Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pastor Lynn Ridenhour’s Apologhy to the Mormons

Lynn Ridenhour, is a pastor of the Southern Baptist faith in Independence, Missouri. The following is an apology he offered to the Mormons for the behavior of his early ancestors in persecuting the Mormons when they were trying to settle in Missouri back in the 1830s. The first part is a news report of the occasion, and the second part is his actual “Statement of Repentance.”


At the Ezekiel Conference held at the Unitarian Church
Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah
January 24, 2005
Greater Things News Service(1)
(Not officially affiliated with Ezekiel Conference)

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Southern Baptist Minister, Lynn Ridenhour, issued a tearful public apology Saturday to the Mormons for the actions of his ancestors in persecuting and driving the Mormons from Missouri in the 1800's. Speaking at the invitation of the Ezekiel Seminar in Salt Lake City on Jan. 22, 2005, Ridenhour read a prepared statement which was warmly received by the audience of 160 predominantly Mormon participants, who embraced him and offered their forgiveness in turn.

Ridenhour’s statement said that though he was raised and trained to speak against the Mormons as a cult, he came to see that while their beliefs are different, they are not a cult.

Having discovered in his family history that his Missouri ancestors “were involved in the Mormon War, running the Mormons out of the state,” he took occasion in his speaking engagement to offer the apology on behalf of his ancestors and to ask for forgiveness.

Ridenhour presently resides in Independence, Missouri, where he leads a charismatic revival that includes an honored place for the Book of Mormon.

The “Statement of Repentance” was read in the course of a lecture titled, “I’m looking for a church,” in which he itemized five aspects which all turned out to be features of the LDS Church at the time of Joseph Smith: Manifest presence of God, taking God out of the “box”, prophetic, welcomes signs and wonders, worshippers.

Ridenhour told of going through accounts of Mormon History and documenting the number of manifestations of the various gifts of the spirit, from speaking in tongues, to raising the dead, healing the sick and appearances of angels. He also told of his experience reading the Book of Mormon for the first time. “It was like being born again – again!” “The Book of Mormon is more Baptist than the Baptist hymnal,” he said, referencing the core Baptists doctrines propounded there.

He was recently contacted by a key leader figure in the Pentecostal church who asked him if he really believed in the Book of Mormon, and then confessed that he too has been a believer for many years, but has not been able to come out of the closet because of his position in the Pentecostal church. Ridenhour has scheduled a time not long from now to have this minister come to Independence and go on record publicly as a Book of Mormon believer. Being over some 168 congregations, his confession ought to turn some heads.

At the end of the conference, Ridenhour ministered to the group assembled, performing several miracles of healing and giving “a word of knowledge” to numerous people who were astonished at the accuracy of the words of inspired wisdom being spoken to them that were so specific and timely for their unique situations. One LDS woman spoke in tongues as she was filled with the Holy Ghost, which was then interpreted to her great joy and weeping. Not all who sought healings were healed on the spot, but were promised they could be healed.

Ridenhour said that the “two sticks” prophecy in Ezekiel is not just about the Bible and the Book of Mormon becoming one in the hand, but that the people of the Bible and the people of the Book of Mormon will become one as well.

“In Old Testament times, God manifest his glory in the cloud, but not his person. In New Testament times, God manifest his person but not his glory. In our day, he is going to manifest both his glory and his person.”

NOTE: A little editing of the above was performed for the sake of brevity.

Statement of Repentance(2)
By Lynn Ridenhour
January 2, 2005

As a Southern Baptist minister who grew up in the heart of Missouri, while searching through my family history one day, I discovered some of my Missouri ancestors were involved in the Mormon War, running the Mormons out of the state in the mid 1800s.

Of course, I wasn’t there. I’ve never hurt a Mormon, never driven one Mormon out of town; but as a young man, growing up in that small Missouri town, I was warned about them. As Baptists, we were always told to stay away from Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Christian Scientists. My preacher used to tell me they were cults.

That sentiment pretty much stuck with me as I grew up and later enrolled as a ministerial student at William Jewell College , a Southern Baptist school in Liberty , MO. Besides, all my professors said Mormons were a cult so why shouldn’t I? And I did. I believed it too.

There came a day when the Lord convicted me — I’ve come to the conclusion, we must be careful in calling people, or certain groups, a cult. The word cult signifies deliberate mind control and deception. Jim Jones was a cult. Yet I have never witnessed deliberate mind control among Latter-day Saints. For that reason I will no longer pronounce moral judgment upon them. I may differ with them, but I will not demean them.

Early Christianity, if you recall, was also called a cult. In Paul’s day Christianity was called “The Way.” A term synonymous for cult (Acts 24:5). I have decided not to be so hasty in branding Latter-day Saints.

But that doesn’t take care of the problem. I wish it did. I wish the problem could and would go away that easily. With a simple acknowledgement. The Bible, however, teaches — past injustices can still linger in present attitudes and in the hearts of generations to come. Iniquity passes from one generation to the next, according to the Bible. Time does not heal wounds, but, instead, the wound becomes more and more painful as it moves to each succeeding generation. We need only examine the life of Cain. The Bible says: “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, then Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” (Gen.4:24) In other words, in just a few short generations the pain of the past had multiplied.

It’s time our land was healed (2 Chron. 7:14) It’s time we confessed not only our sins but the sins of our ancestors. Prophets of old did that, you know.

“...and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers...” (Neh. 9:2)

Identificational repentance* is premised on the reality of corporate sin—a thing we Americans struggle with because of our rugged individualism. But the Word of God is plain. Wherever and whenever many individuals are meaningfully linked together in a social network, that group can sin, not as individuals, but as a group. When it does, each individual member of the group is, to one degree or another, identified with the corporate sin, whether the person personally participated in the act itself or not (Ex.32:9-14; Jer.3:25; Psa.106:6; Dan.9:8,20, Ezra 9:6,7; Neh.1:6,7;9:2).

Fortunately, God gives us a way to confront corporate sin just as He gives us a way to confront individual sin. Unconfessed sin constitutes a basis for satanic rule. We must find a way of dealing with it, if we’re to see our people delivered from demonic strongholds. And it all begins with public confession and repentance. As a Southern Baptist minister, I want to ask you Mormon brothers and sisters for your forgiveness for how my Protestant ancestors, some of them ministers, treated your ancestors and ministers. And I want to ask your forgiveness as a descendant and minister of the gospel how I have treated you wrongly, with unforgiveness and a spirit of judgementalism in my heart. Will you forgive me?

I also ask your forgiveness for how we as Protestant believers — again sadly, some of us ministers — how we murdered your women, men, and children at Haun’s Mill on that awful day, October 30th 1838.

I ask your forgiveness for how we drove your ancestors from their homes, how we plundered their possessions, and burned their homes to the ground.

I ask your forgiveness for taking your ancestors’ land from you in Jackson County, Missouri, never to return it.

I ask your forgiveness for the Governor of our State of Missouri , Governor Lilburn Boggs, who on October 27, 1838, passed a state law to exterminate, or murder, all Mormons. Please forgive us.

I ask your forgiveness for that law remaining on the books until June 25th, 1976, until Missouri Governor Christopher Bonds finally rescinded it — some 138 years later.

I ask your forgiveness that some of the members of the Missouri mob who ran your families out of our state were Protestant ministers. Please forgive us for our unChrist-like actions. And attitudes.

I am deeply sorry. I repent for the sins of my ancestors and I repent for my own sins, my past feelings of animosity toward my LDS brothers and sisters.

Will you forgive me and my ancestors?