Tuesday, 15 April 2014

If Jesus Christ suffered for all my sins, why than do I need to change?

When Jesus Christ came to earth he lived a perfect life he is God's only perfect son and because of this he was the only one who was capable of paying for our sins. And he did, he paid the price for every sin that has ever been committed. He suffered and died so that we would not have to pay a debt that we cannot pay. His suffering in Gethsemane and on the Cross of Calvary he suffered and died for the sins of all the earth.

Without his sacrifice it would be impossible for any of us to make it back to God, as Paul puts it so simply in Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" and so we all rely Completely upon the grace of God for our salvation.

So than why do we need to do anything? if we are saved by the gift and grace of God?  The prophet Alma taught (Alma 34:32) that this life is our time to perform our labors and prepare to meet God. So by keeping God's commandments we are learning what it is like living in the presence of God. Of course we make mistakes every day, but as we continually seek to obey God we will get better and become more like our savior Jesus Christ.

The prophet Nephi (2 Nephi 10:23-25) taught that we are free to choose our own actions, weather we choose to follow God and Jesus Christ through keeping the commandments which they have given us. And than when we have tried to follow God is is only through his grace that we are saved just like as paul taught in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace, and that our own works are not what saves us but Christ.

And most importantly is that we remember the words of Jesus Christ to his apostles in John 14:15. Which simply states "If ye love me, keep my commandments."  I don't think there is any more reason needed than that for us to try our best to obey the commandments of God.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Why do Mormons talk so much about family history?

So, one of the things about this church is that doing family history research is a part of our set of beliefs and values, but why?

Family history is all about finding your ancestors and seeing where you come from, from doing this you can learn allot about your heritage such as where your family comes from and how they ended up where they are today. If you look at the Bible you will see that not only is it a record of what God did with his people but it is also a record of family history. as early as Genesis 4 there has been a record of where people come from.

and than the last two verses in the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5-6) it says:
5 ¶Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers is what family history is all about.

Finding out where you come from is only part of the reason for doing this, The other part is about salvation through Jesus Christ. This salvation is not just for those that are alive today but for everyone who has ever lived on the earth and ever will live here. 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 then baptized for the dead? And so Paul is teaching here, is asking the question why do they baptize for people who are dead, if we will not be resurrected?

This is because salvation is available to everyone, and baptism is an essential part of us becoming cleansed through Jesus Christ. and so, by looking for our family who have passed on we are able to bring people to Jesus Christ, and provide them with the opportunity to accept his sacrifice. This does not stop them saying no to him of course but it does provide everyone a chance to become reborn in him.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Do Mormons practice Polygamy?

In 1843 (13 years after the church was established) Joseph Smith received revelation, regarding the importance of marriage and how it can continue after death and is a part of heavenly life. In addition to this Joseph was also commanded to introduce the practice of polygamy, for the purpose of being sealed together for time and eternity. These revelations can be found in Doctrine and Covenants sections 131 and 132.

The practice of Polygamy within the church was stopped in 1890 by the prophet Lorenzo Snow. This can be read in Official Declaration 1. Where the prophet prayed about the circumstances that the church were facing and as answer to their prayers were told to stop, With the statement by president Woodruff  "But I want to say this: I should have let all the temples go out of our hands; I should have gone to prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did do; and when the hour came that I was commanded to do that, it was all clear to me. I went before the Lord, and I wrote what the Lord told me to write."

Now, many people today view Polygamy as a bad thing, and without being commanded by God it is. Throughout the Bible Polygamy has been a common practice with prophets like Abraham, Moses, King David and King Solomon being just a few of them. If you read in Genesis 29 and Genesis 30 You will read that the 12 tribes of Israel came from Jacob marrying 4 different women. So you can see that with God's permission the practice is permitted.

The social taboo on Polygamy is completely understandable in the society we live in it is seen as adultery. And in the revlation given to Joseph Smith he was told that without the concent from the first wife it is against God's commandments. It says this in Doctrine and Covenants 132:61.

As with all of God's commandments we may not always understand why he gives them to us. But if we prayerfully consider what we have received from Him, Pray about it and be willing to act on what God has told us than we will know what He wants for us and we will know the truth of a matter. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

So, There are many reason why people fall away from following God and stop coming to church. So today I thought I would help people to see that coming to church should be entirely for themselves.

The reason you should come to church is one that is both selfish and selfless. There are only two people you should be coming to church for, God and yourself. You need to come to church for God because that is what he has said to do, weather you feel you need other people to support you in your faith or not God has instructed us that we need to do this and he knows best.

The most important reason for coming to church is to take the sacrament, These emblems that represent Jesus Christ are not there just to remind us of our savior but to also renew the covenant or agreement we made at baptism to follow Jesus Christ, a sort-of fresh start every week with the goal of getting better. If you don't go to church for any other reason, this one is important enough that you should make every effort to do so.

There may be times when you are unhappy with the people who attend church or you feel you don't get along with them or want to see them, if you are not going to church because of other people, it means you are allowing them to decide your future, because they are influencing your own relationship with Jesus Christ,  They are preventing you from becoming closer to him and our heavenly father and that is not something you want, to have your own salvation put on the line.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Why should we forgive others?

Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, we all need it, we all want it and we all need to give it to other people. Whenever we do something to hurt another person we want their forgiveness, Whenever we do something that goes against God, our spirit cries for forgiveness even if we do not realize that is the cause.

We should make asking God for forgiveness a regular part of our day, for all the little mistakes we make we need to ask for forgiveness and help with these things. It is the same for other people. When we hurt another person we need to genuinely apologies for what we have done and ask for their forgiveness. By asking for forgiveness you bring relief to your soul.

So what about when someone does something that upsets you or you think i bad. Forgiving that person is essential to yourself. You see as much as we need forgiveness we also need to forgive, hatred towards another person is a vial poison that eats away at you inside, it causes you to become bitter, resentful and it can ruin any occasion. By choosing to forgive someone you let go of angry feelings towards them, you become lighter on the inside and become free, whereas if you don't it will eat you up and that will ruin your day even more.

And finally Jesus Christ taught that by the way we judge others we too will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-2) And so if we wish to have an enjoyable eternity we need to learn to forgive others. For myself I cant afford not to forgive others with all of the little mistakes I make and it is probably the same for everyone. if you are having a hard time forgiving someone, try doing something nice for that person and help them.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Why does God give us commandments?

Ever since God created man he has given us commandments to follow, When He created Adam he told him not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of Good and evil, because he shall "Surely die" (Genesis 2:15-17)

These commandments that God has given us all have a reason, He didn't think "Oh I know, I will tell them not to murder each other because that will be fun" he gives these commandments because they will help us to live happier more fulfilling lives and not cause the world to suck for all of the other people who are living in it too.

Since God is our loving father in heaven, he wants the best for his children, he wants us to be happy and he knows how that is best achieved. Not only do these commandments help us all to live happier lives and to get along better with each other but it is through following these commandments that God blesses us. In a revelation given to Joseph Smith we learn that all blessings that come from God are dependent on our willingness to follow His commandments. (Doctrine and Covenants 130:20-21)

The commandments are also there to help us reach the final goal that God has for us, This goal is perfection. God wants us to be perfect, he also knows that we are not able to get there with our freedom to choose by simply clicking his fingers, he could make us instantly perfect and stop us making mistakes but that would also stop us making decisions for ourselves and so He has given us commandments as a stepping stone to perfection, of course we make mistakes with these commandments every day this is our nature but God is there giving us the next step on our journey to become perfect like He is perfect.

And finally these commandments are one of many ways of finding out finding our for ourselves if God is there, Jesus Christ taught if we do what he asks we will find out for ourselves (John 7:16-17) As we follow Gods commandments the world will become a better place, we will become better people and we will come to know our father in heaven better.  Hope this helps you understand why God wants to help us by giving us commandments and guidance.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

How can I develop faith in God?

There are many people out there who do not believe that God is there. Either because they were raised without any kind of belief in God as a child or any number of other reasons. And it is nice to know people who already have a belief in God but that does not always help people to find their own relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Finding faith in God and Jesus Christ is something that is personal to each one of us. And it can only be achieved by our own personal efforts. Somebody else praying for you may help but ultimately it is something that requires action and trust.

When finding a faith in God it is important to remember that God is not going to send an angel or appear to you. There are a couple of reasons why I think this is, If you keep in mind that God will judge us on how we act with the knowledge that we have, we than realize that by God giving us a miraculous apparition he removes the need for faith and gives us knowledge that he is there, and if you sin with knowing something rather than just believing something than you will be judged more firmly because you knew not just believed.

To believe something does not mean that you know 100% that it is there. It simply means that you think it is there. and when you believe something you than apply faith to find out. Faith is an action, it is taking the belief and applying it or in other words, If God has given us a commandment, than faith would be doing what God has asked us.

The more we act on what God instructs us to do in our lives the more we come to see him in our lives. We will feel the influance of the Holy Ghost more in our lives.The feelings that the Holy Ghost bring can be found in Galatians 5:22-23 The feelings of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance. The more you follow God the more you will feel these things in your life.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What do Mormons believe about other churches?

Articles of faith 11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

God is the loving heavenly father of us all, He wants us all to get along and to love each other. Despite the differences all religions have all religions have some truth to them, Things that they have in common. This truth although not complete is a great thing and we should seek out this truth, wherever we can find it. These truths that people have have come through faithfully searching of Gods word.

Although other churches do contain truth we believe and teach that there is only one place that the entire truth can be found. And logically not everyone can be 100% correct unless they were all united in their beliefs, and our claim is that the original truth that Jesus Christ taught when he was lost and after centuries of people searching faithfully for it, God restored it through a man called Joseph Smith.

When asked what Mormons believe, Joseph Smith produced a news article that we refer to as the 13 articles of faith. The 11th article is about our belief on religious freedom, that we believe we should worship God how we feel, and that other people should be entitled to this same freedom. Despite the differences of belief we have to other christian denominations we do believe that everyone is entitled to follow God the best way they know how,  whatever way of worshiping God it may be.  We simply invite others to take the faith in God that they already have and see if what we have can increase their beliefs in God and help them to form a closer relationship with their heavenly father.

Ultimately God will judge each one of us based on what we know and what we did with the knowledge that he has given us. If we have accepted the sacrifice for sin Jesus Christ offered for us and are trying our best to repent of our own individual sins. God expects us to put in the effort and find truth and when we find truth to act on that knowledge.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Why should I go to church?

When talking to people I sometimes get people say "I don't need to go to church to worship God." This is true you do not need to attend a church to worship God, so why bother? I mean it is 3 hours a week that you could spend doing something else like sleeping or watching TV, so why has God told us to go?

Well there are a few reasons why God has asked us to do this important thing. The most important reason to go is something we refer to as the sacrament meeting, (Also known as Holy communion by other denominations)  This is where we take Bread and water in remembrance of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us. The importance of this is more than just remembering him though, When we take the bread and water each week, we recommit ourselves to following Jesus Christ, we renew the agreement we made at baptism to follow Jesus Christ.

Other than that church is there to help people build on the faith they have, or to help them develop new faith. It is a place for learning and a place for receiving answers and guidance to questions that are on your mind. I regularly feel in the mornings that I just don't feel up for going but when I get there I feel uplifted and strengthened by the end of it. This is because the Holy Ghost strengthens us spiritually so that we can become more prepared for the week to come.

It is also a great opportunity to build friendships with people with similar beliefs as yourself, Although we all are different and have different interests and hobbies it is good for us to have friends who not only believe what we do but help encourage you to continue in faith and lift you at times when you are feeling weak. Or it gives you the opportunity to help others who need encouragement and help build them up into being better Christians. What is most important is that you are encouraging others with faith in God and Jesus Christ our savior.

The Sabbath day is there for us, God wants us to use it the best way we can and that is the way he has told us to use it. As we do this we will develop more faith in God and more strength throughout the rest of the week.

Friday, 14 February 2014

What has God done for me?

So, when talking to people on the street and at their houses, I often get asked the question "What has God ever done for me?" As if they were expecting God to snap his fingers at their request and suddenly they are living in a mansion with all the money in the world.

God has done a lot for us, and we should be great full, Here are just a few of the things that God has given us. Firstly, He has created us. Made us all individually and put His love and affection into each one of us. He knows us all by name and if you asked Him he could give you a detailed description of your entire existence from the moment you were made by him.

Second, He has created this world for us all. He didn't have to and it would probably have been much less stressful for Him if he had not but he did He did this so he could show us how much he loves us by giving us all our own physical body and somewhere we can use it.

Third, He has given each of us the freedom to choose what we do. This was a pretty risky move on his behalf with the fact that as soon as we get the opportunity we do something stupid. God could have made us all robots he could have forced us to all get along with each other but instead he has given us all the ability to choose for ourselves what we do. This may lead to some bad things but it also leads to the best things. It gives us the opportunity to show genuine love towards each other, It gives us the opportunity to learn from our own mistakes and discover for ourselves what the difference between good and evil. Something you can only really appreciate when you have been through the bad.

Okay, now think of your favorite pet, imagine how sad life would be if God had not made it for you, weather it is a dog or cat or even a fish that you love to watch swimming around its bowl. God made those and knew the enjoyment you would get out of having such a good pet.

Now think of your friends, your family, everyone you realy care about. God made them too and he knows them by name. Okay these people may not always be the best and they make mistakes just like everyone else God did after all give them the freedom to choose too. But the point is God also made them so we would not be completely lonely in this life.

Most importantly is a verse of scripture that I see on almost every church I go past here in England and that is John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God gave his perfect son, Jesus Christ so that our mistakes could be washed clean through his blood. He did this so that people who are filled with mistakes in life like you and me could come to him and have the terrible things we go through in life taken away from us and so that we could one day become perfect through our savior Jesus Christ.

These are just a few of the things that God has done for us all. There are many many more but the list would be too long...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

How can God help strengthen family relationships?

One of the most important beliefs of the mormon faith is that God can strengthen family relationships.

How does this work though?

Well, it starts with the belief that families are forever, and that at death the relationships we build in this life continue. With that view, it changes how you see those who are closeist to you. Marriage is also something that can continue after death, if a couple are joined together in the temple of God.

In adition to the view that these important relationships continue after death. There are things that you can do that build these relationships stronger. Simple things such as something mormons refer to as "Family home evening" where one night per week (Usually a monday) During this evening you spend time as a family, leaving everything else out of the way. Start with a prayer and reading from the scriptures than you do stuff together to build relationships like play a board game or watch a movie together.

Other ways are regularly having meals together as a family. I find it important to think that it does not really matter how much money you spend on a person, what is important is the time you spend with them. When you lose out on time together you miss devolping a more important relationship with that person.

When Jesus Christ visited the people in The Book of Mormon, he told them to pray always over their families (2 Nephi 18:21) This to me points out just how important the family is to our savior Jesus Christ and how God wants us to involve him more in our families. and also in Genesis 12:3 God promises Abraham that all of the families of the world will be blessed through him.

The family is important and involving God more in our families will strengthen any family. The simple act of praying together, and spending a little more tim in each other's company will make a huge difference.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Why do bad things happen in the world?

So, One questions missionaries get asked are questions along the lines of "If God is there, why do bad things happen?" or "Why do bad things happen to good people."

It is true that alot of bad things happen in the world even to people who do alot of good in the world. And if God is so loving why does he allow these things to happen. There are several reasons why this happens which can be answered by principles of the Gospel.

The first being something we call agency, or Our ability to choose what we do. Everyone on the earth makes decisions, God will judge each one of us based on the decisions we make with the understanding of right or wrong that we have. God will not force anyone to do anything because if he did, he would be taking away the only thing that is ours which is our freedom to act for ourselves(2 Nephi 2:26).

God has given us the way to live in harmony with eachother, and this can be found in the scriptures which is the commandments. By following these commandments the world would be a happier place where people get along together. There are many people who ignore God's commandments and because of this people suffer. This suffering is caused by people and would be fixed if we all tried our best to follow what God has asked us to do.

There is a lot of suffering however that is not caused by people. There is Illness, natural disasters and all kinds of things that cause distress for people, So Why does God allow these things to happen?

When God put us here on the earth, He placed us here to learn and gain experiances for ourselves. Some of the most important things we learn come through the more difficult things we experiance in this life. The difficulties we face in life are hard, and everyone experiances difficulties. What is important is how we deal with these difficulties.

The story of Job in the Bible teaches this principle. Job was a man who had a good life. He had many worldly treasures and most importantly a belief in God. God allowed satan to tempt Job, To take away everything he has except his life, to see what Job would do.

When Job lost everything his friends beliefs that he was cursed of God and that he had done something wrong, This was not true. God allowed these things to happen to see if Job was willing to do what God wants him to do even when things are not going his way. He stayed faithful dispite the terrible things that he faced.

When facing the many difficulties in life, there are two things to keep in mind, The first being the promise from God that we will never be given trials that we cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13) And the second is that the difficulties we face in this life will not compare to the reward that God has in store for us in the next life. (Romans 8:16-18)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Do mormons use the Bible?

So, in adition to The Book of Mormon, we believe in other scriptures, primarily The Bible (Both Old and New testaments) The Doctrine and Covenants and The pearl of Great price. We reffer to these as "The Standard works"

As the 8th article of faith teaches  "8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." 

It can be a litttle confusing that we believe the Bible as far as it is translated correctly. It makes sense though, If you look at the Bible now there are hundreds of different translations. All of these translations have a slight variation on what it translates into, and in some verses the different translations have a very different meaning.

Because of all of these slight variations on translation we believe that we need to try to keep as close to the original text, You could say We believe in the Bible when it came from the pen of the original writer, and before man applied their own view on what the Bible teaches.

The Bible is priceless, The Old testament teaches many prophicies of our savior Jesus Christ and the New testament teaches of the fulfilment of these prophicies. It was written by inspired men and teaches about the importance of following God's commandments. And the New testament teaches about our saviors Earthly Ministry, there is nothing more important than the life of Jesus Christ.

The Bible and The Book of Mormon are equil in my eyes. Both will invite the spirit into your life and bring you closer to Jesus Christ. But if you want to know if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is realy from God, you need to read The Book of Mormon, Because it is unique to the church, If it is the word of God than this church was established by God, If it is not than this church is just another church teaching their own view on who God is.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Understanding mormon words.

So there are many words that are used in The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints that are quite unique to our church, and so understanding what these mormons are talking about can be difficult if you dont know what any of the words mean, so here is a list of some of them that I will briefly explain what they mean.

Ward - A ward is the word we use when we mean congrigation when someone refers to their ward they mean the local church they attend and the people who are a part of it.

Branch - A branch is just a smaller version of a ward with fewer members.

Stake - A stake is several wards who come together and support eachother. Kindof like if each ward was a village, a stake would be those villages working together like a county.

Stake Centre/Stake house - This is not where you go to eat food. It is usually the largest chappel in a stake and is where the members of a stake gather together once every few months or have larger social activities.

Sacrament - A sacrament meeting is the sunday worship service. where we take bread and water in order to remember our savior Jesus Christ.

Covenant - A covenant is an agreement between us and God kindof like a contract where God sets the terms and conditions and we agree to live it, We are than given promises from God for example when we are baptized we are promised we can live with God again after this life.

Atonement - The word atonement is what we use to discribe the sacrafice Jesus Christ made for us. It represents us becoming more in line with what God wants us to become. Through the atonement all of our sins can be taken away and all the wrongs that hit us in life will be taken away in the next life.

Standard works - The standard works of the church refer to what we also call the scriptures, this includes The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and The Doctrine and Covenants.

General Conference -General Conference is where every 6 months the prophet and apostles give speaches and anouncements to the church world wide, It is broadcast over the internet and recorded on the churches website so people can access it at any time (Gc.lds.org)

Doctrine - This is used when refering to the beliefs held within the church, For example we believe that Baptism by immersion and proper authority is essential to our salvation, This would be doctrine.

"YSA" - Young Single Adults, It is a programme run by the church for 18-30 year old people who are not married like a big world wide social club for young people, they hold regular activities and parties and dances.

Family Home Evening -Family home evening is held every week, Usually on a monday where a family gets together and do fun activities together and read scriptures, this builds realy good relationships within the family.

"Motab" -The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

"LDS" - is an abreviation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Mutual - A weekly activity for the yough ages 12-18 where they play games or do various activities together. Like a youth club.

"EFY" - Especially For Youth, It is a week long camp for the youth of the church to get together and learn and strengthen their faith together.

Relief Society -A Women's only organisation that is run by the women within the church, The main purpose is to provide help and support for each family within the ward and the community.

Institute - Institute is basically a bible study held usually once per week at the stake house. They do an in depth study on any of the standard works of the church It is usually only the YSA who attend.

Seminary - Seminary is for the youth of the church to teach them about the standard works of the church and helps them to understand them much better.

So, That is all the words I could think of, If there are any I have missed please post them and I will explain what they mean!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Why do so many momons go on missions?

A missionaries responsibility is to preach the gospel to the world. Both men and women serve missions within the church, For men (Elders) it is a two year service that they can go on from age 18 and older. For women (Sisters) They can serve for 18 months from the age of 19.

From an outside view, there would be no real reason for serving a mission, Dedicating two years of your life, where your soul purpose is to to knock on people's doors or talk to them in the street with the goal of bringing other people closer to God and find more peace in their life.

They do not get paid, there is no qualification at the end of the two years infact missionaries are asked to save money to support themselves for these two years. The average day starts at 6:30 when you get up, eat breakfast shower and exercise ready to begin two houds of study at 8AM till 9PM when you return to the flat and plan for the next day. The day ends at 10:30 when you go to bed.

You can literally be sent anywhere in the world (Provided the country allows missionaries into that country and is not under war conditions. From Africa, to Alaska you can literally go anywhere. You get asigned to a speciffic part of the world (For example I am in England London south which covers the south of england all the way up to London.

Most towns and cities have a congrigation to attend and the missionaries are asigned to these congrigations on average you stay there from 6 weeks to 6 months, Sometimes it can be longer depending on what the mission president (The man who is in charge of a speciffic area of the world) feels you should do.

So that covers the basics of what a missionary does. The reason why we do this, is to serve others and bring other's to their savior Jesus Christ. Sharing personal experiance we have gained and helping other's to find their own faith in God.

It is a great privilage to serve God, and for myself I can definately say that I have come to know God better and my relationship with Him has grown far more than it would have done if I had not come out. You also get to meet many people from all kinds of backgrounds and make friends all over the world.

The best answer tho comes from the individual however. If you want to know why a missionary is out there knocking on your door, ask him or her and they will tell you.