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Hi I'm Jon

I'm a singer, teacher, amateur historian, and sports fan from Northeast Ohio who is also a Mormon!

About Me

Hello there! My name is Jon and I am currently a substitute teacher in the local public schools. I have a Master of Arts in Teaching degree MAT with an emphasis in Music Education and my Bachelors degree was in music with a minor in Political Science. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends and family most of all, but I also enjoy writing, history, photography, traveling, sports, politics, and theater. I am an avid blogger and Wikipedia editor too!  

Why I am a Mormon

Although I was raised Mormon (or LDS), my mom and her parents are all converts. Virtually all of my classmates growing up all the way through college weren't members of the church and virtually all of my extended family are not Mormon, so I had (and still have) lots of exposure to other viewpoints and ideas. In the end, I'm Mormon because I want to be. It's something that not only makes logical sense to me, but also gives me direction and purpose in life and I've put it to the tests of both intellectual and spiritual truth many times.

How I live my faith

At church I am currently the 2nd and 4th week teacher in our Elders' Quorum, which is for men generally between about 18 and 50 years old. I enjoy being able to lead discussions on the various aspects of the Gospel and get to know my fellow ward members better as we do so! Studying the Gospel and discussing it with others helps to not only understand what we believe, but why, and helps it make more sense and gives it more meaning.

What blessings can you receive from reading the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and other scriptures?

Jon
Of course additional insights and deeper understandings. Having additional scriptures helps eliminate the confusion that results from multiple interpretations of the same passage by providing further clarification. When we research something academically, we want to get as many solid sources as possible; the same should be true with religion. Why settle for just one book when we can have so much more additional knowledge, understanding, and witnesses? Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Jon
A ward is basically a congregation. A branch is basically a small ward. We call them wards because like wards in a city, they have boundaries. People who live within a ward's boundaries attend church with those who live around them, just like in a city, those within a certain ward are represented by a councilman. When a ward gets to a certain size, it is split to prevent it from becoming too large. Generally wards seem to have between 200 and 700 members. A stake is a group of wards (and can also include branches). A stake is similar to a Catholic diocese. Typically a stake will have at least 5 wards and branches and as many as 14 with around 2,000-4,000 members. When a stake gets to a certain size, like a ward, it will be split to prevent it from becoming too large. Splitting wards and stakes when they become too large allows more people an opportunity to serve. Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Jon
Definitely not. It is certainly encouraged at a very young age and while some may feel pressured depending on the culture of the area they live in (especially in areas where many members of the Church are present) or from family members, there is no official requirement to go on a mission. Going on a mission is an amazing experience, but not serving a mission does nothing to inhibit membership in the Church. Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

Jon
The same way you can know if *anything* is true: pray and ask God after doing your own studying and thought. He will answer you in His own time and in His own way. Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Jon
The Book of Mormon was actually written by a series of ancient American prophets who lived between ca. 600 BC and 421 AD with a section that dates to an even earlier time from ca. 2200-600 BC. Around 385 AD the prophet Mormon took these records and abridged them onto a single set of metallic plates, which his son Moroni (mo RONE eye) finished ca. 421 AD and buried on a hill in present-day Manchester, New York. From these writings, Mormons believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon into English. Show more Show less

Where did Mormonism and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints begin?

Jon
Most of the events in early Church History are centered on the Smith family farm which straddled the border of the towns (townships) of Palmyra and Manchester in western New York. The hill where Joseph found the golden plates is located just southeast of their home in the town of Manchester and The Book of Mormon was first published in the village of Palmyra in 1830. The Church was formally organized in 1830 at the home of Peter Whitmer in the town of Fayette, about 20 miles southeast of Palmyra near the village of Waterloo. Other important places in very early Mormon history include Harmony, Pennsylvania (present day Oakland, PA), where Joseph Smith lived for a short time in the late 1820s for work. Show more Show less

To what do you attribute the growth of the Church?

Jon
I think people want stability in their lives and the Church provides that, not only in the doctrine, but also in how it's structured centered on Jesus Christ with a strong emphasis on the family. Show more Show less

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

Jon
A Mormon church is used for regular Sunday worship where the Sacrament (Communion) is taken and Sunday School classes are taught. During the week various activities can be held at a Mormon church building. Anyone is welcome to attend meetings and "Visitors Welcome" is on the front of almost every church building. Typical Mormon churches have a chapel (comparable to the sanctuary of many other churches), classrooms, and a multi-purpose room that is often a gymnasium. A Temple is actually open every day *except* Sunday. It is typically larger than a regular church building (also called a "meetinghouse") and is used for what Mormons consider very sacred and important religious ceremonies where we make promises to God to obey his commandments. Marriages are also performed in the temples. It's a very peaceful and spiritual place and everyone wears white to symbolize purity and equality before God. Only members of the Church who are living their lives in accordance with the commandments of God (like being honest, chaste, active in the Church, etc) can enter the temples and participate in these rites, known as ordinances. When temples are first built, however, open houses are held and anyone--Mormon or not--can enter the temple and see what's inside. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Jon
The grace of God is what saves us in the end and is available to everyone. However, grace only saves us if we want it to it is not forced upon us. We show God we want his grace simply by doing what he's asked us to do. Our actions alone do not merit our salvation nor can they, but the effort put forth in doing them shows God we want--and accept--His grace.   Show more Show less

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

Jon
This is from the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Mormon was actually an ancient historian who compiled the Book of Mormon. When it was published by Joseph Smith in 1830, opponents of the Church began labeling believers as "Mormons" or "Mormonites" derisively. It's very similar to how the term "Christian" originated in the early church as it too was meant to be derisive but gradually became more accepted. The proper term for a member of the Church is "Latter-day Saint" though I certainly don't have a problem being called Mormon! :) Show more Show less

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

Jon
Mormons believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the organization Jesus Christ himself set up while he was on the Earth in the New Testament. That said, the legal history involving the organization of the current Church occurred in Fayette, New York on April 6, 1830 when the Church was organized by Joseph Smith, Jr. with 5 other men. It was known as the "Church of Christ". As such, Joseph Smith is regarded as the "founder". Show more Show less

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

Jon
Mormons are remarkably normal in how we live our lives. We wear normal clothes, we attend school, we listen to all kinds of music, we go to sporting events, we're involved in the community, we love to have fun, etc. The difference is that we have our limits in what we eat and drink balanced diet with no coffee, tea, or alcohol, our intimate relationships no sexual relations before marriage and fidelity within marriage, and what we wear modest clothing nothing too revealing. Some regard it as restrictive, while we regard it as liberating from various problems like broken relationships and addictions.   Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Jon
Basically because they do not understand the true definition of a cult (any religion or organization can fall under the definition of a "cult") nor do they understand the true doctrines of the Church. Show more Show less