Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do Mormon's Worship Joseph Smith?

This is another question that missionaries and members of the church have faced and I'll address it in this post. To begin I'm going to have you take a look at the name of our Church, it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite the controversy it is not The Church of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet that restored the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter-days, but he is not the means by which salvation comes. Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.We do not worship Joseph Smith, we do not baptize in his name, we do not pray to Joseph Smith to even say that carries a deep offense. Salvation is in Christ, and Him only.

We worship quite differently than some congregations of other faiths. We sing Hymns to glorify God and Jesus Christ His Son. The sacred ordinance of the Sacrament is blessed by ones having authority from God and is then passed by others holding authority as well. Every week, we remember our promise to God when we were baptized, to keep His commandments and remember Jesus Christ continually. Talks are given by members of the congregation about varying subjects. They are asked weeks in advance to be prepared to share their personal feelings and their testimonies of the assigned topic. Afterwards, the congregation breaks up for Sunday school, children gather with children, adults with adults and our taught about the Savior and His gospel.

Baptism in our church is an essential part of accepting Christ's redeeming Sacrifice. As Peter, John the Baptist and the Savior Himself taught, baptism is done for a remission or a removal of our sins. Christ has commanded that all must be baptized if they wish to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:5). As Peter says in Acts 2:38 "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins..." We baptize in the name of Jesus Christ because He is our Redeemer, not Joseph Smith.

Our prayers also differ from other faiths. We do as Jesus directed to pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:9) We pray in the name of Jesus Christ because He is our mediator with the Father. He died for us and is the One who salvation springs from. Thus our prayers are petitioned to the Father through  Christ's sacred atonement and name. We may thank God for the many blessings each of us have. We may also ask for assistance in areas that we are struggling and we must always ask that His will may be done even if it's not what we asked for or what we want. (Luke 22:42)

I hope this helps everyone understand that we appreciate Joseph Smith for what He did, just as good people from other Christian faiths appreciate Paul and Peter, Luke and Mark and John and James. But, we hold Joseph Smith in such high regards because without the events of 1820 and thereafter we would be indistinguishable and would have no religion. Our gratitude for the prophet Joseph remains at just that, gratitude. Not worshiping, or praying to or even thinking that his name might render some portion of Salvation. I love Jesus Christ. I know He lives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are Mormon's Christian? Part II

So as I explained in Are Mormon's Christian blog post, the 2 reasons modern Christianity does not accept us as Christians is;
1.) We do not believe in the Trinity.
2.) We claim that God continues to speak and that the Bible is not the sole authority on Deity.
Elijah and the priests of Baal.

Today I will be explaining the second and similar to my previous post I'm not going to bash on people who do believe that the Bible is the sole authority, I'm just going to explain ourselves and why we believe that God has continued to reach out in love to His children by calling Prophets to the Earth today.

Well, taking a general look at religion should assure you that, we absolutely need a prophet. The Lord says, "he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets," (Amos 3:7) So tell me with the confusion and strife that exist between Christians churches would God reveal His secrets and will to help them be unified? Once again, yes! In fact Paul clearly says that the whole purpose for prophets and apostles is, "for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith..." (Ephesians 4:12-13)

God revealing Himself to the prophet Joseph Smith.
Okay, so maybe we do need prophet's, but what in the world classifies someone as a prophet? In the Bible we read, "If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision..." (Numbers 12:6) The Lord is quite clear here about how He will make a prophet truly known. We also read, "thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord..." (Ezekiel 3:27) Here it clearly says that a prophet will speak with power and authority given to him from the Lord. So now we know some of the many characteristics and qualities that a prophet must have. And finally in concluding the Sermon on the Mount the Lord says that not just anyone who claims these things will be a prophet, He strictly warns them that there will be several false prophets, but He gives the way to identify between the two, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?" (Matthew 7:16

I have heard plenty of times that this scripture is saying that there will be no "real" prophets in the last days because Jesus says their will only be false ones. Well I say, if there was only going to be false ones why would He give a way to differentiate between the two? Because there are going to be real prophets in the last days. God has always worked with His children by calling prophets, if you don't believe that God calls prophets to help His children then, quite honestly, you don't believe the Bible. The Bible is a combination of sacred texts written by whom? The prophets. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are Mormon's Christian?

This question seems to be coming up quite a bit and I feel that I might address it a little more fully. In today's religious world, the general population of Christians who don't believe that Mormon's are Christians believe this for mainly 2 reasons.

1.) We do not believe in the Trinity.
2.) We claim that God continues to speak and that the Bible is not the sole authority on Deity.

I'm going to focus on topic #1 in this blog and I'll post later about #2. instead. I'm also not going to explain why we don't believe in the Trinity, but rather explain why we believe that "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit..." (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22

The Appearance of The Father and The Son.
We believe that God, our Heavenly Father, is the literal Father of our Spirit's.  Hebrews 12:9 refers to Him as the "Father of spirits...", Romans 8:16 refers to us as the "offspring of God" and in John 20:17 Jesus identifies the Father not only as His Father, but "our Father" as well. We believe He has a physical body, but unlike ours His is Immortal, Glorious, and Perfect. 

We believe that Jesus Christ when He was resurrected received a body exactly like our Father in Heaven's and that Jesus Christ still has His body at this very moment. Several times throughout the New Testament His Apostles testified to thousands that He was risen and that He has physical body of flesh and bone at this very moment. The Savior Himself testifies of this in Luke 24:36-39. He appears to His apostles and they are scared because they think He is a ghost, a personage of Spirit, but he calms them and says, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

We believe that the Holy Ghost doesn't have a body, but He is a Spirit. We believe that He touches the hearts of many people and that He bears witness of the truth to all who seek for it.

Well, I can testify that Jesus Christ lives and that His kingdom is on the Earth today and it is being led by a Prophet of God. I have received that witness of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

Why do bad things happen to good people and bad people have it easy? This a question that I think everyone get's at one point or another in their lives. It would seem in the world today that sin and evil are exalted and good and holy are trampled upon. Now God has His own mindset and His own plans remember the scripture from Isaiah, 
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your way, and my thoughts than your thoughts..." (Isaiah 55:8-9
If this is the case and Gods ways are not always understood then we can find comfort that He loves us and would not allow us to suffer something if it were not for our own good. But, I'm not going to explain why bad things happen to good people, instead I'm going to tell you why you must not give up despite that question. 

In my recent scripture I stumbled across a cluster of scriptures that enlightened my mind on the subject. In the Old Testament it says this, concerning two different groups of people who handled this question in different ways,
"Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a  book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name." (Malachi 3:14-16)

The first group of people who experienced this decided that giving up and giving in to sin was the easier route, "It is vain to serve God... the proud happy, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered..." It is a little troubling at times to see those who are wicked succeed, but their is a description by implication concerning these type of people, prideful. In contrast it gives the account of the humble followers of the Lord. The Lord hearkened to these people and He recorded their goodness in a "book of remembrance". 

We cannot be the proud and vain who have departed from the path of righteousness because of the easiness of the sin. This is one thing we must not do. Hold fast to that which is good. Finally remember the words of the Savior,
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broadis the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matthew 7:13-14
Let's stay on the strait path as tough as it seems so we may have our names recorded in the book of remembrance.