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Hi I'm Edward Fairchild

I'm a Mormon. I have been for 41 years since my sophomore year in college.

About Me

I am a retired Software Engineer with original training in Physics. My wife Pam and I have four children, one deceased, by my first marriage. I am disabled, suffering from major headaches, a follow-on to a motorcycle accident back in 1977. I like: Software Engineering, Genealogy, Astrophysics, Physics, Mathematics, Teaching, Reading (especially Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mysteries, and of course the Scriptures,) and especially working at the Church's Temple in our area as an Ordinance Worker and as the Temple's unofficial, local, computer support person.

Why I am a Mormon

The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is true. As a very young man growing up in Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, I was introduced to the gospel by a Friend, took the series of Missionary Discussions, was touched by the Spirit of God, and decided that it was something I wanted, needed, and in fact, felt obligated to do. To explain this I will have to explain how I was converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But be warned; it is a little long. When I was a teenager, my Methodist Church held a weeklong Church Camp. During it, we had a class about the basic beliefs of the Methodist Church. The minister used as his text, a small black leather book which contained all the fundamental beliefs and practices of Methodists, a sort of small minister’s handbook. We spent almost all of the time discussing the Apostles’ Creed. That was not all that difficult in and of itself, except that he got into the Nicene Creed and then into the Athanasian Creed, all trying to explain the concept of Trinity as taught by the Methodist Church. (See www.wikipedia.org for good discussions of all three creeds and the generally held concept of the Trinity as espoused by most Christian Churches.) The concept of the three-in-one God left me reeling. Though I tired, I could not get my logical mind around what seemed like a self-contradictory statement. To my objections, and the objections of others, he wanted us to accept the contradiction on “faith” as a “mystery.” Not a good idea to tell to a budding scientist. After that, I slipped away from my Methodist Church, and became essentially an agnostic on the matters of God and Religion. But, I had one fundamental realization during that period. I realized that even though I had ended up agnostic, the training I had received as a Methodist made it easy for me to see both sides of the issues. Some of my friends who had grown up with no religious training seemed never able to get their minds around these ideas and see the alternatives. So I decided that if/when I married, I would see to it that my children received as much instruction as I had. During the next few years, I visited some of my friend's Churches, read about a number of other religions, and kept looking for this home to raise my children in. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately in the long run, all of them seemed either like copies of my Methodist Church or ones full of their own impossible-to-understand ideas. I kept looking. So in a few years, I found myself doing a Bachelors of Science in Physics at West Virginia University in my home town of Morgantown, West Virginia, USA. I was on partial scholarship and worked part time as a computer programmer, back in the days when a computer filled a room and had a fraction of the power of my current desktop PC. Another fellow John, who worked there was a Mormon. As these things happen, evening talks finally turned to religion. He told me about his church and its doctrines and it was all interesting, especially when it tended to make sense of a number of ideas that had given me mental indigestion as a Methodist. Did I follow up on it? No. Life was too busy. But we continued to be friends and the religion discussions continued. He invited me to a Church New Year’s Eve party. The people were really nice and lots of fun. Finally he sent the Missionaries from his Branch over to see me. Of course I let them in. He was a good friend after all. So started my investigation of the Church. Apparently, I was very hard for the Missionaries to teach, or so they later told me. I would not yield on any point they would try to make. Rather, I would parrot back to them the logic of their ideas. If such-and-such-and-such were true, then of course it would follow that such-and-such-and-such were true also. In spite of all of this, I was listening very closely. Nothing slipped by me. So I thought: if this Book of Mormon were really a true history of an ancient American people, maybe there were some indicators in Archeology. So I solved the problem the way I always did—I went to the library. I worked through the stacks in American Archeology. Now you have to understand, I was a physicist, which means that I looked down on all other sciences as inferior as a matter of course. It was not a science unless it was a hard science. Chemistry-OK; Biology-not so OK—too un-provable; anything, like Archeology, which I classed as a “social” science was a science in name only. I was rather opinionated back then. Most Archeology books were worthless for what I was looking for, but two caught my eye. I thought one made a rather good argument connecting certain South American Indian tribe cultures back to the old world, specifically the Medes culture in the Middle East, especially linguistic evidence. (Time for Wikipedia again.) Not exactly Lehi in Jerusalem from the Book of Mormon, but still a clue. The other did a similar job on a Central American Indian tribe culture connecting it with early Hebrew culture. Neither were written by Mormons trying to support their cultural bias, but by well-established Archeologists. Did all this then convince me that what the Missionaries were teaching was true—No Way! But it did start chipping away at my inherent aversion to what they had to say. The whole thing perplexed me. I did not say a word to the Missionaries about what I had found. I was too much of the debater than to compromise my position, after all. A couple of discussions later, my main Missionary, Elder Judy had a different companion with him for the day, Elder Strickland. Elder Strickland gave what, I was later to learn, was almost THE standard LDS Missionary’s prayer, “Please grant Ed Thy Spirit that he may know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration,” or words essentially to that effect. Finally my perplexities overwhelmed me, my barriers came down, and I said in my mind and in my heart, “Yes. I really want to know if it’s true.” What happened is hard for me to describe to you, not out of not wanting to, but because we probably lack common words that can carry the meaning. Latter-day Saints talk to each other about things like this all the time, but we can because we have common referents—our words make sense to each of us because we all have been through similar experiences. As best as I can describe it, I felt a warm spot begin to grow on the top of my head. Then it was like an egg that exploded and washed over me from head to foot. I was wall-to-wall goose flesh. Fourth-of-July fireworks, but on the inside. And of course, this convinced me to become a Latter-day Saint? Again—No Way! As all of this subsided, I thought to myself, “Now that was interesting.” I said nothing to the Missionaries. We went through the lesson and they left. I had some hard thinking to do. This was something new. I had never felt it before. Well, not quite true. I remembered two times feeling something similar. Neither was in my Methodist Church or attached to anything I thought of as religious. Rather, both were at occasions celebrating Memorial Day and Independence Day. Later I learn how much the Lord respects the founding of America as a place free enough to restore the Gospel—thus, later I understood. Even here in America, the land of Free Speech and Religious Freedom, the Church was nearly destroyed by its enemies. But the basic America rights of freedom prevailed. Our early Church history is interesting (read grisly) to learn about. So in basic scientific style, I spent the next two weeks, experimenting with this new phenomenon. If my little statement in my mind, hardly even a prayer in form, could illicit such a response, then maybe some real praying ought to do something. And it did. Was this feeling trying to tell me that what the Missionaries were teaching me was true? That was the gist of my not-so-formal prayer. So I spent the weeks praying. I prayed about things that I knew were true; I prayed about things I knew were false; I prayed about things that I did not know either way, but thought I had a change of finding out some way or other. And I compared all the feelings just like a good physics experimenter. Did that finally convince me. No, the findings were inconclusive! Drat. So what was I to do. To say that I was frustrated was an understatement. One day, I was sitting pondering all that had happened and had another, very different kind of experience. No fireworks this time. Rather, I sat and looked inward: Who was I? Where was I going? What did I want out of life? Did any of it really matter? It was as though I was walking around down deep within myself looking at all my insides, the mental as well as the physical. There I saw something that startled me. Describing it metaphorically, it was as though someone had, in breathtaking detail, inscribed the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on my insides. That the Book of Mormon was true—yes that was there. That Joseph Smith truly was a Prophet--that too. I knew, without knowing how I knew, that all this was true. And so that convinced me to be a Latter-day Saint? If you think so, then you do not understand how I really am. No Way-Still not enough! If anything, this experiment frightened me. The un-understandable, incomprehensible component was too strong to make me comfortable. Even so, it was one more data point to add to the set, all of which seemed to extrapolate the graph forward so that I could conclude that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught the Truth. You have to understand. Truth with a capital-T is a hard concept for scientists to get their arms around. We spend our lives with theories. And the best you ever get with theories are statements that you conclude are more-or-less true depending on the details of the theory and all the various experiments that you have run. Or if you like to think in statistics: Something is true to the 90th-Percentile, or it is true to 3 Standard Deviations. (For some of you, try Wikipedia again.) Things never get to be Absolutely True. (Not withstanding any impression you might get from Science popularizers. Carl Sagan, years ago on Nova on PBS, used to scandalize me all the time. He often made out that our currently accepted scientific theories were Absolute Truth, which they can never be.) So what was I to do? Like any good scientist, I came up with a plan for an experiment to disprove the theory. Again an aside about science: All experiments ever do is give you one more way to show that a theory is false—never that it is true. After lots and lots and lots of experiments that don’t prove that the theory is false, you start believing that the theory is probably good for something, not that it is "True." (Sometimes you are still left with a few experiments that do not fit. But you keep those and ponder them later, as long as there are not many of them. Albert Einstein did that with the less than a-half-dozen observations of Celestial Mechanics that were not properly explained by Isaac Newton’s Theory of Gravitation and Mechanics and came up with General Relativity which explained all of them. So by experiment, Einstein’s theory is truer than Newton’s, so to speak.) I decided that there was nothing to do but continue the experiment and I was only going to have enough data if I did the experiment from the inside, where there would be lots of data to examine. It was time to join the Church. I concluded that the best that could happen was that I would finally answer my question; the worst was that I would waste a lot of time, but at least it would be doing things that were not harmful in any way. At the next discussion with the Missionaries, Elder Judy had a new companion, Elder Pratt, who he had just picked up from the bus station. It was the first day on his Mission. Elder Judy primed him with all of my history, with my being a bit hard to deal with, but even so he still felt confident. They no sooner sat down when I blurted out, “When can I be baptized?” Elder Pratt’s mouth fell open and I swear that I could count all of his teeth. Actually, you can ask any LDS Missionary how often you go to your first appointment on your Mission and have the investigator want to be baptized. It just does not happen often. I was very open with the Elder at my baptism interview. I leaned on my introspective moment which told me that the Gospel was true, which seemed to be the kind of knowledge he was looking for. I remember his asking me if I knew that David O. McKay, the then President of the Church, was a Prophet. I told him frankly, that it made good logical sense from other things that I knew to be true, but that I did not have an independent witness that it was true. It did not bother him in the slightest. I learned that it is OK to take time to get all your ducks lined up. So I immediately started to work to figure it all out. And so like any other time, again I went to the library. This time it was not the University Library—they did not have what I needed. Rather it was the Institute of Religion library at West Virginia University. You have to understand, our Church builds big buildings on college campuses to house our Institutes of Religion. They often serve hundreds of students. We were 10 students with a Political Science professor as our part-time instructor, who was also the Branch President. Our library, for our size, was huge and nearly filled a locker in the Biology building at West Virginia University. I read every book. I read every other book I could borrow or afford to buy. I kept a list. By the end of two years, I had read 66 volumes: our four books of scripture that we call our Standard Works, of course; writings by and about Joseph Smith; the writings of all the Prophets since; histories; biographies; books on doctrine; you name it. Most people, I have observed, do not approach the problem quite the way I did. And I have a very good memory for concepts. I very quickly learned a lot about the Gospel and the Church. So as for my experiment, how did it come out? In one sense it is not finished, and may never be. I was heartened to read that the Lord approves of experiments to find out if the Gospel is true. Read the 32nd chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon and see. But what happened is that I developed what we call a Testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is another one of those things that is hard to describe to someone who has never experienced one. My testimony is built on 41 years of experiences (and experiments) that are in the end glued together by the Spirit of the Lord, which we get in a special form after we are baptized and which we call the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Alma in the Book of Mormon talks about planting a seed as an experiment. I planted mine back in West Virginia. I have been dutifully caring for it all of those 41 years and it has grown into a very strong, substantial tree. Lehi in the Book of Mormon talks about the Tree of Life. This is mine. It is alive and well and living here at home along with the rest of me. Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ True? Of course. My Testimony whispers to me every day that it is True. And I will run more experiments tomorrow, next week, next year and my tree will continue to grow. And I will know even more strongly then that all of this is true. Try it. It works.

How I live my faith

Everyday, all the time. That's the only way it works. More practically speaking I have four church callings: - I lead the music in the Sunday men's meeting. - I also teach the men over 40 in that meeting, together with another brother, in rotation. - I am an auditor, who goes around semi-annually and checks that local leaders and financial clerks are following generally accepted accounting practices in handling Church funds. - I donate my time at the Detroit Temple of the Church, as I mentioned above. - Also, I am a Home Teacher and as such have a handful of families that I am assigned to watch over.

Can you tell me about Mormon customs: how you dress for church, what holidays you celebrate, etc.?

Edward Fairchild
We wear what we call "Sunday Best" to church. If you live in some parts of the world and can only afford one set of clothes, those are your "best" and so you wear them, whatever they are. If money is the problem, local members and leaders might offer to help to find you something that you can afford and feel more comfortable in. As for holidays, families celebrate whatever holidays they choose. We tend to adopt the ones in the society we find ourselves. But our group "celebrations" are usually limited to some talks in Sacrament meeting and maybe some special musical numbers. These celebrations don't hold the same importance for us that they did back in my Methodist days. We are much more into living the Gospel every day rather than going from event to event. Quite frankly, we make a lot more of our semi-annual General Conferences than we do of Christmas or Easter. But, of course, General Conference is a commandment from Jesus Christ, Christmas and Easter, by comparison, are optional. Here in the USA, over the past year, my Ward has had meetings dedicated to New Years, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Christmas, Father's Day, Mother's Day, and Thanksgiving. But we made just a big a deal over our Primary Children's Program, our High School Seminary Graduation, and anybody leaving on or returning from a Mission. Show more Show less

How does the Church finance its operations?

Edward Fairchild
Out of the pockets of the members. Those of us who are true to the covenants that we have made with Christ give 10% of our income to him via his Church. This is a requirement of those covenants, but more so, it is an honor to be permitted to be a part of it all. Show more Show less

Who chooses the Mormon prophet?

Edward Fairchild
Jesus Christ. The longest serving Apostle at the time the President of the Church dies is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and becomes thereby the de facto Head of the Church. When the Quorum of the Twelve then reorganizes the First Presidency, that senior Apostle becomes President of the Church. There is no question about that. The choice as to which Apostles will become or not become a President of the Church is decided when Christ calls an Apostle initially by revelation through a previous President of the Church. Christ knows who will live to become the Head of the Priesthood. That's how it works. Show more Show less

Why is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Mormons or Mormonism?

Edward Fairchild
In the early days of the Church, people called us Mormons as a title of derision. It comes from the title of the Book of Mormon, of course. So if that was what they wanted to call us, we just adopted it and shut them up. It was just like the title Christian that was applied to those of Christ's Church who lived just after his death and resurrection. The Romans and Jews meant it as a title of derision just the same way. And, in just the same way, the "Former-day Saints" of that period adopted it and shut up the naysayers. When we join Christ's Church and Family, we promise to take upon ourselves the Name of Christ. So using Christian as an, essentially, extra middle name makes very good sense. Of course, we tend to prefer Latter-day Saint over Mormon as a referent, which is included in the full name of the Church. This is to differentiate us from the "Former-day Saints" that lived at the time of Christ. Show more Show less

How do I become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church)?

Edward Fairchild
While we are not in the habit of turning away those who want to join with us, there are a few points that we try to see are met before you become a member. You are expected to: - have a abiding belief that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. - believe in the Restoration of the Gospel. This includes the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Priesthood. - live the principals of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and commit to continue to do so. If there are any glaring discrepancies, especially in outward commandments, you are expected to correct them. You cannot be living with someone outside of marriage. You must be living the Word of Wisdom. - be willing to commit to paying a full Tithe. - support the leaders of the Church, especially the current President and Prophet. - complete a set of discussions with the Missionaries. This is to insure that you understand all of the basic ideas and that you are aware of the contract (we call it a covenant) that you are making with the Lord via his authorized priesthood servant. - pass an interview to verify all the above. This may seem like a lot, but having gone through it, it is worth it. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Edward Fairchild
It is a convenient piece of mental juggling on their part. They divide up the Christian world into the "Mainline" Churches and the "Cults." Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, United Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, American Baptists, etc. are the "Mainline" Churches. Everything else, especially if they don't agree with them, is a "Cult." Usually most people mean a small, often strange, group that appears suddenly. It often disappears just as suddenly. That is a cult. Plus there is a whole list of derogatory connotations. It's hard to see us as a Cult. We are newer in a sense. Does that make us a Cult? We do differ in some of our doctrines. Does that make us a Cult? We believe in Prophets. Does that make us a Cult? Well that one is hard, because other Christian Churches believe in Prophets too; theirs just have to be dead. I remember a number of years ago when we became the fourth largest Christian Denomination in the United States, smaller than the Catholics, Southern Baptists, and United Methodists, but bigger than the Presbyterians and Episcopalians. Sort of a big Cult, don't you think. I remember as a Methodist that some of our literature labeled the Catholic Church as a cult. Again, a rather big, long lasting cult. But given the long-term animosity between the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, it was easy to understand. Some try to paint us with that same brush, but the paint does not stick very well. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

Edward Fairchild
To be born, to live, to learn, to grow, and to figure out how to get back home. Christ is the path back home. Show more Show less

In whom should we have faith?

Edward Fairchild
First, faith in Jesus Christ. Anything else is secondary. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

Edward Fairchild
This is idea that is both simple and complex. I can look inward at my Testimony and I know exactly what it is. To me, it a simple idea that becomes hard to put into words for someone who has not experienced one. A Testimony is a spiritual gift from God that he plants in our hearts and our minds by the power of the Holy Ghost. In it we store all sorts of things that we known to be true, the most important are concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In our testimony we store a lifetime of personal experiences that have strengthened our knowledge of true things. Many of these are personal experiences where the Spirit of God played a major role. It is that part of me that makes it possible for me to say directly and unequivocal that Jesus Christ lives and is my Savior and Redeemer, that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that our current President Thomas S Monson is also a Prophet of God living today, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God along with the Bible. I could go on and on, because the list of things that I know to be true and which I store in my Testimony is 41-years long and continuing to grow. Show more Show less

Mormons believe Jesus Christ is their Savior. Why do we need a Savior?

Edward Fairchild
We once lived with God as his children. We all chose to come here, be born, and live this mortal life. We make choices and all of us violate one or more of God's laws. If, after we die, we were to try to go home, the Celestial Border Police, as it were, would catch us and not let us go back. Christ paid a price that we cannot comprehend. Now he is called the Mediator with the Father. Essentially, he is our Lawyer before the Bar of God; he pays the bail to get us out of jail; he certifies to the powers-that-be that we won't do anything like that again, because of our willingness to follow him and his example. Those who won't follow Christ have to pay the price and work it all out by themselves. It is a whole lot better and easier to have a Savior and Advocate. Show more Show less

Is it true that Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection according to the Book of Mormon?

Edward Fairchild
Absolutely. Read it in the Book of Mormon and pray about and you, too, can know that it is true. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Edward Fairchild
Not all do. I didn't. I joined when I was 19 and could have gone on and did prepare to go on a mission. But I got married instead. My fiancée and I were going to wait until after I had served the Mission to get married. But in talking to my Branch President, my District President, and my Mission President, they all recommended that we get married now not later--not the counsel that one would usually expect in a case like this. But if we believe anything as Latter-day Saints, it is that leaders who are called and set apart can receive divine direction about matters concerning the members under their stewardship. So I followed the council, but only after praying about it again. Later I learned that there were issues that the Lord was aware of that I was not. Is there an expectation that young men will serve a mission? Yes, the words of the Prophets obligate those of us who hold the priesthood. But this is an expectation not a requirement. Calling it a requirement implies that there would be some saction against you if you chose not to serve a mission. There is none. Do we all go out? No. Persons with disabilities that would interfere with the activities of proselyting are formally released from the responsibility. And you have to be worthy. If you are unwilling to live the principles of the Gospel you are not allowed to go. Young women do not hold the priesthood and for them there is not the same expectation. There is an example of a gender inequality that we sustain. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about Jesus Christ? Do Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

Edward Fairchild
We believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father in the Flesh. We also believe that he was the Firstborn of the Father in the Spirit. We are also believe that we are Children of God in the Spirit, but we came along later. Show more Show less

To what do you attribute the growth of the Church?

Edward Fairchild
It teaches the Truth. People are touched by the Spirit of the Lord and join with us. If you look at the growth of the Church for that last 200 years, you find that the growth is not fast, only steady. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the Bible? Do they regard it as Holy Scripture and the word of God?

Edward Fairchild
Of course. But all in all, I find the Old Testament to be a whole lot harder to read and understand than the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Those are all the ones that make up our standard set of scriptures, which we call the Standard Works. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Edward Fairchild
Wards are our congregations. We try to keep them from getting too big, so there is plenty for everyone to do. They tend to be from 300-600 members. Also this keeps the number of individuals at a low enough number so that people don't get lost. The Lord cares a great deal about his lost sheep. Each Ward has a Bishop who acts at the head of the congregation who does the main central organizing with the help of two others. Branches are little Wards in embryo. Some day they will grow up to be full sized Wards. I joined the Church in a small Branch of the Church of about 50 members in my home town. Now there are two Wards there. My little branch grew up and multiplied! Stakes are collections of Wards. We keep these relatively small also, usually from 3,000-5.000 members. Based on revelation, next to the family, the Stake is probably the next most fundamental organizational unit of our Church. In areas of low population, or because the Gospel has only been recently introduced in an area, we have Districts. Just as Branches are embryo Wards, Districts are embryo Stakes. Then you may have heard of the Missions. These are convenient geographical areas to facilitate the preaching of the Gospel. We also have Regions and Areas, but these are just ways to collect Stakes, Missions, and various other Church activities together for convenient administration. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe happens to us after we die? What do Mormons believe about life after death?

Edward Fairchild
We continue, just as being born was to continue from another place. At death, we are pre-judged according to the acts of our lives: the good find peace and paradise, the bad find remorse and prison. All wait. Those who have the fullness of the Truth of the Gospel minister unto those that have not heard the Gospel, both the good and the bad, that they might also receive a fullness of Christ's Atonement in their futures. Finally, we will all be resurrected, the good and the bad, as a free gift of Christ's Atonement. The places where we end up will differ based on how much we will let the Grace of His Atonement save us. In this, we receive a final judgment. Show more Show less

What are Mormon women like? Do Mormons believe in equality of men and women?

Edward Fairchild
Mormon women are, on the whole, bright, alive, sensitive, spiritual, and nurturing. Do we believe that women are equal to men? Well, my wife doesn't think so. She is sure they are superior, so why be equal. This equality thing is hard. We expect that women deserve equal rights and privileges. For example, Utah would have been the first state to grant women's suffrage if Congress hadn't held up letting Utah become a state. And we do also expect the men to be bright, alive, sensitive, spiritual, and nurturing, just like the women. But on average, men do differ from women. Do I believe men and women are equal; I don't believe any two individuals are. We each have different talent and abilities as well as different shortcomings and trials. If you were to compare yourself to me, you would find areas where I might rate higher than you and areas where you might rate higher than me. But none of that matters. God loves us each for the individual we are. I wouldn't have it any other way. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Edward Fairchild
Study Mormonism's principals. Pray about those Principals. Live those principals. What some call Mormonism, we call the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Those three things cover it. But having been in your position 41 years ago, there are a few things you should look out for. 1. Don't try to do it by yourself. Get the information you need to study from the right source. There is a lot of information out there. You need to find the right material. Our Missionaries will give you the correct and undistorted information you need. 2. You need to pray about it. Let the Missionaries teach you to pray effectively. This can be critical to getting an answer from God and knowing that the Gospel is true. 3. You need to commit to live the principals that they teach you, even if for a short time. If you don't put your whole self into it, it won't work. 4. The Missionaries have special gifts of the Spirit because of their calling to teach the Gospel. They will act like an antenna for the Spirit for your spiritual receiver. They will draw and amplify the Spirit of God for you. Don't underestimate the importance of this. Also, active members of the Church tend to carry the Spirit of God around with them and many times this impinges on the spirits of people who are not members of our Church. They sense that something is different, but can't quite put their finger on just what the difference it. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Edward Fairchild
Faith is belief strong enough to impel action. We speak of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the first principle of the Gospel. That faith impels us to be baptized and receive all the ordinances of the Gospel. It gives us the wherewithal to repent, to change ourselves, and to permit the Spirit to change us. It makes us want to live the commandments of Christ. It leads us to love God and our brothers and sisters around us. It makes the hard times able to be endured. It keeps us going, one foot in front of the other, when it seems that there is no way we are going to find a path through. It gives us the power to move mountains, especially the ones keeping us from going home to our Father in Heaven. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Edward Fairchild
The requirement of baptism to receive Eternal Life applies to everyone. Many never get to hear the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but the requirement to be baptized by one having the proper authority to make a covenant in Christ's name is the same. A loving Father in Heaven has given us this mechanism so that a physical baptism can be preformed for everyone of his children. It is a work that, as a Church and individually, we take very seriously. You should also see my answers to the question, "What is the difference between attending a Mormon church and a Mormon temple?" and my personal story headed, "Why do Mormons do family history or genealogy work? Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

Edward Fairchild
No sexual relations of any kind outside of marriage. Simple and Straightforward. Show more Show less

What is the purpose of the welfare services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Edward Fairchild
To be a helper of last resort, when things fall apart, usually caused by the loss of employment by the breadwinner of the family. It works. When I was forced on disability, my two years of employer supplied help ran out. We used up all our savings and retirement funds just trying to survive. We were finally forces to get a lawyer and appeal the Social Security's decision to disallow disability payments. During this time, we were on and off of Church Welfare Services assistance. We were lucky ones. After waiting five years the review panel agreed that I was truly disabled and should have disability support. Social Security paid us a lump sum covering all the years that we should have received since we had originally appealed. This was the money that we would have lived on then and not have had to be on Church Welfare. So my wife and I decided to take a chunk of that and pay back those Church funds, the value of the cash and commodities we had received. Our Bishop was surprised and said that that it was unnecessary. Few who receive help have the wherewithal to repay it. But, the need is great. We felt an obligation to the next of us down the line that would need help. Show more Show less

Why was a Restoration of the Gospel needed? Haven't we always had the Bible?

Edward Fairchild
Isn't that what the Jews said to Christ? "We have the Torah. We are the children of Abraham, a chosen people. What new thing could we need?" Saying that we "always had the Bible" is, of course, an absurd statement, since we have not had any of the scriptures forever. They came at their appointed times when God wanted to speak to man. Our point is that this idea has never changed. When God wants to speak, He speaks! Usually what he wants to say is seldom popular with the generation that must receive it. The Restoration was foretold in the Bible that we have "always had." Maybe we should listen closer to what it says. Show more Show less

What are some of the ways that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helps those around the world?

Edward Fairchild
See www.lds.org/humanitarianservices and www.youtube.com/mormonmessages for some great examples. And of course, we go all over the world giving the most important helps to people, the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: even to a young man in the mountains of Appalachia, who needed it more than he knew. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

Edward Fairchild
The subtitle on the cover of the book says, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." This precisely what it is. When it came forth we then had an Old Testament, a New Testament, and now Another Testament, each of Jesus Christ. Since then we have received scripture that we call the Doctrine and Covenants. These are revelations given to Joseph Smith and others from Jesus Christ. We might call this one a Personal Testament of Jesus Christ by Jesus Christ in his own voice. The Book of Mormon is also the story of a people who tried to follow God, sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Sounds a lot like the Bible, doesn't it. Christ's ministry was to the House of Israel. The Jews in Palestine were part of that House. The people that fled to America where part of that House too. So, a resurrected Jesus Christ ministered to them also and taught them the same Gospel. The Book of Mormon also has suffered less trauma in being translated by a single person unlike all that the Bible has gone through to come down to us. Thus you can have a greater assurance in relying on its details. Show more Show less

Who founded Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Edward Fairchild
Jesus Christ in fact. Joseph Smith as most people think of it. It was time for the prophecies in the Old and New Testaments to be fulfilled. So Christ arranged to have someone alive then that he could trust to do it. Show more Show less

How can we come to know our Father in Heaven?

Edward Fairchild
Through Jesus Christ. He is the perfect representation of what our Father in Heaven is. Show more Show less

What is the difference between attending a Mormon Church and a Mormon Temple?

Edward Fairchild
A Meeting House or church is a place to meet, worship, learn, pray, and play. Temples are places set apart for Gospel ordinances that the Lord has dictated can happen nowhere else. They are sacred, hallowed, and consecrated for that purpose. The Temples are so different as to almost defy comparison. Yes both have walls, roofs, and other building accessories, but everything else is different. Even the Spirit of the Lord, which rests on our other meetings in abundance, rests upon the House of the Lord the Temple, in a way that can only be experienced, not described. Just like the Gospel as a whole, it defies understanding looking in from the outside. So maybe it is a question that I am incapable of answering for you. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Edward Fairchild
As a former Methodist, this one was important to me when I was investigating the Church. We are saved by the Grace of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There is nothing that we could do to pay the penalty for our sin. In Christ's time, the Jews believed that being a descendant of Abraham and keeping the ordinances of the Law of Moses was enough to save them. References to these Works of the Law were what started the argument that continued for centuries about the value of Grace versus Works. We do not believe that anything we do can have any weight in paying the penalty for sin. But that does not mean that our actions have no value. They do have value to Christ and to ourselves. Some in other Churches say that if you publicly accept Christ--some with baptism, some without--then you are saved and that is the end of it. This we reject. It is clear from the Scriptures that one within the Grace of Jesus Christ is expected to live His commandments. Perfectly? No. He has given us the Principle of Repentance to help us learn to do it better. Many blessings from God depend on us living the principals that he has set down. In this, our actions have value to each of us, the value of his blessings that we receive.  Show more Show less

Why do you have 12 Apostles? They were just meant to be around for the time of Jesus Christ, not to be replaced with new apostles.

Edward Fairchild
I have heard this argument. It has never made a lot of sense to me. After Judas Iscariot died, the then eleven apostles met and selected Matthias to bring the number back up to twelve. Later Paul must have replaced another apostle who died and we learn of Barnabas who became an apostle. It was severe persecution that caused the death of the apostles as they went out to spread the Gospel. Not enough of them ever got back together to reconstitute the quorum. The last one, John, was finally taken out from among the people openly. But in the end, we have 12 apostles, because Christ has said by revelation that we need to have 12. That is the main reason. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Edward Fairchild
The Lord has decided that every family needs to have at least one minister in it so that family has access to all of the ordinances of the gospel. The father usually baptizes the children when they are eight, ordains the boys to the priesthood when they are old enough, prepares and passes the Sacrament to them when they can't get to a regular Sunday meeting, blesses them with oil when they are sick, and just generally watches over them. But, in the end, the central job of the "paid minister" in other Churches gets passed around from Priesthood holder to Priesthood holder in one of our Wards or Branches as needed. We could ask back, "Why put such a heavy load on just one person, when you can spread it around?" Also, we derive so many blessings from the Lord as his Priesthood holders from living and administering the gospel, why should we expect to get paid too. In one sense, we go get paid, but it is payment in kind, His Spirit to our spirits. Really great retirement benefits, too, in the next life. Show more Show less

What will the Mormon missionaries talk about when they visit my home?

Edward Fairchild
First, they will answer any specific questions that you have. Feel free to take the initiative to find out what you want to know. They will teach you the basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They will ask you to read scriptures. They will ask you to pray. They will ask you to try living the principals of the Gospel, even for a short time. They will try to introduce the Spirit of God to you so that you can verify for yourself that what they are teaching is true. The approach is very low key. Normally, it is very high in encouragement and low in pressure. If there is any pressure at all it is only to read and pray. They will touch on: --- The reality and mission of Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer of everyone in the world. --- The coming forth of the Book of Mormon. --- The calling of Joseph Smith, the first President of our Church, as a Prophet of God. --- The Plan of Salvation, which takes us through our pre-mortal life with God, our birth into mortality with no memory of our past life, our mortal life and what God expects of each of us here, and where we go when we die, what to expect, and how our choices affect the outcome. Likely, much of that list may make little sense to you now. It is the job of the Missionaries to make these things understandable and personal. Show more Show less

What is the Mormon lifestyle like? How do Mormons live?

Edward Fairchild
We spend a lot of our time living the Gospel and having a great time doing it. Later-day Saints tend to be very happy. Lots of people notice this about us. When I first investigated the church, I also noticed that. Perhaps I never verbalized it in those precise terms, but all my interactions with them were uplifting and lots of fun. To some that may sound like it might be burdensome somehow, but you have to realize that living the Gospel is just living life only living it better. Show more Show less

Why do Mormon missionaries proselyte?

Edward Fairchild
If you knew something of value, wouldn't you want to spread the word? It is really nothing more than that. Show more Show less

What is the role of the husband and the wife in the family?

Edward Fairchild
To be the center around which the children gather for instruction, protection, and love. To be supports for each other. The Father is given the Priesthood so that every family member can receive the blessings of the ordinances of the Gospel. He watches over. The Mother is given special gifts of discernment and understanding so that the needs of every member of the family are met. Together they lead the children in Light and Truth. Show more Show less

Does The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endorse political parties?

Edward Fairchild
No, just political principals that are in harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As an example, a brother from my Ward is running for our State's House of Representatives. Knowing what kind of person he is, I endorse him wholeheartedly. My Ward supports him in his wish to do a worthy work, but as the help of one friend to another, not with a formal political endorsement. Show more Show less

Do Mormons only help Mormons?

Edward Fairchild
What an absurd, unchristian idea, and first and foremost, we are Christians. Mormons often help other Mormons, but primarily because we live as a part of each others lives, day by day. My Ward is very much like an extended family. But this does not stop us loving, liking, and helping those who are not members of the Church. I know personally of hundreds of examples of one-on-one acts of service by members of my Ward and Stake for those who are not members of the Church. The Church website www.lds.org documents countless examples of organized help by the Church as a whole, things that are beyond the ability of us individually to do by ourselves.   Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

Edward Fairchild
It is spent. Our leaders have often told us that the Need always outstrips the available funds. As a Stake Auditor in my Stake, I go around and ensure that Tithing funds are disbursed according to recognized and established accounting procedures. Our Bishops and Stake Presidents are not lining their pockets. Not by my direct observation. The General Church offices and activities are similarly independently audited. In fact, if I find a indication of the suborning of any Church funds during my audits, I don't report back to the Stake, rather I report the problem to that independent auditing group at Church Headquarters. Then, ecclesiastical authorities take immediate steps to investigate and correct the problem. There are few things that can cause the wrath of the Church organization to descend upon a transgressor like the misappropriation of Sacred Funds. Luckily, or more likely by design, it hardly ever happens. Our First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Presiding Bishopric form a committee designated by direct revelation to oversee the disbursement of the Tithing Funds of the Church. I have a personal testimony of their integrity and good sense. Our tithing funds are in good hands. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Edward Fairchild
Do the Jewish people worship Moses? I think not. Joseph Smith stands in relationship to a Latter-day Saint in just the same position as Moses stands in relationship to a Jew. The idea is just a rather silly one that our detractors try to foist off on unwary hearers. From another point of view: As a researcher, I have known thousands of Latter-day Saints, read dozens of books by every imaginable type of LDS authors, spent over 40 years attending LDS meetings, and never once saw any hint of this idea. As a researcher, I would have expected that such an idea/practice would have been hard to hide if it were true. On second thought, I did have one circumstance that I could mention. Once while I was ferrying a pair of our Missionaries to a teaching appointment, a Missionary tried to show to his investigator that this very idea was silly. Everything went great until he gave the closing prayer. He was flustered and closed the prayer, "in the name of Joseph Smith, Amen." He was so embarrassed. Does this prove that we worship Joseph Smith? Of course not. It just proves that Missionaries can be just as fallible as the rest of us. Show more Show less

How can I find someone to talk with, in person, about the Mormon religion?

Edward Fairchild
You are at the right website to get those kinds of answers. 1. If you just want to talk, you can chat online by going to http://www.mormon.org/chat. If you would rather call and talk, the phone number is on the same web-page. 2. If you want someone to come and visit you, you can leave your information at http://www.mormon.org/missionaries. This is probably the best option, because you can see the people face to face. Phone calls and Internet chat are a lot more impersonal. 3. If you just want to look us over, you can come to one of our Sunday meetings by going to http://www.mormon.org/worship. This one will tell you a little about what to expect at our meetings and gives you a link to http://www.mormon.org/meetinghouse, which has the LDS Meetinghouse Locator to find the place closest to you. It will give you a time for Worship Service and First Meeting, which may not be the same. 4. If you know someone who is a member of the Church, you can ask him or her about most things. If they don't know the answer to your question, they will know who to contact to get the answer. 5. You can try the Telephone Book, but it's hardly ever all that helpful. If that is your only option, though, call any number listed and leave a message. Just be sure that it is listed with the full name of the Church, The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints otherwise it could easily be someone who isn't LDS and won't be able to help. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Edward Fairchild
Mostly out of their own pockets. The Church does provide the infrastructure that supports their efforts in proselyting. But as far as their living expenses, they pay their own way. In recent years the Church has instituted a program that helps even out the expense of serving a mission. Living expenses vary extremely from place to place in different parts of the world. Missionaries can now pay an average cost for their expenses. This way some pay less than they would otherwise be required to; others pay more. This helps to even the load and to make it easier to plan for the amount they must raise before they leave. Show more Show less

What is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' attitude regarding homosexuality and same sex marriage?

Edward Fairchild
Homosexual sex is a sin. But then so is heterosexual sex outside of marriage. We don't make a distinction about this. We feel that people are free to make what choices they will with their lives and live their lives as they will. We request the same kindness about our life style from them. The concept of marriage of a man and a woman is so fundamental to our beliefs about the nature of the hereafter that we are very sensitive about the issue. Having other forms of union between people accepted as though they were the same as the God sanctioned union of a man and a woman hits at the very core of this concept. This attitude can and has convinced individuals to choose this lifestyle and turn away from the one sanctioned by the Lord and forfeit substantial eternal blessings. So our Prophet has declared this idea to be one that we cannot support. We see this as a moral issue that strikes at the core of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We fight against its acceptance as we can. Show more Show less