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Hi I'm Jonathan

I'm a marriage and family therapist from Arizona, schooled in Alabama. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ, a husband, a father, and a marriage and family therapist. I'm an advocate for interfaith cooperation and appreciation. My happiness comes through my relationships with my wife, my family, my friends, my clients, and the people I meet every day. I take pleasure in exercise and in the outdoors and love running, hiking, snowboarding, wake-boarding, swimming, and camping. I love music, movies, and good books. My hobbies include film-making, acting, writing, stage comedy, and vocal performance. My idea of happiness is to experience places, events, and good food in the company of the people I care most about.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because I was born into it. However, having been exposed to so many competing and contrasting worldviews, I STAY with this church because I have received a witness from the Lord, through the Holy Ghost, that it is the church Jesus organized while he was on the Earth, restored through a modern prophet. I stay because it brings me answers and contentment. I stay because it brings me closer to Christ and helps me be my best self. I stay because the teachings of the Savior and his prophets and apostles connect with my mind and my heart. Being a Mormon, to me, means looking for the good in people, placing a high value on learning and knowledge, and working hard. It means emphasizing responsibilities as well as rights and helping others to help themselves, insofar as they can.

How I live my faith

A modern prophet taught that "a man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race." I try to live my faith my showing kindness and compassion to all who I meet, realizing that every soul and every person is of great worth to our Heavenly Father, as well as to His Son. I know that Jesus Christ placed so much value on each of us that He atoned for our sins. His example inspires me to look for opportunities to lighten the burdens of others, and to be grateful for those who lighten mine. As for serving in the Church, I am happy to do whatever I am called (asked) to do, but I enjoy teaching Sunday School the most.

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?

Jonathan
Since the beginning of the Church people of all races have been welcomed into the waters of baptism, given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and equally promised the highest blessings of salvation. For a time the priesthood was restricted to certain bloodlines, as it was in the Old Testament when only the sons of Aaron and Levi were allowed the privilege. However, modern prophets were clear from the beginning that in the Lord's time the priesthood would be extended to all races, just as the Gospel was finally extended from the nation of Israel to the whole world in the time of the early Apostles. In 1978 the then-prophet (now deceased) Spencer W. Kimball received a revelation that the time had come, and the blessings of the priesthood were given to all people. The Church teaches that all people are God's children and that racism is an abhorrent evil. We have members of all races, from hundreds of nations around the world. The Book of Mormon clearly teaches that God "denieth none that come to him, black and white, bond and free, male and female...and all are alike unto God" (2 Nephi 27:33). It also teaches "thus saith the Lord: ye shall not esteem one flesh above the other" (Mosiah 23:7) and "a commandment I give you, which is the word of God, that ye revile no more against them because of the darkness of their skins" (Jacob 3:9). Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) are taught to see the beauty in all the cultures and races of the world, and that all are welcome in the family of God. Show more Show less

Who was Joseph Smith?

Jonathan
Joseph Smith was a modern prophet, called to restore the Church of Jesus Christ. A helpful comparison is with John the Baptist. While many see John simply as the man who baptized Jesus, he was also called to prepare the world for the coming of the Son of God. God's chosen people had departed from plain and simple Gospel truths, incorporating corrupt traditions and incorrect ideas, making the straight and narrow way crooked. Thus John said "repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" and "prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" (Matthew 3:2-3). John was a restorer, called to teach the correct way to God and prepare the world for the first coming of Jesus Christ. Likewise, with Christianity fragmented into hundreds of disagreeing faiths and sects, Joseph Smith was called to restore plain and precious Gospel truths lost during centuries of confusion and dispute. He was called to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ. As stated elsewhere, we do not worship him, any more than we worship John the Baptist. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Jonathan
Most faiths have paid clergy, many of whom are sincere and godly, who only accept pay for their labors because it allows them to serve others full-time while still providing for their families (as a therapist, I can understand this concept). However, clergy in the LDS church give their time and labor freely and are called to serve in their positions for a few months to a few years (the only exceptions are the prophet, his counselors, and the apostles, who serve for life). Thus, all members of the church grow through voluntary service in various positions, while earning their livings elsewhere. As explained by a Book of Mormon teacher named Alma: "Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people, for behold I have labored...with mine own hands for my support...And now, if we do not receive anything for our labors in the church, what doth it profit us to labor in the church save it were to declare the truth, that we may have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren?" (Alma 30: 32, 34). Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
We believe in both these things. Isaac, for example, was "gathered unto his people", i.e. his kin, when he died (Genesis 35:29). Paul taught that "neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11). God desires men and women to be together forever and for families to be eternal. Through His priesthood authority, marriages can be not just "til death do you part," but for all time. Marriage and family life can extend into eternity. The Lord gave Peter power and authority that whatever he bound on earth would be bound in heaven (Matthew 16:19). Couples and families can be "sealed," or bound to one another on earth and in heaven, through this same power and authority. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Jonathan
We are. We believe in the biblical account of Jesus Christ, His ministry, and His Atonement. We worship Him as the Son of God and our Savior. We strive to live His teachings and to become more like Him. We pray in His name and believe that only by following Him and receiving His grace we can be saved. We believed that He suffered for our sins, died on the cross, and was resurrected to make eternal life possible for us all. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
We were sent to Earth from the presence of God to grow and learn by experience. In the process we would make mistakes and commit sins, becoming unworthy to return to the purity and perfection of God's presence. Justice requires penalty for the eternal laws we break when we sin, while mercy demands that we be offered rescue. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins, paying the price demanded by justice and allowing mercy to be extended to all who will repent and follow Him. He also overcame death for us, so that we will all one day be resurrected. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restoration of the church the Lord established while He was on the Earth, with apostles, prophets, priesthood authority, revelation, and the many gifts spoken of in the Bible. In that sense, the church began in the Holy Land during the time of Christ and His apostles. However, when the apostles died the church was lost, as many people, some well-meaning and others not, attempted to interpret doctrine without authority from God. Many conflicting ideas set it, and official doctrine was later decided by the Council of Nicea, not by revelation to apostles and prophets, as was God's order. Reformists attempted to bring the doctrine more in line with the Bible, and many great people were inspired of God. However, a full restoration of what was lost, not a reformation, was needed. In 1820 God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith and called him to be the prophet who'd restore The Church of Jesus Christ. In that sense, the restored church began in upstate New York. 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?

Jonathan
The psalmist said that only those with "clean hands and a pure heart" shall stand in the Lord's "holy place" (Psalms 24:3-4). When Solomon built a temple to the Lord, God responded that He had "hallowed this house...to put my name there forever" (1 Kings 9:3). Christ referred to the temple as His "Father's house" (John 2:16). The temple is a holy place, a place where God resides, and thus only those who have prepared themselves by keeping His commandments may enter. What happens in the temples is sacred. Far from secret, we share the Gospel precisely because we want people to be able to enjoy the blessings of the temple. Temples are used, as in biblical times, for instruction, for worship, and for sacred ordinances. Here couples and families are sealed, or bound to one another, for all eternity. Washings, anointings, and wearing symbolic clothing (Exodus 29: 4-7) as well as performing baptisms for the dead (1 Corinthians 15:29) for those who are preached the Gospel after dying (see1 Peter 3:18-20) take place. In the temple we are taught the will of God (Isaiah 2:3) and make covenants with Him. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
Since I was a boy I've learned in Church to place the highest value on womanhood and to see women as men's equal. Mormon women run a charitable organization called the Relief Society, which with over 6 million members is among the largest women's organizations in the world. We are taught that men and women are equal partners in marriage, in parenting, and in Church service. Women serve in the temple, as missionaries, as teachers, and in many other callings in the Church. They are encouraged to pursue an education, to contribute to the community, and when prudent to pursue careers to support themselves and/or their families. At the same time, they are taught to value motherhood and to place particular emphasis on the nurturing, instruction, and raising of children. My wife, for example, has two degrees, two children, and is an experienced architect. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
We believe that the Bible was written by prophets and apostles inspired by the Spirit of Revelation. We study it and strive to apply it in our daily lives. It is scripture and the word of the Lord. Show more Show less

What is the Church's position on abortion?

Jonathan
We are against it, except in rare instances where the life of the mother may be in danger, or when the child is the result of rape or incest. Even then, members are counseled to make the choice a prayerful one. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
The Church's doctrine on homosexuality often misunderstood and mislabeled as hateful. To the contrary, we are taught that members of the LGBT community are children of God, worthy of respect and love, and that there is no place for "gay-bashing" and hate. The Church promotes the rights of gays and lesbians as human beings, and has openly supported laws which prohibit discrimination against homosexuals in employment and housing. The Church teaches that feeling same-sex attraction may not be a choice, but that acting on those feelings is. Though we believe that homosexual behavior is contrary to the Lord's will as revealed by His prophets and apostles, the Church also teaches that gays and lesbians have the right to choose how to live. Indeed one of the primary doctrines of the Gospel is agency and free will. The Church teaches its members to "disagree without being disagreeable" and to see the beauty and value in people who don't share our beliefs or lifestyle. That said, those who are members of the Church are expected to live by its teachings. Church members who experience same-gender attraction are not considered sinners, "broken," or flawed for having these feelings; they are, however, expected to abstain from homosexual behavior. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Jonathan
We know from the Bible and from modern revelation that the Gospel is preached to the dead. Peter taught, for example, that those who rejected Noah and drowned in the flood were later taught the truth in spirit prison (1 Peter 3:18-20). Those who accept the Gospel after death must still be baptized, for Christ taught that "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). As the dead have no bodies for themselves, the living must be baptized on their behalf. That the early Christians understood and practiced this doctrine is clear from the teachings of Paul. In order to convince a group that didn't believe in resurrection that the dead would indeed live again, Paul cited the practice of early church members of performing baptisms for the dead so that they could rise in glory: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?" (1 Corinthians 15:29). In other words, there'd be no purpose for them doing this work if the dead were not to rise. But rise they would, because "In Christ shall all be made alive" and "death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:22, 54). The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that the temple was the place for proxy baptisms to be performed. On a personal note, the doctrine that God provides a way for all to accept Christ, including those who died without the chance, is one of the main reasons I'm in this church. It proves that he is both fair and merciful. It is also worth noting that a baptism for the dead is validated on the other side only if the deceased person accepts it. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
Anyone can attend our church meetings and everyone is invited. Our worship meetings are on Sundays. Sacrament meeting usually lasts a little over an hour, and involves us eating bread and drinking water in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Redeemer. Though we have a bishop, the sermons are delivered every week by normal church members. Hymns, vocal performances, and choir numbers are part of the experience, as is prayer. This meeting is followed by Sunday School classes where all are invited to participate as we study the scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
We believe that we continue to exist. Those who have followed the Savior are received into paradise. Those who have not are taught the Gospel and given the chance to reject or accept it. Those who do not accept the Savior's atonement, in this life or the next, must pay for their own sins (a period of guilt and anguish commonly referred to as Hell), after which they are resurrected and receive a kingdom of glory. All will ultimately receive a degree of glory and happiness, the level of which is dependent on how they lived their lives. Those who have accepted the Savior, followed His teachings, and kept his commandments (as best they can) are redeemed from their sins by His sacrifice and receive the highest level of happiness, progress, and glory. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
It is an unofficial nickname that was originally given to us by opponents of the church because of our belief in the Book of Mormon. However, as have other groups, we've taken a negative label and adopted it, thereby eliminating its power to harm. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Jonathan
Many critics of the Church misunderstand our doctrine, claiming that we believe in somehow being saved by our own efforts and not by the grace of Jesus. This is simply untrue. As taught in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ- "I say unto you that salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people, that they must unavoidably perish" (Mosiah 13:28). Only through belief in Christ can we be saved; however, simply believing is not enough. After all, even "the devils believe" (James 2:19, THE HOLY BIBLE). Accepting Christ as our Savior is just the beginning: He expects us to repent and obey as well. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21, THE HOLY BIBLE). God knows we won't be perfect as we seek to follow His son. He just expects us to do our best, relying on Christ when we stumble. Dedicating ourselves to the Lord helps us grow, learn, and have a better relationship with Him. It does NOT earn us salvation. The Savior and His sacrifice will make up the enormous difference between our efforts and our debt to God, which we can never repay. That the gift of salvation is way beyond our capacity to earn, but is offered to us anyway, is what is meant by grace: "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23; THE BOOK OF MORMON). 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?

Jonathan
The LDS church is well-recognized for humanitarian efforts, large and small, for people everywhere. Mormons are often among the first on the scene to help after disasters. Our members mobilize quickly and donate much in time, money, and labor to serve the people of the world. We help people of all faiths, races, nationalities, and sexual orientations. We help rebuild homes. We donate food in large proportions. We help provide for the poor and teach self-reliance. We provide training in independent living. We provide medical assistance and vocational training. We provide assistance to those with special needs. We believe wholeheartedly that we show our love for God and serve Him by helping others. Show more Show less

Why don't Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol? What is the Mormon Church's law of health and proper diet?

Jonathan
The Apostle Paul taught that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16, HOLY BIBLE). Our bodies are gifts from God, and He desires that we take care of them. He revealed to Joseph Smith a law of health called the Word of Wisdom, encouraging church members to abstain from harmful and addictive substances. The Lord has also encouraged us to be balanced and moderate in diet, exercise, and rest, though there are no strict restrictions in that regard. For example, we tend to enjoy many things that others do, and in general love good food. Mormon social events are especially known for baked desserts! Show more Show less

What is the priesthood?

Jonathan
The priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God. In the Old Testament, for example, Moses was directed by God to give Aaron and the sons of Levi the authority to administer in the tabernacle and perform sacrifices. In the New Testament Christ chose and ordained his Twelve disciples (John 15:16) and gave them power to cast out devils and heal the sick (Matthew 10:1). Priesthood authority is necessary to baptize and confer the Holy Ghost, and cannot be purchased for money (Acts 8:14-20) nor can one take it upon himself simply because he wants it; it must be given by God (Hebrews 5:1,4-6). In the Church the priesthood is used to anoint and bless the sick, to bless the sacrament, to perform baptisms and confer the gift of the Holy Ghost, to perform temple ordinances, and by fathers and husbands to bless their families with health and comfort in times of illness or distress. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
I do. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)." He has always called prophets upon the Earth to lead the world through revelation from heaven. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah, and others were called for this purpose in the Old Testament. Peter, James, John, Paul, and more were called in the New Testament. In modern times, Christ has again called prophets, from Joseph Smith down to Thomas Monson, to fulfill the role of His representative upon the Earth. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Jonathan
Missionaries pay their own way, often saving up money for years so they can serve an 18-24 month mission. They are not compensated by the Church. I worked all through high school to help pay for my missionary service. My parents covered the rest. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Jonathan
No we do not. We believe in marriage between one man and one woman, and that is the only type of marriage practiced in the Church. Polygamy was practiced by a small percentage of Church members until 1890, when it was officially discontinued by the Church. For more information on why it was practiced in the first place, see my answer to the question "Why did your church practice plural marriage?" Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
In the early days of the Church the Lord commanded some members to marry more than one wife, as had Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and others in The Bible. This commandment was given to a relatively small percentage of church members; the large majority still practiced monogamy (marriage between one man and one woman). Those who practiced polygamy did so by commandment from God, and were under obligation from Him to provide for their families and treat them with love and tenderness, not domination or control. In 1890, in accordance with the Church's principle of honoring and sustaining the law of the land (12th Article of Faith), and by command from God, the practice of plural marriage was discontinued. It has not been a part of the Mormon Church for 120 years, and anyone who tries to have more than one wife is denied membership in the Church or excommunicated from it. An ancient American prophet named Jacob clarified that plural marriage was only to be practiced when commanded by God, whose purpose for it was the growth of His kingdom. Jacob also clarified that the standing law of God is monogamy, and that taking more than one wife outside of the Lord's command, such as for lustful reasons, is damnable: "There shall not any man among you have more than one wife, and concubines he shall have none. For I the Lord God delight in the chastity of women, and whoredoms are an abomination before me...For if I will, saith the Lord of hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people. Otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" (Jacob 2:27-28,30; THE BOOK OF MORMON). Today only monogamy (marriage between one man and one woman) is practiced in the Church. Show more Show less

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

Jonathan
We believe that before the Earth was formed Jesus Christ was with God the Father, and volunteered Himself to be our Savior. He created the world under the direction of His Father. He is the God of the Israelites, known as Jehova in the Old Testament. He is the Son of God, born of Mary who miraculously conceived while still a virgin. We believe literally in the Biblical account of His life, teachings, miracles, suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection. Today He possesses a resurrected, glorified, and immortal body. Just as Stephen the disciple saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56), so did the Prophet Joseph Smith in modern times. Today Jesus Christ guides His church by revelation to His apostles and prophets, just as He did after His resurrection in the New Testament. He will return to Earth and fulfill his promises to Israel and to the world, reigning for a thousand years of peace. He is our Savior and our God. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

Jonathan
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, a companion to the Bible, but separate from it. It was written by prophets who lived on the American continent, primarily between 600 B.C. and 400 A.D. These thousand years of history and doctrine were compiled by a prophet named Mormon, after whom the book is named. Buried in the Earth by Mormon's son Moroni, it was unearthed some 1400 years later by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who translated it with God's assistance. Some misunderstand and think that The Book of Mormon is our Bible. The Bible is our Bible, made up of Old and New Testaments. The Book of Mormon is another testament of the Savior and His Gospel. It contains the story of God's dealings with the people on the Western Hemisphere, and tells of how Christ visited his followers here after His ministry, death, and resurrection in the Holy Land. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Jonathan
No we do not. We honor him as a prophet. We worship only God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Show more Show less