As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepares for the open house for the new temple located in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, Indiana, Satan has decided to show up to cast his negative vote -- using a bunch of anti-Mormon Utah carpetbaggers as his handmaidens.
Activists from the Utah-based Tri-Grace Ministries plan to set up a tent across the street to declare what they think is "the truth" about the LDS Church. They fired their first volley last week when they took out a 12-page advertising supplement in community newspapers in Carmel, Westfield and Zionsville that warn about the so-called "deception" of the religion. Tri-Grace Ministries founder Chip Thompson claims that the LDS Church is not telling the truth and Mormons are not following what Jesus taught.
So far, LDS Church officials have refused to dignify Tri-Grace Ministries with a response. But other Christians in the local area see through the hatred and bigotry spewed by this bogus ministry. Chris Duckworth, pastor of New Joy Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Westfield, was irked by the advertising supplements and was quoted as follows:
"We don't treat people, who have been seriously picked on, in that way. We know better than that. We are better than that."
"If my Mormon brother says he's a Christian, I'll accept his word at that. We might disagree in theology or have differences in opinion about what core tenets of Christianity are. But I'm not going to deny him the right to call himself what he or she in their faith believe they are."
Pastor Duckworth adds considerably more detail on his church's website. He plans to attend the LDS open house, and he further writes:
"Theological differences between the Mormon Church and the Lutheran Church are real. But so too is the unfair treatment our neighbors, friends, and fellow children of God of the Mormon Church receive to this day. My friends and neighbors don’t deserve to receive, on their doorstep, such a publication. I cannot remain silent. I have to speak out.
For me, living a life of faith is not about projecting my faith into the public square to the detriment of others, or seeking public assets – be they government or business – to enshrine and propagate my faith through their power and reach. Instead, living a life of faith is about coming to the defense of my neighbors, seeking the good of the community – particularly the most vulnerable and “least of these” (Matthew 25:40) – living into the promises of the coming Kingdom of God, and having the opportunity to worship and live according to the dictates of faith."
Although Pastor Duckworth does not claim to hold either the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood, there is no question that the Lord is working through him and that he does access the Holy Spirit. Pastorship is a function of priesthood, and the Lord will recognize and use his ministry so long as he acts in a Christ-like manner. At his level of knowledge and light, Pastor Duckworth is a champion for Christ.
A visit to the Tri-Grace Ministries website shows that their sole objective is to denigrate and defame Mormonism. There is absolutely no effort on their part to actually win souls for Christ. During a time period when traditional Christian values are under attack by the elite nationwide, waging civil war against fellow Christians is tantamount to treason against God.
The open house will take place from July 17th through August 8th; details available at the dedicated website. On August 23rd, the temple will be formally dedicated, after which time only templeworthy LDS members will be allowed admittance. The temple, which will become the 148th operational temple in the world, will serve approximately 30,000 LDS members who currently go to the Louisville, Chicago, and Columbus temples. Read the complete fact sheet on the temple for further details about its construction and composition.