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Hi I'm Dianna Zaragoza

I'm a wife of 20 years, a mother of four, a writer, and a martial artist. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a wife and mother of four teenagers. I also have two cats, and a frog my youngest daughter brought home from school that has managed to survive four years now. I work full-time at a local university, and hope to return to school to finish my bachelor's and maybe master's degree when the kids are older. I would like to study exercise physiology and be a personal trainer when I retire. I'm also training for a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido. I love martial arts. In my spare time (ha ha), I'm a science fiction and fantasy nerd, both a Trekkie and a Who-vian (that's a Dr. Who fan). I've written one novel and several short stories.

Why I am a Mormon

I was born and raised a Mormon, but chose not to practice for about three years when I left home and first went to college. I wasn't sure if I believed what I always said I believed. Well, I did...and now I'm back with no intention of leaving ever again. I'm a member of this Church because it's true. If it weren't, I wouldn't be a Mormon. Living the gospel of Jesus Christ gives me a great feeling of peace, and brings a sense of direction to my life and lives of my family. There are a lot of requirements to live, and I strive to do my best to live up to those requirements, and I always fail to reach them. When I do, I take hold of the grace that Christ extends to us through His Atonement for all mankind, and He carries me from that point on. I'm so grateful for the love that He has for me, and for all of us. I'm grateful that His gospel has been restored in its fullness in this church, and that we have living prophets today, just like Abraham and Moses and all the other great patriarchs of the Bible. I know that the Book of Mormon is scripture sent from God for us in our day. I know that we have the very great blessing of receiving guidance from living prophets and apostles today, just like the Church in Jesus' time.

How I live my faith

I lead the music in our main meeting on Sunday, and I plan the songs we're going to sing. I also teach music in the children's meetings, and I love those kids to pieces. I also visit four women in our ward during the month, to talk with them, and let them talk. Letting them share their lives with me leaves me feeling enriched as well.

Do you really believe there is a prophet like Moses alive today?

Dianna Zaragoza
Yes. Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's living prophet as of this writing, and since Joseph Smith, there has always been a prophet of God on the earth with the keys and authority from God to act in His name, just as Moses did. Just as Moses received revelation from the Lord that was relevant to the people of his day, so the prophet today receives revelation for the people of the Lord and the people of the world (if they choose to listen) in the current day. Show more Show less

Who chooses the Mormon prophet?

Dianna Zaragoza
The short answer is, God does. Jesus Christ has been resurrected, thus He is still alive and we consider Him to be the head of our church. The prophet is His spokesman here on earth. Usually, when there's a new prophet, it's through a line of succession that's based on seniority. The oldest apostle with the most experience as an apostle becomes the new prophet upon the death of the previous prophet. The Twelve Apostles are reorganized, the new prophet is ordained by the Twelve to hold all the priesthood keys, and he prays and chooses from the Twelve two to be his counselors. There is no election or jockeying for position. There is no politics involved. We as members do not vote for who gets to be prophet. That selection is done by the Lord, and then the members may choose to accept or reject the prophet once he is chosen. How do we know if he's really, truly a prophet of the Lord? We can individually pray and receive confirmation from the Holy Ghost. I do this every time a new prophet is called, and every time I receive confirmation from the Spirit that he does indeed speak for the Lord to His Church. Show more Show less

What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ? Why was it necessary for Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life?

Dianna Zaragoza
The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the center of everything we believe and do. God knew that we would not be able to return to live with Him again without help. Jesus Christ provides that help with the Atonement. The Atonement began in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus carried the weight of every sin of every person that ever lived or that ever will live. The weight of the pain caused him to physically bleed from every pore. A normal human being would have died, but Jesus was part God and part mortal. He had the power to choose the moment of His death, and he delayed it until he had personally paid the price for every person's sin. It's the Atonement that enables us to repent when we sin, and try again. The Atonement also enables us to come out from the pain of when others sin against us, so that we don't have to suffer when others use their agency wrongly and hurt us. It helps us to keep our heart soft and pliable so that we can give and share love without fear of being hurt. When we die, the Atonement covers our sins, so that we can approach the Father with confidence, knowing that Jesus Christ will speak for us. The love He has for us is overwhelming, and our responsibility in order to take advantage of what He offers us is to repent, be baptized, and keep His commandments to the best of our ability throughout our lives. Very do-able. Show more Show less

What are Mormon church services like? Are visitors allowed at church meetings? Can I attend church?

Dianna Zaragoza
A typical Sunday service is three hours long, but those three hours are broken down into three, one-hour meetings, so it doesn't seem that long. One meeting is called Sacrament Meeting, where all the members meet together. We participate in an ordinance called the Sacrament (for baptized members only), and then teenagers and adults take turns presenting talks. The first Sunday of the month, Sacrament meeting is completely reserved for the members to come up and share their testimonies of Jesus Christ and his gospel, spontaneously and without prior assignment. Another hour is for scriptural instruction. We call it Gospel Doctrine (intensive scripture study and discussion), or Gospel Essentials (a good meeting for new members or investigators), or Sunday School (for kids and teens). Another hour is for meetings that are separate for men, women, and children. Men go to Priesthood meetings, women go to Relief Society, teenagers go to Young Men or Young Women meetings, and children go to Primary. There will be some combination of these three meetings at any ward or branch at any Mormon Church, anywhere in the world. Again, someone who is not a member of our church is welcome to come to any of these meetings at any time. They should not take the Sacrament unless they are a baptized member, but they may still come to Sacrament Meeting. Show more Show less

Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon Temples? What goes on in Mormon Temples?

Dianna Zaragoza
Only Mormons who answer a series of questions concerning their faith and testimony, and who are determined by two witnesses to be trying to sincerely live according to Christ's teachings can enter the temple. These members hold a card called a temple recommend, which they must present every time they enter. Anyone can enter the temple...as long as they can pass the temple recommend questions. The ordinance work done in the temple is sacred, only to be performed or even spoken in detail in the temple. The world is too quick to mock and belittle such things. Watch Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or Big Love, and you'll know what I'm talking about. We don't talk in detail about such things in order to preserve the sacred nature of the work done there. According to our beliefs, in order to get to live where God lives, we must receive certain ordinances. Many people lived at times or in places where these ordinances were not available to them in mortality. We do family history to find their names and information, and then we go to the temple to stand as proxy for them, to perform these ordinances, so that everyone who's ever lived will have the opportunity to accept or reject being with God again. I have been going to the temple regularly for over 17 years now. The ordinances done there bring me great knowledge, peace and strength. I love it there. Show more Show less

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

Dianna Zaragoza
God and Jesus Christ established their gospel with Adam and Eve, the first man and woman on the earth. Adam and Eve taught the gospel to their kids, but some chose to deviate, and other religious practices began to crop up from that time forth. The Lord re-established his gospel several times in what we call different dispensations of time...with prophets such as Noah, Abraham, and Moses, as well as other major Biblical prophets. Later, Jesus Christ came, fulfilling earlier prophecies and establishing His Church. When the apostles died, God's priesthood authority was lost from the earth. Some tried to keep the gospel going on their own, but it was without revelation or authority from God. God and Jesus Christ then appeared to Joseph Smith around 1820, and re-established the Church of Jesus Christ through him in 1830. The "Mormon Church" is actually as old as Adam, since it's the original gospel of Jesus Christ as it has always been taught on the earth. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons baptize their new members?

Dianna Zaragoza
Baptism is the gateway to being a member of the LDS Church. Our eight-year-old children are all baptized before they become official members of the church, and anyone joining our church as an official member will need to be baptized, even if they were baptized Christian in another sect at an earlier time. Baptism is the beginning of the spiritual path. It is a promise made between God and the person being baptized. The person promises obedience to God's commandments and to try and walk in the path of Christ, and God promises blessings in return. An adult who has been baptized for a year and living as an active member of the Church can interview for a recommend and go to the temple. Show more Show less