When talking with Mormons about their faith and comparing it to Christianity, it can be quite frustrating for both parties. A big reason for this frustration is that the Mormon Church uses words familiar to most Christians, but with a far different meaning. The concept of sacrifice is a great example.
The Mormon Church acknowledges the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and his suffering for the sins of the whole world. They view the atonement as “the center of the plan of salvation.” At a recent talk given at the April 2012 General Conference entitled, “Sacrifice”, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, talked about the importance of this topic. His message referred to the Mormon belief that “the incomprehensible suffering of Jesus Christ ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood.” This may seem like a Biblical truth, but he is specifically referring to the Mormon teaching of salvation. As a result of Christ’s atonement, all people will be resurrected and “saved” from physical death. This is central to the Mormon plan of salvation. Now, humans have the opportunity to eternally progress and “prepare for the destiny that plan provides for us.” Jesus Christ “requires” us to make sacrifices and vigorously serve the Church by following all of its commandments and ordinances. To do so valiantly will make a person worthy enough to achieve eternal life and become an exalted being (a god) in the celestial kingdom of glory (heaven). Elder Oaks refers to a well-known lyric from a popular hymn “Praise to the Man” where Mormons sing, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.” For Mormons, the blessings of heaven awaits those who put forth the necessary sacrifices to carry out the “gospel plan.”
Christians can sprinkle the truth of God’s Word in the hearts of Mormons by bringing up the importance of sacrifice. We can specifically refer to Jesus’ sacrifice in two ways. First, Christ was our substitute on the cross. All of our sins are forgiven right now because of his death on the cross. Second, Christ’s sacrifice assures us of the fact that we will live forever with Heavenly Father. Our faith rests on Christ’s completed work on the cross. We can refer specifically to Hebrews 10:10, 14 where it talks about how we are already made holy (justified) and perfect right now through Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the cross.
We can introduce the true gospel to our Mormon friends by sharing the comfort, peace, and joy we have in knowing that we are already perfect in Christ. His sacrifice became our sacrifice. As a result, we are freely and fully forgiven of all our sins.
Now that is good news!