About Us

The writers of this blog are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We do not represent the Church as a whole and so our posts will represent our own personal feelings, experiences, and opinions. We are grateful for the chance to share some of our insights as Christians. We welcome comments from members of the Church about our postings. We also welcome questions from readers that are not of our faith. We will not argue doctrinal points, but will to the best of our ability answer honest questions from those wanting to understand our beliefs.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thoughts on the Priesthood

The priesthood, to some, conjures up visions of something akin to Robin Hood, the leader of the Men of Hood. Others think of a brotherhood, like the Elks Lodge, or something similar. When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints talk about the Priesthood, they are not talking about an earthly organization of people, but rather, the power and authority of God delegated to mankind. We believe that to help us to become more like Him, God gives the Priesthood to man on earth to participate in the work of saving souls. Those that are familiar with the writings in the New Testament should be familiar with this concept. Simon, in Acts 8 sees the Apostles giving the Holy Ghost to recent converts to the ancient Church. Upon seeing the Apostles perform this act, Simon, recognizing the lack of authority in himself to confer the Holy Ghost approaches the Apostles and requests this authority himself, offering them money. Immediately, the Peter rebuked Simon because this power from God could not be purchased with money.

We believe that men on earth are given this authority to govern the Church, to perform ordinances - like the giving of the Holy Ghost to converts to the Church, and to preside in family units. Elder Bednar, an Apostle in the Church today, mentioned in an address yesterday in the General Conference of the Church, that the 'Priesthood does not mean or make a man inherently better than someone else'. All the Priesthood does for a man, is gives them an opportunity to serve others. Some people that I have interacted with over the years have wondered why women are not given this authority in our church. I must admit I do not have a doctrinal answer for this. However, I firmly believe that God does not keep blessings from those who righteously seek after Him. A woman in the Church does not lack access to the blessings from the Priesthood; rather, ample programs and organizations in the Church exist to ensure that every member in the Church - run by both men and women - has access to the help and strength the Priesthood can provide.

Please note that these are just some of my thoughts on the Priesthood and is by no means meant to be exhaustive. If anything I have written in this post has brought up any questions in your mind, please let me know. I will do my best to answer them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Missionary Update from Brazil Manaus

Missionary brother in Manaus doing well

I thought I would drop a quick line concerning my brother serving his mission in Brazil. Missionary work is different for missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints all over the world. In some places, apparently Brazil being one of those, a great deal of people welcome discussing religion, and the Church in particular, and a great deal of people are baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I do not write this to gloat, but rather to point out an important part of beliefs concerning missionary work in the Church.

In a recent letter my brother sent home, he spoke of an area that saw a great deal of baptisms regularly. He mentioned that this area has a lot of local member involvement, including invitations to church meetings, invitations to church activities, and invitations to speaking with the missionaries. Many people might wonder, particularly in Brazil with a large Christian population, why members of our church invite others to investigate our church even if they are already part of another church. The answer to this question is not going to be the same for everyone in our church, but typically has some basic motivations. As I mention these, I wish to preemptively clarify that I believe true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ do not attack, belittle, or mock other's beliefs or belief systems. Jesus himself went about in mortality teaching by example, leading others with love to partake of the goodness the gospel had to offer. He did not mock the honest, sincere seeker of truth, but carefully led them to truth. Therefore, if a member of our church has went about bringing neighbors and family members into our church in any other way than love and understanding, they have done so not following the directions from leaders in our church, and certainly not following the example of Jesus Christ. Now, to some of the motivations why we share our beliefs with others, including other Christians.

1. Families: A very important part of our belief system is centered around families. We believe that families, properly sealed together in temples of the Church, can be together forever beyond after this life. We believe that temples are sacred buildings where we can come closer to our Heavenly Father. They are not accessible to the general public, but only to members of the Church in good standing that have previously been interviewed by local Church authorities. Therefore, to receive this blessing of a family sealed together for all eternity, a person must be baptized into the Church and be in good standing. A strong motivation for many memebers of the Church is therefore to bring others to experience something that brings members of the Church a great deal of happiness and comfort.

2. Lifestyle: We believe that living in disobedience to our Heavenly Father's commandments will bring sorrow. We believe many times people in the world are sad and depressed because of a lack of compliance to what God has commanded. Thus, a motivation to share our beliefs in the Church with others is to help them overcome troubles in their lives that might be causing them sadness, or to do more of the things that bring happiness. For instance, members in our church are frequently given opportunities to serve others in the Church and in the community in general. These opportunities provide wonder opportunities for self-improvement and to bring joy to others. We believe that we ought to serve others whenever we can, and by so doing, the Lord will bless us. In other cases, people might be breaking the commandments of God - unknowingly or knowingly - that cause themselves pain and suffering. We believe that Church teachings and membership can help these individuals overcome these errors in their lives - just as we in the Church apply these same teachings and reliance on the Savior, Jesus Christ to continuously try to correct our own mistakes - that can bring them back in harmony with the Lord's commandments and thus bring happiness to their lives.

Fellowship: Being able to share a treasured part of your life - such as religious beliefs - with a friend or family member can be a wonderfully, powerful way to strengthen a friendship. Of course, for this to happen beliefs and feelings must be shared in a respectful and considerate manner. My wife has had a baptist friend since she was very young and has had many conversations about religion and personal beliefs. Their relationship has been wonderfully strengthened through these conversations although neither person has shown interest in joining the other's church. I believe the friendship could not be as deep as it is now without having shared these treasured beliefs over many years with one another.

I am sure there are other reasons why members of our Church share their beliefs with others that I have not considered. Hopefully, those not a part of our Church who read this will be able to better understand why their Mormon neighbors and friends try to share their beliefs with them, although they themselves might also be Christian. Also, hopefully if someone in our Church has shared beliefs with you in a less than respectful and loving way that they did so on their own and are not representative of the Church as a whole.