Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dear Anonymous 7:20 pm

Dear friend,

I appreciate your comments. But I must confess that I hoped these posts would spark amicable discussions with others. I have heard all the anti-Mormon arguments. They haven't changed in 200 years. I've struggled with them and know they are wrong.
I am glad that you have decided to read my blog, even after our prior exchanges. I know that my mental capacity and reasoning aren't even close to that of most (my recent grades are proving that).
But I will tell you that as sure as I know the sun will rise tomorrow, I know that God lives and loves us. He is our Heavenly Father. His Son is Jesus Christ, the Savior of us all. And They have called Joseph Smith to be a Prophet. The Book of Mormon is true. There is a living prophet today, Gordon B. Hinckley.
I know these things because I have felt the power of God distill upon my soul more knowledge and understanding than I can describe.
I'm sorry that I don't have words to explain precisely how I know, but sometimes words fail.
Can you describe the taste of salt without using "salt"?
I have tasted Spiritual Salt, and I want everyone to taste it. I can't help it. There is a burning in my bones to share this message: The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored, and all mankind is invited to supp at the table of the Lord, to receive the fullness thereof!
In Waco, I have watched members of other faiths with awe, especially in my oral advocacy class. Professors Osler, O'Brien, and Gloer are exceptional Christians. And I fully believe they will receive everything God has in store for them and more. They are men whom I seek to emulate as I strive to follow Jesus Christ.
But I echo the words of the man whom I recognize as the Mouthpiece of the Lord Jesus Christ, Gordon B. Hinckley: "Bring to us all the light and knowledge that you have, and let us see if we can add to it!"
I have no desire to attack the faith of others because I don't want to destroy it. I hope that my posts will build faith. You don't have to believe me. No one does. But I can't help but express what I know to be true. And I cannot say the smallest part of what I feel!
My dearest friend, let us strive to build each other up!
I would be lying if I said I didn't want this blog to spark within someone the desire to know that the Book of Mormon is true. But if nothing else happens, I hope others feel closer to Jesus Christ as the result of what I write. At the very least, I want others to understand the impetus behind Mormonism.
If I at any time made you or anyone else feel like I was attacking your faith or religious convictions, I apologize.
My friend, may we move forward in faith, building others and encouraging others to come to Christ.
With Warmest Regards,
Craig Pankratz

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

some may say that what this dialogue resembles is people using different names for the same thing, i think that it is more so the same name for different things.

the LDS Jesus is not the same Protestant/Catholic Jesus.

Craig Pankratz said...

I'm sorry you feel that way.

Best Regards,
Craig

Anonymous said...

Craig,

I am sorry too. There is just too much "extra" for me to put my faith in the Book of Mormon.

Stones, Tablets, Cortez, Polygamy, caffeine, Blood Antonement, Baptism for the Dead, special underwear, reluctance to accept minorities in the priesthood, art that depicts adam and eve as blonde haired anglos, warring tribes that no other historians acknowledge, etc.

The Bible is full of enough confusing parts, yet with all of the authors and errors it comes down to loving God and loving your neighbors- that is the only law: love. Love is the law.

What the LDS does is add to that. It seems as though you have re-applied the veil of Moses and are living under the law.

There are tons of rules and regulations that I know about and probably more that I haven't yet heard. Why so many rules? Why so many pre-scribed answers? Why no caffeine? Why strict rules about the temples, I have been granted entrance to Hindu, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim temples, but not to a Mormon temple. How is that loving your neighbor? It sounds more like law than love. Law divides and love brings together.

I watched a special on the Mormon Tabernacle choir on CBS; it was stricter than boot camp. Sure they sing great, but should the best singers in the world, who are singing of love, mercy, and kindness not be shown any themselves.

There are just too many extras, too many laws, too many rules, and too many unbelievable explanations and rationales for these rules.

http://www.irr.org/mit/divination.html

OsoDelSol said...

Any faith can be practiced in a harmful way. Craig practices his faith in a way that affirms and grounds him and that strengthens his family bonds. He is using this blog to promote a spirit of openness and to inform others as to what he believes because, let's face it, there's a lot of stigma attached to being Mormon--especially outside of Utah. I would say that he is trying to do as much as he feels he can to bring people together and heal divisions between Christians.

I would also remind you of what Paul said in Romans 14. The whole chapter is pertinent, but I will quote verses 5-6, 13-14:
"Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.... Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another , but resolve instead neer to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anoyone who thinks it is unclean." This is the message of love for one another as brothers and sisters who do not agree over the small things. What is important is that we all agree that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who died for our sins. Everything else is extraneous. If your brother has practices that are symbolic and help him walk in love, then why begrudge him them? How are the differences between Mormons and the rest of the Church somehow "worse" than the differences between Catholics and the rest of the Church? Both urge other books and testimonies, but importantly BOTH retain the most fundamental tenet of salvation and Jesus' identity. Both are steeped in tradition and symbolism, and just as a traditional and symbolic system can be practiced by an individual in a harmful way, it can also be practiced as Craig practices it.

It is more divisive and un-loving to constantly attack one who is strong in his faith and is affirmed by it--one who practices his faith in a way that attempts to bring the children of the Lord together--than to seek to understand and to encourage. If you must spend your time attacking those you don't understand, you should probably devote more of that time to those that you believe are specifically perpetrating a wrong instead of an innocent member of the same group.

Anonymous said...

osodelsol,

love and relationship free of judgment is exactly the point of the gospel, i totally agree with that.

to quote another famous apostle, Tupac Shakur: "only God can judge me."

My responses to Craig are probably seen as judgment, and all I can say in response is that I sound judgmental because I am responding to judgment.

It is a paradox of sorts to say I am tolerant of all those except the intolerant.

Where I disagree with you and Craig is in what you consider to be the common ground not the small differences.

The LDS believe in multiple gods: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Creator of this Earth are three different Gods; and one day Craig himself will be a god. There is no limit to the number of Gods that exist in the Mormon church. This does not align with any Protestant or Catholic theology.

The LDS believes that Jesus is literally brothers with Satan. This does not align with any Protestant or Catholic theology.

You said: "What is important is that we all agree that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who died for our sins. Everything else is extraneous." Yes, this is the simple truth for the LDS and for protestants and catholics, but what those respective groups mean by those words is completely different. Words matter. Definitions matter. The irony of the LDS/other dialogue is in the vast differences in definitions.

Anonymous said...

This is the anonymous writer again; I need to clarify what I mean by being judgmental and being intolerant of intolerance.

All I mean by that is that the LDS believes that it is the one true church and all others are not true.

Craig, as he has asserted, writes in part because of a hope to bring people to what he believes is true; therefore like any good missionary he is encouraging people to move away from what is false.

LDS=truth others=false

So that is why I write and why I judge, because I am being judged.

I am not a Mormon, therefore I am not part of the true church, and that makes me sad. I wish we could just "build each other up" but it is hard to build up someone whose starting point is that you are wrong.

Ultimately I don't care if Craig is capital "R" Right or if I am "R"ight; that is up to God- if he/she exists and cares enough to decide "R"ightness. What I do care about are religions that functions as institutions of control and oppression, religions that do not bring together, but rather divide based on whether or not someone is part of the true church or not.

What I care about is love. Love your neighbor as yourself. A perfect religious blog would have one post and say just that: LOVE. However Craig's blog is a highly detailed, persuasively written blog with numerous entries that attempt to justify the TRUE CHURCH. When anyone tells me they have a monopoly on the truth I check their i.d to see if they are god.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE- that is it and that is all. Adding to that with extra rules and relgious institutions perverts that. Adding the capital "R"ight or capital "T"ruth to your religion goes against the capital "L"ove.

Mark Osler said...

Anon--

I think that your condemnation of the LDS church would probably apply, to various degrees, to nearly all churches. There isn't a lot of ecumenism out there. The exception, I guess, is the Unitarian/Universalists, but that comes with its own freight.

If what you care about is love (and I am with you there!), then maybe the thing to care about is that you have that in common with Craig, and that the ability to make love a defining theme of one's life is more important than what beyond that they do or do not believe.

I can draw my circle broadly with a principle like that, and I am glad to do it.