Mormon 101: What We Believe

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the twelve apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just spoke at Harvard Law School to give a Mormonism 101 lecture about what our faith is and does. He gives a great simple explanation of what we believe, what we have in common, and how we differ from other Christian denominations. It’s a 17-minute video that’s worth watching and sharing. It doesn’t seem to be a complete version of the lecture, so if anyone has a link to the full thing, feel free to share it in the comments below.

I believe what he teaches here is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that His Church has been restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that there is a living prophet and apostles that continue to direct that Church and testify of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

To learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or find answers to your questions, go here.

GCBC Week 18: “The Importance of a Name” by Elder M. Russell Ballard

[Thank you to Becca for creating this image]

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the “Mormon Moment” in the media.  It’s great when our doctrines and beliefs get more attention and become better understood.  One thing that we have a responsibility to do is to make sure that we respresent well the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and help people know what our church means.  Elder Ballard points out that the name of the church encompasses the heart of our doctrine and our identity, and he reminds us to use that name to teach people about who we are.

The Importance of a Name M. Russell Ballard

“Let us develop the habit … of making it clear that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the name by which the Lord Himself has directed that we be known.”

Share your thoughts or insights in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion here each week.

GCBC Week 13: “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear” by Elder L. Tom Perry

Merry Christmas.  This week we will be studying Elder Perry’s talk about having the courage to bear testimony and help people understand who we are.  After spending the last while reflecting on the gifts we’ve received from the Savior, this talk seems a perfect way to consider how to give a gift to Him– by sharing His gospel.  If you remember, he spoke about how we do temple open houses to invite people who are unfamiliar with the Church to learn more about it.  He then teaches us to use the same model as we share information with others.

Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear by Elder L. Tom Perry

“There are a number of things that we can do—that you can do—to advance an understanding of the Church. If we do it with the same spirit and if we conduct ourselves in the same way we do when we host a temple open house, our friends and our neighbors will come to understand us better. Their suspicions will evaporate, negative stereotypes will disappear, and they will begin to understand the Church as it really is.”

What about this talk stood out to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To anyone who is checking out GCBC for the first time, the goal is to read one General Conference talk a week and discuss it together as an on-line “book club.” If you want to learn more, go here, and join the discussion.

Can of Worms: A Mormon Woman’s View on Womanhood

Occasionally, I wake up in the middle of the night with something in my head that my brain starts blogging about.  After I mental draft for 30 minutes or so, I give in, get up, and get on the computer.  So, it’s 4:18 a.m., and you’ve been warned.  :)

Facts:  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The church has been spotlighted quite a bit in the media lately.  Such attention leads to a lot of online “chatter,” including long comment threads on national media sites.  Even though my better judgment tells me not to read those threads because they are crawling with trolls, I sometimes do, and good grief, people are ignorant.

Anyway, people sometimes use these forums to voice their concerns about “Mormons” and what they believe.  An informal calculation in my head tells me that about 75% of these critics are just dead wrong, and about 25% almost have it right, but they’ve severely misunderstood some point of our doctrine.  Simply stated, they are simultaneously misinformed and sure they’re not.  It’s frustrating.

One of the common threads I’ve seen running through these “discussions” is that Mormons are oppressive to certain populations (women, blacks, homosexuals, etc…).  All of these claims make my brain rattle and I want to yell at the universe, “Come on!  Have you ever met a Mormon?  Have you been to a worship service?  Or watched a faithful Mormon family in action?  Or read our scriptures (including the Bible)?  It would not take long at all to figure out that those claims are preposterous!!!”  But, you know how the universe ignores all that fist shaking and pointless yelling, so here I am venting on my blog.  I could not even pretend to tackle all those “issues,” but I’ve just got to address the women one.  I probably won’t do it justice (and frankly, internet trolls scare me to death), but it is with a small dose of trepidation and a large dose of fire in my bones that I must express what womanhood means to me, and what I believe it means to my church, and in short:  to God.

Let’s start with an anecdote, shall we?  Approximately one hour ago, my daughter woke me up to tell me she peed in her bed.  Her sheets were wet, her clothes were wet, and she was cold.  I helped her change out of her clothes, washed her body with a warm washcloth, stripped the sheets, started the laundry, and tucked her into a new bed.  She asked me to wrap her in the blankets “like a burrito,” and I did.  I kissed her on the head, she snuggled down into the mattress, smiled, and said “good night.”  As I walked out of the room, I turned off all the lights, and in the dark journey back to my bed, I was given some thoughts.  (Sometimes thoughts are given, not just thought.)  I reflected on Continue reading

Are Mormons Christians?

In response to the recent media attention, I just wanted to share a glimpse into the basic beliefs of a Mormon family regarding Jesus Christ.  I wrote down a few questions, called Grant into the office, and gave him a quick interview.  Grant is 8 years old and was recently baptized as a member of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He shared his own views about Jesus Christ and what Christianity means to him.  His answers are sincere and spontaneous, and I hope they can share some insight into what a Mormon family teaches, believes, and strives to live.

(if video is not working on this site, you can find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEcq3sx5MaM)

Glossary of terms:

Mormon:  a nickname often used to refer to a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Friend magazine:  a monthly publication by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that is for children. It shares teachings from the Bible and Book of Mormon, tells stories of children trying to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and communicates lessons recently taught by living prophets and apostles.  You can see current and past editions  here.

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I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He is my Savior and He is my friend.  He alone has made it possible for me to overcome sin and death and gain eternal life.  I know that He lives, and I know that He loves me. I believe that the surest path to joy, both in this life and after death, comes from following His example, keeping His commandments, and repenting of my sins.  Jesus Christ is Lord and King.  I believe in Him.  I am a Christian.

Please visit mormon.org if you have any other questions about the doctrines, practices or members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[image credit: Jesus the Christ, painting by Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911)]