Is Jesus Christ the focus of Mormon worship?
I graduated from BYU in 1980, Summa Cum Laude, BS and Masters in
Accounting, minor in Computer Science. I was named Outstanding
Professional Accounting Student for 1979-80 but when I was at BYU
recruiting for my firm in October I noticed they don't have my name
on wall on the 4th floor of the Business Building any more – I guess
there is only room at BYU for Catholics if they play football :-) and
certainly not for Mormons converting to Catholicism from families
that crossed the frozen Mississippi and helped to settle Utah
The talks in Sacrament Meeting do not have to be Christ centric
because Mormons do not meet God in this way; they meet God through
the spoken word (remember the years of "Music and the Spoken Word"
from temple square every Sunday?) They meet God through revelation
which could very well come through a travelogue as through a
discussion of Christ and His teachings. The spoken word and the
importance of revelation is the reason pulpits are front and center.
There is no need to apologize for the way Mormonism expresses
itself with travelogues and boring talks - it's the nature of the beast.
Mormonism would like us to believe it is Christ centric but it is
really revelation centric, God speaking directly to mankind today,
not through Jesus Christ as we read in the letter to the Hebrews 1:1-
2, but through modern prophets. If God speaks through prophets today
then God is not limited to speaking to us through the Bible and the
Bible can then be taken from the center of focus since it records
what He has said to past generations while the person at the pulpit
can speak to us directly by the power of revelation. The Bible is
still valuable but it is not the center of Mormon worship since it is
not from the Bible that God is currently speaking to us; no, He
speaks to us today through living prophets according to Mormonism,
and yes, even through lay people who have no formal training in
speaking. Therefore, in the Mormon revelation centric view of
worship there is no inherent danger of lay ministry and member
participation, in fact, it is required so that all may experience the
gift that is revelation.
To hope that pulpit teaching will be or should be Christ-centric in a
Mormon context misses the central focus of revelation. In Mormonism
the advent of Jesus the Christ is not the fullest, most complete
revelation of God to mankind. Mormonism believes that there is much
that has been revealed to us after Christ and even more that will yet
be revealed; please refer to the 9th Article of Faith.
Mormonism yearns to be Christ centric but it can't with a sacrament
table on the side of church instead of front and center.
It can't when the sacrament is done in
only remembrance of Him. It can't be Christ centric when the
sacrament is done right after the announcements and with no more
preparation for the ritual than a single hymn and a prayer that
includes phrases used by the Episcopal Church.
It can not be Christ
centric when my favorite BYU religion professor can by censured by
Bruce R. McConkie at a BYU student assembly for attempting to teach
us to develop a personal relationship with Jesus. It can not be
Christ centric when bread from the sacrament tray falls to the floor
and is left there to be stepped on.
I am very excited to know that students from BYU are being encouraged to
visit my site! I hope they will appreciate that I have used Mormon
sources to answer many of my questions, such as the
virginity of Mary. (Quite interesting, and still a mystery to me, is
the parallel I found between what Mary is reported to have said at
Fatima and what Joseph Smith has written
in the Book of Mormon). The
questions and the answers are all my own. The material is based on
my own experiences from my journey of faith. I will deep down always
be a Mormon. It is who I am and how I see life and the world around
me. Being Catholic gives me a much larger world view and a better
understanding of the small piece of that world that I used to call my
home and my world, kind of like "The Campus is our World" that
students would do from time to time on the sign that is supposed to
read "The World is our Campus". Catholicism is the fullness of
Christianity, warts and all. Pax et Bonum, as my Franciscan friends
would say – Peace and everything good.
My prayer is that my site will open the door, even just a small
crack, so God can enter their hearts as He did mine in 1992 while I
was on a business trip to England, the country where the West family
first joined Mormonism in 1848 and came directly to America to be
here when Jesus was supposed to come back. May my site cause interested BYU
students to challenge a belief system that allows itself to change
from one generation to the next through a misguided revelation
centric point of view rather than one based on Jesus Christ.
Back to Questions List Page