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Hi I'm David H.

I grew up all over the U.S. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am a widower, with four grown children and two grandchildren. I live in a large city in the southwestern U.S. I am a lawyer. I am a democrat and fairly liberal politically.

Why I am a Mormon

I am Mormon because I believe in a God who loves me and who loves all creation, and because I believe God wants me to be Mormon. Why do I think God wants me to be Mormon? Because God sent me to a Mormon home to be born and raised. Because, as I have studied core Mormon teachings and scripture (including the Bible and the Book of Mormon) they have resonated within my heart and mind. Because as I participate in my religious community, I become more like the person I believe God wants me to be.

How I live my faith

I try to love God and to love God's creations. I participate in my Mormon community of believers by attending meetings each week, taking the Sacrament (our communion), listening, and sharing. I visit homes of other members in my congregation as a "home teacher". I serve in the Church's 12 step addiction recovery program, modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous. I am chair of the Boy Scout committee in my congregation.

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

David H.
Like many other Judeo-Christian religions, the Mormon Church accepts the teachings in Leviticus and in some of Paul's letters in the New Testament against homosexuality. Those with "same sex attraction" who abstain from sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage are welcomed and considered full members in good standing. Those who do not abstain from such sexual relations may attend and participate in many ways, but may not be baptized or receive membership privileges unless they stop. I do not know many openly lesbian or gay individuals who participate in the Mormon Church. But there are some who do--either by being celibate and participating as full members of the Church or, if noncelibate, attending and participating to the limited extent that nonmember guests of the Church may do so. Although the Mormon Church teaches as a moral matter that sexual relations with a same sex partner are wrong, as a political matter, the Church does not oppose and in many cases supports legal equality, with one exception--it opposes same sex marriage. For example, the Church has publicly stated its political support of bans of employment or housing discrimination based on sexual orientation. I believe God loves everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and whether celibate or noncelibate. As Mormons, I understand we are to love and serve one another, without regard to another's sexual orientation or satisfaction of norms. Moreover, "we believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and . . . that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." I am confident God will yet reveal additional ways in which all of us can be a source of strength and safety for all members and friends of the Church. Show more Show less

What are some things that tell to you there is a God?

David H.
I identify with Fyodor Dostoevsky, who once wrote: "It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt." I respect people who find it difficult or impossible to believe, because of the incongruity of so much unjustifiable hurt and pain in the world or because the affirmative evidence for God's existence does not seem compelling. But yet I believe. I believe in a God who is powerful, knowledgeable, loving and good. I see God in the heavens and earth. I see God in the principles of physics, evolution and natural selection, psychology, engineering, mathematics, the arts and the humanities, among others. I see God in the multitude of faith (or nonfaith) traditions throughout the world and among all peoples, giving meaning, purpose and direction to God's children and creations. Yes, there is much inexplicable hurt, pain and injury in the world, and yes, God's respect for our free will and freedom to believe requires that the evidence for God be noncompelling. I do not pretend to know easy answers; I look forward one day to receiving explanations or understanding of those tough questions. In the meantime, I am grateful for the whisperings from God's spirit and for occasional experiences that, to me, seem like "postcards from God", confirming to me God's love and care for me and for all creation. I have never seen God personally, but I have experienced God and I have met God's children and seen God's creations. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

David H.
Mormons consider the Book of Mormon to be "scripture", inspired writings about God and God's interaction with humanity. The Book of Mormon is subtitled "Another Testament"--meaning Covenant--"of Jesus Christ", because it recounts the revelation of Jesus and His gospel in the lives of ancient peoples outside the eastern hemisphere. I do not know precisely where the Book of Mormon peoples--which included descendants of Israelites--lived nor to which, if any, ancient American cultures they may have been a part or influenced. For me, the Book of Mormon is not tied to a particularized geography, individuals or currently known secular history. It is similar to the book of Job, a book of the Old Testament about a man of God in an uncertain location and uncertain time, yet with powerful force and inspiration. Debates about DNA or plausible locations for the events of the Book of Mormon are not of particular interest to me. What matters to me is what the Book of Mormon says, what it means, and the spiritual insights I feel when reading it. The Book of Mormon contains religious history, with many discourses by prophets and followers of Jesus, and excerpts derived from Isaiah. It includes Jesus' teachings when he visited the western hemisphere for a period of time after He had ascended to heaven from Palestine. The spiritual matters discussed with clarity in the Book of Mormon include basic Christian principles, like faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Spirit and the nature of salvation, which comes by relying wholly upon the merits of Jesus Christ. The book describes different ways to understand Jesus' Atonement as well as other key principles taught by Jesus, such as tolerance, the universality of God's love, forgiveness, hope, and charity. Like other scripture, the Book of Mormon has meaning today to us. Whether or not we are literal descendants of the individuals described in the Old and New Testament, in a real sense they are spiritual forebears from whom we can learn lessons appropriate for our own lives. The same is true with respect to the individuals in the Book of Mormon. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

David H.
A challenge for many religions is whether it is just for God to punish or exclude from eternal reward those who, for whatever reason, were not a part of that religion during this life or who did not receive particular rituals, sacraments or ordinances. Withholding lasting blessings from those who were not part of God's exclusive religious community, or did not receive certain rites, seems unfair and arbitrary to me. I love the revealed approach in Mormonism to solve this conundrum. Yes, Mormons believe in an exclusivity of priesthood authority for saving ordinances; on the other hand, God revealed that Mormons should see that all may have those saving rites, that opportunity, if you will, to enter heaven. In a sense, the work is tentative--"credit" in the hereafter for the ordinance is available for all who have lived, if they so desire. Performing those saving ordinances for all who have lived, in my mind, witnesses that God's love and grace extend to all, regardless of the religious or nonreligious path they chose or had available during their lives. Some make reasonable arguments that rites, sacraments or ordinances (Mormon or otherwise) in mortality are not necessary for salvation. By performing those ordinances on behalf of all, however, Mormons say that, to the extent they are necessary (and we believe they are), that work is performed for everyone, so that a person's blessings end up depending on his or her desires and character. Show more Show less

Can a husband and wife be together forever? Do Mormons believe that families will live together in heaven?

David H.
In the New Testament, Jesus gave his senior apostle Peter "the keys of the kingdom of heaven so that whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Mormons believe that the authority to bind (or "seal") on earth was restored and extends to sealing family relationships so that they may continue in the hereafter. The most important part of section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants (which also dealt with plural marriage), is its description of the sealing of husband to wife. As discussed elsewhere, Mormons no longer practice plural marriage, but we continue to believe in the ordinance of sealing families. As is the case with respect to vicarious baptisms, those who died without having their family relationships sealed will have those ordinances performed if they choose to accept them. Some may wonder how sealing blessings may apply to complicated family relationships. There are circumstances under which a person may be sealed, in life or by proxy, to another spouse (such as if a spouse dies and the other remarries), but the Church has no express official teaching on how such families (like blended families) will be configured in heaven. One Church leader put it this way: "Family members need not worry about the sealing situation of blended families as it might be in the next life. Our concern is to live the gospel now and to love others, especially those in our family. If we live the gospel to the best of our ability, the Lord in His love and mercy will bless us in the next life and all things will be right. . . . We are not concerned about who will be sealed to whom. We simply trust in the Lord’s wisdom and love and try to live righteously." Robert E. Wells, “Uniting Blended Families,” Ensign, Aug 1997, 24 Thus, in my opinion, God's grace, love and priesthood power will enable bonds of familial love, in some manner, to continue and thrive in the hereafter, even in cases of complicated or unusual relationships in this life. Show more Show less

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

David H.
No. The Church is politically neutral between parties as a matter of official policy. I take that policy seriously, and most other members do as well. I am a fairly liberal democrat, while most fellow Mormons in my congregation are very conservative republicans. It can be a little tricky at times, but Mormons are a kind and caring community. With careful avoidance of political subjects, I find acceptance notwithstanding my differing politically from most of my fellow congregation members. Show more Show less

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

David H.
Mormons believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things were made, and in the Holy Spirit. They are three separate persons but one God (or "Godhead") in unity. Jesus, God the Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. For us and our salvation, our Lord and Savior suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and under Pontius Pilate and was crucified, died and buried. He descended into a world of spirits where He preached to the spirits in prison (Hell). On the third day the Savior rose again. He ascended to Heaven after appearing and preaching unto many of God's children on earth, and He is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus will come again, and will judge the living and the dead. As a result of what Jesus has done, Mormons believe in the unity of members within the Church (i.e., the "communion of saints"), the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting ("eternal life"). Show more Show less

Who was Joseph Smith?

David H.
Joseph Smith was a seeker of truth and redemption. Like most of God's children, he was imperfect and flawed in need of God's grace. As he sought his own reconciliation with God, prompted by the religious preaching and fervor in his area, he began many encounters with the Divine, including seeing God and Jesus (the "First Vision"). Not only did God give Joseph hope and peace about his own standing with God, but God revealed new scripture through Joseph (the Book of Mormon) and established restored Christianity and priesthood, including my church,The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Show more Show less

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

David H.
Mormons regard the Bible, consisting of the Hebrew Bible (the "Tanakh") and the New Testament, as scripture, and believe that it contains the word of God. The Bible is one of four canonized "standard works" of our Church, the other three being the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Our Church uses the Protestant version, which excludes the Apocrypha (which is included in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles). The King James Version is the standard translation used by the Mormon Church in English speaking settings and publications. I regard the Bible as a wonderful compilation of texts created and transmitted by God's followers and seekers over many generations, in which they recorded their (or their ancestors) experiences and encounters with God. While those original manuscripts may have been lost in the mists of time, and while inevitable errors may have crept in through the humanity of those who wrote, edited, compiled, or translated the texts, that does not undermine the divine usefulness of the Bible in learning and applying lessons or principles in my life. For centuries the Hebrew and Christian Bibles have been standards for preserving and transmitting the faith among Christians and Jews, and it serves the same function within Latter-day Saint Christianity. Show more Show less

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

David H.
Mormons generally fit in with the culture in which they live. Mormons celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, Christmas and Easter, and most other holidays celebrated in the area in the which they live. In the USA that includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day. Many Mormons also celebrate Pioneer Day, July 24, in honor of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in Utah in 1847. Mormons attend parties and sporting events (but usually not on Sunday), drive cars (even on Sunday), use electricity and other modern conveniences, and dress in fairly normal clothing (hats or veils are not required). But there are some ways in which Mormon customs may diverge slightly from cultural norms. Mormons tend to dress on the conservative side of the culture. Modesty is heavily emphasized; shorts, skirts and dresses, typically go to the knee. Facial hair on men is less popular than among the population at large. Mormons dress up for Church. What that means depends upon the area. But in the USA, that often means, for men, a dress shirt (usually white) with tie and sometimes suit jacket, and nice skirts or dresses for women. Mormons also spend a lot of time in various meetings and church activities on Sundays and other days of the week. Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

David H.
The phrase "word of wisdom" comes from the preface to a revelation received by Joseph Smith in 1833, which was a period in US history of debates about temperance, diet and health matters.* The revelation was originally given "not by commandment or constraint", but as a "revelation and a word of wisdom". It advised against any use of tobacco, alcohol, or "hot drinks" (understood to be coffee and tea). It also encouraged consumption of fruits, vegetables, and grain, along with eating meat only "sparingly" (not quite vegetarian). While the word of wisdom was for some time understood merely as strong counsel, by the early 1900s, Mormon leaders determined through inspiration that refraining from use of tobacco, alcohol, coffee and tea should be a requirement for joining the Church, functioning in certain capacities and entering the temple. Those prohibitions are what most people mean by "word of wisdom" today, although the revelation has an even broader view of the importance of physical health. Thus, as I see it, the word of wisdom has both a health purpose and a symbolic purpose. Its symbolic purpose is as a cultural marker or sign that one is a practicing Mormon. Compliance with the prohibitions reflects submission to what Mormons believe is divine direction. Its health purpose relates to the positive view Mormonism has of the physical body and the connection of the physical and the spiritual. For me, that means that healthy physical practices are also healthy spiritual practices; as the New Testament teaches, our bodies are temples of God, and should be treated as holy and sacred. * http://www.mormontimes.com/article/11121/Whats-missing-in-the-Word-of-Wisdom Show more Show less

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

David H.
The gospel is "good news" from God. That good news was "restored" or "renewed" in modern times because humanity needed it. Like many other Christians, Mormons believe that God has "dispensed" the gospel directly to humankind on several occasions, for periods of time called "dispensations". For example, God revealed good news to Abraham and Sarah including the Abrahamic covenant, with information that was tailored to their times and situation as a nomadic semi-tribal family group. Many refer to this as the Abrahamic dispensation. Many years later, at the beginning of the Mosaic dispensation, God again revealed the good news through Moses, renewing the Abrahamic promises, but supplementing and adapting the gospel to a people about to become a nation-state. This Mosaic law not only helped guide Israel for centuries, but was preparation to receive additional gospel at the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus came, He fulfilled the Mosaic law and brought a universal gospel, charging His apostles and disciples to take it to all nations and peoples of the then-known world. This dispensation/renewal was so significant, that writings about it are called the New Covenant or New Testament. Almost two millenia later, ours is also a period of dispensation, sometimes called the "dispensation of the fullness of times." Joseph Smith was a key person sensing and receiving revelation from God. The restoration includes reiteration and increased understanding of Jesus' teachings and messages contained in the Bible, supplemented by the Book of Mormon. In addition, God restored or renewed a church structure based on timeless principles adapted to these times, with restored authorization from God to teach the gospel and administer rites or "ordinances" to believers throughout the world. Why do we need a restoration or renewal in this post-Enlightment era? Because there are challenges and difficulties today that differ in intensity and kind from Old and New Testament times. And because every so often, even good things need to be restored or renewed. Sometimes divine principles and practices need to be "refreshed", returned to their original or near original state, like a computer screen or even a reset on an operating system. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about "eternal life?"

David H.
Eternal life refers both to a length (forever) and a quality of life. Jesus said, "This is life eternal, to know Thee God the Father and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent." For me, knowing God means more than an intellectual understanding of God. It means becoming transformed through Jesus to be full of love and righteousness and to be one with one another and one with God, in the same way Jesus is one with God. Mormons believe that through Jesus' gracious Atonement and by faith, repentance, and certain ordinances, "all humankind may be saved." Article of Faith 3. Part of the unity of eternal life consists of sealed bonds and togetherness as eternal families, for which ordinances (rites or ceremonies) are performed in Mormon temples. Eternal life will be experienced in the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven, the highest heaven in the hereafter. But a type of eternal, heavenly life can be experienced on earth. As we are filled with love and God's spirit, the "kingdom of God" can be within us as Jesus taught. A musical number sung by Mormon children asks, "Where is heaven? Is it very far?" The song answers the question, "When you're with the ones you love, it's right where you are." Or as a Mormon Church president once stated, "I picture heaven to be a continuation of the ideal home." Show more Show less

Why don’t women hold the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? How do Mormon women lead in the Church?

David H.
In the Mormon Church, both men and women preach, teach, expound, lead, minister and administer. That is, Mormon women perform tasks that in some faith traditions might be restricted to ordained ministers, priests, rabbis, or imams as "priesthood"-type tasks. In a more precise sense of priesthood, however, women are not ordained to formal priesthood office in the Mormon Church, and may not perform certain ordinances or fill certain administrative and management positions. Some Mormons speculate that the current gendered configuration of priesthood ordination and authority is tied to culture and tradition (my opinion). Others conjecture that more timeless principles restrict priesthood ordination and authority to males during mortality. Whatever the reason for the limitation, the teachings of the Church are crystal clear that men and women, although different, are equal in the sight of God. While imperfect human members and leaders may fall short in following that standard leading sometimes to real or perceived gender inequities, the principle of equitable worth and treatment is nonetheless one that leaders and members take seriously and strive to follow and implement. Show more Show less

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

David H.
I understand the Atonement as intended to heal the breach between God and human beings, a process by which God reaches toward us so that if we reach toward God (including through rituals, sacraments or ordinances) we can become one with God and one with each other. God (the Son) descended from the godly throne to become human and mortal, and to feel the pains, challenges and temptations of life. Through that "condescension"--that "at-one-ment"--God (the Son) took upon Himself the pains of all humanity, including physical torture and death. God is, therefore, a "wounded healer", who can heal us, and who knows what life (and death) are like. And as God returned from the dead, resurrected (a dying and rising God), we too can be returned from physical, emotional, spiritual death through that same gift of God. Show more Show less

Are there restrictions based on race or color concerning who can join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have the priesthood?

David H.
No. However, there was a time, which ended more than 30 years ago, when Church practice did not permit those of black African descent to receive the priesthood or participate in certain temple ordinances--although they were permitted all other membership privileges. Individual members of the Church and even some individual leaders in the past have offered various interpretations of scriptures or doctrines to justify or defend the prior restrictive practice. Others have argued that the practice was influenced by the time and culture in which Church members and leaders lived (which is my view). The Church, however, has no official position as to the reason for the prior restrictive practice. That is because Church leaders and most members prefer to look forward, rather than backward, and to rejoice that all of God's blessings and authority are available in our time without regard to race, color, ethnicity or nationality. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe is the purpose of life?

David H.
Life is an opportunity for God's spiritual children to become embodied, to learn from our own experience to distinguish good from evil, to confront and deal with challenges, trials and conflicts, to experience joy and sorrow and other disparate emotions, to become more compassionate, kind, loving, courageous, and at peace, and to provide others similar opportunities by bearing, raising, helping and embracing other human beings. Our search for meaning includes finding connection and purpose outside ourselves, with other beings and creations, as well as the numinous (i.e., the Divine, God). Mormons believe that we become best "actualized" (achieve our potential) by coming to Jesus to become one with God and God's children and creation. We do this through principles of faith, hope, charity, and change (i.e., repentance) which are symbolized in holy rituals (ordinances, including baptism). It is true that life is hard, and then we die. But we can find joy (and sorrow) and peace and fulfillment during the journey, which, thanks be to God, continues after we die. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

David H.
Testimony means personal evidence experienced for conclusions and beliefs about God, Jesus, and our Church and teachings. It also means a conclusion or belief itself. When a Mormon says (as we commonly do), that "I have a testimony (or I know) that the Church is true", we usually mean that, based on our experiences (including study, prayer, feelings/intuition), we believe and have concluded that the Church and its teachings are good and consistent with God's will. Or when we say that "I have a testimony (or I know) of God's love or that Jesus is my Savior," we mean, again, that our experiences, thoughts and feelings, tell us that we have a loving personal God, and a loving personal Savior in Jesus. Sometimes when we speak of a testimony, we also mean that we feel a strong hope, certainty or spiritual, ineffable witness in our hearts, souls and minds that the conclusion and belief about God and God's direction in our life are correct and good and divine. Show more Show less

Why did your church previously practice plural marriage (polygamy)?

David H.
While studying carefully the Bible, Joseph Smith noticed that many of the great men described in it had more than one wife--something that was unacceptable in the world and time in which Joseph Smith lived. He inquired of God about it. The revelation Joseph received in response is now Section 132 of the Doctrine & Covenants. That revelation teaches that marriages may last for time and eternity if a couple is "sealed" in a sacred ceremony performed in a Mormon temple. The revelation also explained that, when commanded or authorized by God, a living man could be married, and sealed, to more than one woman at a time. Joseph Smith and other Mormons accepted the revelation's further direction that, as authorized by Church leaders, certain Mormon men should marry more than wife. And they did. The practice ended in the Mormon Church over a century ago. D&C 132 remains as part of Mormon scripture, although the practice of plural marriage has ended. Even though polygamy is found in the Old Testament, the idea is discomforting to many people. I have ancestors, however, who lived in polygamous households. I believe that those of my ancestors and other Mormons who practiced plural marriage understood it to be God's will, many of them after making it a matter of sincere prayer and study. And for that, I greatly respect them. 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?

David H.
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, God told him: "Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." This concept of recognizing "holy ground" associated with approaching God continued under the Mosaic law. Only Levite priests who met specific standards and purification rituals were permitted to enter, officiate and perform certain rites in portions of the Tabernacle and later Solomon's (and the rebuilt) Temple. Mormon temples today similarly are intended to be sacred ground for approaching God. Within the temple, special ordinances (religious rites or ceremonies) are performed representing the approach and return to God of human beings as individuals and families. Initiatory ordinances (washing and annointing),* clothing in the garment of the Holy Priesthood, ** and the "endowment" are part of that symbolic ascension by which "men are prepared for their future roles as kings and priests, and women are prepared to become queens and priestesses" in a heavenly sense. Carolyn J. Rasmus, “Mormon Women: A Convert’s Perspective,” Ensign, Aug 1980, 68 (quoting Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 844). Sealing ordinances for couples and families, as well as proxy ordinances for the deceased also take place in the temple. Just as there were prerequisites to entering certain portions of the Tabernacle and Temple in the Hebrew Bible, so today there are requirements to enter Mormon temples. To enter and participate in the temple, adult men and women must have been baptized, confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and have been members of the Church for at least one year. Men must have received the priesthood. Men and women must also satisfy certain standards of conduct. Mormons who have received the ordinances of the temple do not discuss them in detail outside of the temple. Again, this is viewed as part of the ordinances' being considered sacred, and protects the ordinances from casual reference, ridicule or mocking. In addition, it permits each individual to meditate personally and in communion with God in understanding symbolism of the temple, rather than relying on explanations from others, classes or exegetical studies outside the temple. All of this help make the temple and temple experience intensely personal and sacred. * "The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances. It will be sufficient for our purposes to say only the following: Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings—mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings. Concerning these ordinances the Lord has said, “I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name?” (D&C 124:37). Boyd K. Packer, “Come to the Temple,” Ensign, Oct 2007, 18–22 ** Carlos E. Asay, “The Temple Garment: ‘An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment’,” Ensign, Aug 1997, 19 Show more Show less

How can I know Mormonism is true?

David H.
How you evaluate core religious teachings and decide whether to become part of a religious community will depend on how you normally decide what to believe and what to do. If I were trying to decide whether to believe and join the Mormon Church, I might study and learn about its teachings from official Church sources, including missionaries, mormon.org, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and from other people who are Mormon. I would also examine unofficial sources and reports, including those outside the religion. I would meet and visit with other Mormons, attend some meetings and participate in activities with them. Most Mormons will be frank when asked direct questions, and each of us brings a slightly different perspective to the teachings and organization of the Church. If I believed in God or were open at all to the possibility, I would seek God's guidance and direction. I would consult my feelings, my conscience, about becoming part of the Church. Do the teachings sit right with me, with God as I understand God, and generally make sense? Do the lifestyle and religious practices seem healthy emotionally and spiritually? Do questions or concerns that may trouble me seem to have a possible resolution at some point? Some people may receive a crystal clear answer from God to their question. For many of us, though, God's direction may not be as clearly discernible, and the decision may involve a "leap of faith". Whatever process you follow in making your decision, please know that you will be welcomed into our faith community if you should decide to join with us. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

David H.
For me, "grace" means God's doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." As humans, we are not capable on our own of completely healing our separation from God, of being sanctified, justified, perfected, saved, or exalted. Those are things that only God can do for us, and only if, as the Book of Mormon states, we "rely wholly upon the merits of Jesus, who is mighty to save." 2 Nephi 31: 19. While Mormons believe in God's sovereignty, we do not believe that God will override human free will. We have a choice whether to believe and accept Jesus' gracious offer of redemption. In Mormonism, among other things, we make an outward sign of our inward acceptance of God's grace through ordinances--rites or sacraments--including baptism, confirmation of Church membership and receiving the gift of Holy Ghost. In addition, believing in Jesus means we are willing to follow Him and His guidance, to love God and love God's children. We do so with continuous repentance--that is, by consistently turning back toward God whenever we stray from the path God has shown us. As we turn to God, God is turned to us, and embraces us, saves us, comforts us, leads us, heals us, and redeems us, as only God can do through grace. Show more Show less