A Convert’s Survival Guide: What to Expect AFTER your Baptism

Usually the Sunday following your baptism, in which you were immersed in water, your confirmation follows.  It is done during sacrament meeting, before the sacrament ordinance. Confirmation can also be done immediately following the baptism. The confirmation is sometimes called baptism by fire, or the gift of the Holy Ghost:

For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:17).

With the gift of the Holy Ghost, we receive the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. It becomes our lifelong guide that will lead us back to Heavenly Father. It will help us stay on the straight and narrow path, know right from wrong, guide us through tough decisions and provide peace and comfort in all that we do. When Nephi realized that many did not know what to do after their conversion and baptism, he said the “words of Christ,” as communicated by the Holy Ghost, would guide them:

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)

Confirmation is done by someone with the Melchizedek Priesthood Authority, under the direction of the bishopric or branch presidency.

The actual ordinance goes as follows:

  • One or more Melchizedek Priesthood holders participate in this ordinance.
  • The Priesthood holders encircle you while you sit down in a chair facing the congregation.
  • They place their hands lightly on the person’s head.
  • Then the person who performs the ordinance:
    1. Calls you by your full name.
    2. States that the ordinance is performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
    3. Confirms you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    4. Bestows the gift of the Holy Ghost by saying, “Receive the Holy Ghost.”
    5. Gives a priesthood blessing as the Spirit directs. (one to two minutes)
    6. Closes in the name of Jesus Christ.

After the ordinance is completed, you stand up and begin shaking hands with everyone in the circle. Don’t forget to take a look at the congregation. They are the people who will be there for you and help you through everything. They sincerely care for you and your family and…

…are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9)

Congratulations, you are now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Truth Restored on YouTube

I remember visiting mormon.org a few months ago and I believe this is the same woman (Jennifer) that impressed me with what she had to say. Click here to view the video on mormon.org.

More of what she has to say has been posted up on YouTube a few hours ago, here they are:

Jennifer: Return to be with God

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-9_ErZBGGM]

Jennifer: Marriage is Eternal

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuGC__XDLd4]

The next video is about Oscar, a Mormon who talks about his mother passing away when he was five years old. Even though it was not enough time for them to be together, he knows that families can be eternal and that he will see her again.

Oscar: Families Should Be Eternal

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4GcBrsmwqE]

The final video is Issiah speaking about his observations of life. The monotonousness of life, the tragedies on this world and seeing the misery around him makes him realize that there has to be more to life. And I believe he is right, there is!

More to Life Than This

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8V0oh2lNA0]

These are very good videos about the questions that everyone has in life. I am glad to see the Church putting these up on YouTube to share with everyone.

 

What is a Testimony? Meet Don and Betty.

What is Testimony? You could say a testimony is one’s personal knowledge to the truth that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ lives and that Jesus is our Savior and Son of God.

I believe a testimony is a wonderful gift from Heavenly Father. It is my spiritual witness that was given to my by the Holy Ghost. Because of my testimony, I feel immensely loved by a perfect being, by our God.

Testimony is the foundation of our faith. It is like a muscle which we can use to grow spiritually. The more you use it and fall back on it, the stronger it will get. If you do nothing, it will atrophy.

We can also help others gain our strengthen their own testimonies as well by bearing our testimony just as Don and Betty do.

Don

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=8XpF5Gb4mng]

Betty

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=C6VOBVDcSec]

Crisis of Faith

I was browsing the web tonight and came across a post at the blog “Our Thoughts.” It was a wonderful entry that truly shows the test of faith of Kim Siever.

What really strikes me the most are the similar experiences between the writer, Joseph Smith, and Jesus Christ! In his experience, Kim writes:

…I had an unusual and foreign experience. Several years ago, I found myself in a difficult situation. As a result, I was praying frequently and frequently for the Lord’s intervention. I prayed several times every day and was fasting every Sunday. Some weeks I fasted Sunday and Monday…

..After several weeks of not seeing any change in the situation, I began questioning why I was not receiving an answer to my prayer…

…I started to wonder if perhaps the reason I wasn’t receiving an answer from God was because God did not exist…

…My entire life was filled with teachings that told me if I ever needed anything from God, I simply had to ask. Here I was, having asked every day for several weeks, even unusually fasting frequently, and those promised answers had not come…

I find it hard to imagine being brought up in the Church and then to begin questioning the very things that you were taught by your parents and thought you believed in. I often feel like the Converts and Pioneers in the Church have it easier than people who were born or brought up into the Church.

For someone to want to be baptized would mean that they have received a personal testimony about truthfulness of things. For someone to grow up in the Church, you could be baptized, but not really have a testimony or be truly ‘converted.’ I believe that a person born into the Church must have a stronger spirit and drive to be ‘converted’ in the gospel.

Kim, the writer further writes:

At the time, we were attending an Institute class. We had a good instructor, and we were discussing church history. Actually, we were specifically studying Liberty Jail. In the course of the class, we discussed D&C 121:1-2.

O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?

My ears perked up. Joseph Smith — the first prophet of the restoration, one who had seen God, one who had been ministered by angels — was asking the same question I had: where was God.

Immediately to my mind came Matt 27:46:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

And now even Jesus, the savior of the world, was asking the same question that had entered my mind several times. The progenitor of our faith and the source of our faith both put forth the same question to God. Both felt alone. And both came through triumphant.

At that point, the Spirit entered into me with such a force that I knew I had never felt such a thing in my entire life…

Kim Siever, Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ were asking where God was and feeling abandoned. The saying “It is always darkest before dawn” applies here.

What a wonderful story and trail of faith. I have learned a lot from this and now I cannot wait to see what Kim Siever will write next. This has definitely left an impression on me, to where I feel re-energized and gung-ho to learn more about the gospel.

You can view the complete post here: http://www.ourthoughts.ca/2007/10/21/my-faith-crisis-story/

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on YouTube

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints appears in seven videos that have been posted on YouTube addressing common questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aka “Mormons.”

 

Are Mormons Christian?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUs407sadoY]

 

 

How are Mormon Beliefs Similar to Other Christians?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNTPHK3ydIE]

 

 

Do Mormons Worship Jesus Christ in Their Church Services?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUs407sadoY]

 

 

How Do Mormon Beliefs Differ From Other Christians?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZGY_uSuH_g]

 

 

Does the Church Support Political Candidates?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nEQBDyYjXw]

 

 

Why Do People Say Mormonism is a Cult?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EValAeeZuFE]

 

 

Is There Scientific Proof Authenticating the Book of Mormon?
[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AQTr9oB8lw]

Christianity, Mormonism, God and Jesus Christ

Bold statements seem to be coming up everywhere that:

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Christian.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in a different God.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in a different Jesus.

Here are my thoughts based on simple facts:

Definition of Christian:

Dictionary.com defines Christian as:

of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.

We believe in Jesus Christ and that he is the son of God and that only through him we can be saved.

Your God, Our God:

Through personal testimony, we know that the Book of Mormon restores the full gospel to men today. We also believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. How can it be said that we believe in a different God and Jesus? The Book of Mormon writes of the same Jesus and God as in the Bible Old Testament and Bible New Testament. The same God that created our Earth. The same Jesus that suffered on the cross for our sins. Just another testament.

Simplify your View:

Liken your hearts to a child. Go back to the basics. Realize that God, Heavenly Father, loves you so much. Being a perfect being, he is fair and just. It does not matter and we do not have to argue about the Trinity of the Nicene Decree. The point is, he is our Lord God. He is our Heavenly Father. He gave his only son. His son gave himself for us.

Agency & Diligence:

In the eleventh article of faith it states:

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

It is up to yourself to decide what you believe is right or wrong. Just make sure you are informed. Make sure you are informed by gathering all the facts. Make sure you ask the right questions. Look at the Church History: the good and the bad. I realized that the Church, even though divinely inspired and restored, is ran by man–the son of God. We are not perfect beings, but we are striving to be.

Look at the successfulness of the Church today. How can anything built on a lie ever prosper to the magnitude of this Church has reached in such a short amount of time? It is now, because it is true.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:16-20)

How It All Ties Together:

With that being said, when investigating the Church, it helped to realize that God, being a perfect being that loves us all, would give us a fair chance. What he wanted us to do is exercise some faith, have sincere intentions and to find out personally.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Matthew 7:7-10)

I asked for bread from my Heavenly Father. I prayed about it. Sincerely. Afterwards, I received my answer without a doubt. I was fed good. I was given the truth.

Conclusion:

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian. We base our lives on the teachings of Jesus Christ.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in God. If your father was a police man, but someone else called him a constable or a peace officer, his function is still the same.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in Jesus. He is the begotten son of God. He died for our sins. Through him we are saved.

I Am a Child of God and He has a Plan for Me

I remember attending my first Priesthood Meeting the first time I went to the LDS Church. The opening hymn that was sung was “I Am a Child of God.” (Song 301 in the Hymn Book) It was amazing to hear an entire room singing this. The words to the song ran true in my soul.

I have since discovered that this song, one of my most favorite songs, could be categorized as a song for Children. Which just makes me laugh. It makes me laugh at the fact that even though I have been on this earth long enough to not be considered one, I indeed am. We all are, young or old, a child of God.

This brings me to the topic of the Plan of Salvation. The Plan of Salvation is a great plan prepared by our Father in Heaven. For he loved us so much, he wanted to give us everything that he had. As his Spirit Children he gave us the choice to come to earth, receive mortal bodies as he did, and return to live with Him and our families in the life to come. It is amazing to think of how our own father on earth loves us. Then, to think of how our Heavenly Father, a perfect being, can love us beyond our comprehension.

I am also grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the center to the plan of salvation. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, I can be forgiven for my sins. I admit, I am a child that needs much work and makes mistakes. Even so, I am unconditionally loved. And my sins, forgiven when I repent.

It was amazing to learn about the Plan of Salvation. Learning about it answers the common questions that everyone has:

  • Where did we come from?
  • What is the purpose of life?
  • Where do we go when we die?

Knowing about the Plan of Salvation has brought me happiness and peace like I never knew it before.

How I received the answers to my questions

The foundation of my newly found faith lies in receiving answers to three critical questions that we are encouraged to ask when investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  1. Is the Book of Mormon true?
  2. Was Joseph Smith a true prophet of God?
  3. Is this church the right and true church?

Very simple questions that yield very powerful results. In my opinion, answers can come in many ways:

  1. Feeling the Spirit.
  2. A thought that just clicks and makes sense in your mind.
  3. An event that happens and triggers a sense that you just received your answer.
  4. A faint whisper in your ear.
  5. It could be anything, actually.

It could be very obvious. It could very subtle.

The best way to receive an answer is to prepare yourselves to be more attentive.

  1. Pray often and throughout the day.
  2. Study. Read the Bible and Book of Mormon often. At least once a day. Before studying, pray to Heavenly Father that you may understand the things you will read. After reading the Bible and Book of Mormon, pray again to know if the things you have read is true. Specifically ask if the Book of Mormon is true. Specifically ask if Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Specifically ask if the church you are investigating is true. Wait, listen.
  3. Attend Church.
  4. Ask any question that comes to your mind to your missionaries or Mormon friends. (ALL questions are welcomed and there is an answer for EVERYTHING!)
  5. Fast and Pray.
  6. Begin obeying the Words of Wisdom.

In the New Testament of the King James Bible, the book of James, Chapter 1, Verses 5 through 7 state:

“If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:5-7)

What the above verses mean is that if you ask Heavenly Father with absolute faith, believing you will absolutely receive an answer, and that you sincerely intend to act after receiving an answer then you will receive one. It seems easy enough but it was difficult for me. Only through prayer, sincere study, and honestly wanting to know the truth; was my answer received.

In the Book of Mormon, the Book of Moroni, Chapter 10, Verses 3 through 5 state:

“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:3-5)

These wise words changed my life.

I admit, I tried a few years prior, but maybe for a few days and I also had my doubts as well. The next time I tried, I studied, I prayed and I had patience to kept at it.

One night after studying what the missionaries have given me, my wife and I got on our knees and I prayed. I prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true. I prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. I prayed to know if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the true church and the right one to join. After the prayer, I waited. About five seconds later I had the chills, a feeling of overwhelming happiness and I began to cry.

Without a doubt, the Holy Ghost just gave witness to me of the things I asked.

This testimony is the foundation of my faith. All other things are built upon the fact that I asked and received an answer.