Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Reminder...

Today out of curiosity I searched something along the line of "mormon beliefs" or something similar to see if my blog would come up on Google. It didn't, at least not on the first three pages and I got bored of searching any further. I was glad, however, to see that many of the sites that did come up were official Church sites and videos rather than anti-sites and other unofficial, detrimental sites. Of course a number of opinion sites did show up and I clicked on the link to one of them which brought up a very large discussion blog about Mormons and their weird beliefs. I generally try and avoid such sites since they tend to frustrate me with all the misinformed and sometimes downright ridiculous comments people make. Unfortunately, I did get sucked in (hence the reason I try and avoid such blogs) and after some time I decided to write a few words in response. As is the case most of the time, the "few words" turned into about 700... But I feel that my comments were hopefully good to some degree and so I will share them with you. It isn't anything that you haven't heard from me already but perhaps it will serve as a reminder of the purpose of this blog.

"Mormon" is a nickname; the real name of the church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS for short.) Since the Church is Christ's church, the same church that Jesus Christ organized when He lived on the earth with apostles and all, the Church is perfect. The doctrines of the Church are perfect. The members of the Church are not. "Mormons," along with the rest of the human population, are not perfect. Some are overzealous, some do not live the teachings of Christ at all. "Weird" stories of people taking the doctrines of Jesus Christ and misconstruing them into "weird" things will always be found in every religion. These will be the stories you hear because we as humans share the rare/weird/exciting stories we know. I injured myself cliff jumping once and at the hospital and for weeks afterward I heard all kinds of stories about people almost dying or actually dying while cliff jumping. One would think that all who ever took up the endeavor of cliff jumping received some sort of life-threatening injury, that it is a ridiculous activity, and that anyone who took part in such an activity was just not thinking clearly when in actuality people go all the time and return unscathed. I had been dozens of time that summer even with no problems and have been since then.

My point is, yes, there are weird stories about Mormons that are absolutely true and there are "skeletons" that you may be able to dig up about things that even prominent members of the Church have done. However, these are the exceptions and they are "Mormons" who have done things, not the Church itself doing things. If you come across multiple members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doing something that you believe is strange such as paying tithing or not drinking coffee, then perhaps it is a doctrine or a teaching of the Church. I encourage you to either approach the person--generally, members of the LDS church are very open to talking about religion and the Church--or go to the source-the Church itself:

http://www.lds.org/ --this site has everything and you can even search things such as "coffee," "priesthood," "life after death" or anything else and find teachings of modern-day prophets and apostles on each subject.

http://www.mormon.org/

As in all things, the source is the best place to find information on any given subject rather than reading or hearing secondhand information that has passed through multiple filters.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church on the earth. It was restored by God and Jesus Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ directed Joseph to the place the Book of Mormon (written on gold plates) was hidden, and then through the gift and power of God, Joseph translated the Book of Mormon into English. Through Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ revealed, restored, and corrected the doctrines that were lost, changed, or corrupted during the centuries after the death of the original apostles. Jesus Christ called new apostles and a prophet to lead His church today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed Christ's church, not Joseph Smith's, not Moses', not Mormon’s. Jesus Christ is at the head, we worship God the Father and Jesus Christ and no one and nothing else.

Christ teaches us to come and follow Him, to be perfected in Him. All Christians should be striving toward this goal to become more like Christ and members of the LDS church are no different. I make my fair share of mistakes and would hate for someone to judge the entire LDS church from of some of the things that I have done in my life. Perfection does not come instantly and we all make mistakes along the path to perfection. The wonderful thing is, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can all repent and become clean and continue along the path that leads to eternal life with our families and our Heavenly Father. I am grateful for this plan and for this knowledge that brings me peace in this tumult of words and world of changing values.

Jeremy