Monday, June 27, 2011

Today in History: Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith

Remembering the prophet Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum; martyrs who were killed 167 years ago today.

CNN: Explain it to Me: Mormonism

I think this was a pretty fair representation of our church. Well done!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Electing a Mormon President

With two members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints running for president, I thought it might be helpful to explain what should be expected about their beliefs.

--The nickname "Mormon" isn't really representative of our beliefs. We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and consider ourselves Christian.

--We believe that the family is the most important unit in society. One of our former church presidents, President David O. McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”

--We believe the Bible to be the word of God. But we do believe that there can be additional scripture. The Bible itself mentions many books that were either lost, or were not included in the Bible when it was preserved. "There are many sacred writings mentioned in the scriptures that we do not have today, among which are these books and writers: the covenant (Ex. 24:7), the wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14), Jasher (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18), the acts of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11:41), Samuel the seer (1 Chr. 29:29), Nathan the prophet (2 Chr. 9:29), Shemaiah the prophet (2 Chr. 12:15), Iddo the prophet (2 Chr. 13:22), Jehu (2 Chr. 20:34), the sayings of the seers (2 Chr. 33:19), Enoch (Jude 1:14), and the words of Zenock, Neum, and Zenos (1 Ne. 19:10), Zenos (Jacob 5:1), Zenock and Ezias (Hel. 8:20), and a book of remembrance (Moses 6:5); and epistles to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9), to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3), and from Laodicea (Col. 4:16). (The Guide to the scriptures, LDS publication of the Bible) One of our books of scripture is called "The Book of Mormon", and is the spiritual record of the people of ancient America.

--We believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior. We believe that it is only through his grace that we are saved, after all that we can do. We believe that repentance is an important step in helping us to become more Christlike.

--We believe in "baptism for the dead" that was spoken of in the Bible. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" 1 Cor. 15:29. One of the missions of our church is to provide the saving ordinances for our ancestors who died without the opportunity to receive them. This is done in sacred, holy temples.

--We believe in the same organization that Jesus Christ set up in the original church. Today, our church is led by a prophet and twelve apostles, with Jesus Christ at the head of the church.

--With a living prophet comes on-going revelation. We believe that God still speaks to us today through a prophet, just as He did in times of old.

--We follow the Savior's admonition, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Mark 16:15. Therefore, our church sends missionaries to all parts of the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and encourage others to repent, and accept baptism.

--We believe this is the church of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth following a great apostasy that occurred after the death of Jesus Christ, and the original twelve apostles.

There is much more I could write, but I hope that this will give you some understanding of our beliefs. If you have any question about our beliefs, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Purpose of Fasting

A question came up in a conversation on another blog about the purpose of fasting. In our church, we fast the first Sunday of every month. There are many benefits to fasting:

--Health benefits
My doctor once asked me, when I was having health problems, if I ever go without eating. I told him that I fast one day a month. He said, "Well, that can actually be good for you!" It acts as a cleanse of our bodies.

--Monetary benefits
While we do save money on the food we would have eaten, this monetary benefit isn't for us. We take that money and give to the bishop to use to help those in our congregation who are in need. We are encouraged to give at least the cost of two meals, but much more if we are able. The contributions are voluntary, and are kept private.

--Spiritual blessings
Fasting helps us to learn to put our bodies in subjection to our will. It helps us learn self-control, and discipline. But more importantly, it humbles us, and puts us in a better position to commune with God.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said, "We observe that in the scriptures, fasting almost always is linked with prayer. Without prayer, fasting is not complete fasting; it’s simply going hungry. If we want our fasting to be more than just going without eating, we must lift our hearts, our minds, and our voices in communion with our Heavenly Father. Fasting, coupled with mighty prayer, is powerful. It can fill our minds with the revelations of the Spirit. It can strengthen us against times of temptation." (Ensign July, 2001)

--Fasting teaches us compassion

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin further taught, "When we fast, brethren and sisters, we feel hunger. And for a short time, we literally put ourselves in the position of the hungry and the needy. As we do so, we have greater understanding of the deprivations they might feel. When we give to the bishop an offering to relieve the suffering of others, we not only do something sublime for others, but we do something wonderful for ourselves as well. King Benjamin taught that as we give of our substance to the poor, we retain “a remission of [our] sins from day to day.” (Ensign, July 2001)

Here are some blessings of fasting that are promised in the scriptures:

"Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;...And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." Isaiah 58:9,11
35Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,

36Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38This is the first and great commandment.

39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22:36-40

"As we live the law of the fast, we not only draw nearer to God through prayer, but we feed the hungry and care for the poor. Each time we do so, we fulfill both of the great commandments upon which “hang all the law and the prophets.” Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Religion and Politics

I ran across a wonderful editorial by Michael Otterson. While this article is political in nature, I do think it helps to show some of the religious bias that people in the world hold towards our religion. Ignorance leads to predjudice. It is time for main stream Christians to look at our religion more closely, and see that we are Christian too. Click here to read the article.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mormon Messages: Chastity: What are the Limits?

This video pretty much sums up what we teach our youth about the law of chastity. But I like the symbolism that is used to explain it.