for others give real examples for all of us. While this is not exclusive to the LDS Faith, these types of people live everywhere who serve others and help in their communities. My advice to you would be to leave Utah and get a real world experience.

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