Latter-day Saints. Yep, they’re everwhere!

I don’t know why, but in the past two weeks I’ve noticed the presence of Mormons and Religion everywhere, even TV. As I stated in an earlier blog: Latter-day Saints. They’re Everywhere!

While watching “House M.D.” on Fox a few weeks ago, House thinks that a patient has liver cancer, the idea comes up that they should get the patient drunk and measure her response to indeed diagnose if she does or not have liver cancer. House chooses Jeffery Cole, a Mormon who does not drink alcohol, to be the control group.

House eggs on Cole by asking “All life is sacred, right? Would you pull an ass out of a pit on the Sabbath?” You can view this by clicking here. Choose “The Right Stuff: Airdate 10/2/2007” and fast forward to 26:30 minutes into the show to get the whole context of what brings the situation up.

Fox’s House Website lists a little information about the character Jeffery Cole:

Mormon Character Jeffery Cole on House

#18 – Jeffery Cole
Specialty: Genetics

A religious man with responsibilities, he is both compassionate and principled. He may be a potential lightening rod for House’s punishment with his divided priorities.

I hope that he stays on the show for a while, it will be interesting how the writers will make this character interact with House, as well as how they will attempt to give this character dimension.

An Amazing Sabbath Day

This weekend was an amazingly spiritual one. Having the Aaronic Priesthood, I was blessed to participate in the sacrament ordinance and perform the blessing of the bread.

What is said during baptism, blessing of bread, blessing of water are the only three ordinances that must be said word for word in the church. Anticipating this day, I have been studying the sacrament bread blessing prayer and sacrament water blessing prayer for over two months and had it down to a science.

Of course when I was driving to church and walking down the hall to the Bishop’s office for a quick meeting, I ACTUALLY FORGOT THE WORDS! “It figures” I thought. However, having faith that I would be able to perform this ordinance by the grace of Heavenly Father, I did not fear.

Before discussing what is done for the blessing of the bread with the Bishop, we knelt down and he said a wonderful prayer: That I may be able to officiate successfully, have clear thought and speak clearly and precisely. This eased my tensions further.

After the meeting, I must’ve drank from the water fountain at least ten times, trying to thwart off a dry mouth. When my mouth is dry, my speech suffers. It didn’t work. I had a card that the ward mission leader gave me when I was conferred to the Aaronic Priesthood. It was titled “Suggestions for ordinance work” and it had the list of blessings and prayers in it. I read off the bread prayer over and over. It made me feel a little bit better.

Sitting up in the stand during sacrament meeting was going fine. The church was unusually crowded that day. The entire church was filled. So much that I could not see my family anywhere; they were in the lobby. “More people to witness me messing up and saying the prayer twice” I thought.

And then I found out why it was so crowded-there was a baby being blessed and there were a lot of people in town visiting. When the Bishop asked that the people participating in the blessing to come forward, two full middle rows stood up! It was revealed to me later that day that 320 people attended sacrament meeting.

The second hymn started and my heart started to beat faster. Nervousness set in. We all stood up in unison. We approached the table and uncovered the bread. I began breaking the bread…I got the end piece again! Those things are harder to break apart. While breaking the bread, I had the epiphany to make it the pieces slightly smaller so we could have enough for the entire congregation and so I would not have to prepare and bless the bread TWICE. I successfully got two trays done, the other three priest handled the rest.

I finished first and stood there reverently. The other priest continued breaking the bread until they were done. The hymn was finished and the sister playing the organ concluded the song. Panic set in!

Having been on the end of the line and wanting to avoid running into the priest next to me, I carefully moved back until I was clear and then proceeded forward and to the middle of the line. They raised the cloth up and held it for me. I proceeded to kneel down on my left knee and slide out the microphone tray.

The little light turned red-the mic was hot! “Here we go, you’ll do fine.” I said to myself. Now the microphone tray has a tiny microphone in it and has the bread prayer and water prayer so you can read it while speaking. In my opinion, it wasn’t designed very well. Having to put your mouth right at the microphone, you cannot really read the prayer very well. The words are too close.

All of the sudden, peace and calm came over me. I began to speak:

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)

It was a miracle! I made it through and I think I didn’t mess up. I looked to my right at the Bishop for approval that I said it correctly.

He nodded his head “yes.” I had made it. I was even more relieved when I found out there was enough bread and the Teachers and Deacons began their way back to the sacrament table.

Later that afternoon, I was interviewed by my Bishop for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. It was an amazing Sabbath Day.

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.

The Family Likened To a Car – Jesus Christ is the Master Mechanic

This Sunday, there was a combined Relief Society / Priesthood Meeting. Our Bishop began to relay a message to us holding examples of real-life tires (worn evenly, worn unevenly, a blown out tire that has lost its thread and then a shredded tire.

The message took about an hour, but let me summarize the main ideas of what he said:

The road is like the straight and narrow path in life.

We can be likened to a tire. A tire that is aligned with the gospel wears evenly and last a while. A tire that isn’t aligned (to the gospel) properly will wear out faster and unevenly. A tire that has too much pressure or too little pressure and overloaded can blow out when traveling on the road. A shredded tire is a total catastrophic failure from all factors: not being aligned, not pressured correctly, overloaded, adverse road conditions.

The front tires would be the parents of a family: both mother and father. They turn together and guide the entire car and back wheels.

The back wheels would be the children. They follow where the parents go. They follow our examples.

The suspension that connects the tire to the car is likened to the gospel and scriptures that we have: The Bible (Old Testament, New Testament), the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and modern revelation. They absorb the roughness in the road and keep the front tires tracking straight.

The steering column is likened to the Prophet on Earth that we have today, Gordon B. Hinckley. Input from the steering wheel is transferred to the steering column, which turns the suspension and finally the front tires.

Heavenly Father would be the steering wheel and person behind it. Giving revelation to the Prophet, which is the steering column.
The family would be the entire car, made up of all the previous components connected together going down the road of life.

Jesus Christ is the master mechanic. He can fix anything on the car. Normally when you have an unevenly worn tire, blown out or shredded tire you would just buy a new one. Not Jesus Christ. He can repair any tire.

Being a car freak and total nerd, I completely enjoyed and appreciated the message that he brought forth. It is a very good analogy and puts everything in perspective in an automotive point of view.

Our duties to the Church: Home Teaching

As an investigator attending Elder’s Quorum. I often heard about assignments called “Home Teaching.” It seemed a bit different and I did not quite understand what it was about. I began looking into what is entailed in home teaching and I came across an article: Confessions of a Halfhearted Home Teacher

As a new member and Aaronic Priesthood holder in the Church, I have found Doctrine and Covenants, Chapter 20 (D&C:20) to be very useful in instilling an enthusiastic urge in performing the duties that I have. Two verses that really stick out me are:

The priests duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. (D&C 20:46-47)

Another two verses that jump out at me are:

And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking; And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty. (D&C 20:54-55)

I have been blessed with being able to perform most of my duties in my short time that I’ve been a member. Specifically: baptize, administer the sacrament (passing and preparing – I am privileged to bless sacrament in two weeks!), and home teaching. Taking part in these ordinances gives me a tremendous feeling of joy!

This evening, I had the opportunity to meet with the family I was assigned to “home teach” with my new companion. It was a wonderful experience. I was a bit anxious to go to my first home teaching but it went great. I got to meet and learn about a new family that just moved in to my ward and more about my home teaching companion. I had the chance to teach a gospel principal and hopefully leave an impression on the family for the month.

As we were walking to the house of the family we were to home teach, I let my companion know that I have never done it before. He explained to me how the purpose of home teaching is to get to know the family, letting the family get to know you and get them comfortable for asking for any type of help when needed. This reminded me of the scripture in the Book of Mormon that greatly impressed me when I was investigating the church. This verse is about Alma preaching to people in the wilderness:

And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light (Mosiah 18:8)

“…willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” What a powerful concept that I observe in this church every day.

As I saw for myself, home teaching is an important component to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It teaches something to the families and also teaches the teacher. It lets us get to know each other, it allows us strengthen each other and it allows us to “watch over the church” just as this verse in Doctrine and Covenants says:

The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them. (D&C 20:53)

I cannot wait to do it again.

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.