When I went to the Missionary Training Center a year after becoming a member of the Church, I earned the nickname "born-again Mormon" because of my evangelical Christian background and my enthusiasm for Christ and his teachings. At the time I saw no conflict between my acceptance of Jesus as my personal Savior and my conversion to Mormonism. And I still become dismayed when I encounter conflict between the two groups. Since my days at the MTC, I haven't heard the term "born-again Mormon" used to describe someone who has experienced a change of heart depending on the Savior to rescue them from sin and yet who embraces the truths of the restored gospel. The term is instead used to signify a Mormon who has left the Church because of their conversion to a brand of evangelical Christianity.
Such is the case with Micah Wilder and his Christian rock group, Adam's Road.
I knew the Wilder family quite well when we lived in Indiana. Micah's mother was the RS President when I was Compassionate Service leader, and we worked closely together. My husband home taught the family, my oldest daughter had a crush on their son, and I babysat the youngest Wilder daughter. We haven't been in touch in quite a while, but Micah and his band have recently been in the news. Apparently he changed his views while on a mission, was sent home two weeks early and influenced several missionaries and a recent convert from the Florida area who have joined together in this band. His brother, a talented pianist, soon followed, along with other members of the Wilder family. His mother, a professor at BYU, resigned her position and left the Church with her husband and the boys.
It is difficult for me to come to terms with my reaction to this news. I feel greatly saddened that these young RM's were unable to find the love of Jesus within the Church. Since I know the family, I've listened to several hours of interviews with these young men and I don't agree with many of the conclusions that they have made. I think that the Mormons DO rely on Christ's atonement to save us. Although we have doctrinal differences, there are also large differences among the Christian sects. I really believe that we are worshipping the same God and the same Jesus.
I don't know if all my Mormon friends would agree that they are "born again," or that the sacrifice of Christ has already saved them. What about you? Can you say, as these young men do: "I am saved--my life is yours alone"?
Friday, August 29, 2008