Jesus once said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30, NIV). In other words, when we follow Him, His way is easy. A yoke is traditionally known as wooden beam that is stretched between a pair of oxen (sitting on their shoulders), enabling them to carry a plow forward.
(Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash)
A burden is simply “a load.” It’s what you carry. Now, since Christians are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9), we know that in order to work the works of God, we need to simply believe. The disciples asked Jesus an important question in John 6:28. They asked, “What must we do to do the works God requires? Jesus responds in v. 29, saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Compare this with what Mormonism teaches. In 2010, President Dallin H. Oaks taught the following:
“Because of what He accomplished by His atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ has the power to prescribe the conditions we must fulfill to qualify for the blessings of His Atonement. That is why we have commandments and ordinances. That is why we make covenants. That is how we qualify for the promised blessings. They all come through the mercy and grace of the Holy One of Israel, ‘after all we can do’ (2 Nephi 25:23).” (Dallin Oaks, “Two Lines of Communication,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2010, 84)
Look at the focus in this statement. It’s all about “qualifying” and meriting and becoming worthy, and so forth. This is a heavy burden, for how can we keep all of the commandments? It is impossible! The Bible says that if you break one commandment, you break them all (James 2:10)! President Russell M. Nelson stated the following:
“Teach of faith to keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless His children and bring them joy. Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith” (Russell M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2011, 34. Italics in original)
We need to keep ALL the commandments? Mormons who are reading this, are you keeping all the commandments? Surely if you know that you aren’t, then at this moment, you do not qualify yourself to “meet God,” as Nelson suggests.
This is not “Good News.”
The Good News of Christianity is that Jesus Christ fulfilled all commandments, and it is HIS work that provided salvation for us, and His obedience that made this possible. Therefore, we need to have faith in Him! You can have full assurance of your salvation by relying on Christ’s atoning work on the cross!
Nelson is wrong when he says that picking and choosing which commandments to follow will lead to misery. I suggest that requiring all members to follow all ordinances and commandments (there are dozens–nay–hundreds) in of itself leads to misery.
Thankfully, Jesus came so that we will not have misery. The load, or, “burden” that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints puts on their members is extremely heavy.
The yoke is more than many of them can bear…
This is why Utah is ranked at the top for suicide, depression, mental illness, prescription drug usage, etc.
A recent LDS article submitted to BYU’s The Daily Universe shows how staggering this epidemic really is. Titled “Mormon culture influences mental illness trends among members,” (Feb. 5th, 2018), the article relates how many LDS members put on a happy face in public, but are really struggling within. See article here
No matter what you believe, you need to ask yourself that good ol’ Dr. Phil question: “How’s it workin’ for ya?”
Meaning, how is your theology and beliefs impacting your life? Is it making your life worrisome? Stressed out because you’re not sure if you’re doing enough and doing enough and doing enough? That you’re not magnifying your calling? That there’s more and more you can do? If that’s you, then that is what Mormon theology does–it causes stress and creates confusion. Essentially, Mormonism says, “My yoke is hard and my burden is heavy.”
Remember, you can find freedom in Jesus Christ alone, for He has truly said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
When asked, “How’s it workin’ for ya?” I would respond, as Horatio Spafford’s hymn goes: “It is well with my soul.”
(Photo by Nathan Dumlao at Unsplash)