Hello all, it’s Sunday, I’m at church. I’ve decided to make Sundays in November days to bring light to this painfully misunderstood religion of mine. And really, who better to learn about the church from than someone who originally joined for all the wrong reasons?
(Oh, and to explain the two weddings, I had to be actively attending church for a year before I could go into the Temple. Our civil ceremony ended with the words “til death do you part” but when we went into the Temple to be sealed the ceremony ended with the words “for time and all eternity.” Meaning that we were sealed for our time here on Earth as husband and wife and we are sealed as husband and wife even after we die and go on to heaven. Trust me, some days eternity is a very long time to deal with the same mans crap. Hope that makes it a little clearer, it’s a difficult concept to explain briefly.)
Since this is Sunday, and everyone chooses to go or not go to church on Sunday, you too can choose to read this post or not. It is about religion, mine specifically. I’m not looking for trolls, I’m not looking to make everyone a Mormon. I’m also not looking for you to believe what I believe in or agree with what I believe in. If you are curious, I just want to have some facts available from someone who knows their stuff rather than the outside media. (Because face it, the “Mormon” doctor on House? ALL SORTS OF MISINFORMATION. Shocking, I know.)
Actually all my facts come from a distinguished Church leader, M. Russell Ballard. He gave a talk a few Sundays ago in our Worldwide General Conference that is going to make this post a cakewalk for me. (Thanks Elder Ballard!)
“…we need to remember that there is a difference between interest and mere curiosity. Sometimes people just want to know what the Church is. Those who are curious in this general way deserve clear and accurate information that comes directly from those of us who are members so that they do not have to rely on the incomplete answers, half-truths, or false statements that may come from the media or other outside voices. The many misunderstandings and false information about the Church are somewhat our own fault for not clearly explaining who we are and what we believe.”
“I would hope they would get to know our members rather than judging us by the misinformation given by those who do not know and in some cases by those who would deliberately mislead or defame.”
See? All we want is a little open mindedness and understanding! Not to take over the world! (yet, at least. Heh.)
He breaks his talk down into bulleted points, which as any blogger knows is the
lazy easy way to get your point across. So without further adieu I give you my church in lists and bullets (by Elder M. Russell Ballard. clicky clicky the linky linky for the whole talk.)
- First, “Mormon” is a nickname for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members are often referred to as “Mormons,” “Latter-day Saints,” or “LDS.” The term “Saint” means “member.”
- Second, the Church was restored in 1830 in upstate New York with Joseph Smith as its first prophet and president. Today it is headquartered in Salt Lake City, with President Gordon B. Hinckley as the present prophet.
- Third, there are now over 13 million members in 176 countries and territories. About 6 million of these are in the United States, making us the fourth largest Christian denomination in America. As one of the fastest growing Christian faiths in the world, we complete a new chapel every working day. Members pay a tithe, which is 10 percent of their income, making this and other programs possible.
- Fourth, local congregations are led by volunteer, unpaid members. Both men and women serve in assigned leadership positions.
- And fifth, Mormons are well represented in politics and government. (In the United States, for example, there are 16 members in Congress, from both political parties.) Members also serve in high and trusted positions throughout the world in business (hi Father in Law!), medicine (hi Dr. Swensen!), law (hi Cody!), education (hi Mrs. Cannon!), media (hi Mitt Romney!), sports (hi Steve Young!), and entertainment (hi Gladys Knight!).
- We believe in the eternity of the soul, that God is the Father of our spirits, and that we can return to Him after death.
- We believe that Jesus Christ is our personal Savior, and we try to model our lives after Him and His teachings. We commemorate Christ’s atoning sacrifice in our Sunday worship services, similar to taking communion in other churches. We accept as fellow Christians all who believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Savior of all mankind. Many Christians do not understand that we have much common ground with them. Joseph Smith taught that Jesus Christ is the core of our belief, and everything else is an appendage to it (see Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 44). The name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- We believe the original church that Jesus established was lost and has been restored again in our day. The priesthood, the authority given to man to act in the name of God, with apostles and a prophet to lead us, has been restored as have all necessary ordinances of salvation.
- We believe in and we use the Holy Bible, both the Old and New Testaments.
- And we believe in the Book of Mormon and other books of scripture which support and authenticate the Bible and testify of the ministry and divinity of Christ and of God’s ongoing revelation to man. Indeed, the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”
Next Sunday will cover the other half of Elder Ballards talk.
Now go forth and watch football.