Hi I'm Joseph
I started martial arts when I was 8 yrs old. My martial arts backround has probably been the biggest contributing factor to who I am, besides my religion. My mom was an inactive member and my dad was not a member. We started having the missionaries over when I was ten. My greatest love is music. I can't really play any instruments but I love to sing. I love to act and be on stage.
Why I am a Mormon
My conversion story is a long process that I will probably always be going through. When I was ten, I remember the missionaries coming over with a member of the ward that we lived in. As I came to know them, I enjoyed hearing them. When they asked me to be baptized and taught me it's purpose I really wanted to. After that, I kept faithful because I knew I was supposed to. As my faith has grown through trials, I have to come to know more surely and gained a desire to go on a mission. I am a member because I believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in full to the Prophet Joseph Smith. I believe with all my heart that this is His church on the earth today and that I will be continually blessed for obeying it's teachings. I have come to know these things for myself. I know because I have seen with my own two eyes the power of the Priesthood. It works. It can heal the sick, preach the gospel with power and authority, and even baptize. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God and that the revelations he received were true and were spoken by the mouth of the Savior himself. I testify of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that they are true. I testify that God lives, that He sent His Son to die for us and that He spreads that very important message through the power and authority of the Priesthood. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Why do Mormons go on missions?
I am currently on a mission and can tell you that I am on a mission because I want to share the blessings that the gospel has given me in my life with other people. I believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church on the earth today and that through the ordinances of the gospel others may come closer to Christ and salvation.
Could you talk about your baptism?
I was baptized when I was ten yrs. old. It was a wonderfully spiritual day. It has been a long time since then so I don't remember all the details but I do remember the feeling I had. When I went under the water I felt like I had died and then I came back up out of the water and had been made new. I know in my heart that baptism is one of the key ordinances that God wants us to do to show our faith and to show our repentance. When we are baptized worthily with proper authority we are made clean and begin a new life.
Why do Mormons do family history or genealogy work?
One of the biggest reasons we do family history work is because we believe families can be together forever, thus, our families history is very important to us. Another important reason we do familiy history work is because we believe that after people have died that they have the opportunity to recieve saving ordinances such as baptism through those that are living acting as proxies. When a member is over twelve years of age they can recieve a recommend, if they are worhty, to go to the temple. Most of the work done in temples is for those who have passed on before and usually are found through family history work.
How has your knowledge of the Plan of Happiness changed/benefited your life?
The Plan of Happiness, also known as the Plan of Salvation, has helped me to have an eternal perspective. There is more than just this life. The trials and tribulations, the happiness and joy, the sin and death, the love and laughter that we see, feel, and go through everyday has a grand purpose of helpings us become better and more like Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father. It gives me a goal to work towards and helps me understand my divine origin and my divine potential. It gives me strength when times are hard and teaches me where the source of all my happiness is. Being on a mission, you get to see the great, the good, the bad, and the worst of people. This life is not easy and without knowing its purpose it would seem not worth it. But there is a great eternal plan which God, who loves us so much, has prepared for us before the world was.
How has the Book of Mormon brought you closer to God?
By reading the Book of Mormon I have grown a greater understanding of Jesus Christ and the great sacrifice that he made for us. It has helped me understand my purpose in life and the plan that Heavenly Father, or God, has for me and all of His children. It has given me strength when I was weak and brought happiness into my life when I was sad. In all cases it has influenced me to do good and always be improving. All these things I have as evidence that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that is why I can say with all my heart that I know it to be true.
Think about your everyday activities. What are things you act upon each day where you cannot see the end results? How does faith move you to action?
One thing I do everyday, multiple times a day is pray. When I pray I don't know what God's plan for me at that time is and if my prayer will be answered in the way that I want/expect. Right now in my life I am on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which means that I have set aside two full years to serve, teach, preach, and work. All I do everyday of my life is act upon my faith through teaching the Gospel to those who do not have it and by giving service and working hard not knowing if I will succeed or fail.
Can you talk about the missions of the Church and your participation in them?
Missions are 18 month to 2 year long periods of time in which worthy members offer unpaid service to help grow the kingdom of God in whatever place and capacity they are called to do so. Most of the time missions are served by males 19-26 yrs. old but can also be served by women 21-26 and senior couples. I am currently serving a mission in the Mississippi Jackson Mission. Every morning I wake up study the scriptures and then go out and teach people and help people increase their faith in Christ. I am here because I have found out for myself that this church is God's true Church on the earth and is lead by a prophet.
Which of the Savior’s teachings have influenced you in your life?
One of the most influential teachings of the Savior in my life has been that of His own suffering and the affects of that on my life. The Lord and God of heaven and earth, Creator, and Almighty came down among men as a mortal man. He suffered everything we suffer; temptations, pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and even death. He suffered it all, perfectly, without mistake or wrong-doing. His death on the cross and His resurrection on the 3rd day has changed my life forever. Knowing that not only the price but MY price has been paid in full, affects every decision and moment of my life. I am not perfect and will probably not reach perfection in this life but I know that by His grace and mercy, I can be saved, I can be perfected, I can be cleansed from my many sins. I have promised and devoted my life to trying to give back to him what great gift he has given me, my life.
How has attending Church services helped you?
It such a great blessing to be able to partake of the Sacrament every week (the Lord's supper or Communion). It is a powerful Priesthood Ordinance that allows us to be cleansed and purified in a way similar to baptism. It is a weekly reminder of what Jesus Christ did for us and His sacrifice and sufferings. I have also learned a lot about Him and his gospel in the sunday school classes and other meetings. I can tell a difference in my life when I go to church and even when I partake of the sacrament compared to those times when I don't do those things. My weeks are always easier when I go to church and partake of the sacrament.
Please share your feelings/testimony of Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith was a simple farm boy. He was a mortal man with many weaknesses and follies that he willingly admitted to having. He often made mistakes and was rebuked or chastised by the Lord. Above all of that though, he was humble and meek. He was willing to do whatever the Lord asked him to. He was an honest seeker of truth and searched diligently to know the Lord. He had great faith in the Lord and His word found in the bible. Because of Joseph Smith's open heart and willing mind, God chose him to be a prophet. Jesus Christ once again showed himself to a chosen servant in personal appearance and by direct revelation. I know that Joseph Smith was called to be a Prophet for our time. I have read and studied his words, I have prayed to God to know the truth, and I have received inspiration and enlightenment through the Holy Ghost, telling me that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. I cannot deny and I bear this testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Please share your feelings/testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
Without doubt or reservation, I can testify that Joseph Smith was called by God to be a Prophet on the earth. The Priesthood authority was restored by way of heavenly messengers to Joseph Smith and the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, the same which were given to Peter in the bible, were given to Joseph Smith by the man who last held them, Peter. When understood, this important truth changes lives. Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, the crowning jewel in the center piece of the Gospel, our path back to the Father. As He has done in times past, He has once again revealed himself to a chosen servant in direct, face to face communication. I feel blessed and honored to have been born in this glorious time of the Restoration. All the fruits and gifts of the spirit are on the earth and all the blessings of the Gospel are available to men and women on earth and in the grave. Of this message, I testify, because I know in my heart and cannot deny that it is true, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
How I live my faith
At this time in my life, I am serving a full time mission. This means that for two years, my only job is to bring others to Christ and His restored Gospel. This mission is a calling that brings many blessings into my life and the life of my family. It has it's hard days but that is life. As we face our trials with courage and faith, we are able to overcome them. By overcoming our challenges, we become stronger and closer to God.