August 1, 2008

A Brief History

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the New Testament church, restored again to the earth. After the death of the Apostles, the original Church established by Jesus Christ endured an apostasy, or falling away. The earlier unity of 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' (Ephesians 4:5) became a myriad of different churches and creeds, doctrines and denominations. While many individuals still believed in Jesus Christ and tried to live righteously, Christ's church, guided by revelation to living apostles and prophets, was no longer present on the earth.

In 1830 in upstate New York, the Lord Jesus Christ reestablished His church as it existed in the New Testament through Joseph Smith, then a young boy desiring to know which church he should join. We do not worship Joseph Smith, but consider him to be a prophet of God (much like Isaiah, Moses, or John the Baptist). As a prophet, Joseph Smith was instructed and authorized by the Lord to organize His church, again, with living apostles and prophets who receive direct guidance and instruction from on high.

Today, the church is headquartered in Salt Lake City and is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Also, in the Latter-day Saint Church the Priesthood, the authority given to man to act in the name of God, has been restored as have all necessary ordinances of salvation. It is a church built upon apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief-cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).

We are Christians

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we consider ourselves Christians. Christ is at the core of our faith, and every other doctrine is an appendage to His atoning sacrifice for mankind.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our personal Savior and Redeemer, and we try to model our lives after Him and His teachings. We commemorate Christ’s atoning sacrifice in our Sunday worship services, similar to taking communion in other churches. We accept as fellow Christians all who believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

We do not believe other Christian denominations are misguided. To the contrary, we rejoice in their faith in the Lord. Many of them are sincere in their love and worship of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The invitation of Restored Christianity has always been to bring all that is good from your religion and see if we can add something more.

What is the Book of Mormon?

The nickname “Mormon” for our church comes from a book of scripture entitled “The Book of Mormon; Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” It is a record of Christ’s dealings with the some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Joseph Smith translated this book through the power of God. The Book of Mormon is a testament (alongside the Holy Bible) that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. 'By their fruits, ye shall know them' (Matthew 7:20).

We both have individual experiences with the Book of Mormon. We have read it and asked God in prayer if the record is true. The answer has come to us through inner feelings of warmth and peace. Through many such experiences over many years, we have come to know for ourselves that the Book of Mormon is true.

July 29, 2008

A few facts...

  • Today, there are over 13 million members of the Mormon Church in 176 countries and territories. About 6 million of these are in the United States, making us the fourth largest Christian denomination in America. As one of the fastest growing Christian faiths in the world, we complete a new chapel every working day. Members pay a tithe, which is 10 percent of their income, making this and other programs possible.
  • Mormons place particularly strong emphasis on family as the basic unit of the Church and of society. We have a deep commitment to marriage (defined as a union between one man and one woman). Latter-day Saint families are encouraged to hold family home evenings weekly, usually on Monday nights. This provides a regular and predictable time for parents to teach values to their children and to have fun together.
  • Families and individuals, whether members of our faith or not, can attend Sunday services in our chapels. Here we worship together, instructing one another from the scriptures.
  • Studies show that practicing Mormons are healthier and therefore live longer than the national average. In 1833 the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea.
  • Over 70,000 members volunteer at their own expense to serve for 18 to 24 months in humanitarian efforts, Church service assignments, and full-time missionary service throughout the world. As many of you know, Rob lived two years in Portugal as a full-time missionary.