Jesus had HIV

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South African Christians are in an uproar over the comments a pastor made about Jesus’ role in life.

The pastor begins by saying that Jesus had HIV. He clarifies by saying that we don’t have any evidence he had HIV in the blood, but we do have evidence that he took upon himself all the suffering in the world, including diseases like HIV. The pastor turns to Isaiah to justify his statements.

Other Christians are upset, claiming that you can’t lower Jesus down to our level and you can’t associate him with diseases like HIV.

I’m glad to report that LDS doctrine agrees with the former doctrine, and not the latter. We too, are glad when people call us blasphemous for boldly declaring the same doctrines that Isaiah and Jeremiah taught. That is what the Jews did to Jeremiah in his day, and we expect the same from any generation who doesn’t comprehend the power of Christ.

The former doctrine is the doctrine of the true Christ. Christ descended below all things, and took upon Himself not just all the sin of the world, but all the pain and suffering and injustice everyone would ever suffer in this life. If there is anything in your life that somehow keeps you from perfect health and happiness, Christ has already paid the price for that thing by taking upon Himself the cost of it. We simply need to engage Christ so that He can apply His sacrifice in our life.

The latter doctrine is what the LDS church identifies as the doctrine of anti-Christ. That is the idea that God is above all and looks down on the people and punishes them for every small infraction of his absolute law without any relief. Believers in this doctrine declare the true Christ to be a blasphemy, and teachers of the doctrine to be worthy of death. The idea that God would descend out of heaven and descend below all things and take upon himself the sins of all the prostitutes and murderers and tyrants is the same as making God into mud, or worse than mud, and we can’t do that to such an elevated being, but instead, contemplate on all that makes Him superior to us, while punishing those who disobey His eternal commandments.

As I’ve identified before, the reason why homosexual teens are committing suicide is not because of LDS doctrine, it is because they believe something other than LDS doctrine. They believe that because they are different and tempted with sore temptations, they are irredeemable and worthless in the eyes of God and their life has no purpose or meaning. Of course, anyone would commit suicide if they fell for this great lie, whether they were homosexual or not.

The LDS church teaches that all have fallen short, and so we are all in the same boat. The LDS church teaches that our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, the only person on earth who is called by God to speak on behalf of God, is also a sinner, and thus, no different from us in nature. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all of our great leaders were all nothing more than any other man, imperfect.

The LDS church teaches that no matter how many times we try and fail, we can always try again and we can always work towards eternal salvation and exaltation. The LDS church teaches that on our side is God and his angels and especially Christ, whose work and glory is the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39) The LDS church is also on the side of the sinner, because its entire purpose is to bring souls to Christ—nothing more or less.

The LDS church teaches it is a bigger sin to not forgive those who sin differently than we do. That is, if we cannot forgive a murderer, we are worse off than the murderer in the eyes of God.

The LDS church teaches that the role of Christ in our life is to satisfy the eternal balance of our sins and wash them away, figuratively and emotionally, leaving no hint or trace that there were ever sins to begin with. To do so, Christ had to bear a burden worse than the worst sinner on earth, as if he were that sinner, but multiplied by every soul that ever lived and ever would live.

Does HIV come from God? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Whether it does or not should not change our behavior one bit. God’s ways are too mysterious for us to comprehend, and we shouldn’t think we can understand even the smallest bit of what He does or doesn’t do. All we do is what He asks us to do.

Where does the cure lie? Only in Christ. We may, one day, find a cure for the disease, but I will praise Christ for it. Whether we find a cure for it or not, the fact remains that through Christ it can be cured, and indeed, will be cured. It must be, because one day all, both sinner and saint, will rise from the dead in perfected bodies. That is LDS doctrine, too.

What does the LDS church teach its members to do to those who are HIV positive? We are to love and serve them, the same way Christ serves and loves us. Even now, the LDS church is expanding its role in the welfare of humanity, not just for its own members but for people who may never be members of our church. We are developing programs and institutions that will not only help the poor and needy, but the emotionally broken and physically diseased. We are reaching out to our communities and to the world at large with the same love Christ gave us, and we are going to reach out whether it leads to more members or not.

I’m not surprised that a lot of people in the homosexual community do not appreciate a lot of things that are taught in a lot of Christian churches. I am not surprised that what the LDS teach and believe is confused with what other churches teach and believe. I am not even surprised that people think our Christ must be perfectly identical to all the other different versions of Christ taught in the world.

What I am surprised at, however, is the short-sightedness of those who believe these things. Without consulting a missionary or representative of the church, without visiting a single meeting or taking the time to read the scriptures and lesson materials we use to teach ourselves, and without allowing their prejudices to be replaced by fact, they boldly condemn our church for things we neither do nor believe.

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