Why I'm a Mormon
Although a great many of my friends are of the same religious faith as I am (living in Utah will do that), I realize that not everyone who reads this blog is a member of the same faith. Additionally, for those who are LDS, it won’t hurt for you to get a glimpse as to why I believe what I believe. I was recently inspired by a presentation given by one of my ecclesiastical leaders about how the Church uses modern media, including social media, to spread our great message. It made me want to say something, so here it goes. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And this is why I’m a Mormon.
|On my mission in Formosa, Argentina|
I grew up in an educated, prosperous Mormon family. I was raised well by parents with a healthy relationship to each other for which I am forever grateful. Now many of you will think, “Oh he was raised in his church so of course he believes what he does.” I admit because of my upbringing I grew up with an above average knowledge of the scriptures, and a belief in Jesus Christ. However, this changed as I approached the age of 19-21. It was at this time that I chose to go on a mission for my Church for two voluntary years (at my own expense) to proclaim the gospel to those who didn’t have it and bring the same level of comfort and joy that I had received thus far in my own life. I therefore went and served for two years in the north part of Argentina. While I was there I discovered something: a mission is hard. It made me really take a look at my testimony to make absolutely sure I believed what I believed, and I wondered whether it was just because that was the upbringing I had, or if I would choose this same path even without my parents or childhood teachings. I wasn’t sure, and this scared me.Let me break here for a minute by giving a brief explanation of what it is that I believe and what I taught as a missionary. We believe that God loves us each individually, and it is for this reason that he has designated the family as the ideal unit where we can grow.
Let me break here for a minute by giving a brief explanation of what it is that I believe and what I taught as a missionary. We believe that God loves us each individually, and it is for this reason that he has designated the family as the ideal unit where we can grow. Additionally, he has established his gospel through his prophets specifically to bless the family (this is an important point which I will get back to in a second). Over time many of these prophets are rejected and society enters a state of ‘apostasy’ in which the prophets, their priesthood authority, and the revelation they constantly receive is taken from the earth. The true gospel is then restored years later through another prophet and the cycle begins again.
It was during a time of apostasy that Jesus Christ himself came and restored his Church to the earth. Additionally, he performed the act of the Atonement through which we are able to repent and without which there would be no point to any church. After he left, his Apostles continued as prophets, seers, and revelators guiding the church until the persecution became so great that the world once again slipped into a Great Apostasy, and the true church/authority was taken from the earth. However, to continue the cycle, God would have to call a prophet once again to restore the Church to the earth.
It was years later that a boy named Joseph Smith prayed in a grove near his home to know which of all the religious groups was the one he should join. He had read in James 1:5 that “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.” He trusted in this promise that God would tell him what to do. This is what happened in his own words. “I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun…when the light rested upon me, I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, ‘This is my Beloved Son, hear Him.'” It was at this point in the spring of 1820 that God called another prophet to restore the Church, priesthood authority, and continued revelation.
Continued revelation is a big part of God’s living Church. We are always changing. Society is always changing. We need a prophet on the earth at all times to help us understand God’s will in any given situation. This is why God commanded Joseph Smith to translate another volume of scripture called The Book of Mormon to be a companion to the Bible as well as Another Testament of Jesus Christ. And it is through this book that we can know if everything I’ve said (and all it implies) is true. At the end of the book is a promise that says this: “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).
I believe that God is all knowing. I believe that God cannot lie. So it was that on my mission I began to study The Book of Mormon every day. After my study session, I would pray and ask God if it was true, trying to show my faith and ‘real intent.’ This went on for about two weeks. One day I finished my study and prayer and took a moment to look at some family pictures. My family had recently adopted two young kids from Russia and I remember feeling like we were so lucky. My little brother and sister looked so happy in the pictures. I remember wondering “Why do we deserve to be so happy? What have we done? Is it just luck?” Almost instantly a thought came to my mind that was so clear and so penetrating it could almost have been a voice. The thought was, “because the gospel blesses families.” The point I alluded to earlier. My very next thought was, “Oh, so that must mean the Church is true then.” and the answer came crashing quietly in my mind, “Yes, it is.”
|My little brother John, and sister Mia (both adopted from Russia)|
This thought was so strong and so penetrating. I was not expecting an answer to be this powerful. It was such that no one and nothing will ever be able to persuade me that I did not feel it. The experience literally left me physically weak, that’s how strong it was. And now I can say that I know that God lives, that His Son came to earth and atoned for our sins. I know they both appeared to Joseph Smith and restored the true gospel through him. The Book of Mormon is a true book and is the word of God just as the Bible is. Additionally, it doesn’t stop there. Today we continue to have a prophet on the earth. When he talks through inspiration he is literally the mouth-piece of God. I know he is a prophet, seer, and revelator, no different than Moses or Peter before. These are not things I believe, they are things I know. How? Because God revealed them to me. I cannot and will not deny it. God still talks to man through a prophet. And this is why I’m a Mormon.
If you’re interested in learning more (because I’ve only barely scratched the surface here) please visit these links: