Official Position on Homosexuality – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

13 10 2010

The official stance of the Mormon church on Homosexuality. Clear, direct and full of love.

Newsroom – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Who is a Mormon?… Some basic Clarification.

16 06 2009

This was a question recently asked on my new Ask a Mormon page.  Seeing it as an area of common confusion, I have highlighted it here.

“Who is a Mormon?”

By way of clarification, A “Mormon” is the common name given to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).  This name was originally dubbed by people not belonging to the church and was given because of our belief in The Book of Mormon. Members of the LDS church accept The Book of Mormon as a scriptural companion to the Holy Bible; in fact, both the Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon were both written by ancient Prophets who taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.  The only Book of Mormon and Bibledifference between the Holy Bible and The Book of Mormon is that the Holy Bible was written in the greater Jerusalem area while The Book of Mormon was written in ancient Americas.  The Book of Mormon was named after the ancient Prophet Mormon who was primarily responsible for gathering all the ancient writings of the holy prophets and compiling them into one book.

Unfortunately, the term Mormon in reference to a member of the LDS faith has proven to be quite misleading to the Christian community.  The LDS members have often been accused of not being Christian and some even think that LDS members worship a man named Mormon.  I want to indisputably correct this erroneous mistake!  Members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints are absolutely Christians and accept Jesus Christ as the Savior of Mankind, just as the proper name of our church emphasizes.  LDS members DO NOT worship anyone else beside God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ.

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or in other words, I am a Mormon.  I have personally accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and look to Him daily for mercy and grace.  I know that Christ lives!  He rose from his tomb nearly 2,000 years ago and He lives today!  I believe that the Holy Bible is the word of God as written by ancient prophets.  Just as I know the Bible is the word of God, I know The Book of Mormon is the word of God as written by ancient prophets; I have read and have found that its teachings of Christ ignite my soul just as the Bible does.  I would challenge any Christian to read The Book of Mormon and see if it does not strengthen their Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (I will send you a free copy at your request).

That was probably more than you were asking, but I wanted to clarify any other confusions other may have.  Please let me know if you have any other questions.





Called to the Work!

24 03 2009

 

A sentiment oft repeated in the revelations given to the modern day prophet, Joseph Smith is, “Behold, the field is white already to harvest; therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God. Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 14:3-4).

God’s grand purpose which governs why He sent us to this earth is stated clearly in the revelation given to the prophet Moses, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39).  The means to fulfill this two-fold mission is facilitated by the life and Atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Christ we will all become immortal, or in other words we will all be resurrected.  This is taught by Paul in 1 Cor. 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  The gift of the resurrection is a free gift to all mankind.  All those who accept Christ as their Savior and choose to follow His gospel will be blessed with the gift of eternal life, or in other words, the blessing of living in the presence of God and Jesus Christ in Heaven; this gift is conditional based upon our acceptance of our Savior and obedience to His Gospel.

Since the advent of Adam on this earth, the Lord has invited His followers to assist in accomplishing the purposes of God.  The scriptures testify that Jesus is the Christ and He has completed the requirement of providing an Atonement to justify all mankind.  It is now our call to help the Lord by bringing others the gifts of eternal life by testifying of the Life and mission of our Savior, Jesus Christ and inviting them to obey His Gospel.  Through our efforts, we can help point our fellow beings toward a life worthy of obtaining eternal Life.

 

13 And how great is [our Savior’s] joy in the soul that repenteth!

14 Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.

15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!

16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! (Doctrine & Covenants 18:13-16)

 

My brother, Brady, has recently decided to serve a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This will involve setting everything aside that a typical 19 year old young man holds valuable and dedicating all his energies to building the Kingdom of God by sharing the gospel with others for two years of his life.  Here he is opening his mission call as assigned by the prophet of the church.

We do not have to go on a full time mission to help our neighbors find salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ; we can begin today by sharing the gospel that has blessed our lives so much.  This is not only an opportunity we have, but a responsibility.

You may also be reading this and find that you know little of the gospel of Jesus Christ; you first have the responsibility to learn it for yourself.  You will be able to learn of its truthfulness for yourself by living it and seeing for yourself if it brings more peace and happiness to your life.  I encourage your to check out these links to learn more: mormon.org, jesuschrist.lds.org, or ask a question on my new question and answer page, “Ask a Mormon,” where you can ask questions about the beliefs of the LDS church or any other general questions about religion.

I want to testify that I know for myself that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world.  I know this because He has become my personal Savior; I have made many mistakes in my life and still continue to mess up, but when I approach the Lord in prayer and in weakness I have felt an overwhelming peace and feeling of joy flood into my Heart as I have been forgiven of my sins.  This forgiveness and peace is available to all who accept Christ as their Savior, obey His gospel, and repent of their sins.  I also know that Christ calls prophets today to lead and guide His followers, just as He did in Biblical times.  And I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lords kingdom on this earth and contains the fullness of the teachings of the gospel.





Jesus Christ, the Vine Through Which we are Strengthened.

3 02 2009

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Although we may strive to live our lives right in the sight of God, we often go through difficult and trying times.  My wife and I are striving to endure through such an experience and we needed some strength beyond our own.  Last night we got together and turned to the scriptures to seek some solace for our troubled hearts.  Specifically we sought how our savior could strengthen us in times of trial.

In our search we came across a parable taught by our Savior in John 15:1-8.

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit…
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

 

At a casual read of this passage, particularly in verse two, one may picture God as a ruthless unloving God, but this is not the case.  Our Heavenly Father loves us and this passage of scripture is teaching us where we can find the strength of our Lord to develop and become the disciples He needs us to become.

The Savior is the source of life and source of strength, if we are not connected to His living vine we will wither and parish.  If we are rooted in His doctrine and live His gospel in our lives we will bring forth fruit. 

My wife and I found particular meaning in what verse two says about those who are connected to the living vine and bring forth fruit – they will be “purged,” that they will bring forth more fruit.  Purging, or pruning of a branch is not a pleasant experience for that branch, but it is done to increase the fruit brought forth by that branch.  The same is true for us, at times when things are seemingly going well in our life and we may even be producing some joyous fruit, God may purge us, or try us, not to make life miserable, but for our personal betterment so that we can produce more fruit in the future, find more joy and have increased capacities to help people go through similar trials that we had gone through.

Have faith in God! He loves and cares for us and is aware of all our struggles.  Root yourself in the living vine, even our Savior Jesus Christ, and you will find increased power in your live to conquer all your trials; I know because I have seen it in my own life.

How have you found power through the Savior to overcome your past trials?





Becoming a True Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

27 01 2009

 

After promising His true disciples the blessings of the earth, the Lord said:

 “And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with com­mandments not a few, and with revelations in their time—they that are faithful and diligent before me” (D&C 59:4, emphasis added).

The scriptures contain the written law and the commandments; obedience to these commandments brings us personal happiness and saves us from misery and the negative consequences associated with sin.  But obedience to the commandments only meets the baseline standards for Heaven, there is much more to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.  The Lord Himself has given us each this charge, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is Perfect” (Mat. 5:48).  The quest for perfection will obviously not be obtained in this life, but the journey begins when you personally commit to live the baseline standards, or the commandments, and it continues as you heed the personalized promptings that the Spirit will give you to help you become perfect and more Christ like.

Disciples of Christ

Receiving and heading these personalized commandments is what makes a Disciple a true Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The windows of Heaven are Open; the light of Christ and the Spirit minister unto man to lead them back to God.  Once baptized and you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, the sensitivity to these promptings is heighten and the influence of the Spirit in your life is magnified, with the sole purpose to guide us down the paths of righteousness that will lead us back to God.  The path towards becoming perfect does not happen with leaps and bounds, but happens a step at a time; this is in large part the purpose of the Spirit, to help us down the path of righteousness and toward perfection.

My life has been changed because of this very principle.  Through my years in high school and the few that followed thereafter, I lived in wickedness and openly rebelled against the thing in which I had been taught.  I had told my parents that I had no intension of ever serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints like they had anticipated me doing, which brought them great disappointment.  But through the ministry of the Holy Ghost, I received small tugs to make minor changes in my lifestyle that eventually had an exponential effect on me.  These tugs were small and slight; for example, I stopped spending as much time with the friends that had a negative influence on me.   These tugs later turned into encouragements to pray, a desire to read the scriptures, a desire to repent of my sins, and later, a desire to serve a mission.  If it were not for these small personalized commandments and promptings, I would have never had the life changing experience of serving the Lord and later meet my wife and get sealed in the Temple by the Priesthood of God.   If it were not for these personalized commandments, I would have continued in the life of misery that I was leading and would not have ever experienced the joy that is in my life today!  I know that God lives and that He loves us.  Through His Holy Spirit, He will lead us down the path of Discipleship.

The path of Discipleship does not end with living the commandments, it continues onto perfection.  The Spirit and influence of God will be ther, if you listen, to continually guide you to be more like our Savior.  Chirt is our ultimate examplar and the purpose of life is to follow Him and become more like Him, that we may be better suited for Heaven.

“…Christ also suffered for us, leaving an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

“For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5)

What is God telling you to do to draw nearer unto Him?  How could you change the way you live your life so that you can be more sensitive to the promptings and influences of the Spirit of God and not the influences of the world?






Relying on Jesus Christ to Strengthen our Marriages – Part 2

2 12 2008

As promised, I want to conclude our discussion of creating more harmony and unity in our homes.  If you are just tuning in, I recommend that you read my last post.  To conclude this topic, I will discuss here how we must have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and rely upon the Atonement to harvest greater marital unity.  I will first discuss the purpose of the Atonement and then touch on four points of how the Atonement can strengthen the unity in our marriages. (This same discussion will also be applicable to finding strength in a variety of struggles in our life.)

The Atonement

jesus-in-gethsemane

The Atonement of Jesus Christ comprises three major events that concluded His life on this Earth.  It began with His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He took upon Him our sins, weaknesses, and physical ailments and sweat great drops 

of blood (Luke 22:39-44).  The Atonement continued with Jesus’ crucifixion (Luke22:33-49) and finally concluded three long days later with the beautiful morning of the resurrection, where Christ’s spirit had taken up His body never to be separated again (Luke 24).  Through this Atonement everyone that has ever lived on this Earth will also be resurrected and all those who accept Jesus as their Savior and who demonstrates Faith in him through obeying His word will find eternal life, a life in paradise with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Point One: Finding Strength through Grace

In our previous discussion I quoted Jesus’ intercessory prayer found in the Gospel of John.  I would like to draw your attention to what is taught in verse 22, Jesus prayed, “ And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22).

What is this “glory” that was given to Christ by the Father and Christ is in turn giving to us so that we may be one, or in other words, unified?  I believe it is Grace offered to mankind through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The word ‘grace’ as used in the New Testament is to mean a “divine means of help or strength, given through the bounteous mercy and love of Jesus Christ.”  This divine help or strength can be accessed “through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of [our] sins,” by this we can “receive strength and assistance to do good works that [we] otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to [our] own means” (Bible Dictionary).

Through cultivating faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ, obeying His word, studying the scriptures, and supplicating our Heavenly Father through prayer, we will qualify for the Grace of Jesus Christ.  Through this Grace, we will be given divine assistance to change our bad habits or tendencies to be selfish, frustrated, angered, prideful, thoughtless, and contentious, all of which weaken our marriage.  We will be given power from on high to become more Christ like, which will create greater unity in our home.

Point Two: An Example of Selfless Sacrifice

                The Atonement is the perfect example of the selfless sacrifice required for a successful and happy marriage.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this Earth and led a perfect life, without sin.  Despite the perfection Jesus obtained in this life, Jesus paid the penalties for the sins of all mankind.  Think about that!  The only man ever to cross the face of this Earth without sin suffered the penalties of all who has ever sinned so they can return and live with God as if they had lived the perfect life!

                If we could approach our marriages with the same level of selfless service that Christ approached each one of us with, think of how much happier we would be and how much more unified we would be with our spouse.  We would no longer be burdened with our own personal trouble; we would only care about serving and making our spouse happy.  Think of the harmony that would prevail in the home and the new excitement as you look for creative ways to surprise your spouse.  Think of the look on your spouse’s face as they are surprised time and time again by acts to sercice or expressions of love rendered by you. By doing this we would become more like our Savior, our spouses will be encouraged to do the same by our example, each spouse will draw closer to Christ, and there will be more unity in our homes.

Point Three: Seeking Forgiveness

                In our lives we all make mistakes and we all sin; when we sin we offend those around us and we offend God.  This offence distances us from God and from our loved ones and fosters a spirit of disunity and eliminating any spirit of peace.

                Nephi, a righteous prophet in the ancient Americas, lamented over his past mistakes and said “And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?  Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul” (2 Ne. 4:27-28).

                Sin weighs us down; only through faith in The Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance can this weight be lifted.  Repentance is a process of removing the estrangement between yourself and God and forsaking your sins.  Relying on the Atonement in this way is to reestablish unity; if you break the word Atonement into its English components you get the phrase “At One Ment.”  The Atonement is the ultimate unifier in life, it makes it possible to be “At one” with God and your loved ones; it restores peace and unity in your home if you repent and seek forgiveness.

 

Point Four: Forgiving

Lastly, in our marriages we will not only have the opportunity to seek forgiveness for our mistakes, but we will also have the opportunity to forgive one another.  There is little that is more damaging to a mirage than one spouse refusing to forgive the other of a mistake or even saying they forgive the other when they really haven’t.  Not forgiving one another in marriage takes a wound in the relationship and rips it open further.  Ultimately the destiny of a couple who does not forgive each other is divorce because we all make mistakes and not forgiving fosters resentment which leads to hate and mistrust.

                Forgiving and being forgiven restores unity in the home, invites the Spirit of peace into your life, and is a part of the rocky road of drawing closer to Jesus Christ.  Finding forgiveness of our sins is inseparable from forgiving others.  Jesus taught “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mat. 6:14-15).

                I know that Christ is our Lord and our Savior. Only through His Atonement can we return to our Father in Heaven and only through His Atonement can we find peace and unity in our lives and relationships.





Creating harmony in your home and with your spouse in a crazy world.

12 11 2008

A unified country… Is it possible? …is it even possible to have a unified home?!  

        My wife and I are consciously striving for the latter, a unified home and it is difficult.  Am I insinuating that we are at odds ends and don’t love each other anymore, no, not at all!  I love Tara more now than I ever knew I could love anyone.  But what we are trying to work on is becoming more unified in purpose and having a greater peace in our home.  Specifically we are to eliminate precisely what the Lord said of a Christian people who initially failed in creating a spirit of unity amongst them; He said, “Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances (blessings)” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:6).

        When Paul learned of the contentions of the members of the church in Corinth, he declared “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10).

        Jesus Christ and His Father exemplify the type of unity we should strive for in our marital relationships as well as all other associations we may have.  In the sacred prayer uttered by the lips of Jesus towards the end of His ministry, He prayed not only for us to become unified with each other, but that we might become unified with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

        21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

        22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

        23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21-23)

          We learn from these verses that by exemplifying the unity that exists between Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ in our marriages and becoming unified in purpose with the Father and Jesus others will come to believe in Christ through our examples.

          The perfect example of the unity I am discussing here occurred in the form of another prayer uttered by our Savior before he took upon himself the unimaginable pain associated with taking the sins of all the world upon him in the darkness of the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).   As we become more unified with our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, our prayers will become similar to this one; we will set our own will aside and accept God’s will as our own.

unity-triangle          Excuse the amateur artwork; I don’t include it for its quality, but to teach a principle.  When we enter into a marriage relationship, we each have our own likes and dislikes, opinions, desires, wants, and beliefs of how things should work around the house.  These differences are O.K. (that is usually why you married each other), but are often allowed to be a source of contention when pride and stubbornness is involved.  These differences are symbolized in the picture by the distance between the Husband and wife while at the base of the triangle.  When we get married, we not only commit ourselves to our spouses to serve, love, and strengthen them throughout all of life’s trials, but there is also an implicit commitment to strive to become the best that we can be.  We accomplish this by individually striving to become more like our Savior and drawing nearer to Him.  Notice that when each spouse depicted climbs towards the Savior at the apex of the triangle, the distance between the couple decreases symbolizing a greater spirit of unity between them as their differences melt away and they become more one in purpose.

          I know that through striving to become more like our Savior we can become more unified with our spouses.  I have witnessed this in my own marriage; we are far from the top, but we are closer together than when we started.  I often feel my wonderful wife is much higher than myself and that just pushes me harder.  I love my wife Tara, and am grateful for the wonderful woman that she is.

          I want to discuss further how to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His infinite grace to progress towards a more unified home. I invite you to check back in the coming week to follow up with this discussion of unity.  For now, I will end with a sentiment that Paul concluded his second letter to the Corinthians with:

         11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect (strive to be like your Savior), be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Cor. 13:11)