My question is complex. My children are struggling at this time with the reason we call ourselves the only true and living church on the earth. How do I help them understand why there is a need for a one true church? Why only one plan? The children come back with, “We really think we are hot stuff. We are really conceited. We are not very compassionate with others beliefs when we say we are the only one and that the others are wrong. We as a church profess to be tolerant of other’s beliefs yet we go out and try to change their minds.”
I guess my question is how do I help them understand why one God, one church, one Shepherd, and one truth is so logical and necessary? I hope that I am not too confusing. Thanks
You’re not the first one to ask that question. I think that we may have two questions here.
1) Is there only one true church, or are all the churches right?
2) If there is only one true church, which one is it?
First, is there only one true church? If one were to ask if there only one true social organization, the answer would of course be “No.” Although they may all be different, they may all have something of value that commends them. However, if one were to ask if there are specific requirements to matriculate in a specific university, the answer would of course be “Yes.” Unless one fills the particular entrance requirements of the University the person is denied status as a student.
There are a number of churches that fit the category of social organizations in the example above. The protestant churches, for instance, believe that membership in a particular church is not required for salvation-the only requirements are to accept Jesus as your Savior and the Bible as the rule of faith. Different doctrinal interpretations on points of religion may be held by the communicants of a given denomination. Members of such churches look at all churches in the same light, and cannot accept the proposition that some other church would be uniquely true. By accepting that proposition they would have to acknowledge that they were not the true church. So their opposition to the concept of one true church is quite understandable.
There are some churches, however, that fit the category for entrance into a university. Principal among these churches are the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church). The Mormon Church is unique among all the other churches because it was authorized and organized by God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. If your children were to come to know that Joseph Smith actually did see the Father and the Son and that he was called by them to restore the Kingdom of God to the earth, all their questions would be cleared up.
Your children suggest that we are not compassionate because we refuse to accept as true concepts that we know to be false. That is not a lack of compassion, it is only common sense. I believe our compassion is expressed in recognizing the worth of each individual, respecting and honoring the rights of others to believe as they wish, and expending every worthy effort to help them experience the great blessings that can come in no other way than by accepting and living the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Certainly we may be tolerant of other’s beliefs without the requirement to make them our own. A Baptist church recently built in our community. Much of the labor performed in constructing their chapel was donated by members of the Mormon church.
Withal, there is only one way for your children to come to know that the Mormon Church is the only true and living church in the Christian world today, and that is to do just as Joseph Smith did-to ask God. The procedure given by Moroni to find out if the Book of Mormon is true extends far beyond that particular question. It is the procedure by which we can find all truth from God. Moroni counseled,
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:4-5).