Contention. When a Latter-day Saint and a Christian have a disagreement in a dialogue, some Mormons excuse themeselves, referring to Book of Mormon verse 3 Nephi 11:29 that “contention is of the Devil.” However, it must be considered that another Book of Mormon verse, 1 Nephi 14:10, states that “there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongest not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations.” According to the Encylopedia of Mormonism, “When Nephi speaks typologically rather than historically, he identifies all the enemies of the Saints with the church of the devil (1 Ne. 14:9-10; 2 Ne. 10:16)” (2:568). One BYU professor explained, “Since whoever does not belong to ‘the church of the Lamb of God’ belongs to ‘the church of the devil,’ as Nephi announced, then all systems of worship outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be classified as ‘the church of the devil’ by Nephi’s definition” (Kent B. Jackson, “‘Watch and Remember’: The New Testament and the Great Apostasy,” John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 27 March 1990, 1:87). Therefore, the question must be asked: If someone disagrees with Mormonism, are they aligned with the church of the Lamb of God or the Church of the Devil? After all, there are only “two churches.” If those who oppose the teachings of the Mormon Church are, in fact, more associated with the Church of the Devil, then D&C 18:20 says, “Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil.” According to this supposed commandment of God, a defense of the faith needs to be made. Yes, Christians have been commanded to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3), yet it must be remembered that they are to do so with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:16) and, as Colossians 4:6 says, “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt…” Disagreements must also involve issues but never aim personal barbs against the opponent.
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