Dear Ms. Feverfew –
If I hear one. more. stinkin. time. of how adoption is a part of God’s plan for His children because it is how we become the children of Christ, I think my head is going to pop off and spin around while flames start shooting out of my eyes. Especially from Mormons who claim to have the further light and knowledge of the fullness of the restored gospel.
I recently shared my feelings about the LDS Family Services flimsy excuse for why adoption is a natural thing because we are all “literally adopted into our Heavenly Father’s kingdom” with my mom. Her response was something along the lines of, “Well, you are right about that but we are all adopted by Christ as his children when we accept him as our Savior.” This is the same sentiment that I have read on Christian adoption blogs of many kinds as an explanation why adoption is good, kind, benevolent, Christlike.
Uh…once again, maybe I missed that lesson in Sunday School. From the distant memories of high school choir, the words from an African American spiritual come bubbling up:
Nicodemus was a man who desired to know how a man could be born when he is old. Christ told Nicodemus as a friend, “Man, you must be born again!” He said, “Marvel not man, if you want to be wise. Repent believe and be baptized.”
(Witness, Arranged by Jack Halloran)
Those words set me to thinking…man, you must be born again. Christ told Nicodemus that to become His child, he had to be born again (see John 3:3, 7) . Not adopted. But born again. Now I don’t know about you, but I think there is a physiological difference between being adopted and being born. Maybe I am over thinking things here, but I can’t seem to find anywhere in the scriptures where Christ talks about being adopted as one of His children – the metaphor is always becoming His child.
To the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes the process of becoming a follower of Christ as thus: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…” (2 Cor. 5:17). Indeed, one of the primary messages of the Book of Mormon is that we can become the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ by being born again.
Mosiah 5:7 : And, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have come his sons and his daughters.
Mosiah 27: 25-26 : And the Lord said until me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters; And thus they become new creatures…
Alma 5: 14 Have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
Alma 7: 14 : Now I say unto you that ye must repent and be born again… therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.
In the Doctrine & Covenants we find this:
D&C 5:16 : And behold, whosever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit–
And perhaps the most direct scriptural discussion of what this process means can be found in Moses 6:59.
“…inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; “
Also, the topic of being “born again” appears 3725 times in the LDS Gospel Library as of today with authors ranging from current apostles and prophets as well as ancient ones, from Sunday School lessons to articles in The Friend. Seriously – go take a look at the titles of some of these talks and lessons. Obviously the concept of being “born again” as a requirement to become a son or daughter of Christ is not an unfamiliar one to the LDS people.
The symbolism used in both scripture and modern apostolic writings is one of literally being born – becoming a new creature in Christ, having a new countenance – it is not a metaphor of adoption. If I was merely adopted as a daughter of Christ, I would remain the same person I was before the adoption occurred just with a new name (and a falsified birth certificate). However, according to the doctrine I can find, I am literally remade through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
I don’t even begin to claim to understand the actual process of how this occurs – perhaps this is why Christ cautioned Nicodemus to “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). All I know is that when a person accepts Jesus Christ and enters into the waters of baptism, they are, as Paul said, made a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). Just as I was physically born of water (amniotic fluid), blood (my mother’s and my own, co-mingled in the birthing process), and of the spirit (when the breath of life entered my body), so am I born again in Christ. This time it is through the waters of baptism, the Holy Spirit, and the atoning blood of Christ. Marvel not.
And this brings me back to my original grievance: There is no scriptural basis for using the process of becoming a follower of Christ to justify the unholy practice of infant adoption. To say otherwise is wrong. Period. Especially with the further light and knowledge that we claim to possess as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Our scriptures and modern-day prophets clearly proclaim that we are not adopted into Christ’s family, but that through baptism and the Atonement, we are born into it and we become his literal children.
That’s all I have to say about that. For now.
Much love and belief –