Friday, January 31, 2014

I'm a Mormon, and I believe in the Bible.

I don't seem to realize how much I care about this church until someone attacks it. Someone tries to tell me what I do or don't believe.
It saddens my heart, more than angers it really. So many lies and beliefs are being spread around about the church that no matter how hard I try to live it, love it, and share it, there are always going to be those that refuse to hear the message. Refuse to hear the truth. There will be people even, after reading this post, that are still convinced that the Mormons are wrong. They are evil. They are followers of the devil and worshipers of Joseph Smith. But they will still be wrong.
I am a Mormon. I worship the True and Living God. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in the Bible AND the Book of Mormon.
I guess this all started when I saw a Facebook post where a man, a great man I'm sure, was so convinced the Mormons didn't believe in the Bible he started an argument about it. I'll direct my post to him, though he will probably never read this. Hopefully though, someone does read this, and comes to understand a little bit more about what I believe.

First off, I want to address a couple things.
1) I am an active member of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is the correct name for our church. We are commonly known as "Mormons" because we believe in the Book of Mormon. From here on out in this post, I will refer to myself as a Latter-day Saint rather than a Mormon.
2) Yes. I was born and raised in this church. Quite frankly, however, my dad is not active and I have had the choice my whole young adult life to leave or stay. And I choose to stay.
3) We have statements that sum up what some of our main beliefs are in this church. There are thirteen of these statements, called "Articles of Faith". I will refer to these throughout the post as well.

Dear Sir,
My heart was sad last night to see the mean things you typed about my church. I took offense, because you were insulting things that I believe. That I love. And that I live. I just want you to know that you were wrong in most of the things you said. And most of all, I do believe in the Bible.

I've been taught from the Bible and the Book of Mormon since I was a child. I grew up loving the stories of valiant Esther, and courageous Daniel in the Lion's den. Most importantly, from the womb I've been taught about the loving nature of Jesus Christ and the beautiful scripture stories surrounding his life and teachings found in the four gospels. In fact, one of my most favorite passages of scripture is found in St Matthew 5:14-16. Or maybe Galatians 2:20. Or maybe the entire ninth chapter of John. One of my favorite things in the entire world, is to sit down and read the words of Paul to the Corinthians. I feel like he is speaking right to me at times.

I read the entire New Testament my senior year. You know who told me to do that? My LDS seminary teacher. She encouraged me to read the words and gain a stronger testimony, (or internal knowledge) of Jesus Christ. And you know what else? I did. My knowledge of my Savior, His life, and His LOVE, is more real to me than ever before. I am a better person because I read the entire New Testament.
In fact, I love reading the Bible so much I wake up EVERY MORNING, pull it off my dresser and read it. I believe in the Holy Bible. And I try to live by the principles taught in it.

The Eighth Article of Faith states: 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.

I am not ashamed to say that I don't believe in many translations of the Bible. If you read them all, I am sure there are disagreements you would have with them too. Many people have taken what they want to hear, and interpreted the Bible that way. Many people, including the RLDS church, have taken the Book of Mormon and changed what it says according to their beliefs. It doesn't mean that the original book is false. It means the incorrect translations can cause major confusion when trying to seek the true word of God. I believe the King James Version of the Bible to be the most correct translation of the Holy Bible. Will I read other translations? OF COURSE. But will I base my beliefs off of them? No. The most ancient text that I have access to is the one I choose to fully trust and believe.

The correct name of the Book of Mormon is actually
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

What would be the first testament? You got it, the Bible.

The Sixth Article of Faith states: We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists and so forth. Where can you find this "organization" of the ancient church? Right again. The Bible. And we live by and love the principles, and even the organization found in it in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

You're probably still doubting. You're probably still convinced that what you have been taught about my church is correct.
With all due respect, I'd just like to remind you that I have been living 18 1/2 years of it. And I think I have a pretty good idea about what my Church stands for, and believes.

I believe in Our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love Him. I love reading His words in the New Testament, I love reading about the sacrifices that the ancient saints made for what they believed to be true, I love feeling the Holy Ghost (or Holy Spirit) testify to me that the Bible is true, every morning. Every morning I find something from the Bible that makes me a better person. That brings me closer to Christ.

I wonder if you have read the Book of Mormon. Or even realize what it is. It's simply prophets of old, just like the prophets in the Bible, testifying of Jesus Christ. It contains fascinating stories, just like the Bible, and also beautiful and humble teachings from the prophets and from Christ. The main difference between the two books is simply the prophets' locations. The Book of Mormon is the Word of God, sir, and so is the Bible.

One of the Book of Mormon prophets, Nephi, tells about a vision that he has (just like visions the prophets of the Bible have): "And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God, which proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew, that it came forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren" (1 Nephi 13:38; Book of Mormon)

The book of the Lamb of God is the Bible. The Jew is John the Beloved.
As Latter-Day Saints, we believe in the Bible, sir. We believe in the Bible.

I also admit to being just 18 years old in this Church. I don't know everything, nor can I explain everything perfectly, but hopefully this article can help you better understand as well.

I pray that you may have an open heart. That you can come to understand. That as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do our best to follow Him. Are there imperfect members? Of course. We are all imperfect people. But the Church is perfect. And though my knowledge isn't perfect, what I believe is.

I know the Bible and the Book of Mormon are true.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, just like the prophets of old, found in the Bible.
I believe that he did God's will by translating the Book of Mormon.

When it all comes down to it though sir,
please just know,
I believe in Christ.

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