Mormon faith

Mormon Youth Testify about the Book of Mormon

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King James Bible and Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is a volume of scripture comparable to the Holy Bible. The title of the book proclaims that is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. And so, Latter-day Saints testify that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are the Word of God, and both are a testimony of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and the infinite love that He has for all humanity. The Book of Mormon is not intended to replace the Holy Bible in any way, but rather the teachings found there enhance the doctrines, teachings, and principles found within the text of the Holy Bible. Latter-day Saints use both sacred volumes in their teaching and personal study.

In his October 1984 General Conference address titled “A New Witness for Christ,” President Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commented, “Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the greatest single tool which God has given us to convert the world. If we are to have the harvest of souls that [the President of the Church] envisions, then we must use the instrument which God has designed for that task—the Book of Mormon.” He further stated, “The Book of Mormon is not on trial–the people of the world, including the members of the Church, are on trial as to what they will do with this second witness of Christ.” And President Boyd K. Packer has remarked, ““Perhaps no other book has been denounced so vigorously by those who have never read it as has the Book of Mormon.”

Moroni, the last prophet to write in the Book of Mormon, pronounced the following exhortation as recorded in Moroni 10:3-5:

3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Many people have seen the religious satire musical called “The Book of Mormon” which tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda, where a brutal warlord is threatening the local population. The two young missionaries attempt to share the Book of Mormon – which only one of them has read – with the local natives who have very little interest in religion. However, the musical is simply that – a satirical presentation. It is not an exact presentation of what the Book of Mormon is about, nor an accurate portrayal of the Mormon faith. If a person is truly interested in learning more about the Book of Mormon, I invite him or her to read the book for themselves, follow Morni’s exhortation, and I testify that God will “manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” In the videos below Mormon youth testify about the truthfulness and power of the Book of Mormon.

What is the Book of Mormon?

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Book of Mormon

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider the Book of Mormon to be a sacred volume of scripture that is comparable to the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon is not intended to replace the Bible,nor does it detract from the teachings of the Bible, but rather its teachings enhance those doctrines and principles that are taught in the Bible.It is exactly as its name declares, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Latter-day Saints testify that the Bible and the Book of Mormon together present an irrefutable testimony of the Divine Redeemer and Savior of the World, and the immensity of His love for all people.

To date the entire book of Mormon has been translated into 85 languages, and selections of the Book of Mormon have been translated into an additional 25 languages. Thus, the volume is made available to many people in their native tongue, but the question that begs an answer is, “How many people have ever read the Book of Mormon or know anything about it?”

In 2014, three returned missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Kyson Kidd, Jacob Justice and Jake Christensen – set out on a new mission to find an answer to that exact question. The culmination of their quest was the creation of a video called “What is the Book of Mormon?” which was published on YouTube on 1 January 2015, and has already received over 10,000 views.

God Loves All of His Children

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Black Latter-day Saints

As a Black member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have come across a few Blacks who know very little about the Church other than at one time Blacks were not allowed to hold the Priesthood.That one small piece of information alone prevents some from considering membership in The Church of Jesus Christ. They believe that the Church is prejudiced and racist, however, my personal witness and testimony is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomes people of all races, cultures, and backgrounds who are willing to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In February 2012, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued an official statement about the Church’s stand on racism which states in part:

The Church’s position is clear—we believe all people are God’s children and are equal in His eyes and in the Church. We do not tolerate racism in any form.

For a time in the Church there was a restriction on the priesthood for male members of African descent. It is not known precisely why, how, or when this restriction began in the Church but what is clear is that it ended decades ago. Some have attempted to explain the reason for this restriction but these attempts should be viewed as speculation and opinion, not doctrine. The Church is not bound by speculation or opinions given with limited understanding.

We condemn racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church.

LDS Converts

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ, we believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. In the Book of Mormon (Another Testament of Jesus Christ), in 2 Nephi 26:33, it states:

For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

On 29 February 2012, The Church issued the following official statement about the Church and race which reads:

People of all races have always been welcomed and baptized into the Church since its beginning. In fact, by the end of his life in 1844 Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opposed slavery. During this time some Black males were ordained to the priesthood. At some point the Church stopped ordaining male members of African descent, although there were a few exceptions. It is not known precisely why, how or when this restriction began in the Church, but it has ended. Church leaders sought divine guidance regarding the issue and more than three decades ago extended the priesthood to all worthy male members. The Church immediately began ordaining members to priesthood offices wherever they attended throughout the world. (See also: Race and the Priesthood).

The Church unequivocally condemns racism, including any and all past racism by individuals both inside and outside the Church. In 2006, then Church president Gordon B. Hinckley declared that “no man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Let us all recognize that each of us is a son or daughter of our Father in Heaven, who loves all of His children.”

Nicaragua LDS Church Congregation

The issue of Blacks not being able to hold the Priesthood for a period of time in the Church was never a concern for me even when I was investigating the Church because I am a firm believer that God always has a purpose and a reason for all things that He does.The psalmist declared as recorded in Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” It is not necessarily for us to understand the “why” of everything, but rather we are to have faith and trust and believe that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Throughout the period of the Priesthood restriction, the number of Black members (male and female) in the Church continued to increase. These faithful members held church callings and remained true to the faith. They also held firm to their belief that in the Lord’s due time those who were being denied the Priesthood would one day be able to enjoy the full blessings thereof. That blessed day came in June 1978 when, through a revelation received by a Prophet of God, Spencer W. Kimball, then President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced to the Church that all worthy men, regardless of race, were to be allowed the blessings of holding the Priesthood.

Almost 17 years ago, on the evening of Tuesday, 10 March 1998, in a little storefront chapel in Reykjavík, Iceland, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since becoming a member of the Church, I can boldly testify that the Church is neither prejudiced nor racist. From the very first time that I walked through the doors of a LDS chapel, I have felt nothing less than a warm, welcoming spirit and an atmosphere of acceptance.

Aaronic Priesthood Holders

During my years as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ, I have been blessed to exercise the Priesthood that I hold by ministering to members in need, serving in several areas of leadership, and participating in many activities in the Church without the least degree of concern with respect to my race. No one judges me because of the color of my skin, nor am I ever denied any privileges of the Gospel because I am Black. I have in the past and continue to this day to enjoy the full fruits of the Priesthood exactly as any other member.

I have traveled to many parts of the world in my short lifetime, and in many places the differences between races and cultures are quite clear, however, I have found that there are no racial barriers or walls in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Everyone, regardless of culture or race, is welcomed with open arms. Latter-day Saints know of a surety that God loves all of His children, and therefore, there are “no more strangers” in the kingdom as shown in the love that the members have for one another. Everyone is known as Brother or Sister. We are all working towards the same goal of one day returning to live in our Heavenly Father’s presence for all eternity.

Meet the Mormons – A Movie for All People of All Faiths

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Meet the Mormons

The world-wide web is replete with misinformation about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the beliefs of its members who are more commonly called Mormons. Ask the average person what they know about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon, and the responses will be similar in many respects, but also uniquely different dependent upon the source of information that a person uses to formulate his or her views and opinions of said topics or Mormonism in general.

Case in point, on Monday, 22 September 2014, social media users who typed “What is Mormonism?” into the Google search engine discovered that the definition clearly misrepresented the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The definition in the top search results actually referred to a definition posted on the Raptureready.com website which states:

“Mormonism is a religion that denies the deity of Jesus Christ. In this religion, He is demoted to being a mere mortal, a true offspring of Elohim and an equal to Lucifer, another of Elohim’s offspring. According to the Mormon doctrine: ‘Every man who reigns in celestial glory is a god to his dominions.’ “

In addition, when the phrase “Is Mormonism a cult?” was searched, the quick answer – which is a small info box generated by Google – displayed the following as the top result

“Yes, Mormonism is a cult, a non-Christian cult because Mormonism denies essential biblical teachings and adds new, false doctrines.”

It is misguided definitions and explanations such as these, along with other misinformation found on the information super highway that gives people a false impression about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its teachings and beliefs, and its members (Mormons) in general. Such definitions have led people to label Mormonism as a cult and to view Mormons in a very negative light. In an effort to give people a true definition of Mormonism, some members of the Church used various social media venues to ask that a correction to the definition be made, while others contacted Google directly using the company’s feedback option. Buzz Feed reported that the company issued an immediate apology and explained that such results are generated automatically, but declined to give any more details about how the quick answer was created or how long it was included in search results. Buzz Feed reported that a website called CARM or Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, which is known to be critical of Mormonism, was used to generate information for the quick answer.

Enter the new documentary produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called “Meet the Mormons” which to date has grossed over $4 million in box office sales since opening on 10 October 2014 in select theaters across the country. It should also be noted that all proceeds from the movie will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Some people may read the title “Meet the Mormons” and immediately envision a media scheme by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to recruit more people into its membership. However, what a viewer will experience from watching the movie is far above any preconceived expectations.

The idea behind “Meet the Mormons” is to give a vast audience an inside look at the lives of ordinary people – people who work for a living, raise families, practice their faith, go to school, and face trials and heartaches in life – ordinary people who just happen to be Mormons.

Throughout the entire movie there is an open invitation to anyone, regardless of faith, denomination, or beliefs, to come and see for themselves what Mormons are really like.

The movie is not preachy, so don’t expect an expanded Sunday sermon. The movie is not riddled with the teaching of gospel doctrines and principles. Instead the movie, through the lives of six ordinary Latter-day Saint families, demonstrates gospel doctrine, gospel principles, and faith in action. It is like sitting down and having a casual conversation with a Mormon about what he or she believes without being preached to.

This is a movie for all people of all faiths, denominations, and backgrounds. I give it a rating of 10 stars and highly recommend that anyone who gets the opportunity, to go and see it.

Additional Resources:

Meet the Coach – Ken Niumatalolo – Putting the Game in Proper Perspective

Meet the Bishop – An exclusive interview with Jermaine Sullivan

Meet the Candy Bomber – Utah ‘Candy Bomber’ still getting accolades 66 years later. Also listen to Col. Gail Halvorsen talk about his faith or watch an interview with Tom Brokaw.

Seth Adam Smith: Your Life Isn’t For You

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Seth Adam Smith: Your Life Isn't For You

I have been a follower of Seth Adam Smith for several years, ever since I first discovered his videos on YouTube and was always, and am still, impressed with the high standard of videos that he produces. I am also blessed to experience Seth’s literary prowess and prolific writings. I am a fervid follower of Seth Adam Smith.com, The Alaskan Muse, and Forward Walking.com. If you have never visited any of these websites, I highly urge you to do so as you will find many articles of interest that are sure to enlighten you on many diverse subjects. Seth’s phenomenal articles can also be found on other social media network venues such as The Huffington Post and Deseret News.

On 2 November 2013, Seth published an article titled “Marriage Isn’t For You” which literally went viral overnight. The article received over 30 million views. The article was featured across all the major news networks and has been translated into some 20 different languages to include Spanish (El matrimonio no es para ti), Portuguese (O casamento não é para você), Russian (Брак не для Тебя), and French (Le Mariage n’est Pas Pour Vous), to name but a few. The article was also published as a hardcover book in May 2014 titled “Marriage Isn’t For You: It’s for the One You Love” and can be purchased from Amazon.com, Deseret Book, and other local book distributors. I purchased my copy from Barnes and Noble. Seth even did a book signing tour in Utah to promote the book.

Continuing with the overarching theme of the original blog post “Marriage Isn’t For You.” Seth has written  and published an extraordinary new book which was released on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 titled “Your Life Isn’t For You: A Selfish Person’s Guide To Being Selfless.” The paperback edition can be purchased from Amazon.com. I recently received my copy of the book and found it to be so intriguing that once I started reading it, I did not want to put it down until after I had finished it. My critique of Seth’s excellent book is that it is definitely a MUST READ. In the book he has courageously shared some of his innermost, personal experiences and thoughts about a subject that many of us never take the time amid all the hustle and bustle in our lives to seriously consider , and that is the fact that our lives are not for us. My humble summation of what Seth writes in his new book is this: True living is not found in self-glorification or self-gratification, but rather in loosing ourselves in the service of others and realizing that our lives are best lived when we are willing to put our selfishness aside and view the lives of others as more important than our own.

Below is a video of a story which Seth wrote and shares in his book.

Seth Adam Smith and Wife

David Archuleta – Glorious from “Meet the Mormons”

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David James Archuleta is not a person that anyone could ever accuse of allowing the proverbial grass to grow under his feet. He returned home in early March of this year after serving an honorable two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile. Since his return, he has continued his missionary efforts through various projects that he has been involved with to include entertaining military troops overseas to speaking at a special fireside for youth in Ethiopia to a special “Face to Face” (Cara a Cara) Facebook chat in Spanish and in English. One of his latest projects include the recording of a music video for the song called “Glorious” that will be featured at the end of the new featured length film produced by The Church of Jesus Christ called “Meet the Mormons” which premiers in select theaters on 10 October 2014.

David Archuleta spaeks at youth fireside in Ethiopia

The Prodigal Son Returns Home to the Father

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The Prodigal Son Returns Home

On Thursday evening, 4 September 2014, I was inspired to write and share a part of my life story that I have never shared, at least not with such a large audience as social media venues until now. I felt strongly impressed that the time was right for sharing my account, and that lives would be touched by what I wrote.

To my utter amazement, the article which I wrote titled “The Reasons Why I Left the Church and Quit Religion” has been viewed by over 3,000 people within 5 days of publication, and still going strong. I mention the numbers only in fact not to boast, for I am grateful for the impact and blessing that it has had on the lives of so many people thus far.

This prodigal son has had an incredible journey on his way back home to the Father, and I am eternally thankful that He has never given up on me, even though there are so many times that I have given up on myself. In spite of all of my failures and shortcomings, His arms of unconditional love are always outstretched to comfort me.

Each of us have our own separate journeys, but if we have the want and are willing, we can one day return safely home to the arms of the loving Father who awaits us. Please take a moment to read the article: “The Reasons Why I Left the Church and Quit Religion.” Please feel free to comment in the comment section below.

 

Coach Ken Niumatalolo: Faith and Family Precede Football

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Ken Niumatalolo Head Coach Navy

Ken Niumatalolo was promoted to Head Football Coach at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on 8 December 2007 by Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. As the head football coach, he has received the distinguished honor of being the second person of Polynesian descent to be named head coach of a NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) college football program. He also has the distinct honor of being the first Samoan collegiate head coach on any level. On 23 January 2014, he was inducted into the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Ken Niumatalolo Family Football PatchNiumatalolo recently agreed to serve as the Baltimore Area Council’s honorary recruitment chair. On 2 August 2014, at Navy’s Football Media Day, each new Cub Scout and the Scout who recruited him in the Baltimore Area Council had an opportunity to meet Coach Niumatalolo and had their pictures taken with the team. In addition, each Scout received a patch (pictured here) which was designed by the Niumatalolo family.

Field Director, Jeffrey Griffin stated,

To do this we needed the Naval Academy’s approval, as well as the approval of the NCAA. This means other football coaches can do the same thing if their schools allow them. The NCAA said yes to this idea as long as the Coach (in this case Coach Ken) or the project don’t go after Boy Scout/Venture-age youth. That would be a violation of NCAA rules.

Niumatalolo and his wife, Barbara, are volunteers in the Baltimore Area Council. Their oldest son, Va’a, a 2011 graduate of Broadneck High School in Annapolis, Maryland, and now a freshman at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where he plays the position of Linebacker for the BYU Cougars, is an Eagle Scout. Their youngest son, Ali’i, is presently a junior at Broadneck High School and plays the position of Middle Linebacker for the Broadneck Bruins varsity football team. He is a Life Scout working towards earning his Eagle.

Ken and Barbara also have a daughter, Alexcia, the oldest sibling, who played the position of Starting Defender for the Maryland Terrapins during her college career at the University of Maryland. She was recognized as a Division 1 Athlete.

Ken Niumatalolo Family - Salt Lake TempleCoach Niumatalolo is a devout member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his family are members of the Broadneck Ward of the Annapolis Maryland Stake. He begins each day by reading and studying the scriptures in the Book of Mormon. His life is based on faith and principles of the gospel, and he firmly believes that putting the Lord first and listening to the voice of the Spirit are the real keys to success. It is that faith and those principles of the gospel which govern his own life that have helped him, as the patriarch of his home, to keep his family well grounded. He attributes devotion to family, church service, and living the gospel as playing a major role in his being able to handle the stress and rigors of being a college football coach for almost two decades.

Coach Niumatalolo will be featured in the new feature-length film produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called “Meet the Mormons” which will premiere in select theaters on 10 October 2014.

Please take a moment to read the article at About Mormons.org written by this author which is titled “Ken Niumatalolo – Putting the Game in Proper Perspective.”

Videos:

An Evening with David James Archuleta

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David Archuleta at Church

David Archuleta of American Idol fame, and well-known worldwide for his musical prowess has returned home to Utah after serving a two-year full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile. On Tuesday evening, 24 June 2014, Young Men General President, David L. Beck, and Young Women General President, Bonnie L. Oscarson, moderated a conversation with David as he spoke about his faith and mission, and shared his testimony in word and in song.


Elder David James Archuleta

David Archuleta de American Idol fama, y conocido en todo el mundo por su destreza musical ha vuelto a casa a Utah después de cumplir una misión de dos años a tiempo completo para la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días en Chile. En la noche del martes, 24 de junio de 2014, el presidente de los Hombres Jóvenes General, David L. Beck, y el presidente de las Mujeres Jóvenes General, Bonnie L. Oscarson, moderó una conversación con David al hablar acerca de su fe y en la misión, y compartió su testimonio de palabra y de en la canción.