Thursday, October 13, 2011

I AM a Christian



Religion & Politics.  Two subjects a lot of people simply don't like to bring up, or join in any conversation about.  Why is that?  Is it because so many people differ on so many different levels?  Is it because we think we may, heaven forbid, offend someone?  I feel an obligation, this very moment in time, to speak about MY religion, because there has been, currently is, and always will be, some misconceptions about the religion to which I belong, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  More commonly known as, Mormons.  I was raised in this church, married a Mormon, and am raising my children in the same faith, and wouldn't have it any other way.  Let me make it clear too, that Mormon, is kind of like a nick name for our church, and we are not associated in any way, shape or form with the FLDS church, or any other church that practices Polygamy.  Our church DID practice that in the 1800's, but later banned it, and if anyone in our church does practice it, they are excommunicated.  Again, we have NOTHING to do with Polygamy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Not too long ago, a Baptist minister accused our church of being a cult, claiming we are not a Christian religion, yet our very name holds the name of Jesus Christ in the title.  He couldn't be further from the truth.  What is a cult anyway?  Webster's dictionary explains it in this manner:

1  formal religious veneration : worship
2  a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
4  a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator <health cults>
a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion 

I'll leave it to the reader to determine whether or not the religion to which I belong is a cult.  But I have discovered the best way to find the answer to such questions, is simply this.  Ask a member OF our church!  Let me say this... we are not a cult.  Our church, yes, was founded by a man, named Joseph Smith, in the 1800's, and he restored The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back on the earth.  The events that took place to bring about this restoration include a visit to him by our Heavenly Father AND His son, Jesus Christ, who then instructed him to translate ancient records to what is known as The Book of Mormon.  There are many who find the LDS church (abbreviated) to be a wonderful religion, all good and well, but cannot accept the "Joseph Smith" story.  That is for each and every one of us to determine for ourselves, upon reading The Book of Mormon, after thoughtful and sincere prayer.  The confirmation that all this has happened, that I believe and know to be true, has happened to me, as it has for 14 million others all around the world.  The Bible, in several different places, says there will be additional scripture, and The Book of Mormon is an account of the people in the Americas whom our Savior visited.... John 10:16  "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:  them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."


My intent is not to preach my religion, yet I feel a need to defend my faith, that we are, undoubtedly, a Christian religion.  If you enter any one of our church buildings scattered throughout the world, you will find artwork of Jesus Christ adorning the walls.  If you have even been inside one of our temples, during an open house right after it has been built, you will discover the same thing, pictures of the Savior everywhere.  

What does it mean, to be a Christian?  Does it mean we help our fellow man when they are in need?  If so, I am proud to be a member of a church that does exactly that.  You can name any natural disaster that has happened in the past, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is front and center flying in donations to help the poor and needy, and those in distress.  Those items include, but are not limited to: food, hygiene kits, clothing, school supplies, blankets for babies in the neo-natal units, water filter systems, vaccines for immunizations.  The list goes on and on.  You will often find hundreds of people of our faith donning yellow "Mormon Helping Hands" shirts giving of their time to help clean up after a hurricane, earthquake, whatever the need is, they are there.  Is that NOT a Christian thing to be doing?  


So yes, it does hurt me, when I hear of such preachers that say we are not a Christian religion, but rather a cult.  I would invite this minister, and anyone else who makes such claims, to just ask a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints what we are really about, instead of making assumptions.  I don't find my religion to be a threatening one, I find it to be one in which you can find happiness, joy and peace, all things that encompass someone, in my opinion, as a Christian because they devote much of their life in service to others.


We live in a time when we can have, at our fingertips, answers to just about any question we might have.  That is one reason why our church has multiple websites where you CAN find out about who we are.  Yes, there is plenty of wrong information out there on the internet about us, but you will find the right information first and foremost by speaking WITH a member of our church, or going to www.mormon.org.  


I am proud to say that I do belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And along with that, I AM a Christian.

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