While Latter-day Saints (I think) rightly claim that we are the “only True Church,” many of us forget that others have large amounts of truth that we can–and should–incorporate into our faith. As Joseph Smith put it, “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true ‘Mormons'” [HC 5:517].
For example, there are too many Latter-day Saints who do not realize their need for a Saviour–in spite of statements from our “Standard Works,” and our General and local Authorities to that effect. There are even memos from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraging members to testify to this fact on Fast Sundays.
Even though I was a Southern Baptist, I used to be uncomfortable during “altar calls,” where people would accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour in front of witnesses. Nowadays, I know better; those “altar calls” serve the same purpose as Latter-day Saints being baptized or making covenants in the Temple: It gives us somebody to be accountable to in our commitment to Jesus Christ.
People can also “renew” their commitment, and people know that they belong to Jesus Christ. Too often, in the rush of the duties of our commitment to the Saviour, some of us forget that we made the commitment in the first place. There is an article in the March 2008 Ensign illustrating just that.
On the other side of the coin, Evangelicals and other non-LDS Christians can also learn from us. For example, too many Evangelicals think that merely accepting Jesus Christ brings salvation. While I would agree with that, I would think that if we really accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, wouldn’t we obey Him? And wouldn’t disobedience mean that our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord is deficient?
This, I think, is where we could teach our non-LDS Christian brethren. It is one thing to obey God when most people agree with a commandment’s wisdom (like our proscription of cigarettes in D&C 89, with which the USA’s Surgeon General agrees), but the real test of our obedience to, and acceptance of, Jesus Christ is when we do something that God commands that seems bizarre to outsiders. Bill Keller is famous for deriding the garment that Latter-day Saints who have covenanted in our Temples to obey God–no matter what.
If we would learn these lessons from each other, I think that our passion and gratitude for the Saviour would be enhanced, while Evangelicals would suffer less from the scandals and excesses that plague them from time to time.