Winters can be brutal in the part of the country I come from. Howling winds and drifting snow plunge night time temperatures in to the single digits and below, while day time temperatures hover barely above freezing, if that.
Hard to believe, when just 50 miles south the landscape turns from aspen and pine to the red-sandstone desert and mild temperatures for which southeast Utah is famed.
Yes, this is where I am from. The four corners area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet. And, it was here just a few miles west of the Colorado state line that I was born. My grandparents coming to the area to homestead during the depression.
Southeast Utah. It can be a tough place to live. The winters are long and bitter and for those living within a pre-dominantly Mormon community, it can be a tough place to find acceptance. And, it was especially so, in those early years, when my grandparents first arrived.
In those days, the differences between Mormonism and Christianity was well understood. There was never a time, when the line was blurred. Both sides, (unlike today) were well aware of the differences between the two and never once, did anyone (on either side) consider them to be the same.
We knew God was never once a man. We knew man could never progress to godhood. We knew salvation was not through Joseph Smith. We knew the God of the Bible, did not come from the planet Kolob. We knew Jesus Christ was the son of God, the second person of the Trinity and not the brother of Lucifer, as Mormonism teaches. We knew that the Bible does not teach baptism for the dead. These things we knew and more. And, the Mormon church never pretended to teach otherwise.
Not so today. Today, you will find Mormons using terminology once only used and understood by evangelical Christians. Today you find Mormons trying to fit under the umbrella as just another Christian denomination. Today you have Mormons, who would have us call them brother or sister, as if the differences did not exist. And, today, you have Christian organizations putting out the welcome mat.
It was not long after my grandparents arrived in Utah that my grandmother and a few other faithful believers set out to establish a church in which the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Bible would be taught. It was a difficult task and there were many years in which, except by the grace of God, the doors of the church did not close. In fact, during the war years, when men were scarce, it was my grandmother, who got up early on Sunday mornings to clear the church of snow and to light the furnace so the building would be warm for morning services. It was she and few of others, whose dedication and sacrifice over a period of about 40 years, made it possible for the doors of the church to remain open in spite of all the obstacles against it. As long as God gave them breath and strength the light of the gospel would burn brightly in this Mormon community.
I was saddened to hear the other day that the Billy Graham Association had removed Mormons from its list of cults. And, I wondered what my grandmother – who, has since passed on to be with the Lord, (and, was a life long supporter of Mr. Graham and his association), might think. She and others like her have dedicated their lives to the difficult task of ministering with in the confines of a Mormon community. Today, because of the actions of the BGA that task has become that much harder. Across the nation and the world, doors once closed to those nice young men in white shirts and black slacks will be opened. And, people who may never have previously opened their doors to them will be greeted with these words, “Let me tell you about another testament of Jesus Christ” …..
I think she would be sad.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy