Monday, December 24, 2012

Just Because it's Beautiful!

This made me feel good just by listening. Posting it here has no other purpose than allowing me to share something that I appreciate, because it's beautiful.

Mischa Maisky plays Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G

Danmarks Radio Pigekor (Denmark's Radio Girl's Choir) sings a Danish Winter song "Sneflokke kommer vrimlende," describing the flurrying path of snow, as carried by wind through the landscape. The danish lyrics are shown in the video, as the song progresses.

Mischa Maisky plays Bach Cello Suite No. 2 in d-minor, recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark 2009.

Christmas is...

While a lot of traditions have connected themselves to Christmas, it's not really about tradition. Let's not celebrate tradition instead of Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ can be done any number of ways without being wrong but the key to a good Christmas does begin with the first syllable, Christ. 

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Although the giving and receiving of gifts, the beautifully sparkling lights, bright cheery colors often seen at Christmas time and wonderfully prepared family meals are things that we all can appreciate. Christmas is not really about bows, ribbons and great excesses of the just right food, prepared in just the right way. It's not about getting or even giving the most, and biggest gifts and it's not a time to gossip about the absent members of the family, or to bring up past grudges.

Instead of overburdening ourselves or each other with preparations or expectations in excess, we can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and perhaps remember how the Lord prioritized a similar event with His presence (Luke 10:38-42)
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
If you have the opportunity and live near your family, be with them and build some good memories together. If your friends are your closest family, spend your Christmas with them and put aside your differences, be kind and friendly. Help each other build good memories and then cherish those memories together in the years to come. 

Christmas not about being better than your neighbor, it's about being good, kind, friendly and helpful to your neighbor. It's not a competition. 

As many people are in the middle of their annual Christmas preparations, getting everything just right for that perfect experience, sometimes with a focus slightly diffused by trying to be (and do) too many things in too short a time. I leave you with one little thought. Harold Samuel Kushner, a prominent American rabbi once said: 
The purpose in life is not to win. The purpose in life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people's lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them. 

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Good Tidings of Great Joy: The Birth of Jesus Christ

May you all have a Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. May we accept His sacrifice and teachings in deep gratitude, take His name upon us and remember Him always, that we may carry this feeling of Christmas with us for the rest of the year and have His Spirit with us always. 

You Can Change the World, Really!

At this time of year, when many people are busy making their own little version of a happy Christmas it's easy to forget those that are so easily overlooked i their quiet and often humble or lonely circumstances. Reach out and be an angel, it's a good thing and it begins with you! 

People also need help during Christmas, problems don't magically disappear during the holidays. Check in on those you care about and make sure they are well taken care of, bring them a plate of cookies and a friendly thought.

At the risk of sounding cliche, Selflessness (love) makes the world go around. When we do something that others are in need of, we become instruments in the hands of God, His extended hands. 

Every single day there is someone near you praying for help and when someone prays for divine help, the most obvious answer to that person's prayer could be the person next to you, or you? Being sensitive to the needs of others we can essentially become momentary angels and blessings in someone's life. Be an angel, won't you?

What a wonderful thought to think that others might in their prayers be thanking God for the very thing that you did for them, the kind and genuine smile that helped their day, the little favor, noticing a need and quietly reaching out to help without waiting for or expecting a thank you. 

A true help doesn't burden the recipient with an added feeling of indebtedness, impossible to pay back, when already low on all resources and deeply in need of help. Help to help, not to earn someones gratitude.

While our help to others might not mean the world to us, it could be the one thing that holds someone's world together when everything around them seems to come crashing down. 

In return for helping others, our lives are enriched, life becomes more pleasant all around and our inner happiness is increased. 

In times of difficulty, world economic crises, personal budget worries, anxiety, stress and thoughts of depression, it's balm to the soul to feel the happiness of helping others and such happiness has staying power. 

By extending our helping hands, we can begin a circle of goodness that soon might spread like rings in the water and come right back to us when we might need it the most. But, that is not why we should help anybody, we should help because it is needed. The world needs more goodness, more smiles, more friendliness and better people, making better choices and it begins with you and me. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Christmas Devotional 2012

Set aside an hour, sit back and enjoy and have a very enjoyable contribution to your Christmas. You'll be hard pressed to find a better Christmas program. Merry Christmas to you all!

O Come, Emmanuel - (Piano/Cello) - ThePianoGuys

A special feel-good treat for you at Christmas. May you all have a Merry Christmas. Seek God in sincere prayer and find a lasting peace that can extend far beyond Christmas.

The Spirit of Christmas, or the Spirit of Christ

An Oglala Sioux, Black Elk (Dec 1863 - Aug 1950) said:
Grown man can learn from very little children, for the hearts of little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show them many things which older people miss. 

May you remember the Spirit of Christmas that you may have in your heart and in your home, the Spirit of Christ. Merry Christmas to you all.

The Other Side of Heaven

I saw a good movie today. I usually don't sit down and write a recommendation when I have been entertained by a movie but his did more than entertain me. I felt better and uplifted after watching it. 

The movie is about missionary work without being preachy. The beauty in loosing yourself in the service of others is portrayed excellently. Although missionary work in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is more organized and the missionaries are no longer exposed to risk in the same way as in the early fifties, most of todays missionaries around the world can relate to this story in one form or another. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where was God?

This will not not need many words but it's IMPORTANT. It's not just an American problem, it's is a tendency happening WORLDWIDE. Mike Huckabee is saying what I wish I had said but didn't have the words. PLEASE, take a couple of minutes to watch this. When you have watched it, I ask that you share it that others may watch it. It NEEDS TO BE SEEN!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm a Mormon - Ness, a Dancer and Artist

The term "Mormon" is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Although members of the church don't usually refer to themselves as a Mormons, it comes with the beliefs as people has identified those associated with the church by that term since the last century. Our beliefs are of far greater priority to members of the church, than having to carry the nickname "Mormon" and to many it soon becomes a badge of honor, because of what it stands for. 

Mormons come from all walks of life and being a Mormon does not make life any less interesting, although it does involve making choices in life. Ness, a dancer, artist and Mormon, has made some very interesting choices in life and here is what she has to say about it all: 

About Me: Hi, I’m Ness. I live in London, England, where I work as a dancer. I perform, teach and choreograph with various contemporary dance and theatre companies. I also work as an aerial dancer, which means I get to fly. The feeling of being suspended mid-air makes me happy. I love my work because I am physical everyday, I work with other creative people and together we create dance pieces by playing with our ideas, I often see students experience light bulb moments in my classes and I regularly travel. As well as traveling for work, I also travel out of choice. My brother and I have just travelled from Guatemala to Peru. I enjoy seeing how other people live and interact because it reminds me that the culture in which I live is just one way, not the definitive way to live. I never tire of seeing new places, in fact, whenever life starts to feel monotonous, I just have to look at my world map and propose a travel plan to myself to feel refreshed and excited again. I love scuba diving because it feels like underwater flying. I love cycling at dusk, that’s like flying too. I love jumping on trampolines with my nieces and nephews. I love laughing with my family and friends. I keep a funny book to remember all the funny moments I experience so that when life doesn’t feel so colourful, I can be reminded of funny times and laugh again. I hope to be able to dance/run a mile/turn a cartwheel forever! 

Why I am a Mormon: Only when I have a reason to do a particular thing, can I commit to it. As I have attended church, I have heard a constant emphasis and invitation for everyone to find out for themselves whether there is validity and truth in the teachings. And so I have spent time finding my own reasons for living as a mormon…I find the teachings of Jesus Christ (found in the Bible and The Book of Mormon) to be irresistible. When I study them I feel inspired to be my best self; a bit kinder, more patient, more generous and fair. When I try to align my life with Jesus’ teachings, I feel centred, peaceful and able to be positive about others and situations in which I find myself. Central to these teachings is that change is possible, that no one need remain in negative cycles. I believe that change is possible and I am grateful for a faith that teaches that principle. 

How I live my faith: Living my faith translates into my daily life with meditative prayer and study of the scriptures when I wake up. I also pray in odd places at odd times of the day, as I need. Doing this strengthens my reasons for living a mormon lifestyle because the peaceful feelings I experience are refreshed and not just a memory of something I felt once and have to try to remember. I enjoy attending church where I have the opportunity to interact with people who are often very different to me, but with whom I share faith. I learn a lot from having the opportunity to teach lessons or give time to organizing activities for people of all different ages at church. I enjoy the way I am invited to help a certain group of people for a certain period of time and then it changes to a different assignment. Each invitation teaches me something new about others and about myself. I have fond memories of helping others in my church community, and being helped by them. For me, the church is a great place to learn to love others and sometimes feels like an extended family. 

I'm a Mormon - Christian Bolt, a Sculptor, an Artist and a Family Man

Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Although members of the church don't usually refer to themselves as a Mormons, it comes with the beliefs as people has identified those associated with the church by that term since the last century. Our beliefs are of far greater priority to members of the church, than having to carry the nickname "Mormon" and to many it soon becomes a badge of honor, because of what it stands for.

Mormons come from all walks of life and being a Mormon does not make life any less interesting, although it does involve making choices in life.

Christian Bolt, a Swiss sculptor, artist, family man and Mormon and shares his views (in German) on how religion must stabilize our lives, make us free and strong in the world. "The more I come to know God the more I come to know myself."

The following is not a word by word translation of the video but it explains some of the views of Christian Bolt:

About me: 
I studied visual arts in Italy and work in the international art market. It is a privilege that I am able to make my passion and personal interests my business. Life in the mountains is inspiring and the creations of God are an impressive teacher. Together with my dear wife I have three children who are an especially important part of my life. 

Why I am a Mormon: Throughout my life I have come to understand how blessed I was to enjoy the privilege of growing up in a family where the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ were taught in my childhood. Loving parents taught me early in my life to keep God in my life. But I had to learn how to do that for myself. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I feel in my heart that I am on a path that will make it possible for me to return to my Heavenly Father. The teachings of Jesus Christ make me free. They strengthen my individuality and my self-esteem. 

How I live my faith: My membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings me great joy. The challenges of this life and sharing the Christian way of living with others is a great source of power. The longer I live the more I understand that my relationship to God stands in close to connection to my relationship to my fellow men. And so I am glad to serve my fellow men and realize so much about myself. A life with faith in Jesus Christ is a life full of hope and joy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Elder Jepsen - Every Choice We Make in Life Takes Us Closer to Something... Good or Bad

Thank you for your reassuring mail. Since I began my mission, my appreciation and love towards you, my parents, has grown and deepened. I really love you two and our whole family.

My companion is everything that I could hope for in a missionary companion. He understands his purpose and is very well aware of the limited time we have as missionaries. Two years isn't much when you consider the task but he's focused, dedicated and earnest and that goes a long way. We work hard, the accomplishment feels good, I have been able to feel the Spirit to a much greater extent and my love for the work has grown to new dimensions.

With the right attitude, purpose and intention, a lot of the obstacles in the work disappears and I feel much more prepared for the task at hand. The work doesn't get any easier but you get more done and it becomes much more satisfying to serve as a missionary. We have a lot of people to see and many of them could really benefit from the peace and perspective that can be found in abiding to the words of direction found in the gospel.

We have some good people here amidst trouble and struggle. I see people and situations that are  difficult. Many are victims of other people's decisions without any fault of their own. None of us can account for other people's choices and other people's choices can sometimes have consequences that spread pain like rings in the water. I also am fortunate in seeing, how good choices has helped many maintain some degree of peace and happiness, even in times of trouble and without some of the luxuries that so many consider essential.

Everybody has a different name for it, some call it conscience while others call it karma but it really all comes down to this: Every choice we make in life takes us closer to something! There are two opposing forces in our lives, good and bad. Everything good comes from God and everything bad comes from Satan. Every choice we make in life will draw us in one direction or the other, and where you go will to a large extent determine who or what you find right next to you. Choose the right, because opposites don't really attract in life! Who you are and who you choose to be determines the circle of people, circumstances and opportunities around you, it's your choice.

Going on a mission is by far the very best and hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life and it doesn't seem to get any easier, as my perspective opens up to the true dimensions of the task.

It's begun snowing here and it's snowing again today. I'm really enjoying the colder weather, except I really want to get some UnderArmor thermals. They're the only way to go, they're still a little pricey but I should be able to get them soon.

I'm very sorry about Grandma's health but she sure is a fighter. I've been praying for you every day as well as for friends and family, that they stay strong and protected.

I'm going to have to get going but I sure do love you two very much!

Elder Jepsen

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Elder Jepsen - Listening to That Inner Voice

How are you all? Everything here is great! I'm sorry for not ever really being able to tell you much about everything but I never really get very much time.

I was transferred out because another Elder, who had been serving here while awaiting the approval of his visa, had his visa approved and he's off to Jamaica. Leaving a well functioning area where things were going very well, I'm grateful to see when hard work pays off. The initial two baptismal preparations had doubled to four and I am happy for them, they are good people and it's good to see what the gospel can do for good people. They were well prepared when I left and with the great missionaries taking over, they'll be in good hands.

The missionaries here live in a house, there is five of us here. Good fun! I'm serving with Elder Monson and no, he's not related to President Monson. The area here is quite different from where I've served in the past but I love it. I've had one of the best weeks of my mission. I feel a little like the Lord had given me a big load to carry early on and as it's been lifted, I'm more prepared and ready for what is to come.

I love being a missionary and I'm grateful to be here. It's good to see the results of what I do. The gospel is so very straight forward, the principles are good, sound teachings and if honestly applied with sincerity, they will be the basis for a happier life. Sure, problems don't go away because of the gospel but you get through things with a cleaner conscience and feeling better, than without it. It just makes so much sense and I simply share what I know to be good principles to live by, as they were taught to me and I've seen them work. Then, as people are reminded once again how to listen to that inner voice and begin to recognize it as the Holy Spirit, they are lifted and their burdens lightened. I love the gospel.

I love you all!

Elder Jepsen

Monday, September 24, 2012

Elder Jepsen - I Am a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I LOVE IT!

Our team has changed. I now work with Elder Omohundro and we both call Elder Taylor our trainer. Elder Omohundro is very eager to work, we get along great and I'm happy to serve with one who has so much experience to draw on.

It's been a difficult week, to be perfectly honest I've been struggling with taking over this new area but on the other hand some incredible miracles have happened.

It's a satisfying experience when we are allowed the blessing and experience it is to bring someone to church. As usual, they'll often be a little uneasy around a crowd of new faces but as they feel welcome and (if they have opened their hearts sufficiently,) feel the Spirit, they end up enjoying the experience.

An even greater experience is when we have another baptism to look forward to and it could seem that we soon might have that blessing as well and life is good!

It's a beautiful thing to have the privilege that I have, sharing the gospel, that God's love is available to everyone who honestly decides to seek Him, with an open heart. It moves me deeply that I am allowed this blessing in my life, to serve God and see His blessing become apparent to others as they too seek what God has to offer.

As missionaries we ask a lot. We are not offering a book, a membership in a social club or "Pudding of the Month Club." We ask that people reconsider their view of life itself, priorities and goals. We ask people to change, and it can be a challenge to consider as great a change, as a commitment to live according to God's directions can be.

The people we meet come in various levels of preparation for the gospel. For some it's an all new world of difference, and for others it's as if the introduction of the gospel is the only natural next step in succession of their preparatory steps to this particular moment in their lives. But, if facing it with an open heart and wanting to know, the gospel is an eyeopening experience unlike any other and it's truly great to help guide people in the discovery, that God lives and He really cares.

I appreciate that both of you Mom and Dad, and my brothers Paul and Lee all served missions. Now it's my turn and I am glad to be here, it's a GREAT blessing. I am a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and love what I do!

I hope you have a great week. You're in my prayers and I'm grateful for everything you have done and do.

Elder Jepsen

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mormonism 101; FAQ

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) has received a lot of press lately. Whether politically motivated or otherwise, some of the reporting has been a fair distance removed from the facts. For that reason, I have decided to repost the following article and illustration, with permission from:   

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be found at every level of society — in business and charity, education and the sciences, political parties and government, the entertainment industry and news media.
Describing the character of Latter-day Saints, Newsweek magazine wrote: “No matter where Mormons live, they find themselves part of a network of mutual concern; in Mormon theology everyone is a minister of a kind, everyone is empowered in some way to do good to others, and to have good done unto them: it is a 21st century covenant of caring. This caring is not limited to Church members alone, but extends far beyond.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the fourth largest Christian church in America. More than half of its 14 million members live outside the United States. Yet despite the faith’s growth and presence, survey results continue to show that relatively few people are familiar with Mormon beliefs.
As an institution, the Church has the responsibility to publicly and clearly articulate its official teachings. In turn, reporters can help inform the public by accurately reporting on these doctrines. But in doing so journalists should be aware of some common pitfalls. For instance, reporters pressed for time tend to take peripheral aspects of the faith and place them front and center as if they were vital tenets of belief. Additionally, sincere commentators often overemphasize what others see as “different” about Latter-day Saints at the expense of highlighting the Church’s most fundamental doctrines in their reporting. Unfortunately, as many members attest, this kind of journalism paints a distorted picture of the Church and continues to confuse the public.
Despite these complications, the Church welcomes honest inquiry from all types of media outlets. The Church expects journalists to be accurate and honest and to focus on the faith as it is lived and believed by its members. The Church discourages sensationalized and misleading journalism that accentuates abstract ideas that do not reflect the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Church’s global membership.
What Are the Core Beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
The founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, wrote, “The fundamental principles of our religion are … concerning Jesus Christ that He died was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
In addition to the above, Latter-day Saints believe unequivocally that:
1.    Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father.
2.    Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.
3.    Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.
     1. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving Heavenly Father
Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from their sins (see John 3:16). God is a loving Heavenly Father who knows His children individually, hears and answers their prayers, and feels compassion toward them. Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate beings but along with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) are one in will, purpose and love.
Latter-day Saints worship Jesus Christ as their Savior and Redeemer. He is central to the lives of Church members. They accept His grace and mercy; they seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (communion) (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26).
2. Christ’s Atonement allows mankind to be saved from their sins and return to live with God and their families forever.
Latter-day Saints believe that God has a plan for His children to return to live with Him and become “joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). For members of the Church, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is central to God’s plan for our happiness. Although humans make mistakes and sin, Mormons view this mortal life as an opportunity to progress and learn. By following Christ’s teachings, embracing His mercy and accepting baptism and other sacraments, Mormons believe they are cleansed from sin through Christ’s grace and can return to live with God and their families forever.
3. Christ’s original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern times.
Members believe that Christ established His Church anciently on the “foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20; see also Ephesians 4:11-14) with “one faith, [and] one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). They believe this foundation of “one faith” was gradually undermined after the death of Christ’s apostles. As a result, the original foundation of authority to lead the Church was lost and needed to be restored (see Acts 3:21). Today, members preach that the Lord has indeed restored His Church with living apostles and prophets, starting with the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith.
Church members understand that families are the most important unit of society. Accordingly, those who follow Christ and keep His commandments are promised to live with their families forever in divinely instituted eternal relationships.



The religious experience of Church members is based on a spiritual witness from God that inspires the heart and mind, creating an interpersonal relationship directly with God. The Church’s role is to help aid its members in their quest to follow Christ’s teachings. Therefore, the Church’s core doctrines strive in every instance to align with Christ’s teachings as outlined in the Bible and other sacred scripture, including the Book of Mormon.
Latter-day Saints believe that the Church’s scripturally-based teachings change lives by motivating people to become more like the Savior. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior.”
With this understanding in mind, the following series of answers to frequently asked questions about the Church’s teachings should help further illuminate what Latter-day Saints believe. The list of questions is not comprehensive but represents some of the most common inquiries from news media.

Are Mormons Christian?

Yes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a Christian church but is neither Catholic nor Protestant. Rather, it is a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ as originally established by the Savior in the New Testament of the Bible. The Church does not embrace the creeds that developed in the third and fourth centuries that are now central to many other Christian churches.
Latter-day Saints believe God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save all mankind from death and their individual sins. Jesus Christ is central to the lives of Church members. They seek to follow His example by being baptized (see Matthew 3:13-17), praying in His holy name (see Matthew 6:9-13), partaking of the sacrament (see Luke 22:19-20), doing good to others (see Acts 10:38) and bearing witness of Him through both word and deed (see James 2:26). The only way to salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ.

What do Mormons believe about God?

God is often referred to in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as our Heavenly Father because He is the Father of all human spirits and they are created in His image (see Genesis 1:27). It is an appropriate term for God who is kind and just, all wise and all powerful. God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead or Trinity for Mormons. Latter-day Saints believe God is embodied, though His body is perfect and glorified.

Do Mormons believe in the Trinity?

Mormons most commonly use the term “Godhead” to refer to the Trinity. The first article of faith for the Latter-day Saints reads: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” Latter-day Saints believe God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one in will and purpose but are not literally the same being or substance, as conceptions of the Holy Trinity commonly imply.

What is the Mormon view of the purpose of life?

For Latter-day Saints, mortal existence is seen in the context of a great sweep of history, from a pre-earth life where the spirits of all mankind lived with Heavenly Father to a future life in His presence where continued growth, learning and improving will take place. Life on earth is regarded as a temporary state in which men and women are tried and tested — and where they gain experiences obtainable nowhere else. God knew humans would make mistakes, so He provided a Savior, Jesus Christ, who would take upon Himself the sins of the world. To members of the Church, physical death on earth is not an end but the beginning of the next step in God’s plan for His children.

Do Mormons believe in the Bible?

Yes. The Church reveres the Bible as the word of God, a sacred volume of scripture. Latter-day Saints cherish its teachings and engage in a lifelong study of its divine wisdom. Moreover, during worship services the Bible is pondered and discussed. Additional books of scripture — including the Book of Mormon— strengthen and reinforce God’s teachings through additional witnesses and provide moving accounts of the personal experiences many individuals had with Jesus Christ. According to Church apostle M. Russell Ballard, “The Book of Mormon does not dilute nor diminish nor deemphasize the Bible. On the contrary, it expands, extends, and exalts it.”

What is the Book of Mormon?

In addition to the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. It contains the writings of ancient prophets, giving an account of God’s dealings with the peoples on the American continent. For Latter-day Saints it stands alongside the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as holy scripture.

What is a Mormon temple?

Temples existed throughout Biblical times. These buildings were considered the house of the Lord (see 2 Chronicles 2:1-5). Latter-day Saint temples are likewise considered houses of the Lord by Church members.
To Latter-day Saints, temples are sacred buildings in which they are taught about the central role of Christ in God’s plan of salvation and their personal relationship with God.
In temples, members of the Church make covenants with God to live a virtuous and faithful life. They also offer sacraments on behalf of their deceased ancestors.
Mormon temples are also used to perform marriage ceremonies that promise the faithful eternal life with their families. For members of the Church family is of central importance.

Do Latter-day Saints believe in modern-day prophets?

Yes. The Church is governed today by apostles, reflecting the way Jesus organized His Church in biblical times. Three apostles constitute the First Presidency (consisting of the president or prophet of the Church and his two counselors), and, together with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, they have responsibility for leading the Church worldwide and serving as special witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each is accepted by Church members in a prophetic role corresponding to the apostles in the Bible.

Do Latter-day Saints believe that the apostles receive revelations from God?

Yes. When Latter-day Saints speak to God, they call it prayer. When God responds through the influence of the Holy Spirit, members refer to this as revelation. Revelation, in its broad meaning, is divine guidance or inspiration; it is the communication of truth and knowledge from God to His children on earth, suited to their language and understanding. It simply means to uncover something not yet known. The Bible illustrates different types of revelation, ranging from dramatic visions to gentle feelings — from the “burning bush” to the “still, small voice.” Mormons generally believe that divine guidance comes quietly, taking the form of impressions, thoughts and feelings carried by the Spirit of God.
Most often, revelation unfolds as an ongoing, prayerful dialogue with God: A problem arises, its dimensions are studied out, a question is asked, and if we have sufficient faith, God leads us to answers, either partial or full. Though ultimately a spiritual experience, revelation also requires careful thought. God does not simply hand down information. He expects us to figure things out through prayerful searching and sound thinking.
The First Presidency (consisting of the president or prophet of the Church and his two counselors) and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles receive inspiration to guide the Church as a whole. Individuals are also inspired with revelation regarding how to conduct their lives and help serve others.

Do Mormon women lead in the Church?

Yes. All women are daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. Women and men are equal in the sight of God. The Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). In the family, a wife and a husband form an equal partnership in leading and raising a family.
From the beginning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints women have played an integral role in the work of the Church. While worthy men hold the priesthood, worthy women serve as leaders, counselors, missionaries, teachers, and in many other responsibilities— they routinely preach from the pulpit and lead congregational prayers in worship services. They serve both in the Church and in their local communities and contribute to the world as leaders in a variety of professions. Their vital and unique contribution to raising children is considered an important responsibility and a special privilege of equal importance to priesthood responsibilities.

Do Latter-day Saints believe they can become “gods”?

Latter-day Saints believe that God wants us to become like Him. But this teaching is often misrepresented by those who caricature the faith. The Latter-day Saint belief is no different than the biblical teaching, which states, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17). Through following Christ's teachings, Latter-day Saints believe all people can become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

Do Latter-day Saints believe that they will “get their own planet”?

No. This idea is not taught in Latter-day Saint scripture, nor is it a doctrine of the Church. This misunderstanding stems from speculative comments unreflective of scriptural doctrine. Mormons believe that we are all sons and daughters of God and that all of us have the potential to grow during and after this life to become like our Heavenly Father (see Romans 8:16-17). The Church does not and has never purported to fully understand the specifics of Christ’s statement that “in my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2).

Do some Latter-day Saints wear temple garments?

Yes. In our world of diverse religious observance, many people of faith wear special clothing as a reminder of sacred beliefs and commitments. This has been a common practice throughout history. Today, faithful adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wear temple garments. These garments are simple, white underclothing composed of two pieces: a top piece similar to a T-shirt and a bottom piece similar to shorts. Not unlike the Jewish tallit katan (prayer shawl), these garments are worn underneath regular clothes. Temple garments serve as a personal reminder of covenants made with God to lead good, honorable, Christlike lives. The wearing of temple garments is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.
Biblical scripture contains many references to the wearing of special garments. In the Old Testament the Israelites are specifically instructed to turn their garments into personal reminders of their covenants with God (see Numbers 15:37-41). Indeed, for some, religious clothing has always been an important part of integrating worship with daily living. Such practices resonate with Latter-day Saints today.
Because of the personal and religious nature of the temple garment, the Church asks all media to report on the subject with respect, treating Latter-day Saint temple garments as they would religious vestments of other faiths. Ridiculing or making light of sacred clothing is highly offensive to Latter-day Saints.

Do Latter-day Saints practice polygamy?

No. There are more than 14 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and not one of them is a polygamist. The practice of polygamy is strictly prohibited in the Church. The general standard of marriage in the Church has always been monogamy, as indicated in the Book of Mormon (see Jacob 2:27). For periods in the Bible polygamy was practiced by the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, as well as kings David and Solomon. It was again practiced by a minority of Latter-day Saints in the early years of the Church. Polygamy was officially discontinued in 1890 — 122 years ago. Those who practice polygamy today have nothing whatsoever to do with the Church.

What is the position of the Church regarding race relations?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. The Book of Mormon states, “Black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). This is the Church’s official teaching.
People of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the Church since its beginning. In fact, by the end of his life in 1844 Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opposed slavery. During this time some black males were ordained to the priesthood. At some point the Church stopped ordaining male members of African descent, although there were a few exceptions. It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended. Church leaders sought divine guidance regarding the issue and more than three decades ago extended the priesthood to all worthy male members. The Church immediately began ordaining members to priesthood offices wherever they attended throughout the world.
The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.”

Do Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri?

We do not know exactly where the original site of the Garden of Eden is. While not an important or foundational doctrine, Joseph Smith established a settlement in Daviess County, Missouri, and taught that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in that area. Like knowing the precise number of animals on Noah’s ark, knowing the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important to one’s salvation than believing in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Why do you “baptize for the dead”?

Jesus Christ taught that “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). For those who have passed on without the ordinance of baptism, proxy baptism for the deceased is a free will offering. According to Church doctrine, a departed soul in the afterlife is completely free to accept or reject such a baptism — the offering is freely given and must be freely received. The ordinance does not force deceased persons to become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or “Mormons,” nor does the Church list deceased persons as members of the Church. In short, there is no change in the religion or heritage of the recipient or of the recipient's descendants — the notion of coerced conversion is utterly contrary to Church doctrine.
Of course, proxy baptism for the deceased is nothing new. It was mentioned by Paul in the New Testament (see 1 Corinthians 15:29) and was practiced by groups of early Christians. As part of a restoration of New Testament Christianity, Latter-day Saints continue this practice. All Church members are instructed to submit names for proxy baptism only for their own deceased relatives as an offering of familial love.

Why does the Church send out missionaries?

The missionary effort of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based on the New Testament pattern of missionaries serving in pairs, teaching the gospel and baptizing believers in the name of Jesus Christ (see, for example, the work of Peter and John in the book of Acts). More than 52,000 missionaries, most of whom are under the age of 25, are serving missions for the Church at any one time. Missionary work is voluntary, with most missionaries funding their own missions. They receive their assignment from Church headquarters and are sent only to countries where governments allow the Church to operate. In some parts of the world, missionaries are sent only to serve humanitarian or other specialized missions. 

Why don’t Mormons smoke or drink alcohol?

The health code for Latter-day Saints is based on a teaching regarding foods that are healthy and substances that are not good for the human body. Accordingly, alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and illegal drugs are forbidden. A 14-year UCLA study, completed in 1997, tracked mortality rates and health practices of 10,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in California, indicating that Church members who adhered to the health code had one of the lowest death rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease in the United States. It also found that Church members who followed the code had a life expectancy eight to 11 years longer than the general white population of the United States.

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