What Is a Church Community?

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Hi I'm Merrill

I'm a Mormon. I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I left. I came back. It is true.

About Me

My name is Merrill. My wife, Linda, and I have had seven children. Six girls and one boy. We have fourteen grandchildren. I like to garden a little. I enjoy reading science fantasy and fiction and other escapist fiction. I have a BA degree and a law degree. I am a temple worker, gospel doctrine teacher, a tax preparer, an airport wheelchair pusher, a mobile notary, and Santa Claus at Christmas. And I am a Mormon.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon because I read the Book of Mormon when I was 24 shortly after I got out of the US Navy. When I finished reading, I went to my Father in Heaven in prayer and asked if it was true. I received a personal witness of the Spirit of God that the Book of Mormon is true; that Jesus Christ is my redeemer and savior; that Joseph Smith is a prophet; and that there are living prophets on the earth today. I know the Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ on the Earth today. I am a Mormon because Jesus Christ loves me.

How I live my faith

I live my faith by being actively involved in the Church. I attend meetings and participate in social activities. At meetings I try to give people a friendly greetings. I go to fellowshipping activities like picnics and church parties. When the call comes to help someone move or to clean the chapel, I go. When someone is sick or in the hospital, I go to see them. When I see someone in need I try to help in some useful way. I attend the Temple to perform ordinances in behalf of our kindred dead. I visit and talk to the people I have been assigned to visit for home teaching. I serve in various callings in the Church. Right now I am the Gospel Doctrine teacher for the Oakdale Ward. I read the scriptures daily with my wife, Linda, and by myself. Right now I am reading daily in both the Old and New Testament and the Book of Mormon. Linda and I pray together daily. I try to integrate my faith into every aspect of my life and strive to follow the example of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

What is the First Vision?

When Joseph Smith was fourteen years years old, the area in which he lived experienced a great deal of excitement on the subject of religion. All the churches in the region were actively soliciting members from the residents of the area and contending vigorously with each other as to which sect had the most correct understanding of the gospel. He desired to join which ever church was right but was unable to decide which church was correct. As he struggled with these issues, he was led to read in the New Testment 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.” This scripture impressed Joseph deeply in his heart and mind. He “lacked wisdom” and determined to take the question to the Lord. He chose a place and a day. It was a beautiful spring day in the morning. He went into a grove of trees near his home. He knelt and began to pray. As he prayed he was assaulted by some force of darkness that tried to prevent him. Just as he thought he would be overcome, a light appeared above him and the force of darkness left him. Within the light he saw two personages whose brightness and glory defied all description. One of them called Joseph by name and said “This is my beloved son, hear him.” Joseph collected his thoughts and asked which of all the churches was right that he might know which to join. He was answered that he should not join any of them for they were all wrong. This was the first vision which Joseph Smith experienced and it set him on the path which led to the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find a more complete account of this vision in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History. I have a personal witness from the Holy Spirit that Joseph Smith had this vision as he has recorded it. It is true that God the Father and Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith and that vision led to the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

 The Book of Mormon presents with clarity the "great plan of salvation" or "plan of happiness" of our God. Through my study of the Book of Mormon, I learned that we are spirit children of our Father in Heaven. I learned that we are placed here to gain a physical body and to be tested and tried to see if we would be obedient to God's commandments. I learned that the only path which leads to eternal life and happiness is to follow Jesus Christ and His prophets on the earth. I learned that through Jesus Christ's suffering an atonement was made for all mankind and hell was overcome. I learned that through His resurrection, I will also be resurrected and obtain a glorified immortal body as our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven have done. This then is the purpose of life - to be children of our Father in Heaven, to create our own families, and to to become like Him.  Show more Show less