Thursday, 26 December 2013

What happens inside Mormon Temples?

So, Inside the temple there are three main things that happen. Baptisms on behalf of those who are dead a ceremony called an Endowment and Marriage for Eternity.

1 Corinthians 15:29 "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they than baptized for the dead?"

Baptisms for the dead is something that was practices in the days of Jesus Christ, It comes from that First Baptism is required for everyone to enter into the Kingdom of heaven, and second that salvation is available to everyone who has ever walked on the earth.

What happens is members of the church go into the baptismal font and are baptized on behalf of those who have died. Members can do this when they reach 12 years old or if they have been baptized a couple of weeks. The people who are baptized are baptized on behalf of someone who has passed on, Usually an ancestor of that person. The person who has passed on than gets to choose, weather they accept Jesus Christ and are washed clean through baptism. Or they can reject Jesus Christ. They still have that freedom to choose. So if they do not want it, they just reject it.

The Endowment is a ceremony that new members of the church take part in after they have been in the church for about a year. Here we learn more about the creation of the world, and make covenants with God in addition to the ones we make at baptism. To Endow someone means to give a gift, And that is really what the ceremony is, It is a gift from God. There to give us guidance and strength to deal with the challenges of life.

After the endowment comes the sealing room. Here couples and families kneel down together at the alter and make a vow to stay loyal to each other and support each other, not just in this life but forever. There are two mirrors on the walls in this room, opposite each other they reflect each other over and over, symbolizing that this is something that lasts forever. It is a very beautiful thing to see.

And that basically is what happens, The temple is God's university, as we go through we learn thing all the time and receive guidance and personal answers from God. I find it wonderful that each temple has on it the words "Holiness to the Lord, the house of the Lord" because this is the house of God on earth.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Do Mormons Celebrate Christmas?

In short, Yes we do celebrate Christmas.

The first Christmas recorded in history was held a few years after the first Nicene creed was established by The Church of Rome (Roman Catholic church) in 325AD. Since it was introduced at about 354AD it has been used to celebrate the birth of our savior up until recent times when the giving of gifts has become the most dominant factor on Christmas.

In the recent years Christmas has drifted very far away from what the original intent was, But to me, Christmas is all about spending time with family and celebrate the birth of the most important and holiest man ever to walk on the face of the earth.

It is a time for people to think of each other and give gifts to those who they love and care for, It causes people to think more on those who do not have as much as they do. It is also something that lifts peoples spirits in one of the darkest times of the year.

Ultimately I believe Christmas brings people closer to God, because it causes us even if it is just for a short period of time to give and to love one another.  Here is a video that I like that teaches what Christmas should be about.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

How do I repent?

So, the word Repentance is a Greek word and it means to change your mind, or form a fresh view or something.

In the scriptures we are commanded quite a lot to repent. And this is to change our own views and actions to be in harmony with God's views and commandments. This is what leads us closer to God and brings the Holy Ghost into our lives even more. And there are 4 simple steps in repentance that are easy to follow.

The first step in repentance is actually recognizing that you are doing something that is not in harmony with God's commandments. It would be pretty hard to stop doing something wrong if you did not realize that it was wrong in the first place.

Second, you need to stop doing it. This is the most difficult step, especially if you are addicted to things that are just extremely difficult to turn away from like drugs, alcohol, pornography, even something as simple as swearing can be very difficult to stop doing, If you don't believe me try not swearing for a month see how difficult it is. By turning away from these things you find your life improve and you become more free because you are not tied down by these things, Just as Jesus Christ said "The truth shall make you free" (John 8:32) If you have done something like stealing something than you need to find a way to pay the person back, It can be very difficult, but it is worth it.

Third, you need to apologize. Saying sorry, and meaning it, Are important steps of repentance, It allows you to seek the forgiveness of whoever you have hurt. You can say sorry to God in prayer and you can say sorry to whoever you have hurt other than God, Once you have apologized than you need to learn from what you did wrong and leave it in the past, both you and whoever you have hurt. Apologizing to yourself is also good, saying sorry to yourself for hurting yourself.

The final step is do not repeat the mistake. You have left it in the past, and that is where it needs to stay. You can learn from it and you can warn other people not to do it, but you should not do it again and you should leave it behind, If you don't you will never be free from it because it will always haunt you.

Repenting is something that is very difficult and it would be impossible for us to become perfect without the help of our beloved savior Jesus Christ. Ask God for help in all things you do and than try your best to achieve them, if you have done these two things than there is nothing more really that can be done.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

How do I pray?

So, Prayer is basically like sending a letter or making a phone call to God. You can do it when ever you want or where ever you want. Praying is really simple and easy, it has three simple steps.

The first step is address God, So start by saying something like "Dear God" or "Dear Heavenly Father" anything like that, something that shows first that you are talking to God and second that you are showing great respect to God. The example Jesus Christ gave when praying commonly referred to as The lords prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) started with "Our Father, which art in heaven"

After that, the next part is up to you really, Her you can thank God for things, you can ask questions that you don't know the answer to, you can ask God to watch over friends or family really, Anything you like.  An example could be "Are you there?" or "Can you bless my mother <Put your mothers name here> and bring our family closer together." anything really. Be as specific as you can really, because you are than making it clear on what you are asking God.

and than to finish the prayer, ask for these things in the name of our savior Jesus Christ. so say something like "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." or something like that. the use of the word "Amen" at the end is like saying "I agree with this" and means "So be it" or close to that. and so when you hear someone else say a prayer and you say "Amen" at the end you are saying "I ask for this too" and along those lines.

So a quick example here "Dear God, Are you there? and If you are there, can you let me know what I should do? I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen" It is as simple as that really. God loves to hear from you, and has asked that you always keep a prayer in your heart, it does not matter who you are, where you are or how far you have gone away from God, He wants to hear from you, even if you feel because of your mistakes you should not talk to him.

If you have never prayed before, Try it right now, or before you go to bed, By doing so you will find a relationship with God What is the worst that can happen?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Why can only Mormons go inside the Temple?

Most buildings you see from the Mormon church are chappels. These buildings are built for Sunday worship and for events that happen during the week, Like youth activities nights, or parties held within the church.

A Temple is different to a Chapel, in that it is not built for sunday worship, Infact it is closed on a sunday. Inscribed on each temple are the words "Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord" This is because it is the house of God. and is a sacred building in which the Holy Ghost is always present.

A common belief is that only certain people can enter the temple. This is both true and false. The reason not everyone can enter into the temple is because they need to be living at a level that God has set. The first requirement is that they must be a baptised member of his church. Second you must be keeping the commandments that He has given you (You don't have to be perfect just living at a level where you are honestly living to a good standard) For example you have to be keeping the laws of the land, The law of chastity, the law of Tithing and the word of wisdom.

In order to enter into the temple, You need to talk to the local Bishop (Or branch president) he than interviews you, and asks you questions about how you are doing, your faith in Jesus Christ and his restored gospel and asks if you are keeping his commandments. He will than sign a recommend to say that you can enter into the temple.

It really is a beautiful place and well worth visiting. Before a temple is dedicated they have an open house, which anyone is welcome to enter into the temple and see what it is like inside, If you are ever lucky enough to have a temple open near you, I would recommend going to the open house as it is very beautiful to look at., After the prophet dedicates the temple, it is than only members of the Church who have one of these recommends may enter. But anyone who keeps these commandments are welcome to have one, and if you want to get one, talk to the bishop and if you are not quite there yet, he can help you get to where you need to be.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Why do Mormons give 10% of their income to the church?

So, Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live a commandment called "The Law of Tithing"  In 1838 Joseph Smith received revelation from God that God's people should live this commandment. (Doctrine and Covenants 119)

In this commandment God has asked us to give "One tenth of all their interest annually" this basically means to give 10% of your income to God.  People have asked me on a few occasions "Why does God need your money?" The truth is, He does not need anything from us, as everything belongs to Him anyway. It is less of God needing money, but more of God seeing if our hearts are putting Him above the things of the world.

This is not a new commandment, For example, in Genesis 28:20-22 Jacob makes a vow to God to pay one tenth of all he has to God.   Jacob saw that the things that God had given him were a gift from God and so he made this vow to God.

Malachi 3:8-12 Teaches us that by keeping this commandment God will "Open the windows of heaven, and our you out a blessing, that there shall be not room enough to receive it" And this is true, As with all of Gods commandments God has promised us blessings for keeping them, we just need to exercise faith in Him in order to receive those blessings. The best way to find out that this is true is to do as God says and "Prove me now herewith" and just try it out.

So what does the church do with this money? The money is gathered together, and is used as the Lord directs by the decision of the leaders of the church (Doctrine and Covenants 120) It is spent on, Building Temples, meeting houses (Chapels), Funding the missionary programme (This does not include expenses  of the individual  missionaries) Preparing materials used in classes IE Books and Hymn Books, Temple and family history work,  and education.

The leaders of the church support themselves from their jobs, and so it does not go to pay people as local ministers. So, the tithing does not go to support local ministers, but to support the organisation of the church as a whole and to support the needs of people who struggle with their lives.

The tithing is paid at the discretion of the individual, You simply put your donation in an envelope and give the envelope to the bishop, There is no tray, nobody will ask you if you have paid tithing, it is simply between you and God. Once a year the bishop will meet with the member of the church to give them a slip of paper with all of the contributions they have made during that year. You are asked if you are a full tithe payer, you can answer yes or no, Nothing more will be asked about it.

People who are not members of the church are not asked to give any donations at all. But if they choose they may donate to specific things like the humanitarian aid programme and other services the church provides.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Mormon view of Marriage and Homosexuality.

Marriage is one of the most important parts of life, It is ordained of God, and has been ever since man and woman were placed on the earth (Genesis 2:24) As a Mormon I believe that marriage is not only meant for this life, but is to last for all eternity, That the relationship built between a man and a woman in this life, continues in the next.

The ability to be married for time and eternity, happens only within the Temple of God. The couple are sealed together before God by the power of the Priesthood.  Jesus Christ gave this power to his apostles (Matthew 18:18) The ability to bind on earth and in heaven. This same power is found within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and within the holy temple a man and a woman can be sealed together forever.

Having feelings of same sex attraction does not make you evil or any less of a human being. They can still be baptised or even attend the temple so long as they are keeping Gods commandments. What we emphasise however is not to act on such feelings, It is equally as sinful to do this as it is for a man and a woman to have sexual relationships outside of marriage.

Having these feelings is not a sin, anyone who has these feelings deserves the same treatment as anyone else, we should treat each other with the same love that God treats us, people should not discriminate against anyone no matter who they are.

The church has a website dedicated to supporting those who have these feelings and wish to keep Gods commandments.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Who is God?

When someone asks the question who or what is God, people get many things come to mind. Some people think a big guy sitting on a throne with a big lightning bolt in his hand waiting to strike whoever makes a mistake. Others think of some invisible spirit with no shape of appearance.
The view we have of God is quite simple, He is our loving heavenly father, The literal father of all of our spirits, He has a perfected physical body as tangible as you and I. He is all knowing and is omnipresent through His spirit. We also believe that God the father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost are three separate beings who form a Godhead. Each with their own role but united in their purpose.

We call God our Heavenly Father. That is because He is the literal father of our spirits. (Romans 8:16) Because of this, we recognise that we have and are able to build a personal relationship with God. Knowing that God is the literal father of our spirits helps you to understand why God wants to be involved in your life. As a perfect loving father, He allows us the freedom to decide for ourselves, Even if our decisions do not result in the happiness he wants us to have through keeping his commandments. 

He has a glorified perfected physical body He can touch, taste and feel things, just like we can, And when we reach heaven, We will all be able to live with God. With our own perfected bodies. (Revelation 21:1-4) We will live in peace and joy with all sickness and pains taken away, That really will be wonderful. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Why don't mormons drink Tea and Coffee?

Sorry about the 2 week gap between posts :)

Throughout history, God has given commandment and guidance on what to eat and what not to eat. In return God has promised his followers health benefits for following such commandments. A great example of this is Daniel 1 Here the king Nebuchadnezzar gathers lots of the greatest minds of the time together and they are given rich meats and strong wine. The prophet Daniel was one of these people, but he refused to eat the kings meat and drink the kings wine.

After just 10 days, the benefits were shown, They looked healthier (Daniel 1:15) and God also granted them greater knowledge, and wisdom. they were found to be 10 times better (Daniel 1:20).

Just like in old times, God has given us a law of health, this law was given to Joseph Smith in 1833, and is known as "The word of wisdom" (Doctrine and covenants 89). And just as with all of God's commandments he promises blessings for obeying these laws.

Over time, the things specified that we should stay away from are Alcohol, Tobacco, Tea, Coffee, and Illegal Drugs.

In addition to the guide for what is bad for us, God has also given us guidance for a more healthy diet (Doctrine and covenants 89:10-17), That we should eat these include : Wholesome herbs, in their season, Meat sparingly, all grains,and fruit of the vine.

Basically it is a diet that a good health specialist will advise, eat healthy food, not too much meat and have lots of herbs and fruit. And stay away from things that are harmful to the body like Tobacco, Alcohol, Tea, Coffee and drugs. It is great to think that God gave this health code in 1833 a long time before you had health specialists :)

As a benefit for eating these things God has given the promise that we shall; (Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21) Health in their navle, Marrow in their bones, They shall find wisdom, hidden treasures of knowledge, Run and not be weary, walk and not faint. These are some great things, To just generally be healthier.

So really, It is for two reasons, First because God said it is what we should do, and second it is to live a healthy lifestyle and look after the great gift of a physical body that God has given us.

Friday, 11 October 2013

what happens on Sundays at the Mormon church?

Moroni 6:9 "And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done."

So, In the Church Of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, we attend church on a Sunday and starts usually at about 10 Am. It is a 3 hour long service. These three hours are divided up into classes and the sacrament meeting.

The first hour we call "Sacrament meeting" This can be compared to communion. This meeting starts off with a prayer and a hymn. This is the most important meeting, because here we take the sacrament, Which is bread and water, that symbolizes Christs body and blood which was given for us so that we could become cleansed from our sins. We take this in remembrance of him, and to renew the covenants or agreements we have made with God at baptism.

After this, members who were chosen by the bishop give a 10-20 minute message to the congregation, The person giving this message prayerfully study the subject they are given to talk about and write it themselves, there are usually 2-3 people who talk during this meeting. this meeting is about an hour long.

The next meeting is Sunday school, this is divided by age, so the very young children play games and learn together, the youth (12-18) learn together and the adults learn together, each learning about things that are relevant to their age group. These classes are more of a discussion and everyone is welcome to share their feelings as guided by the Holy Ghost.

For the final hour the men and the women separate, and the men study together and learn more about being good fathers and husbands, and helping each other learn about their priesthood duties in the church and the sisters meet together and talk about being good mothers and wives whilst strengthening each other in their faith in God.

The best thing about the church services is the spirit that comes from being there, Personally, I have had times when I have felt that I really did not feel that happy or did not even feel like going to church, afterwords I feel like weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and I feel much happier. That is the Holy Ghost lifting me up for the week :)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Why do we need prophets and apostles today?

So, This is a question i get asked by people of lots of different faiths, This comes from several viewpoints. One is that the Bible is the whole word of God and that there is no need for anything more. Another is the belief which is correct but incomplete and that is that we are able to receive personal guidance from God. And also from the idea that because Jesus has come already we have no more need for prophets.

Lets begin with how God has lead his people in the past. Throughout the Bible God has spoken to his Children through Prophets, He spoke through people like Noah, Moses, Samuel Isaiah and many other prophets all throughout history. In paul's letter to the Ephesians(Ephesians 4:11-15) he teaches why we have prophets and apostles in the first place.

Im going to pick a few things out of that verse that teach me why we need them today. "till we all come in the unity of faith" as you can see from christianity as a whole, we are not united. There are people who attack the beliefs of other christians and that is not right. If the purpose of the prophets and apostles and pastors and teachers was supposed to bring us all together in unity of faith, Why is christianity so divided?

We are divided because the basic beliefs of each church is different, there are people who believe in the trinity, there are people who believe that they are 3 separate beings, even things as basic as if we need to be baptised and if so, how that baptism is done. the list of things go on. and in verse 14 it teaches "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive:" This teaches that they were teaching one doctrine and not hundreds of different opinions because they would have been united.

This does not mean that everyone who claims to be a prophet is a prophet, Jesus Christ himself warned against false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20) notice that he did not say there will be no more prophets, but instead he taught how to recognise them, he said "Ye shall know them by their fruits." some people even thought Jesus was a false prophet. in John 7:12-17 Some people believe that Christ is teaching false idea's and Christ says "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, weather it be of God or whether i speak of myself."

If we are to find out if someone is a prophet we need to listen and than we need to act, If they are a prophet the Holy Ghost will let them know if they are or not. And so i would invite you to listen to the prophet and apostles who have been chosen by God in our time, Pray about the things you teach and act on them, by doing this you will know if they are from God or if they are not.

Friday, 27 September 2013

What is the purpose of Baptism?

Baptism comes from Greek and it means to dip or immerse.When Jesus Christ was on the earth, at the start of his ministry He was baptised, by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:13-17) John at that time was baptising unto repentance, (Matthew 3:11) Jesus Christ himself of course did not need to be baptised for repentance, He was perfect. So, Why did he get baptised?
 John even recognised that Christ was superior to him when he said "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?"  and in a humble response Jesus responds "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness"  So A perfect man felt it was necessary to be baptised to fulfill all righteousness How much more greater is our need to be baptised?

Okay So there is a need to be baptised, But why? What does baptism even do? At baptism we make a covenant with God. A covenant is an agreement where God tells us what the reward will be and we agree with God what we have to do in order to get that reward.

So, The prophet Alma, In the Book of Mormon, taught what this covenant involves (Mosiah 18:8-10). In this promise we make with God, is that we will help and try to uplift those around us, promise to keep His commandments and stand as witnesses of him at all times and in all things, Or in other words show people that you are trying to follow Christ by trying to be like him in your actions and the things you say.

By being baptised you agree with God to keep his commandments, And you are basically saying that you are putting your past behind you and are going to follow him and keep his commandments. When you do this, you enter into the fold of God and become one of his people.

In return for you doing this He promises to give you his spirit in more abundance. That he will forgive you of your sins and wash them away, That you will be resurrected and live with him.

In closing, Late one night Jesus Christ was conversing with a Pharisee called Nicodemus, He was a ruler amongst the Jews. Jesus Christ taught him that no man can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born again. This confused Nicodemus, and so he asked how can you be born again?

"Verily, verily, i say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-5)

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

In my previous post I talked about what the Holy Ghost is and that we are all affected by his influence. Although everyone can feel the Holy Ghost testify of truth to their souls, There is a unique gift that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints has to offer and that is The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost is different to feeling its influence. First because when someone who has received this gift they are entitled to the feelings and guidance of the Holy Ghost constantly so long as they keep the commandments of God. In the Bible, the apostles, after the Holy Ghost descended upon them preached right away, And after they preached  the people felt the Holy Ghost as a prick in their hearts, they then asked (Acts 2:37-38) "What shall we do?" The Apostles than declared that they should "Repent and be baptised everyone in the name of Jesus and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost"

The Prophet Nephi in The Book of Mormon,  taught that once you "receive the Holy Ghost, it shall show you all things what ye should do." (2 Nephi 32:5) Personal guidance from God really is a great gift. This is the gift that Jesus Christ called The Comforter, in John 14:16.

And yet, Jesus Christ said (John 14:17)"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." So how can we receive this gift if the world cannot receive it? The answer is through the laying on of hands. There are a few places that teach this but my favourite story is of simon the sorcerer. (Acts 8:12-25) Here, Philip went and preached the Gospel in Samaria, They were all being bewitched and fooled by a man called Simon who practised sorcery. 

When Philip preached to these people he showed them miracles and taught them about Jesus Christ. Even simon believed his words and they were all baptised. The apostles Peter and John heard that they were baptised and they travelled all the way from Jerusalem to Samaria and in verse 17 the apostles laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost.

Simon saw that when they laid their hands on peoples heads they received this gift and he wanted it for himself. He was even willing to offer money for it. But peter rebuked him and told him that the gifts of God cannot be purchased with money and he told him to repent of this evil.

This is something that was so important that the apostles travelled all that distance just to give them this gift, The role of this Gift is to cleanse our spirits of guilt, to guide us in our every day lives, to testify of the truth and to provide comfort to us in times of need.

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me in my life.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

What is the Holy Ghost?

So, The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to our souls, He has many names, like The Spirit, The Comforter, The Holy Spirit, The Spirit of Truth, and many more. His role as the third member of the Godhead is to teach and testify to us what is true and from God.

Since the times of Adam, The Holy Ghost has guided the followers of God. The Apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:20-21) Teaches all the prophecies and scripture in times of old (Or in other words the Old Testament) was written through inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And of course all of the New testament was written in the exact same way, The Holy Ghost inspiring the Apostles what to write and how to guide the followers of God.

Everyone on the Earth can be influenced by the Holy Ghost, As the Holy Ghost inspires scripture, It also testifies to our souls of truth. An example of this is Romans 8:16 Here it teaches that The Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are the children of God.  And this is because this is truth, All truth that is sent from God is testified by the Holy Ghost. and anyone who will not harden their heart can feel it whenever someone teaches truth.

There are many ways that the Spirit teaches us, Mostly we get feelings. The other day, we were in the chapel, and a man who had never been here before walked in, we gave him a tour of the building showing him what it was like, At the end of the tour he said that it feels "Different" in here. That it felt good. The feelings of comfort that come from the Holy Ghost are unique, Indescribable in some cases. It can feel like peace just washes over you. In Galatians 5:22-23 It describes "The Fruit of the spirit" Or in other words, The feelings that come from it. These are definitely feelings that all of us could do with more in our own lives. "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"

 Or it comes as the apostles described in Luke 24:32, When Jesus appeared to two of them, and they did not recognise Him, He talked to them for a while and read to them from the scriptures. The way they knew who he was afterwards was because they felt "our hearts burn within us while he talked" This is a very powerful occasion and is more rare than is common. Another occasion is when the Apostles were teaching at the day of Pentecost when they themselves received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:37-38) "They were pricked in the heart" And after that the apostles gave everyone The Gift of the Holy Ghost.

In the Book of Mormon, in Moroni 10:3-5 Moroni teaches us all how we can find our own answers from God, The promise given here is for the Book of Mormon specifically but can apply to anything we want to know from God. He instructs us that First we must "ponder it in our hearts." Or in other words, Think about them for ourselves. Than we need to Ask God, in the name of Jesus Christ if it is true. If we do this and are willing to act on the answer that God gives us, Believing that he will answer you. You will feel the guidance through the Holy Ghost on what you should do.

The Holy Ghost has really blessed my life and has bought me great comfort when i have been feeling low, He can help anyone so long as we ask God for help.

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Resurrection.

Because of Adam and Eve, we will all die, this is a promise that God gave them when they ate of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. When they ate of it they would die in two different ways Physically and spiritually. Physical death is where our body is separated from our body. Spiritual death is separation of us from God. (Alma 42:9)

Because of Jesus Christ we will all be raised from both physical and spiritual death. The prophet Alma, in The Book of Mormon, explained to his son that Resurrection is when our body and spirit are joined together again, but our body will be made perfect.(Alma 40:23)

After we are resurrected, we will all be brought into the presence of God to be Judged of what we have done here on the earth, (Revelation 20:13-13)and we will be judged by Jesus Christ (John 5:22-23). As we will be judged according to our works, It seems a little unfair that God would have only two options, like If you make it this far you get to heaven, if you fall short you go to hell. And you do not need to accept Jesus Christ in order to be a good person, So what happens to them?

well, Lets first establish that there are more than two places that you can go, There is more than just heaven or hell. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that there will be a resurrection, and in (1 Corinthians 15:40-42) Here it compares the types of body to the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. This is what it refers to when we receive according to our works. 

Those who follow Jesus Christ, strive to keep his commandments and are Baptised will receive this "Glory" Now it dost mean they will become the sun but they can be compared to the sun. for example in Revelation 1:16 it compares the countenance of Jesus to the sun. Those who are compared to this glory will live with God, and they will live in a state of perfect joy and peace. I love how in psalms 16:11 it teaches that in Gods presence is a fullness of Joy. 

The glory of the Moon, Is for people who lived a good life, but for one reason or another chose not to follow Jesus Christ. They will have some amount of happiness. But they will not live with God, and as a result will never be as happy as those who have been cleansed through Jesus Christ.

The lowest of these three places is compared to the stars. Just as from our perspective the stars are almost nothing in compared to the moon, and you cannot even see them compared to the sun. The Glory of these people will be almost nothing. This is because they did not live good lives and did not want to change. God has prepared somewhere for them to live.

This was something that God revealed to Joseph Smith through divine revelation. And is one of the many fruits that God has given to us through prophets who live today.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

What happens when you die?

So, here is a question most people ask at some point in their life, what happens when you die?

One important thing to remember is that we are all spirits, before we lived here on earth we were spirits without bodies, we came here and gained a physical body. When we die our body and spirit are separated again. Eventually everyone will be resurrected, that means everyone will have a physical body again, and I'll talk about that in a future Blog, but for now I would like to focus on what happens between when we die and when we are resurrected.

In the Book of Mormon, a prophet called Alma teaches what happens between death and the resurrection in Alma 40:11-13. In these verses, Alma explains that everyone will be taken home to God. Although we will all go to the same place, we will not all feel the same. The ways in which people will feel, we refer to as spirit paradise and spirit prison.

The spirits of good people, who have accepted Jesus Christ and been baptized will be in a state of paradise. This is because they have been washed clean of their sins through Jesus Christ and can rest from their cares and sorrows. In contrast to this, those who have not done this will feel as though they are in a prison, feeling tormented by the guilt of all of the wicked things that they have done, and finding no relief because they have not accepted their savior.

At first, this looks and is unfair. Also, there are a lot of people who have never even heard of the name "Jesus Christ" let alone the wonderful message that he taught. Will they be left to suffer there just because of the circumstances that God put them in? after all, God is the one who put them in these places where they will never hear of him.

The truth is, God loves these people. In fact he loves all of us so much, he gives everyone the opportunity to be washed clean through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:18-19 Here it teaches, that after Christ had suffered for our sins, that he may bring us back to God, He went and "Preached unto the spirits in prison"  And then in the next chapter 1 Peter 4: 5-6 It teaches that the Gospel was preached to them that are dead.

Eventually we will all be resurrected, but I will talk more about that in my next post.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

How did Joseph Smith become a prophet?

So in my last post, I briefly explained how Jesus Christ established a church and how God knew there would be a falling away from his truth.

So, in 1820, Joseph smith was 14 years old. He was living in up state New York. In the town he was living in there were a lot of different Christian sects, all contending for followers. Even his own family were going to different churches.
"In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know?"
As you can see, that war of opinions is still going on today. Today we have just as many churches saying "We are God's church, join us" or even worse "they are not from God, because..." Just like back then, people today still try to prove each other wrong. 

Whilst this was going on, he was reading through the bible himself. He came across a verse in the New testament: James 1:5  "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." To me, this means that if you don't know what to do, ask God and He will let you know. 

So Joseph reflected on this, and eventually he came to the conclusion that he must do as James directs, and that is to ask God. So, he went to a quiet woodland near where he lives, and he knelt down to pray in order to say his first vocal prayer. In his own words he describes the occasion in this link. (Joseph Smith History 1:15-17)

To summarise, he received a vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They instructed him not to join with any of the churches, and told him that through him they would bring back the truth. Three years later (in 1823), Joseph had another vision. This time he was visited by an angel called Moroni. This angel gave him instructions on where he would find a record of the angels people, buried in the ground. But at this time he was told that he was not to take them, instead he was instructed to return to this place every year. In 1827 he was finally permitted to take this record out of the ground, which he was instructed to translate. This record is The Book of Mormon.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

What happened to Christ's Church?

When Jesus Christ was on the earth he established a church, and had many followers. These followers were called disciples, of all the followers he had gathered, He chose 12 men, and He called them Apostles. (Luke 6:13-16)
These 12 Apostles traveled around with Christ, Learning constantly of what He taught and preaching along with Him. Later (Luke 10:1) he also appointed 70 other people, and He sent them ahead to teach and preach. So by this time, He must have gathered a large number of followers. 

After His death, Jesus Christ, appeared to his Apostles, (and other people) and he told them very clearly, that they had work to do, and that they were to teach. In John 21:15-17 Jesus instructs Simon Peter to feed his sheep, or in other words, look after those who follow him, both those who are already following him and those who are not yet following him.
With the death of Judas, There was left only 11 Apostles, They knew they needed another Apostle, and they had two people who they felt fitted the qualifications, Barsabas and Matthias(acts 1:21-16). The Lot fell on Matthias and he became one of the 12 Apostles. They then traveled around together, until at the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost poured out on them, and they began to preach and baptize in the name of Jesus Christ. They also began to teach amongst the Gentiles. and ordaining people in different area's where they preached.(Acts 14:23)

Most of the New Testament is letters written by the Apostles. The reasons for most of these letters is because false idea's had crept into the church. For example in 1 Corinthians, Paul is telling the Corinthians to stop being divided. (1 Corinthians 1:10-15) or even in his letter to the Galatians, Where he is shocked they have gone to another Gospel, They still believe in Christ, but are being persuaded to believe false idea's (Galatians 1:6-12) and there are many other examples of this.

Not only were the Apostles having to deal with false idea's but they were being persecuted, many were martyred or exiled, and so with their deaths they were not able to continue strengthening the churches around the world. In a couple of the letters, they even prophesied the inevitable, which is a falling away from the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 2 Timothy 4:1-4) These two scriptures indicate that there will be a falling away from the truth, and that they knew it would happen. 

As we see from history there was a great confusion about the message of Jesus Christ, In 325 AD the emperor Constantine, after he himself was converted to Christianity, actually arranged for all the different bishops together around the world and to agree on what they believed thats how different the beliefs were back then, but even since then, there have been many break off's from what people interpret as truth. 

This leads up to 1820, When Joseph Smith was 14 years old, he wanted to know which of all the churches was right. Because he did not know what to do. One day whilst reading through the Bible, he came across James 1:5  "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." And this is exactly what he did, I will go into what happened in another Blog. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

What did Jesus Christ do for me?

So, Continuing the theme of Jesus Christ, I would like to go more into my beliefs on what he has done for all of us.

He was born, under unique circumstances. Born of the virgin Mary, he is the only begotten of the Father. He is The Son of God, In the flesh. He came here to play a unique role in all of our lives. He came here to sacrifice his life, For our sins.

Whilst he lived here, he did three important things, first he lived a perfect life, this is something that only he has done. Everyone else in the world has sinned in one way or another. And yet, he lived perfectly before God, He kept all of the commandments, and so he was the only one who has lived a life worthy enough to be able to return to live with God, The Father.

Next he came to teach the truth. He always sought to teach those around him, Even when he was young he always taught. And when he began his Earthly ministry, he gathered a lot of followers, and of these Disciples, he chose 12 men, who he called Apostles. These men carried on with his teaching after his death.

And finally, He came to pay the price for Sin, This was only possible for him because first, he is the Son of God, and second because he lived a perfect life, If he had not lived perfectly he would have needed a savior just the same as us.And if he had not been the Son of God, The agony of Sin, would have killed him.

So What does it mean, That he paid the price for sin? Well, He suffered Everything. This started in Gethsemane, in Luke 22:41-44 In particular i would refer to verse"44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

His sweat was as great drops of blood, I believe that in this moment, he suffered everything. That he went through every pain, sickness and temptation in this moment, that he went through what it describes in The Book of Mormon, in Alma 7:11-13. And that in this moment, he suffered for the sins of all mankind. 

After going through agony, that would have killed any normal man, he was betrayed by Judas, questioned, tortured and than nailed to the cross and willingly gave up his life. And as they did this, he still asked God, His Father, to forgive them (Luke 23:34

But this is not the end, not only did he, through the power of his sacrifice pay the price in full, for the sins that we have committed, so we would all be given the chance to return back to God. But 3 days later, he rose from the tomb, And was resurrected. Overcoming the final hurdle, even death itself so that we all could live again.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Jesus Christ. There for us, from the Beginning.

Before we existed here, we existed as spirits, with God, The Father, and He loved us. He wanted us us all to grow and become like Him, and so he presented a plan to us, where he would create a physical world and there He would give us the opportunity to learn and grow.
We were all present when God presented this plan to us; that we would all be given a physical body, and that we would all be tested to see if we would follow God. In order to make this plan perfect God said that he would need a savior, someone who would keep all of the commandments which God would give to us and would be willing to suffer the pains and sicknesses that all of us experience, and then ultimately to sacrifice his life for us to pay the price of the wrong choices that we make.

In the spirit world there was one spirit there who was like God. He was Jesus Christ. He said to the Father, Here I am, send me. There was also another who said Here I am, send me, and I will make sure that nobody will fail. The second was Lucifer. His plan was that all of us would be guaranteed to make it because we would not have any choice in this world, but God knew that this plan could not work and that our ability to choose is what helps us to grow and to be happy.

 Jesus Christ was then foreordained from before the foundation of the world to save us just like it says in
 1 Peter 1;18-20. and Lucifer rebelled against God. He then became Satan the father of all lies. He was then cast out along with his followers and they desired to lead all of us away from God and to be as miserable as they are.

And so when Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden in a state of innocence where they gained a physical body. They could not have children at this stage because they had no knowledge of good or evil. Satan than tempted them to break God's commandments. They ate the fruit and gained knowledge of good and evil, and they became fallen, being cast out of the garden and out of God's presence.

Our gaining this knowledge for ourselves was a part of God's plan. This is why he chose a savior from the beginning. This knowledge allows us to act for ourselves; whether we choose to do good and follow God, or whether we do evil and follow Satan.

So, When Christ came to the earth he lived a perfect life, and because he lived a life free from sin, he was able to offer himself a sacrifice for our sins and allow us all the opportunity to return to God. There is nothing that his sacrifice did not cover. All we have to do is learn for ourselves what heaven will be like. We learn this by keeping his commandments and experiencing the joy that comes from following God.

Finally, after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ was resurrected. He overcame death itself, that we all may be resurrected one day as well. How great was the trust and responsibility that God, The Father, had in his perfect Son.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

What is the book of Mormon?

Okay, so one of the most frequently asked questions is "What is The Book of Mormon?"

So, basically, The Book of Mormon is ancient scripture that you can compare with the Bible. Like the Bible it is the words of prophets who testify of Jesus Christ and that he is our savior.
 It begins at about 600BC (at around about the time of Jeremiah in the Bible). In it God commands a prophet called Lehi to take his family out of Jerusalem. They leave and are guided to the sea, where his son Nephi constructs a ship. They travel across the sea to the American continent where they begin to establish a civilization.
They split off into two groups when they got there. One group called Nephites followed Nephi. The other group followed his older brother Laman, and called themselves Lamanites. These two groups fought against each other.

During this time God chose many prophets within these groups and they taught the gospel to the people and that the savior of world would visit these people. This is the main event in the book of Mormon. (This happens in 3 Nephi chapter 11 Page 427). Jesus actually talks of this to his disciples but they do not understand what this means, 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."
Here he was talking of visiting his other followers.

After Christ visited these people they lived in peace for a long time. Slowly there began to be disagreements between them again and they ended up splitting back into two groups. They began to war with each other again. During this time a prophet called Mormon gathered the records and prophecies together and compiled them into one book and inscribed them onto Gold Plates, and this is why it is called The Book of Mormon. He then passed the plates to his Son Moroni, who added a little bit to the record and then buried it in the ground.

So that is how it was written, but how did we come to get this? Well, in 1823 Joseph Smith was visited by Moroni, now an Angel, who instructed Joseph where to find the plates. Joseph then found them. After 3 years he took the plates from the ground. He then translated it, using the means God gave him to translate them. It took him only about 65 working days to translate the entire book, and is just one of the fruits that came from God calling him as a prophet.

The best thing about what we teach though is that you do not have to take our word for it. We encourage everyone to read The Book of Mormon for themselves, ponder in there hearts the message it contains and then ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ if these things are true. And those who do this will receive an answer through the Holy Ghost that it is the word of God. This promise is given in The Book of Mormon (Moroni Chapter 10 Verse 3-5, on page 529).