Filed under: Book of Mormon, Mormon Church, Mormon Videos
The Book of Mormon is the word of God, like the Bible. It is Holy Scripture, with form and content similar to that of the Bible. Both books contain God’s guidance as revealed to prophets as well as religious histories of different civilizations. While the Bible is written by and about the people in the land of Israel and surrounding areas, and takes place from the creation of the world until shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon contains the history and God's dealings with the people who lived in the Americas between approximately 600 BC and 400 AD.
I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and this means that I have read the book, and thought about its teaching, and prayed about it, and I know by the power of the Holy Ghost that is a true book, written by ancient prophets. The Book of Mormon contains the word of God, and if we live by its precepts we will be blessed in our lives.
According to the recent U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey (2010), by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Mormons score better on overall knowledge of the Bible than white evangelical Protestants, atheists and agnostics, black Protestants and Jews.
The Pew Forum's religious knowledge survey included 32 questions about various aspects of religion: the Bible, Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, world religions, religion in public life, and atheism and agnosticism. Overall, the three groups that performed best in this survey were atheists and agnostics, Jews, and Mormons.
According to the same survey, Mormons do better on questions about the Bible, but Mormons do not perform as well as the other two groups on questions about world religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
In the same Survey, three questions were also asked about Mormonism.
Overall, 51% of Americans identify Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a Mormon (not an Amish), and 44% know that Mormonism was founded after 1800. Also, 40% of the respondent know that according to the Book of Mormon, Jesus appeared to followers in the Americas.
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Families, Mormon Prophets and Apostles
In one of the last Mormon General Conferences Elder Ballard during the priesthood session talked about the relationship that should exist between fathers and sons.
Tonight I want to talk to you fathers and sons about how you talk to each other. There is no other relationship quite like that which can and should exist between a boy and his dad. It can be one of the most nurturing, joyful relationships in life, one that can have a profound impact on who boys become and also on who dads become. Now, I understand that some of you young men do not have fathers with whom you can have these kinds of conversations. And some of you men do not have sons or have lost your sons to accident or illness. But much of what I say tonight will apply to uncles and grandfathers and priesthood leaders and other mentors who sometimes fill the gaps for these significant father-son relationships. You see, we're all on a journey. Dads are a little further down the road, but none of us has yet arrived at our final destination. We are all in the process of becoming who we will one day be. Fathers and sons can play a critical role in helping each other become the best that they can be. (Fathers and Sons: A Remarkable Relationship)
More recently Mormon Messages launched this video about how a father and a son were able to improve their relationship. In this case the story is about a step son and a step father, and those relationships are usually fraught with more challenges, but the principles taught by Elder Ballard apply to every father and son relationship.
Filed under: Mormon Church, Mormon Missionaries
It is refreshing and exciting to see the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) to move in the right direction with her websites. At the More Good Foundation we have been working for a few years trying to promote positive content about the Mormons online. A few years ago the Church was still moving slowly while those who oppose it were moving fast, creating a distortion in the public perception of what the Mormon Church or the Mormons really are or stand for.
I am happy to see that things have changed, and now the Church is including in her new or renewed websites some of the things that we first started at the More Good Foundation (e.g. online testimonies of normal members, videos on youtube, more searchable content on the internet, and so on) when many members were still wary of participating on the internet.
One of the last improvements that the Church is doing is related to the new Mormon.org. According to an article on another blog (ByCommonConsent):
The new mormon.org will launch this summer (current plan: mid-June). The preliminary index page offers several screenshots that give a preview of different facets of the site. Without question, the main event is the collection of personal profiles, the individualized building blocks of the site which have the potential to offer visitors a wide spectrum of perspectives on being a Mormon.
Here are a few details about the profile pages:
-Each page features an individual member of the Church
-Any member 18 and older can create a profile (you need your membership # to do so; there's a separate site for youth)
-Profiles include your name, photo, and text you write yourself as prompted on the profile creation page
-Required sections include "About Me," "How I live my faith," "Why I am a Mormon," FAQs and personal stories.
-Thought questions are provided for the FAQ and personal stories sections--the former are somewhat objective questions about what Mormons believe (What does Mormonism teach regarding baptism?); the latter focus more directly on your personal experience as a member of the Church (How has the Book of Mormon helped you understand the purpose of life?). You must answer at least one of each.
Mormons believe in full equality between men and women, but they also believe that men and women have different roles because of gender.
Latter-day Saint women celebrate their differences from men, believing that the union of a man and woman is divinely appointed. Sheri L. Dew, a member and former leader of the Relief Society (the 6 million strong Church organization for women) stated, “He made us enough alike to love each other, but enough different that we would need to unite our strengths and stewardships to create a whole. Neither man nor woman is perfect or complete without the other” (“It Is Not Good for Man or Woman to Be Alone,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 12).
Elder Neal A Maxwell, a prominent Church leader from 1974 up to his death in 2004, added this view concerning husbands and wives:
“When we kneel to pray, we kneel together. When we kneel at the altar of the holy temple [to be married], we kneel together. When we approach the final gate where Jesus Himself is the gatekeeper, we will, if faithful, pass through that gate together” (“The Women of God,” Ensign, May 1978, 10).
While men and women are equal partners in marriage, the Mormon church recognizes that men and women are different, too:
“We cannot eliminate, through any pattern of legislation or regulation, the differences between men and women. There are basic things that a man needs that a woman does not need. There are things that a man feels that a woman never does feel. There are basic things that a woman needs that a man never needs, and there are things that a woman feels that a man never feels nor should he.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Equal Rights Amendment”, Ensign, March 1977, page 6)
Mormon women are not subservient to Mormon men:
"The place of woman in the Church is to walk beside the man, not in front of him nor behind him. In the Church there is full equality between man and woman. The gospel ... was devised by the Lord for men and women alike. Every person on earth, man or woman, earned the right in the pre-existent life to come here; and must earn the right, by righteous actions, to live hereafter where 'God and Christ dwell.' … The privileges and requirements of the gospel are fundamentally alike for men and women. The Lord loves His daughters as well as He loves His sons. … This makes individuals of man and woman--individuals with the right of free agency, with the power of individual decision, with individual opportunity for everlasting joy, whose own actions throughout the eternities, with the loving aid of the Father, will determine individual achievement. There can be no question in the Church of man's rights versus woman's rights" (Improvement Era, Mar. 1942, p. 161).
Filed under: Famous Mormons, News & Politics
After Torah Bright won the Gold medal in Vancouver The Australian titled its article
Clean-living Mormon star Torah Bright is a sponsor’s dream.
But Why? According to the article,
As well as her good looks and obvious talent, Bright’s Mormon upbringing and clean-living ways — she does not drink alcohol and has no drug, tobacco or even caffeine habit — will make her highly sought-after, particularly in the wake of the scandal over Tiger Woods’s secret infidelities. Now more than ever, advertisers are looking for sponsorship cleanskins following the biggest sponsorship fall from grace in recent memory.
In speaking about the influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) on her personal life, Bright has said, “I have strong beliefs and they never waver. (The gospel) keeps me grounded and gives me purpose to what I am doing. I think the way we believe as Latter-day Saints is amazing, especially in the world today.”
Bright is one of several Latter-day Saint athletes competing in the Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Follow a couple of videos of Torah Bright.
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Mormon Church, Mormon Videos, Videos
I was reading a book written by Andrew C. Skinner, Golgota, and in the book I found a story-parable quoted by President Faust, but that was initially narrated by President Hinckley several years ago. This story illustrated very well the sacrifice that the Savior did for us. I am grateful for the knowledge regarding the Atonement of Jesus Christ, knowledge that mostly came to me through the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story follows the video below.
Some years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley told “something of a parable” about “a one room school house in the mountains of Virginia where the boys were so rough no teacher had been able to handle them.
“Then one day an inexperienced young teacher applied. He was told that every teacher had received an awful beating, but the teacher accepted the risk. The first day of school the teacher asked the boys to establish their own rules and the penalty for breaking the rules. The class came up with 10 rules, which were written on the blackboard. Then the teacher asked, ‘What shall we do with one who breaks the rules?’
“‘Beat him across the back ten times without his coat on,’ came the response.
“A day or so later, . . . the lunch of a big student, named Tom, was stolen. ‘The thief was located--a little hungry fellow, about ten years old.’
“As Little Jim came up to take his licking, he pleaded to keep his coat on. ‘Take your coat off,’ the teacher said. ‘You helped make the rules!’
“The boy took off the coat. He had no shirt and revealed a bony little crippled body. As the teacher hesitated with the rod, Big Tom jumped to his feet and volunteered to take the boy’s licking.
“‘Very well, there is a certain law that one can become a substitute for another. Are you all agreed?’ the teacher asked.
“After five strokes across Tom’s back, the rod broke. The class was sobbing. ‘Little Jim had reached up and caught Tom with both arms around his neck. “Tom, I’m sorry that I stole your lunch, but I was awful hungry. Tom, I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me! Yes, I will love you forever!’”
President Hinckley then quoted Isaiah:
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. . . .
“. . . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
No man knows the full weight of what our Savior bore, but by the power of the Holy Ghost we can know something of the supernal gift He gave us
Filed under: Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Doctrine
I traveled to Italy in December, to visit family and friends with my son Luca, who had just come home from his mission in Boston. We visited Rome, among other places, and obviously the Vatican. While in Rome and in Italy in general, my eyes met several times the symbol of the catholic religion, and of other Christian churches, the Crucifix.
I then remembered the feeling I had the first time I was in an apartment of the Mormon missionaries. That day (sometimes in December of 1984) I had accepted their challenge to be baptized in the Mormon church, and my mom was absolutely contrary to that.
In fact, she had challenged me to leave her home or give up the idea of becoming a member of the Mormon church. I had then decided to leave my home but without really knowing where to go. Having in my hands a pamphlet with the address of the missionaries, I had decided to go talk with them. I arrived there around 10 pm and they offered me to stay with them for the night. The first thing I noticed in their apartment was that on the top of their bed there wasn’t a crucifix, but a picture of Jesus resurrected.
That had a profound impact on me. What a different feeling brings to you to see a picture of Jesus resurrected – in this case a representation of his Second Coming, than a crucifix. Not that in the Church we do not believe or we do not give importance to the fact that Jesus suffered for us, on the contrary, but it is important to realize that is His victory over death and sin that should be the symbol of our religion, and not his death and suffering.
I understand that many can have different taking on this matter, but for me that was another step toward understanding and accepting the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In harmony with this experience I like the focus given in the church about not only working for our happiness in the future life, but about how keeping the commandments in this life will allow us to experience true happiness right now, and not only in the future worlds. Suffering is a “necessary evil” not the purpose of our lives here on earth.
This quote from Joseph Smith well explain this doctrine:
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.
The talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks about religious freedom and its challenges in the US (and in the entire world) is a masterpiece and needs to be read in its entirety, but I want to stress a few points here.
First, the story of the 42-year-old married woman, Oyun Altangerel, who fought for religious freedom in Mongolia and then became one of the first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints in his country is an example for all of us that we should be anxiously engaged in making this world a better place for everybody, and that we need to be brave and defend what is right.
Second, I particularly like and agree when Elder Oaks explains the deceit that is pervasive among many who would like to silence those who oppose same-sex marriage. Elder Oaks says,
Along with many others, we were disappointed with what we experienced in the aftermath of California's adoption of Proposition 8, including vandalism of church facilities and harassment of church members by firings and boycotts of member businesses and by retaliation against donors. Mormons were the targets of most of this, but it also hit other churches in the pro-8 coalition and other persons who could be identified as supporters.
As such, these incidents of "violence and intimidation" are not so much anti-religious as anti-democratic. In their effect they are like the well-known and widely condemned voter-intimidation of blacks in the South that produced corrective federal civil-rights legislation.
Contrary to what many proponents of same-sex marriage suggested, are not the Mormons, and others who defended Prop 8, who are trying to deny the importance of civil rights: they are only trying to speak up for what they believe to be right. The real problem are the intimidations and violences of many of those who were against Prop 8. Their course of action is the real threat to the civil rights.
Finally, it is important to remember the history of the United States of America, that were founded by people who were anxious to defend religious freedom
Religious values and political realities are so interlinked in the origin and perpetuation of this nation that we cannot lose the influence of Christianity in the public square without seriously jeopardizing our freedoms. I maintain that this is a political fact, well qualified for argument in the public square by religious people whose freedom to believe and act must always be protected by what is properly called our "First Freedom," the free exercise of religion.
Stop being defensive about your religion. That’s the message Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve delivered to 2,422 BYU graduates at the Marriott Center Thursday during commencement exercises for the Class of June 2009 and August 2009.
Ballard recounted the early struggles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university, and a resulting sense that church members need to adopt a defensive posture. Things have changed, he said.
“This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore,” Elder Ballard said. “Constantly anticipating criticisms or objections can lead to an unhealthy self-consciousness and a defensive posture that doesn’t resonate well with others. It is inconsistent with where we are today as a church and as a great body of followers of Jesus Christ.”
“Emphasize that Latter-day Saints follow Jesus Christ and what Jesus Christ teaches.”
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