The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) asserts that it is the only religion with a fullness of gospel truth. This claim is certainly a bold one. You may be wondering how all truth could be found in one belief system; furthermore, you may not think that everyone fits into such a system. With billions upon billions of people who have graced this planet, how could one truth be applicable to all of them? The fact is that those spiritual and eternal truths for which we all seek can be found in one place, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of the Church of Jesus Christ is that because our Lord and Savior died for us, He has claimed us, and so His truth is for all of us.
The gospel of Christ is inclusive
You may be someone searching for truth and answers. The gospel of Jesus Christ has them. Regardless of your background, your lifestyle, or your current belief system, the gospel of Christ is for you, and you can accept it wherever you are. The truths found in the gospel of Jesus Christ will change your heart and give you the courage and strength to make good and needed changes in your lifestyle and behavior. The gospel is not for those who have already reached perfection, but rather for those who are imperfect and seek the change that will make them more like Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for all of us.
The Church of Jesus Christ has members all across the globe, and now has more members outside of North America than inside. The gospel is a worldwide gospel, one that transcends race, nationality, and culture. The truths contained in the gospel of Christ are applicable in whatever circumstance you may find yourself; the gospel is applicable and inclusive to all who seek truth. (More …)
As a mother and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church), I spend the evening of the first Friday in April (and October) getting ready for General Conference. General Conference is when Church members worldwide gather at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City (or via satellite transmission or over the Internet) to hear the words of the prophet, apostles and other leaders. It takes planning and creativity (as well as printer paper, ink, crayons, notebooks, candy and General Conference Bingo cards) to help four children ages 12 and under quietly listen for four 2-hour sessions. But it’s always worth the effort. One of the messages that stood out to me this April was from Sister Elaine S. Dalton, the recently released Young Women General President of the Church, who counseled Mormon women to stand as witnesses to Christ “at all times, and in all things, and in all places.”
In a morally desensitizing world, young women need women … to ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.’ Never before has this been more important than now. Young women need mothers and mentors who exemplify virtuous womanhood. Mothers, your relationship with your daughter is of paramount importance, and so is your example. How you love and honor her father, his priesthood, and his divine role will be reflected and perhaps amplified in your daughter’s attitudes and behavior. (More …)
You get up early in the morning and prepare to leave for work. You grab a newspaper to read, then you switch off the fan and other electronic appliances. You remember to take your supplements—they help you to fight infection. Your day has hardly begun, yet you already have benefited from the influence of some notable men—the ones who harnessed electricity, developed paper and printing, and the scientists who formulated your vitamins.
Without question, the discoveries and innovations of a few men have enabled billions of people to have certain advantages or enjoy better health.
There is, however, one man who stands out above all others. He is not known for any scientific discovery or medical breakthrough. Rather, this man of humble background, who died nearly 2,000 years ago, left behind a message—a powerful message of hope and comfort.
When measured by the degree to which His message has affected the lives of people worldwide, many would agree that He truly is the man who changed the world. That man was Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
Yea, even 600 years from the time that my father left Jerusalem, a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews—even a messiah, or in other words, a savior of the world.
Why is He our Savior and Redeemer? The Holy Bible teaches us that God miraculously caused a virgin, Mary, to conceive the very Son of God. Joseph acted the part of Jesus’ earthly father. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, and worked with His earthly father as a carpenter. God sent His Son to become flesh and dwell among us.
The prophecy recorded in Daniel 9:24-26 foretold that the Messiah—God’s Anointed One—would be born in the insignificant town of Bethlehem; He would come to earth to terminate the effects of transgression and sin, to make atonement for error and to bring righteousness forever. The Messiah would remove the possibility of spiritual and physical death from faithful mankind.
We see in the Book of Mormon, Helaman 14:15,
For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come, yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead. That thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord.
During Jesus’ time, the Holy Land was occupied by the Romans. While the Romans controlled politics and society, the Pharisees controlled religion. They claimed to believe in the writings of the Hebrew prophets, but they did not embrace this saying from Hosea 6:6. If they were going to err, they made sure it would be on the side of obedience to tradition.
When Jesus turned thirty, he began a 3-year ministry of teaching, blessing, and healing the people of the Holy Land. He also organized His church, and gave His apostles power and authority to assist in His work. In Luke 9:1, we read,
Then He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure sickness.
In His early ministry, Jesus did not trumpet the fact that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. He often allowed people to draw that conclusion for themselves by listening to His teachings, by observing His way of life, and by witnessing His many miracles, most of which were performed in public view. He cured those of faith who were faring badly, distressed with various diseases, tormented.
We read in the Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:8,
Listen to the words of Christ, your redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. The whole need no physician, but they that are sick. Wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin, wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them, and the law of circumcision is done away in me.
But what does it mean when He says He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world? Each of these titles points to the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way by which we can gain the presence of our Heavenly Father. The Bible encourages us to have an accurate knowledge of our Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8). We gain that knowledge by examining the Gospels. They reveal the truth about Jesus, enabling us to separate myth from fact. What do the Gospels tell us about Jesus Christ?
A confirmation of Jesus Christ while in the flesh came from the Father Himself at the time of Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist witnessed the heavens open, and heard the voice from heaven testify, “This is my Son, the Beloved, whom I have approved….”
Without a doubt, the greatest concern of mankind today should be the destiny of our souls. The world is full of sinners. It says in Romans 3:10 that we are all sinners. Thankfully, God loves us and sent His Only Begotten, Jesus Christ, to die upon the cross for us. Jesus suffered and was crucified for the sins of the world. He ransomed Himself, giving each of God’s children the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Only by His mercy and grace can anyone be saved.
We have to put our faith in the things Jesus taught us. We need to know something about Him—what Jesus means to us, how Jesus suffered for us. We need to know repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and continuous Christian living. In the Gospels we can receive answers from Jesus Himself.
I pray to our Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus Christ whenever I’m in a bad situation, when I have work problems, family problems, or any other problems. I am glad to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church). I know I will be safe if I stay true to our Lord Jesus Christ. We, His followers, partake of His mission on earth. We can help with that mission.
I am a lonely person. My house is often empty. Sometimes you may feel yourself one of the earth’s loneliest creatures, but if you are a child of God, then you have the promise of the presence of Jesus Christ. This is His promise to His followers. He is with us always, even unto the end of the world. Besides my love for His True Church, our Heavenly Father, and my Savior, I love my family, friends, colleagues, and the people at church. I know the Church of Jesus Christ is true, the Book of Mormon is true, and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, in Christ’s name.
This article was written by Ang Teng Bee of Penang, Malaysia, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Becoming” a Mormon was a very slow and subtle process for me that I cannot put any actual date on. I was born into a Mormon family and attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regularly– going to Primary (the children’s auxiliary), learning about the gospel and things unique to the LDS Church,without even realizing they were unique, and singing the hymns. I remember when I was four, it was very difficult for me to focus and sit still during the sacrament, and one day I told my mother that I hated church and I didn’t want to go anymore. She suddenly looked very sad, and I couldn’t understand why.
I was baptized at eight and was a very studious teen. I went to LDS seminary every morning and read through the entire Book of Mormon on my own for the first time at age 12. I felt very strongly that the Church was true, but it was also all I’d ever really known from a spiritual and religious perspective. I started coming of age, and started having doubts. Many of my friends were not LDS, and I started exploring their beliefs. I started feeling uncertain about what was true, who was right and who was wrong, and I became inactive during my college years– that universal time for self-discovery.
I went through a bit of a spiritual journey, searching for truth and happiness. I took college courses on world religions, even though they had nothing to do with my major, just out of curiosity, and I had philosophical and religious discussions with friends and associates from various religious backgrounds. All through my searching, I felt as though I had this inner divining rod telling me when something was true and when it wasn’t. Certain things just seemed to “fit”, while other things caused inner discord. Trusting this gut feeling, I put these things to the test. I, in a sense, planted seeds in my heart, nurtured them, and waited to see what fruit they would bring. I found both rotten fruit and sweet, and I followed the sweet.
I fully committed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and “became” a Mormon about three years ago, when I saw and felt the obvious difference the gospel brought to my life. Living without the gospel, I felt lost and alone–like I was walking through foggy darkness and struggling to find my way. With the gospel, my pathway became bright, my mind was opened, and everything started coming together. In all my studying and searching, no other church or religion brought me this feeling. Sure I found pieces of truth, pieces of joy and strength, but nothing as fulfilling as what I’d had right in front of me my entire childhood.
Why did I become a Mormon? Because I feel in my heart and soul that it’s teachings are true, and that by following and committing to those teachings I will be able to progress and grow and improve. I know that this gospel will continue to be a blessing to me and my posterity, because it is true and because it gives us purpose and direction. There are no words to describe how much this truly encompasses my life and my very being. It is a part of who I am, it is who I am, and I could not, and would not change it, or have it any other way.
This article was written by Melissa, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the Mormon Church) when I was eight years old. Some would say I was born a Mormon. And they would be right, because culturally I am Mormon. Spiritually I became a Mormon when I was about 14 or 15 years old. The LDS Church is a church of converts. It doesn’t matter if you’re baptized at 8 years old or 48 years old, we all have to learn for ourselves and gain our own testimony.
As a young teenager I watched my Dad on Sunday mornings. He would sit in the living room and study the scriptures, while my Mom would be struggling to get 5 children ready for church. I was the oldest and didn’t understand what was so important that he wouldn’t help. He would get upset if we were late, but he wasn’t helping get anyone ready to go. My Dad cooked and helped out in other ways. He did dishes and took care of children. Why was studying the scriptures more important than helping Mom? I wanted to know what was so important, so I started to really study the scriptures. I put Moroni’s promise (Moroni 10:3-5) to the test. I asked my Heavenly Father if what I was reading, and studying, was true. I got my answer.
My answer to “Why I became a Mormon” is because I learned the Church is true. I received a spiritual witness that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and he saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I learned about my Savior. I learned about the Atonement. I found my own testimony.
This article was written by Alison, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hartman Rector, Jr. and his wife Connie were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February of 1952. Seventeen years later, he was called as a General Authority into the First Council of the Seventy for the Church. He has spent his life in devotion to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and wrote a book compiling many conversion stories. Each story is unique and compelling. One story he recounts is of Bill Wait:
Not everyone receives the gospel through formally-called missionaries. Sometimes it comes from a friend or a family member. Bill Wait received it through his older brother.
At first, however, he rejected it. “Tough, irreverent and worldly,” in the U. S. Navy in World War II he had no need for religion and was embarrassed by his brother’s conversion. Returning to civilian life he continued his search for “happiness” with the same attitude.
Bill Wait held out against the truth for seven years. This unembellished story of what made him change and how he found true happiness in Jesus Christ is not only of great intrinsic interest but will serve to encourage Church members whose loved ones have so far not felt to join them in their allegiance to the gospel.
Bill had grown up in a home where church service was every Sunday, but he never wanted to go. He described his brother as being more spiritually inclined then he was. His brother had carried a Bible around and desired to be married. That was his dream, but he didn’t think he would ever marry, because he thought he would die in World War II. His brother went and saw the Laie Temple in Hawaii and read a pamphlet on eternal marriage, which brought him to the waters of baptism. From that point forward he tried to get his brother to join as well. In his own words Bill says:
By this time, I was in New Guinea aboard a rusty old Navy ship. I, too, had quit high school and left home on my seventeenth birthday. I was homesick and discouraged, for I had left thinking that I would become a Navy hero aboard a destroyer or a submarine. But I was swinging around the hook in Madang, New Guinea, and cursing the heat, the ship, and the war. My brother’s letter to me arrived with a package. I had hoped for goodies from Hawaii, but out dropped a book of scriptures. I was embarrassed in front of my friends to be receiving such a package, for we were tough, irreverent and worldly men. That night, I placed that Book of Mormon and some equipment of my shore-based days in the sea bag, and in the dark of the night I dropped it over the fan tail and gave the gospel light the “deep six.” My search was for happiness, and I thought that it was not to be found in church.
The months rolled into years, and finally the war was over. My brother went home, and within a short while he was called on a full-time mission for the Church.
I had many months yet to serve on my enlistment, but finally we were all home as a family unit. I had been embarrassed in explaining to friends that my brother was a missionary. My concept was far different from what he had experienced. It was now my turn to hear, firsthand, his testimony and the plan of salvation. He wanted me to be baptized and join him in the kingdom of God. I was frustrated and disturbed by his strong desire. I tried to avoid him and continued my search for “happiness.”
[After the war, I had joined the Los Angeles Fire Department.] One night as we responded to an alarm of fire, a friend of mine, reporting from another engine house, fell off the tailboard of his truck and was killed. The alarm was false, and the futility of this tragedy, the return of war, and my futile search for happiness weighed heavily on me through the remainder of that night. When I was relieved of duty the next morning, I walked the streets of Los Angeles to where my friend had died.
Here, on Skid Row, as the smog hung heavily in the air, I found the tragedy of death which is a lack of reverence for life. All about me there was the stifling stench of sin. Obscenities were crudely written on the walls of the ugly buildings. Drunks were lying on the sidewalks, and the paddy wagon was making its morning rounds. The newspapers on the racks gave detailed accounts of the battle dead in Korea, and my thoughts filled me with despair.
I walked down the street and prayed to God to know why I was alive, and with all the energy of my soul I told him that I wanted a reason for life, or I wanted death. And, at twenty-four, I would have welcomed a release from mortal life.
But in answer to my sincere prayer I was overwhelmed with a desire to read the books that my brother had been urging me to read for the past seven years.
Now, each morning as I left work I went to the library and read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the New Testament. I knew that what I read was true; the Holy Ghost bombed me with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I knew of a surety that the words were true. I was filled with despair at the exquisite memory of the wasted years of my life in search for happiness. But at the same time I was filled with an even greater joy, with the sure knowledge that God lives, and that Jesus is the Christ, and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God.
I began attending church, where I found not only the love of the Latter-day Saints, but also the love of the girl who was to become my eternal mate. Soon I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church by my brother who had tried patiently and long to bring this great truth to me. Not long after, he baptized and confirmed my mother and my father. Soon we were sealed for time and all eternity to one another. A far greater security than I had ever known was ours. The true happiness which I had sought was found in its only source—a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
There is a search for happiness that is within each of us. We can all come to find that happiness. God has prepared a way for that to happen. He knows our needs and is looking to help us come unto Him. The way can be made light and we can find happiness. The teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ offer the greatest security in this life.
This article was written by Mady Clawson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mady Clawson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (ʺMormonʺ single adult), with a zest for the gospel. She currently studies English, with an emphasis in Professional Writing and Communications at BYU-Idaho.
The scriptures say that all things testify that there is a God (Alma 30:41). One Mormon scientist, a convert from atheism, said it takes more faith to rely on science than to believe God is in control.
Those who are certain that God is real are they who have had direct experience with Him. These spiritual experiences tend to imprint upon one’s soul more deeply than earthly experience. In many ways they seem more real.
When Mormon missionaries first asked me to pray, I didn’t quite know how to go about it. If anyone had asked me before that moment whether I believed in God, I would have answered in the affirmative, I think because I was raised in a believing society, and the idea just seemed natural. But I had no definition of God, and could not have named His attributes, nor could I have told you how He works, or if He was a personal God, or not. My first prayer was essentially, “Is there anybody up there”?
Something flowed through me in response. It was comprised of love, peace, recognition, and approval. It came from above, and when it did, I knew. I knew not only that there was a God, but that He loved me personally and was there at the very instant I called upon Him. He has personally been involved in my life ever since.
The Holy Ghost has spoken to me on many occasions in language I would never shape in my own conversation. His words, conveying the message of the Father and His Beloved Son, imprint and remain to anchor one’s faith. You feel, as much as hear, his words. It was a warm but windy Santa Barbara night when I prayed to know whether I should “wait” for a young man leaving on a Mormon mission. “He’s going to be the father of your children,” the Holy Ghost said with a force that nearly took away my footing. That experience gave me strength and patience to hang in there for three years, until a relationship began to bear fruit and we were married.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the “Mormon Church,” most worthy men hold the “priesthood.” In the Church of Jesus Christ, “priesthood” is the power and authority to act in God’s name. Men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood are able to give blessings of comfort and healing by the laying on of hands, and God has manifested Himself to me very personally in these blessings. Through them, He has given me an inkling of who I was before I was born to earthly parents, and who I can be after I leave this earthly existence. He has also told me a lot about my children and who they will be as adults.
I have learned that He knows us better than we know ourselves, better than anyone knows us, and that He want s us to allow Him to make of us what would be impossible without His full involvement. Although He is all powerful, He is also all personal. I have learned that He is ever more involved and quick to hear when we are the most dedicated to keeping His commandments, praying often, and studying the scriptures. I have learned that the distractions of the world can keep us from feeling His love every minute. Over the years, as I have turned my self about in His direction and away from the world’s, I have been aware of Him and received His guidance constantly.
I testify that God is not only our Creator, but our real Father in Heaven, who loves us so personally, He is like an affectionate, all-wise, Father to us. The more we turn to Him and abandon our attachment to those things that are impermanent, the more He speaks to us, guides us, heals and comforts us.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Mormons believe that we are sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. Before this earth, we lived as spirit children in our heavenly home. We wanted to become as He was. Our Heavenly Father knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left Him for a time. He wanted us to develop the godlike qualities that He has. To do this, we needed to leave our pre-mortal home to be tested and to gain experience. Our spirits needed to be clothed with physical bodies. As part of His plan, we would need to leave our physical bodies at death and reunite with them in the Resurrection. Then we would receive immortal bodies like that of our Heavenly Father. If we passed our mortal tests, we would receive the fullness of joy that our Heavenly Father has received (Doctrine and Covenants 93:30-34.)
Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present His plan for our progression. (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 209, 511.) We learned that if we followed His plan, we would become like Him. We would gain a physical body, experience death and be resurrected; eventually we would have all power in heaven and earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as He does (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20.)
In this Grand Council, we learned as well that He would provide an earth for us where we would prove ourselves (Abraham 3:24-26). We would lose any remembrance of our heavenly home. This would be necessary so we could exercise our agency to choose righteousness over evil without the influence of the memory when we lived with Heavenly Father. We would be obedient in keeping God’s Commandments through a test of our faith in Him and not because of our knowledge or memory of Him. Our faith in the gift of a promised Savior would help us recognize the truth when we heard it again as well. (John 18:37).
During this heavenly council, we learned that all of us in some degree would experience weaknesses. We learned that a Savior would overcome death and His resurrection would allow us to be resurrected and our sins could be overcome though His Atonement for our sins as well . We learned that as we placed our faith in Him, obeying His word and following His example we would be exalted and become as our Heavenly Father and we would receive a fullness of joy. When we learned of the plan for our salvation in the premortal world, we were so happy that we shouted for joy. (Job 38:7.)
This article was written by Mike, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hartman Rector, Jr. and his wife Connie were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February of 1952. Seventeen years later, he was called as a General Authority into the First Council of the Seventy for the LDS Church (sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”). He has spent his life in devotion to our Savior, Jesus Christ and wrote a book compiling many conversion stories. Each story is unique and compelling. One story he recounts is of a former Catholic monk John S. Staley:
After two years of college, I took my first triennial vows as a Benedictine monk. According to St. Benedict, founder of the order in the early sixth century, a monk is one who seeks God. I must confess that my knowledge was indistinct as to who and what God really was. This has been a lifelong quest.
In 1941, when I was twenty-five, my ordination as a Roman Catholic priest was witnessed by my community, family, and friends. Mother, in a surge of love for me and maternal pride in giving a son to God, had the diamond from her engagement ring set into the silver chalice I would use in the celebration of mass. It was a day of rejoicing.
About five years after ordination I began to experience some discontent and found that in my religious life there were things difficult to accept. However, in keeping with the vows, I did all that was required of me. Each year as we celebrated the Feast of St. Benedict I would recall what I had said to God on that day of final vows: “Lord, let me not be confounded in my expectations.” But I became increasingly confounded and sometimes complained to God as Moses did when those expectations did not materialize.
By 1966 I was openly protesting in my monastic community against various practices in the system. I was made to feel evil for trying to bring changes for good. This weighed heavily upon me, and I formally applied for laicization, being convinced that the Catholic Church was in dire need of reform to render it relevant to the needs of mid-twentieth-century man.
As a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh I was there to learn as well as teach—to learn how the concepts of the Institutes could be applied theologically and sociologically for the achievement of human potential. On the second day I met Mariellen, a mature graduate student. I conversed with Mariellen over the ideals that had led her to the Institutes, about her own brain-injured mentally-retarded son (now a young man of 22), and about the experiences she had had in working with such children. She was interested in my reasons for coming to the Institutes.
As a priest, I thought she would make a splendid nun to found a new order for this work. My objective was to persuade her in this direction.
For “bait” I gave her a copy of The Divine Milieu, written by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, an eminent French Jesuit priest and physical anthropologist. That book describes the author’s concept of how man is gradually moving toward divinization.
A few days later she returned the book to me and smilingly said, “I enjoyed the book-parts of it sound as though they might have been written by a Latter-day Saint.” Never having heard that term before, I had to ask her, “What is a Latter-day Saint?” She replied, “I’m one, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes we are nicknamed Mormons.”
From that point our discussions in theology veered sharply away from Catholicism as she adroitly led me into a new search by quoting from Lorenzo Snow, a past president of her Church: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” My spring was unsprung! President Snow had outdistanced Teilhard by a spiritual light-year! His was the most profound set of words I had heard in my life-and all my adult years had been spent studying theology, philosophy, and sociology!
The central theme of the restored gospel stated aphoristically by President Lorenzo Snow went far beyond Teilhard and Newman. What I found here, I found in every one of the aspirations that was troubling me: the search for a new kind of priesthood, the search for a new kind of worship, the search for a new kind of perspective on man. Here, in the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was a vision of man on an ascending, expanding, open-ended spiral of eternal progression. This is dynamic, developmental, as opposed to the static closed circle of organization accepted by prevalent Christian thought.
In the worship service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I found a priesthood that is shared by all worthy men of the Church, beginning with age twelve, and wearing neither special vestments nor insignia. I discovered that, according to their various offices, they carry a gentle but strong authority to pray, teach, administer, heal, and to bring order among their families, wards, and stakes. I was witnessing the kingdom of God in action. [Over time I chose to be baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].
Progress is programmed by love. The highest level of development is dependent upon being sealed for time and eternity in temple marriage. As it was promised in my patriarchal blessing, Mariellen and I went up to the temple the year after my baptism to take out our endowments and have our marriage sealed.
For years as sociologist and theologian I had probed the meaning of marriage, of sex and love. In the great revelation of the restored gospel given in the endowments, the mystery of man and woman, of love and marriage, of the divine plan of progression to divinization opened to me with breathtaking clarity. The successive covenants with God ending in the eternal covenant of marriage both moistened the eye with joy and sobered the spirit with the awesomeness of the responsibilities involved.
All my life I had been in pilgrimage to the House of the Lord, and now I finally could say: “Lord, you have not confounded me in my expectations. You programmed me for joy, and you have not withheld those things necessary to possess it.” What new meaning the pilgrim psalms took on for me!
God is preparing us every day to receive His joy and accept His gospel. Every day is an opportunity to know God. The opportunity is right before you as you read this article. I encourage you to seek after these things and learn of the goodness of God. He will reveal Himself to you.
This article was written by Mady Clawson, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mady Clawson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon” single adult), with a zest for the gospel. She currently studies English, with an emphasis in Professional Writing and Communications at BYU-Idaho.
On a spring day in 1820, a fourteen year old boy named Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees to pray. He was confused about the teachings of the various religions and wanted to know which of them he should join. He said it was the first time he had ever tried to pray vocally. All he wanted was a bit of guidance and direction. In answer to his prayer, he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. This simple search for truth and this miraculous vision led to the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly referred to as the LDS or Mormon church).
Nobody, not even young Joseph Smith, could have anticipated such a thing. Many people have prayed for more and received less. Many people have prayed for a sign, some proof of the existence of deity, and have risen from their knees disappointed. Divine appearances and heavenly ministrations seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Even so, many people speak against God, saying that if He wanted people to believe, He would prove himself. These claims, however, ignore the way in which our Heavenly Father usually communicates with us.
Before answers to prayer are discussed, it is important to first address how to pray. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne expresses that “if [she] really wanted to pray … [she would] go out into a great big field all alone or into the deep, deep, woods, and [she would] look up into the sky…and then [she would] just FEEL a prayer.” This is a great attitude towards prayer in that she acknowledges the sacred nature of it and finds a place that reflects this. Where she falls short, however, is that she only feels the prayer. This is not uncommon in Christianity, and surely God hears the prayers of our heart, but that does not negate the need for verbal prayers.
God is our Father. As such, He wants to hear from us. He wants to hear our thoughts and concerns, our hopes and our gratitude, just as much as He wants to understand our feelings and the quiet desires of our hearts. Praying out loud connects us to our Father in a way unlike any other. If Daniel had believed that a prayer in his heart was enough, he would have never been in a lions’ den.
Answers to prayers for divine direction come in as many varieties as there are people. God knows His children and knows how to answer their prayers. Mormon missionaries teach that people can know for themselves if the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ are true. They cite a verse from the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
“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 10:4-5).
The Holy Ghost speaks to our hearts and our minds. It has been described as accompanied by joy (Acts 13:52), peace (Romans 14:17), and hope (Romans 15:13). While these are the biblical descriptions assigned to it, it is unwise to limit divine responses to these. As a personal relationship with Heavenly Father develops, one becomes more accustomed to the feelings that accompany divine communication. It should be noted that while the Lord can cause loud thunder claps and bolts of lightning, He usually whispers to our hearts, letting us feel what is right inside ourselves.
Praying and receiving answers to prayer are central tenets of the LDS Church. The leaders regularly counsel to pray always. The President of the Church, a man adherents call a prophet, Thomas Monson said,
“I testify that much of that joy comes as we recognize that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and that those prayers will be heard and answered — perhaps not how and when we expected they would be answered, but they will be answered and by a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us perfectly and who desires our happiness.”
God is truly our Father in Heaven. He does hear and answer prayers. He wants His children to know the way they should go. He doesn’t want them to wander lost in strange paths. All He does is provide ways for us to come closer to Him as we seek in faith.
This article was written by Timothy Hewitt, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Timothy Hewitt currently lives in Pittsburgh and works as a freelance writer/editor. His research interests are in language, particularly Ancient Greek and English.
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