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Hello Gramps,

I have been looking at your posts drawing wisdom for numerous months now. I have a question that has been on my mind. I am not an official Mormon yet, but I do plan to be in the coming months. But at the same time I do have an affiliation with another church but I am not a member, I just help and volunteer and listen. When I do become a member, am I not able to do this anymore? Are we supposed to be just affiliated with the one and true church?

Camron

 

Answer

 

Dear Camron,

Congratulations on your impending baptism!

As to your questions, I can’t give you a firm yes or no, just a solid “it depends.”  There are many factors to consider.  I will try to share some of them, then if you still have doubts or questions, you might want to talk to the missionaries or your future Bishop for further clarification.

First, there is no “rule” or commandment that you can’t volunteer with other churches, or listen.  In fact my ward has participated in joint service projects (helping the homeless) with other churches.  I know a brother who regularly helps with the food bank garden which is managed by another church.  I also know a sister who once worked with Catholic Social Services in a homeless shelter for families.  You might enjoy this story about an LDS Chapel that was doing a remodel and donated their old steeple to another church in the area.

“The pastor and I agreed that this is not only an example of inter-denominational sharing but the kind of thing that Christ would have us do,” Bishop Risk remarked.  Inter-denominational Sharing

Here is another example:

“Latter-day Saint Charities often partners with other faith-based organizations and governments to bring assistance to the needy. Last year, volunteers contributed more than one million man–days of labor supporting welfare initiatives.

 

“The churches are working together regardless of race, color, or religion to help the needy because that is the labor that Jesus Christ wants—that we work together for those that need it the most,” said Andrea Vasquez of Catholic Social Services.” Love at Home

Church members are also encouraged to find service opportunities and get involved through: JustServe

The Lord wants us to love and serve one another.  There’s no reason you can only do it through the LDS church.

“Listening” is more complicated. I believe by “listening” you mean attending their services.  Again there is not a hard and fast rule that I am aware of that you can’t do this. However, there are some precautions I would like you to consider.  Attending another church occasionally with a friend or family member or even alone is fine.  I believe that our military members sometimes find themselves in locations without an LDS service, and they might attend the Protestant service.  The concern I would have is if you plan to attend church services with the other church on a regular basis.  My first question, if I could speak to you in person, would be why do you feel the need to do so?  I would also caution you that while we have much in common with other faiths, there are also very important differences.  I would think that as a new convert, it could be difficult to understand some of the differences.  Why not commit your time and energy to learning about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I should also mention that members are asked not to associate themselves with groups or individuals whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the church.

Remember that the Savior counseled us that no man can serve two masters.  My main concern then would be are you simply visiting your previous church to help and maintain friendships, or would you be trying to serve two masters?  I hope that helps.

 

Gramps

 

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