Thursday, October 20, 2011

Let's Talk About Mormons

All of the following is my own opinion and may not perfectly depict the official theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is simply a statement of my beliefs...I'm not trying to argue with, convince or convert anybody. I encourage and respect the thoughts, comments and questions from others, but please, no "bible bashing" or name-calling. 

My dad only has one wife, I don’t worship the Devil, and I’m certainly not a member of a cult. And no, I don’t grow horns that I have to saw down every morning.

I do believe in modern revelation and prophecies, my mom’s side of the family is from Utah, and I personally know a whole lot of bicycle-riding missionaries.

Do I have your attention yet? Yes, I’m a Mormon or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Between the highly acclaimed and controversial Broadway hit, “The Book of Mormon,” and LDS Mitt Romney getting accused of being a member of a cult by the Evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress, Mormons are filling up the headlines.

Anderson Cooper performs stellar journalism while interviewing Robert Jeffress. Check. It. Out.



I think I can easily say that Mormons are misunderstood. For some reason, it's become socially acceptable to be blatantly anti-Mormon without having any understanding of LDS teachings or culture beyond what the rumors say.

Because we could talk about religious beliefs, let alone LDS theology, forever, I simply wanted to share a few common misconceptions, and how the truth of these misconceptions affects my life.

We'll keep it simple, promise:

Myth #1: Mormons do not believe in Jesus Christ, and are therefore anti-Christian.

At Temple Square North Visitor's Center in Salt Lake City.
Truth #1: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. I believe he died and atoned for each human being's sins. I believe that because of Jesus Christ's willing perfect obedience and sacrifice, I will be healed physically and spiritually and be blessed to live in the eternities with Him.

I think the idea that LDS members are anti-Christian may root from theological differences between mainstream Christianity and Mormonism. I do not believe in the Trinity. I believe that Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings. Further, I believe that Jesus Christ and God have separate, physical, perfected bodies. This is obviously very different than many Christian faiths.

Believing in the Savior has changed my life for the better. I am a long-suffering and patient. When I see others, I try to see them for their virtues and not their faults. I have a desire to serve and uplift those around me. I find peace and solace in the knowledge that when my mortal life is over, I will be perfected, physically and spiritually, in Him. I am kinder. I cherish the beauty of the world around me a little more. I am happier because I have come to know and accept Jesus Christ as my Redeemer.

Myth #2: Mormons are a cult.

Truth #2: Nope. The only individual we worship is Jesus Christ. Sounds like any other Christian religion to me.

Nathaniel and I coming out of the Sacramento LDS Temple after our marriage ceremony.

Myth #3: Mormons are a cult because they are secretive and do creepy stuff inside their temples.

Truth #3: Again, the LDS church is a not a cult. We believe that temples are the House of the Lord, and as such, believe that no unclean thing can be in His presence. That's not to say each person that enters is perfect, but they are demonstrating a certain level of faithful obedience i.e. chastity, honesty, etc.

In our temples we perform proxy work for the dead, meaning that we are baptized for and in behalf of someone who did not have the opportunity to hear or accept the gospel of Jesus Christ while living on earth. This, of course, does not force others to be members of the LDS church, but rather gives them an opportunity to choose to accept Christ after their mortal lives are over.

We also make covenants for those who are living, such as the marital covenant. In the marriage ceremony within the temple couples are married for "time and all eternity." There is no "till death do us part."

Non-members are welcomed (and even encouraged) in our weekly Sunday services within our chapels. (You can find a chapel and meeting times here.)

The temple has blessed my life in several ways. Within the temple, I have the opportunity to serve those whose mortal lives have ended. As I serve, I am able to forget my own concerns and focus a little more on the teachings of Christ. I also married Nathaniel for eternity when we got married in the temple. I'm grateful that our family can be forever. By participating in covenants in the temple, I have come to understand the Savior and His teachings a little better.


Myth #4: Mormons don't believe in the Bible, and only follow teachings in the Book of Mormon.

Truth #4: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God," -- 8th article of faith.

Pretty simple.

We believe the Book of Mormon is an additional testament of Jesus Christ that supports the teachings found in the Bible. The Book of Mormon "contains the history and God's dealings with the people who lived in the Americas between approximately 600 BC and 400 AD."

My study of the Book of Mormon has fortified my understanding of the Bible. As I study the Book of Mormon, I come to a closer understanding of who Jesus Christ was. My studies within the Book of Mormon have fortified my faith and brought me peace.

Myth #5: Mormons believe in false prophets.

Truth #5: Something that sets us distinctly apart from other Christian denominations is that we believe in modern revelation. We believe that because God doesn't change and loves His children, that He still leads and guides them today through prophets, apostles and other church leaders, who act as His mouth piece.

My belief in modern revelation and in a modern prophet, bring me both joy and peace. I'm grateful to know that the Lord loves me enough to continuously guide me. As I listen to the direction from the prophet and apostles, I am fortified by their belief in Jesus Christ and my own faith is fortified.


Want to know more? You can read 13 basic points of what we believe here. Or you can peruse this website here.

Questions? I'd love to answer them.

Always,

P.S. Make sure you enter my giveaway before Monday to win yourself a custom baby onesie! Even if you don't have your own babe, they make fabulous gifts. I just whipped two up for my mom for a baby shower she's attending next week!

18 comments:

Lauren E. Douglas said...

Thank you for writing this post. I have never known any Mormons personally. And I'll be honest, I don't know much at all about Mormonism.
A few of the things you mentioned (proxy work for the dead, being married for 'time and all eternity')... those are things I caught my eye. My husband and I believe we'll always be together. We're forever. And as far as the proxy work goes, that completely makes sense to me. What got me about Christianity in general was that someone, who could have given their absolute all, selflessly, their entire life, to others could possibly go to Hell just because they didn't know of, or didn't believe in Hell. But someone who kills all kind of people can say 'Oops, sorry God!' and they're fine. I always thought that was ridiculous and I really commend Mormonism for their belief on proxy work. That opens up a whole new light for me. I think I'll look into Mormonism. Not necessarily for religious purposes, but knowledge. Because I honestly felt ignorant on the subject.

Oh, and I reckon you'll read this and wonder what religion, if any, I am. My husband and I are Pagan. We're raising our son to learn about all religions we can possibly give him access to and when he is older, he can make decisions.

Thanks again for the intelligent, unobtrusive and helpful approach to sharing this with us. :)

Superficial Sanctuary said...

Really, religion is such an insane topic to me...it has so many facets, so many opinions, and I think it is a wonderful topic so long as people in discussion are open to others which is rarely the case...saddening.

I was very interested in this information. I did not know much, if anything, about this specific religion and I enjoy learning about them, even if it just touches the surface.

I was raised Catholic but have yet to develop fully as one, regardless of baptism and confirmation as a child. I consider myself to have faith but do not hold myself to only one set of beliefs, which is probably why I am so open and accepting of hearing about others.

Really cool post. You're a great writer!

Hannah said...

Lauren, I am so happy you enjoyed the read! I always thought that concept was strange, too. As I grew up and understood a little more the work we did in the temple, I felt strongly that what we were doing was not only right and good but it was true. I feel that a loving and just God would give all His children an opportunity to return to Him, no matter their mortal's life's circumstances. Some people live their whole lives without ever hearing the name Jesus Christ, and it didn't/doesn't make any sense to me that they would be punished for that even if they were good people! If you would like to know more about the church, you can check our www.mormon.org. It's a website specifically for those learning about the church. I'd also be happy to talk with you, too! You can e-mail me directly at hannahmoore2007 at hotmail dot com. It's always good to learn about other religions...I think it helps you understand yourself a little better!

I think that's wonderful how you are raising your son. It seems as if you and your husband are very open and accepting -- I wish there were more people like you in the world! Your son is very lucky. :)

And again, you're welcome! Let me know if you have any questions :)

Hannah said...

SS, I definitely agree! It is a shame people can't discuss their beliefs in a respectful manner. I don't get when it has to be so negative. For some reason, many are threatened when someone says they believe something differently. We all have our own minds for a reason...it's okay if we aren't all little clones of each other! And yes, this was definitely just the surface. There is a lot to learn about our beliefs and we even have our own culture i.e. we dress modestly, don't drink alcohol, observe the Sabbath day, etc. And thank you! I love discussing faith/beliefs/religions with other link-minded individuals. :)

Anonymous said...

My dad doesn't have any more wives than my mom

False

Your father has one wife, your mother has none. Your dad clearly has one more wife than your mom.

Hannah said...

Anonymous, way to be a grammar nazi and not provide you'RE name. Thanks for contributing to the discussion..................

BTW, I just got a job as a journalist. Does that get your panties in a twist or what?

Taylor said...

What people are really trying to say when they are ignorant about other religions,

"yea well my imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend!" Right?!?

Oh my, it kills me. Well I love Jesus, and you love Jesus, so I don't really see how that makes us any different. <3

Amanda C. said...

I enjoyed this post. Honestly I didn't really know much about Mormons except what I've seen on tv. I feel like I have been pretty sheltered when it comes to other religions. I live in the bible belt.

I sometimes watch the show Sister Wives. I know that being Mormon doesn't mean being a polygamist. How do you feel about this show?

Connie said...

I love this post Hannah! You wrote things beautifully. It really is a pity that there are so many lies out there about the church. All we can do as members though is explain the truth! You're awesome (:

Hannah said...

Tay...yes, yes, you couldn't be more right!!

Hannah said...

Amanda, I'm glad you enjoyed this! Sister Wives, for me, is like a person with really bad hair...I LOVE to HATE it! I try not to watch the show because it really irritates me. They aren't "Mormon" they are FLDS or RLDS which is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- both off-shoots of the original church. When someone says they are "Mormon" they are LDS or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- that's the church I am a member of, the same one Mitt Romney is a member of, the commenter below me, Connie, is a member of, and millions of other (ordinary and famous) people are a member of...if you go to mormon.org, that's our church. :)

I think it's confusing for people not familiar with the different religions to keep these straight. LDS, FLDS, and RLDS are not affiliated with each other. The FLDS and RLDS formed their own churches off of the LDS church.

It's particularly confusing because the LDS church used to practice polygamy. I myself am a descendant of a polygamist on my mom's side. I could give you a whole religion/history lesson on why the church practiced it, how many did, and why we stopped...but we'll leave that to be a discussion for another day.

The main reason I don't like the show Sister Wives is because it confuses THEIR religion with the LDS religion. They are different -- different doctrines and lifestyles. It also irritates me that they openly advocate polygamy but never support it with any religious backing. They only reasoning they have on the show for it is "because we like it," but they continuously say they know their church is correct. I'm totally cool with them believing or practicing what they want, as long as their is something that convinced them it was right beyond personal preference...I guess, from a journalist perspective, it just feels like there are holes in the story (on the TV show) that are left out on purpose. I guess my beef is really with the producers who are allowing transparency -- not so much the people on the show.

Hannah said...

Thanks, Connie! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was hoping other members would think I clarified things well!

L!$@ said...

Really well written. I'm glad that people have been clarifying our beliefs because it's important to understand what we actually believe before you start bashing us. Thankyou!!

Amy Rene said...

thanks for being so open & brave about your religion. I know that's a hard thing to do. it was definitely well written :)

Amanda C. said...

I didn't even realize that they were different. Thanks for breaking it down for me and being so open. I can understand how these shows can confuse people.

Hannah said...

Lisa, I totally agree. Sometimes I feel like everybody knows what we believe because it's all I know. Plus, I grew up in Northern California where the church was pretty big. As I've grown and moved, I've realized that's really not the case! I've found that most people are genuinely interested in hearing about the church (as long as you're just sharing and not pushy or forceful). I've even had people LOVE that I'm Mormon. Cracks me up.

Amy, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I figure it's better to be open and honest than hush, hush!

Amanda, I am so glad I could clarify things for you!! If you ever have questions, let me know!!

Mandie said...

Hannah, I love love love you :) and i love your testimony!!!!! Miss you like crazy!!!
Mandie

Hannah said...

Miss you, too, Mandie! :)

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