Tag Archives: church

Unity in the LDS Church

I have heard many times about friends or other people who have to go “church shopping” or “church hopping” when they move to a new place. How they try to find the best pastor, the most exciting worship music, the kindest and best community, or an interpretation of the Gospel that appeals to them the best.

Growing up in the LDS Church, I have never experienced that. And, I am so grateful that I will never have to.

Unity in any church is necessary to become the church of Christ, to embody him, to become Zion.

The LDS Church is world-wide. There are member all over the 6 liveable continents. But, what is even more exciting, is how unified the church is.

The LDS Church is the SAME throughout the world.

The LDS Church is all about organization, unity, and being on the same page. We are all organized the same way–areas, stakes, wards. Each ward is run by a Bishop and his counselors. All the groups are set up the same way. Even the lessons are the same in each congregation–we have a manual. (For more about how the LDS Church is organized and united, click here.) So, if I go on vacation, the congregation I attend will be teaching the exact same thing that my home congregation would. It is so nice to have that knowledge and reassurance. It allows us not only to have a small community, but a world-wide community.  I am so thankful for this.

But, the reason we do this is because God and Christ mandated it. In John 17: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Christ and Heavenly Father want us to be one and work together for the same eternally glorified goal, just as they are one in purpose and mind.

I have heard many times about friends or other people who have to go "church shopping" or "church hopping" when they move to a new place.

They want us to be the same, and this unity and organization helps us as mortal men to bring to pass and build up Zion. In Moses 7:18 it says, “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness.”

However, that is harder to achieve than we think because we are mortal men, prone to our carnal and natural thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, we interpret the Gospel lesson differently than the teacher. Sometimes we get discouraged in our ward. Sometimes we are offended. Sometimes we don’t agree with General Authority policy. We are not yet truly “of one heart and one mind.” A friend of mine, who recently left the church, did so because she felt her ward was a “good ol’ men’s club” who did things weirdly, and didn’t respect the women. Many of the young women in my family’s ward when they lived in Barstow, California, typically wore tank tops and short shorts (which are not up to LDS standards) because of the extreme summer heat.  These differences, these personalities, these actions and reactions hinder us. 

But, although the people of the Church may different throughout the world, the Gospel, the Church is the same. That is because it the Church of Jesus Christ once again restored to the Earth. So, though I may move and may or may not like a congregation for any reason, I still have the reassurance that I am being taught the same as any other congregation. That my activities will be the same. That my leaders are set up the same way. That the church is run the same. And, I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I will never have to “church hop” ever. I have a testimony that this is because the LDS Church truly is the Church of God.

How does your church/sect/denomination show unity and organization? How has that helped you?
 

 

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

It’s About Families | The LDS Church’s Decision on Children of Homosexual Couples

There is a lot of strong feelings going around both between non-members and members of the LDS church this week because of a recent change in the church’s handbook on how to handle baptism children of same-sex marriage (homosexual couples). I, myself, was initially troubled about this and wrestled my emotions with it. But, now that I’ve had a bit to think, ponder, pray, research, and ask friends of multiple walks of life, I feel more comfortable about it.

The LDS Church's decision regarding children of same-sex (homosexual) couples comes from a place of love and a deep understanding of family

First and foremost, the LDS Church believes that the family unit is the most important building block of humanity. There is a very famous quote we have: “Whatever wounds and breaks the family, wounds and breaks the world; whatever lifts and saves the family, lifts and saves the world.”

Via

The first glimpse anyone got of this new policy change was through newspapers, blogs, and newstations commenting on a leaked information. So, I had to do my research into actual church documents and sites to make sure it wasn’t a hoax. And, as we all know, the media loves to blow things out of proportion and out of context. Here is the actual change:

1) Children living with parents in a same-sex marriage may not receive a name and a blessing.

This is not a required ordinance, but rather, typically the first father’s blessing a child receives, and it begins a church record for the child, as well as the expectation for the child to attend all church services and meetings. It does not exclude these children from receiving blessings of comfort or healing!! Anyone, even non-Mormons, are allowed these if they so chose!

2) Children living with parents in a same-sex marriage may be baptized, confirmed, ordained to the priesthood, and go on a mission under these guidelines:

~ They have approval from the First Presidency
~ They accept all the teachings of the church, including disavowing same-sex marriage (NOT their parents…but members of the Church do believe that acting on homosexual tendencies is a sin)
~ They are of legal age (18) and not living with their same-sex married parents

3) Those participating in same-sex marriages are considered apostates.
Again, this should be no surprise–the church regards acting on homosexuality as a sin…we don’t believe that you are a sinner if you are homosexual, we just believe acting on it is.

After further reading and further thought, I realized this policy is pro-family and pro-gay! Think about it. If *Sally* was adopted by two former Mormons, *Bridget* and *Jane* who had to leave the church because they decided to get married, but wanted *Sally* who is only 8 years old to go to church and be baptized in the LDS church, what tension might that cause at home. At church, *Sally* will be taught that the only appropriate, celestial, God-approved marriage is between one man and one woman, and the only way families can be together forever is by that one man and one woman being sealed for eternity in the LDS temple. *Sally* comes home and realizes that her moms and her won’t be able to be an eternal family and that her moms are sinning. Imagine the inner turmoil *Sally* must have because she absolutely loves her moms and her moms are amazing and kind parents! Can you really expect an 8 year old, or even a minor at any age to take that weight upon them by entering into covenants with the Lord to live and obey all His commandments?  This policy is helping to avoid that.

We believe that families are the most important thing. We want to avoid contention, resentment, and hatred within families that may be in these situations. We don’t want children of same-sex couples to be taught one thing at church and one thing at home that don’t agree with each other. The entire family, children and homosexual parents, are invited to come and worship with us on Sundays and participate in all activities. We want to fellowship them. We want to preserve their families. So, we believe that it would be better for the child to be more mature and understand the Gospel and all it requires of the child before being baptized. It’s not restricting these ordinances and blessings from the child, but it is only delaying it so that they can mature and fully understand the covenants they are to make and keep.

The Church has long been respectful to parental authority and cultural influences. Any child between the ages of 8-18 who wishes to be baptized must have parental approval. Even me, who was born into the church and whose family has been in the church for generations, needed my parents to approve my 8-year-old baptism. There are many polygamous families in the west. They aren’t Mormon and we don’t consider them part of the LDS Church. And yet, these exact same requirements that are now in place for children of same-sex parents have been in place for children of polygamous relationships for decades! This is because if they are baptized into the LDS Church, they must realize that their parents are disobeying God by disobeying the law of the land and participating in polygamy. Imagine the fuel between both parents and children who both believe they are doing the Lord’s will? Also, Muslims have special circumstances too. If a Muslim wants to be baptized into the LDS Church, the Church has to be positive that no jihad or honor killings will occur to that individual or their family. The Church would rather protect their life and the lives of their family rather than increase it’s size.

Going along with that stem of thought, many people see the Church as a “corporation” focusing only on numbers and getting more tithing money. This is a totally false thought. If it was, why this policy that is sure to cause heartache and some people to fight against it?

I am still saddened by the effect of this new policy. Not because I think it was wrong for our leaders to do it, not because I doubt it was God-directed, not because I disagree with it, but because I know it will cause heartache to others who are in this situation. But, that is part of my baptismal covenants: to mourn with those who mourn.

Via

However, I do believe with all my heart, this policy, however worded and however received, comes from a place of love and hope.

My husband has a good friend who is openly gay, but has decided not to act upon it because of his belief in the LDS church. I wanted his opinion on the matter and this is what he told me via Facebook:

I am at peace with the issue. I have no issue with the policy. What I have issue with (and it’s not unique to this) is the anger that surrounds the discussions on it. I hate all the anger on both sides. I have heard it said about same-sex attraction and related issues that this will be one of those sifting issues of our time. People will have to choose a side, the Lord and His servants or the world and its philosophies. It’s sad to say that we may lose members of the church for these kinds of things… But that’s part of the sifting process.

A month ago during General Conference we sustained the brethren as prophets, seers, and revelators. Now we’ve heard something from them that is hard to hear. Whether we feel for the kids, the LGBT community, or whoever, this need not be a destroyer of testimony.

If you are struggling with the new policies, I invite you to read it the words of the prophets and apostles, read the Book of Mormon, read your patriarchal blessing, and then once you’ve immersed yourself in the word of God, pray to Him, as Moroni directs “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.” (Moroni 10:4)

It is my testimony and my witness that the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, will bless you with a witness of the authority and the validity of His servants if you are true of heart and intent. And as you refresh your witness of the Lord’s servants, you will know that their actions and their decisions in directing the Lord’s kingdom (including instituting the new policies last week) are according to he perfect will of the Lord.

Even if we don’t understand the Lord’s decisions, we can trust that He loves His children and He will never do anything that will be a detriment to their eternal progression and salvation.

I have also asked my good LDS blogger friend, Britt Hanson, for her input. Britt’s father (who no longer attends the LDS Church) just celebrated his same-sex marriage to his partner. So, I thought it’d be interesting to get  her opinion as well.

When Tayler asked me to write a couple of paragraphs for her blog post I thought, hmmm, I can do that. And then I started writing and then it started becoming a novel and then I decided to really just pare what I think down into two parts. Perhaps I will write my own blog post later and include more of what I wrote, or maybe I will just keep my thoughts as a journal entry and never share them. I haven’t decided yet. No matter what I do with the rest of my thoughts, here are the two that I want to share with you today:

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the TRUE church on the Earth today. I’ve had it manifested to me through the Spirit multiple times, and it has always just felt like “home” to me. I love our leaders, and I believe that they are in direct communication with God. I believe that Christ is at the head of this church. And with this testimony I can weather whatever policies or doctrine or anything else that may come up, “new” or “old”. Because I know this is the true church, and because I also know that “[His] thoughts are not our thoughts”. Even if I do not understand, maybe I’m not meant to.

I understand where people are coming from, I do. At least partly. My own father is gay, and is married to his partner, and I have no ill feelings towards them or anyone else who identifies as gay or lesbian. I’ve had my own experiences with that that I won’t go into. But, from those experiences and from my own knowledge and from my own learning, I know that these new changes are coming from a place of love, not hate. I feel for those that feel otherwise, but I do not feel that way. This was done to keep families together, not tear them apart.

In closing, I want to say one more thing. And that is this: while others may feel like the church will “change their mind” and will be allowing same-sex marriages in the future, etc., I do not believe that at all. One of the core doctrines of the church is that marriage is between a man and a woman. Period. In this current time, same-sex marriage is such a big part of what is happening in our country. You can hardly read anything that doesn’t somehow tie back into LGBT and rights and laws, etc. I’m not saying that spitefully, just as a fact. And so, with this policy change, the church is making 100% clear their stance on gay marriage. Not to be hateful, not to discriminate, but simply to make it clear where we stand. And for that I am grateful. This world is becoming ever increasingly grey, and I’m grateful for the black and white of the Gospel.

Here are some good links with more about this change:
The First Presidency of the LDS Church explains their reasons
Mormonsandgays.org (The church’s official site for homosexual members)
Elder Christofferson’s explanation of the policy (he is one of our leaders)
LDS.net’s 9 Myths about the policy
Deseret News’s coverage on the policy
A Mormon Daughter of Lesbians’s point of view on the policy
A Gay Mormon’s View on the policy
FAIR Mormon’s view on the policy
I love this view of love and trusting in Christ by Danica
It’s True, Isn’t It?

Robert D. Hales
That is why we must study and pray. Having the eternal plan as a goal in our lives, we will make eternal choices. However, we will not make the right eternal choices based solely on our pure intellectual deduction and factual analysis from our own understanding: Prayer and study must be used together to build knowledge and wisdom.

D&C 9:7-8
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

Barbara Thompson
The Savior has asked us to do the things which He has done, to bear one another’s burdens, to comfort those who need comfort, to mourn with those who mourn, to feed the hungry, visit the sick, to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and to “teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.”
Moroni 7:41
And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.

Dallin H. Oaks
Our Savior experienced and suffered the fulness of all mortal challenges “according to the flesh” so He could know “according to the flesh” how to “succor [which means to give relief or aid to] his people according to their infirmities.” He therefore knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us—to give us the strength to bear it all.
** Please keep comments civil. Your opinion is valued, but if there is any hate or discrimination on any side, your comment WILL be deleted.**

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sleepover Soiree and Trunk-or-Treat

This weekend was a fun one and yet a bit of a stressful one. Friday, I didn’t scrub (or even clean) the house like I typically do. I tried to get all my weekend blogging stuff done instead since I knew I wouldn’t have time to on Saturday.  I didn’t take any pictures of the Sleepover Soiree, but we did have photographer…And, because of the lack of sleep and the junk I ate on Friday night, I wasn’t feeling well at all Saturday afternoon and evening. We even had to leave Trunk-or-Treat early because Rhys (who took an hour nap in way early) was cranky and getting chili everywhere.

But, I still enjoyed myself.

Sleepover Soiree

I will get pictures up as soon as our photographer, Jordan Bree, sends us copies of our pictures. By the way, she is astounding. Definitely the type of caring photographer who wants to capture the real you!

This is the second blogging sleepover I’ve been to, set up by Aubrey Zaruba. She is fantastic and puts so much effort into the sleepover, as well as contacting sponsors! It was smaller this time, with only 7 of us. It was hosted by a cosmetics blogger in Saratoga Springs in her beautiful, large house with an amazing view of Utah Lake. We all met each other and followed each other on Instagram. Dinner consisted of soup, chili, chips and salsa, salad, and a ton of soda and desserts. 

We talked about our strengths in blogging (mine is having a ton of ideas), and our weaknesses or something we wanted to work on but were stuck. I had to think and think. And although I sometimes still get stuck in the statistic trap, I feel that happens a lot less. My blog and other social media platforms are having slow but a now steady pace of growth. I feel that I am networking well and creating community on my blog, and I don’t lack for ideas. I could work on photography, but I still get comments and shares on my pictures. I could do this and that something. But, the fact of the matter is, even though there are all these things that I could work on and change, they aren’t bugging me. They aren’t worrying me. I feel I have finally come to a place where I feel completely content with my little corner of the internet. And, when I realized that during the discussion, I had a wave of peace wash over me. It was relieving and invigorating at the same time to know that for once I am truly content with something in my life!

One of the sleepover’s sponsors was Agnes and Dora and they gave us all adorable and super comfy leggings. I also got a quartz necklace from Bonnie’s new shop Hey June. Definitely check out her necklaces and bracelets. She takes the idea of birth/month stones, but uses them to celebrate different times in life: birth of a child, birthday, anniversary, a new job, etc. I got quartz because for some reason, it is kind of my muse for fantasy writing and I want to get back into my novel for NaNoWriMo. 

quartz 30 inch necklace, 14 karat gold filled, long layering necklace, bridesmaid gift, bridesmaid necklaces
Via

We all changed into our leggings and then talked a little bit about working with businesses while blogging. We talked about how we want to change the stereotype of bloggers expecting to get everything for free, how to pitch to a business, what businesses expect and want from a blogger relationship, etc.

Then, we got ready for bed…which included putting away all the food (except for the soda and candy), taking off our makeup, and grabbing blankets to talk into the early hours on the couches. We then talked about dating, toddlers, scheduling with blogs and social media, our husbands’ missions, and a ton of other stuff. We all got very few hours of sleep. 

In the morning, we ate some delicious and sweet home made oatmeal (as well as more candy and soda) and talked about electronics, schedules, business of life, and time management. Because we all happened to be Mormon, we started talking about remembering the why and the bigger picture of life–God and family. It was so nice to be able to be on the same page as other Mormon bloggers–we know what is truly important in life–taking time away from the addiction of electronics and social media, to focus on our faith and our family and other hobbies. I left the sleepover feeling very inspired both blogging-wise, but also faith-wise.

Trunk-or-Treat

Our church does a yearly Trunk-or-Treat party. We all dress up and pass out candy from the trunks of our cars in the church parking lot. Last year, Rhys was almost 4 months and just sat in his Bumbo dressed as Batman. This year, though, we dressed him up as a doctor and he got to trick-or-treat. He loved walking around looking at everyone and saying hi. He got good at grabbing a piece of candy from the bowls and putting it in his pumpkin. Our congregation typically goes all out for the Halloween event. We also have a chili cook-off, wonderful desserts, an auction, and games for the kids. However, we were barely able to finish our chili when Rhys decided he was done for the day.

What did you do over the weekend?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

My Trial of Faith

I was born a Mormon. I have always been a Mormon. I have never ever doubted my Mormon Church. I consider myself educated and well-rounded. I’ve had many friends of different denominations. I have researched medieval history (which of course, church and religion is a huge part of). I do my scripture reading. I’ve read about esoteric history. And my testimony that the Mormon church is a true church of God has never diminished.

That all changed earlier this year. I had joined a group of female Christian bloggers. I loved it. I loved feeling the Spirit through them and the example they were setting for me. However, they made me realize that, no matter what church you are a part of, sometimes you lose sight of the core doctrines. This could be because of church responsibilities, other sermons on other moral aspects or rituals of church, life becomes super busy, or trials are heaped upon you. But, I didn’t see that coming from these Christian women. The light of Christ shined through them so transparently and so brightly. I was jealous of that because I was beginning to feel like I was taking my church and my faith in Christ for granted.

Then, one of them posted about how Mormons aren’t Christian. I was taken aback. We worship Christ as Mormons; it’s even in the proper title of our church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and even in our scriptures: The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ. He is the center and cornerstone of our religion. All of a sudden, everywhere on the internet, I started seeing anti-Mormon stuff. Half-truths, rants from ex-Mormons, bad publicity, rumors exaggerated. My church published some historic essays that revealed that some uncertain things some of us grew up hearing was anti-Mormon was actual truth and fact. It rocked my world. Wrongdoings, mistakes, and errors of the church were becoming evident to me. All of a sudden, I was searching out negative things about the Church. When you begin to intentionally or worriedly search out negative things about your church, no matter what church, a wedge is pushed further and further between you and Christ. 


I was starting to wonder if the Mormon Church was any more true than any of the other Christian branches. I was wondering if there were truths and deeper doctrines of the Church that I wasn’t aware of. I wasn’t trusting of the authority of the Church and was ashamed or disagreed with past and present decisions and actions of the church. I was wondering what I truly believed. I was losing faith in myself. What wasn’t helping were a few friends going through the same issues as me, their own personal trials of faith with the Mormon church. One of them even decided to leave the Church wholly.

After a lot of praying, thinking out loud, and listing my issues, I realized that I wasn’t losing my believe in my church, but I was becoming disenchanted with the Church as an organization. However, my dad gave me some good advice: 1) Does the church say anything contrary to making you a good wife, mother, or person? No. So it is a good church. 2) This is the Church of God being run by mortal men. That really caught my mind. There have always been issues in God’s church. Peter and Paul fought a lot about interpretation God’s doctrine, especially when it came to Jew vs Gentile. The early Catholic Popes had their own issues. Every religion has made mistakes. It’s just that our religion is peculiar because of the Book of Mormon and we are a relatively new religion. This Church hasn’t had as long as others to rectify it’s mistakes or overcome adversity. We are Christ’s Church, but who are we, as mortal men destined to mistake and sin, to run His church? How are we to 100% correctly interpret His intentions and commandments every single time? I began to realize that the Gospel is perfect, even if His church is not.




With more and more praying, talking with my parents, husband, and even my Bishop, I decided to start over. I decided to focus on the center of my religion, which is Christ. I decided that if I got to know Him better, rather than just take Him for granted, if I purposefully sought Him out and tried to intentionally change myself and put more faith in Him and His ways, I might get back to my strong testimony with more understanding and intention.

So, that is where I am at. I have been released from being the 3-4 year old (Sunbeams) teacher so that I can return to adult Sunday School and Relief Society and be edified with the meat I desire of His Gospel. I am staying strong in my personal and couple scripture study. I’m being more intentional with my prayers. I’m reading books on Christ by Mormons and other Christians. I am following General Authorities on Twitter and feeling inspired by their words. I am listening more purposefully in church. I want to be proud of my church and I want to have a strong testimony again and I want to be an inspiring Mormon mother.

I’m not really sure how to end this post. I guess this is a big deal for me since I have never once doubted until recently and am honestly, a little embarrassed by it. But, I feel that I have made some good progress as I have studied more on eucharisteo (giving thanks to God in everything) and tried to better understand the Mormon philosophy on His grace. I still may not have perfect faith in the Church organization.  But what really is the Church of God? An organization and the decisions and policies they make, or the hearts and souls of the Christians? That is what Zion truly is. And that is what I am working towards. So, I will always be a Mormon. I will never leave my religion. But, I will always be trying to improve my relationship and understanding of Christ my brother, my Redeemer, my Lord, my Savior.



I am really loving reading Mormon and Christian books…do you have any recommendations for me?

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

What Do Mormons Believe?

As I mentioned in this post, I felt saddened by the misunderstanding/misinterpretation of the doctrine of my Church, the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So, I opened it up. Anyone who had a question, I’d take it and answer it here.
Now, if afterwards, you still have questions, either leave a comment or feel free to email me at themorrelltale@gmail.com.
The scripture references I use are from The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants (a set of revelations given to Joseph Smith on the doctrine and covenants and set up of the Church), and the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
I will also use our Articles of Faith, which are a basic summary of our beliefs. The 11th Articles of Faith states, “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.” So, I would appreciate you not saying my religion is isn’t true. I’m not trying to convert you, and I would appreciate the same respect.
Via
Are Mormons Christian?
We believe that anyone who believes in Christ, worships Christ, follows Christ, and tries to be like Christ, is a Christian. That means Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodist, Protestants, etc., are all Christians. The full name of our Church is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We all do have a personal relationship with Christ as well, since we love Him and try to emulate Him. We consider Him our eldest brother.
2 Nephi 25:26 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
1st Article of Faith We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
Do Mormons believe in being saved by works rather than grace?
This has been a piece of controversy ever since church began to break off the Roman Catholic Church in the medieval ages. Many New Testament epistles written by the different original apostles have different meanings, because each apostle, although one in purpose, had a different audience and a different personal understanding of the Gospel. We believe that men are saved by grace through the Lord’s Atonement, but we still need to follow His commands and receive certain ordinances (works). Otherwise, anyone could say, “I’m a Christian,” and be saved. But it’s more than just that. You need to show you are a Christian by being baptized, following Christ and acting how He would want you act, reading scriptures, going to church, praying, etc. Those are the works. Actions speak louder than words. 
This definition comes from the book, True to the Faith, which is an explanation/reference book of gospel principles in our church: “The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fullness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him. The Lord has commanded us to obey His gospel, which included having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.”
3rd Article of Faith We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4th Article of Faith We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
2 Nephi 25:23  For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
Via
Why do Mormons not believe in the Trinity?
This one is a little harder. We don’t believe in the Trinity in the sense that all 3 personages (Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost) are 1 person and a spirit at that. We believe they are 3 separate and distinct members of 1 Godhead. They are all one in purpose, one unit. But separate. We believe that since Christ was resurrected, He still has a body of flesh and bone (the apostles felt his scars and nail marks when He visited them after He was resurrected and Thomas wouldn’t believe until He could feel himself). Heavenly Father created us in His own image, so we also believe that He has a body of flesh and bone. We believe that through most of the scriptures, especially the Old Testament, when Jesus is referred to as Jehovah, Jesus was speaking for Heavenly Father. That’s why we pray to Heavenly Father through Christ’s name. We also think it is the explanation of Christ being baptized, Heavenly Father saying “This is my Beloved Son, hear Him”, and the Holy Ghost descending as  dove all the same time. There is also numerous references in the New Testament of Christ speaking to God as “Father”, especially when He was being crucified, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” We don’t think He was talking to Himself.

John 17:11, 21-23 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. [This is when Christ is showing the people how to pray to God. In the beginning, He says, “that they” (meaning us) may be one as we (Christ and Father) are. Now, we’re not all going to become the same person, but one in purpose–Zion. “I in them, and thou in me”–we can have Christ in us, but we don’t become Christ…same with Christ and God…He has God in Him just the same way we have Christ in us. No unclean thing can be in the presence of God, so Christ was the intermediary.]

Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Has Sent” by Jeffrey R. Holland (12 apostles)

What are garments and why do Mormons wear them?
These are not magical underwear, nor do we claim them to be. When we make special covenants with Heavenly Father in the Temple, we receive the garment and are commanded to wear them at all times and to protect and respect them. They are an outward expression of an inward commitment. They remind us and represent the covenants and promises we have made. (It also helps us to be modest in our standards of modesty as you really don’t want to show them–knee length, covered back, no low cut neckline, shoulders covered, no mid-riff.) We consider the garment to be sacred, not secret, and because it is sacred, we respect it and don’t really talk about it or show it off. However, some people do believe that it protects them because, again, it show our obedience to God. My cousin was a soldier in Iraq and he and a few members in his squad were hit with a car bomb. Many of his friends died, but he didn’t, and he claims it is because he was wearing his garments and keeping the covenants and promises he made with them.
Now, I teach in a predominantly Mormon school and when my young preteens come across the word “garment” in their novels or vocabulary lists, they get a little apprehensive since they realize the sacredness of it. So, I have to remind them that the word “garment” really means “clothing”. =)

Exodus 35:19 The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office.

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What is the Book of Mormon, why do Mormons read it, and it is the True Word of God?

We believe the Book of Mormon to be another Testament of Christ. Through our believe and faith in the Book of Mormon, it help our testimony grow of the Holy Bible being the word of God as well. This is the biggest difference between us and other Christians. In the Old Testament, there were prophets that prophesied that Jerusalem would be captured…and it was by the Babylonian’s (this was about 600 years before the coming of Christ). We believe that there was a family whose father received personal revelation from God that this was going to happen and for them to leave. God lead them out of Jerusalem, through the wilderness, told them how to build a boat, guided the boat to the “promised land” (America), and for hundreds of years, they prospered. Not to say that ALL Native Americans are “Lamanites” (the posterity of one member of this family), but we believe that their blood is mixed (especially with like Mayans, etc). We believe that Christ and God talked to these prophets and guided them. Then, after Christ was resurrected, in the New Testament, He tells His prophets that He is leaving because He has “other sheep not of this fold”, He came to visit His people in the Americas. Prophets kept this record and buried it, and that’s what Joseph Smith was led by an angel of God to find and through God, translated it. 

Ezekiel 37:16-17 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, Fore Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
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.

Why don’t Mormons believe in the infallibility of the Bible?
The easiest and most apparent way for me to answer that question is, if the Bible was absolutely perfect, why are there soooo many versions and variations of it? We absolutely believe that principles taught in the Bible are 100% true. That’s not what we mean when we say “as far as it is translated correctly.” However there were so many different original authors and manuscripts written before Christ and before 100 AD, that it is very near impossible to know what is original and “uncorrupted” (in the sense of not being perfectly original). Think about Homer–since it was so long ago, and there were so many manuscripts to what he wrote, many ancient historians actually believe that he may have been a group of people and “Homer” may have either been a title or a conglomerate of men using a single pseudonym. The Bible was not written in chronological order. Revelation was actually written before many epistles! So, we believe that when John the Beloved mentions in Revelation that the “book is closed”, he was talking about the Book of Revelation, not the entire Holy Bible (he couldn’t have meant the entire Bible, as it didn’t exist as one completed work when he wrote Revelation). He still wrote epistles while banished to the Isle of Patmos. I studied history in college, especially medieval history. In the medieval church, and even Dark Age church, monks worked tediously to try to translate the Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek writings of the Bible into Latin to create the Holy Bible. The Roman Catholic Church wanted to have the power, so they didn’t want it translated into the vernacular. Most of the population was illiterate and depended on the priests to tell them what the Bible said. But, some could read in their own language, just not Latin, the language of scholars and the Church. That’s why when John Wycliffe tried to translate the Bible into English and Martin Luther translate it into German, there were riots, excommunications, and burnings at stake. When the King James Version was commissioned, the English Crown wanted to try to make it as accurate as possible, back to the original manuscripts. The translators worked high and low to find original manuscripts and do their own translating. That’s why there are some italicized words and phrases in the KJV. That’s “adding” to the scriptures. But, as anyone who knows more than one language realizes, you will always lose something, some power, some idiom when you translate. That is what we mean by “translated correctly.” Mormons believe in the King James Version, because we believe it to be the most accurate.  We also believe that it is just as sacred and just as important as the Book of Mormon.8th 8th Article of Faith 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.
Reverence for the Bible” from the Mormon News Room
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Is Joseph Smith a prophet of God and did he really do all he said he did?
Joseph Smith, as a 14 year old child, lived in New York during the time of the 2nd Great Awakening. All the different local Christian sects were vying for followers to save souls (think back to your U.S. History classes–it was a little chaotic, put the fear of Hell in hearts, and honestly, caused for un-Christian behavior and attitudes between sects). Joseph didn’t know which to join, so he followed this scripture: 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. So, he did. He was visited by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and they told him to not join any because they were “corrupted.” Now, I’m an English teacher who teaches Latin Root Vocabulary to my students. “Corrupted” also means imperfect. Think how “hicks” talk–that’s a corrupted version of American English. Think of “cockney”–that’s a corrupted version of English. Same with the churches–they were imperfect. They didn’t have the full gospel or full truth–not that they were evil and out to do wrong. No! He was also told by an angel sent from God where to find gold plates that contained the record of the Book of Mormon. Through the power of God, he was able to translate them. Now, when he disobeyed God, he lost the power to translate until he repented. He restored the true church–the church that Jesus Christ, Himself, founded and led when He was on Earth. The priesthood was given to him by Peter, James, and John, themselves.
Now, many of you think he was a treasure hunter. Joseph came from a very poor family and was hired out to do all sorts of labor many times. He was hired by Josiah Stoal, who was a treasure hunter. It was for money to help his family. He’s also human and has made mistakes like all of us. He mentions himself in his history that as a teenager and young adult, because of his “natural cheery disposition” and all the persecution he received because of his vision as a 14 year old, he did things that he shouldn’t have (he says none that were great sins), but that is because he fell to peer pressure and wanted to be accepted. What teenager and young adult wouldn’t? 
We also believe that he was prepared and prophesied of in the Holy Bible. Not by name, since there are very, very few individuals that were prophesied of by name in the Holy Bible.
Ezekiel 37:16-17 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. [We know that the stick of Judah that was written on were the scriptures by the prophets of old in Judea. We believe that in the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites came across the sea to America due to a vision from God…in the Book of Mormon, it is mentioned that they are descended from Joseph of Egypt (the brother of Judah). So, their writings are the stick of Ephraim. Together, the Book of Mormon (another Testament of Christ) and the Holy Bible work together.]

Acts 3:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
Isaiah 11:10-12 In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

6th Article of Faith We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
9th Article of Faith We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
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What do Mormons believe about Heaven and Hell?
We believe that Heavenly Father’s plan was to send us to Earth to have a body, learn, and then be resurrected. While we wait for everyone’s turn, there is Paradise and Spirit Prison, no Hell. In Spirit Prison, missionary work is continued to help those who didn’t accept or didn’t have the chance to learn about the Gospel while on Earth. While on Earth, we help them out by doing their ordinances by proxy for them to accept or decline. Then, during the Second Coming, there is the Resurrection and Judgement. Then, there are 3 kingdoms of glory–the highest being where God and Christ, and all those who have received all necessary ordinances and lived faithfully will end up. We don’t have a hell for non-believers or bad people, just different degrees of glory based on various qualifications.  We have Outer Darkness, or Perdition, which is for those who have known God’s power on a deep and personal level and been partakers of the priesthood, and then literally followed Satan and denied God and His power.
D&C 76 (goes into depth on the revelation Joseph Smith received about the afterlife)

Do you have any other questions? 

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.