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Hi I'm Colin

I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm Colin, majored in Latin Teaching (ancient Rome Latin, not Latin dancing!), minored in Spanish Teaching, started a bridal magazine, started a couple companies, then got into higher education. I was raised in the printing industry, am really techie, and like people. I just finished an M.B.A. I'm happily married to a perfect woman and we have three statistically impossible kids... I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, and that's where we currently live.

Why I am a Mormon

Believing in things you don't have first-hand experience with is by definition illogical. And that's just why I love this church, because everyone there is there because they have had first-hand experiences with the Lord, and you will, too. No one will ever ask you to "believe" anything on "blind" faith, but to hear the story or read the scripture, pray about it, and see if God tells you to believe it. Once God tells you it's true, then go ahead and put your faith in it.

How I live my faith

The Lord is my anchor, and I spend every moment seeking his presence. What that means in the real world is I do stuff that makes my heart burn with love. What THAT means is I read my scriptures, say my prayers, help other people at all times, and serve in whatever capacity I am asked. Right now that means teaching the combined Old Testament class at church, while my wife is the secretary over the young kids' Sunday School classes.

What is a ward/stake/branch?

Colin
Short answer: just another word for "congregation." A "ward" is a congregation; a "stake" is a bunch of wards (normally 10-ish); and a "branch" is a small ward (in my town there is an English-speaking ward and Fijian-speaking branch.) Show more Show less

Are all Mormons required to serve a mission?

Colin
It depends on what you mean by "required." The Lord has asked ALL the worthy and physically able young men to serve a mission. Young women go too, if they feel inclined and thousands of senior couples go each year. There are a lot more missionaries than you perhaps think, because so few of them are riding bikes and knocking on doors--many are tour guides or building orphanages in third-world countries, for example. The Lord is quick to say "many are called, but few are chosen," meaning whatever "required" means, at the end of the day very few people in the congregation as a percentage have served missions. So many joined the church when they were adults, had kids, had families, medically couldn't go, or were members but just chose not to go when they were at the appropriate age. So there's no stigma whatsoever about people who didn't go--that's between them and the Lord. All who serve to the best of their abilities will receive all the blessings God has promised. Show more Show less

Why do some call Mormonism a cult?

Colin
I believe the simplest answer is "capitalism." Just follow the money. The Mormon church is growing, other churches are shrinking, and the simplest/cheapest way to keep your members from talking to those Mormons is to make up crazy stories. If you hear something about your church or ours that doesn't feel right in your heart, it's not because you don't have enough faith or because God's testing you--it's because it's not right. All we ask is that you ask God where you should be and have the courage to follow the answer you receive from Him. Show more Show less

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

Colin
I know there is a God because I can feel it both in my mind and in my heart. To have come here you probably know what that means. Sometimes you just know in your brain and sometimes you are overwhelmed with emotional knowledge, but in either case the doubt goes away and is replaced with a sure peace. "For the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith..." To me it's so often a warmth in my heart, a ringing in my ears, almost like a spidey-sense. But you'll know when you know. 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?

Colin
The Lord has throughout the scriptures given different responsibilities to different people, based on all sorts of things. For him to organize his earth and his church, he had to draw lines somewhere--normally based on aggregate characteristics that may or may not apply to individuals, including gender. There is a natural difference between men and women, and therefore there will be a difference in their responsibilities. Whether having certain responsibilities versus others is a good or a bad thing is in the eye of the beholder. Women have as much opportunity for leadership as men within the church, but God has reserved certain positions for women and certain positions for men. Show more Show less

Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?

Colin
I believe that various scriptures indicate that the Lord considers paid clergy a conflict of interest. A few years ago I read a masters thesis that said that close to 40% of professional clergy didn't believe in their religion. Why would someone like that get up and preach week after week? Because, simply, it's their job. They're paid to give a party line and to say what increases the numbers in attendance. I'm not saying this hypocrisy is universal--there are plenty of very sincere ministers out there with high levels of integrity--but being pressured to preach something other than your beliefs so as to keep your job or to make more money is statistically significant enough at 40% that the Lord has warned us against it. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

Colin
No. The stuff you see on the news in the deserts of the Southwest doesn't have anything to do with the Church. No, we don't turn a blind eye to it or secretly root for them. They really have nothing to do with us except that most of them had great great great grandparents who were members of the church. Yes, at one point the church allowed polygamy. The Lord has said that at times he has commanded it for specific purposes. The main purpose he gives is to increase the population lest people marry outside the faith and the entire culture loses its identity. There have also been times when, mostly owing to war, there have been far more women than men. A loving Heavenly Father would never leave all the widows and orphans out to have no father figure and to starve. Show more Show less

What is the Word of Wisdom that Mormons talk about?

Colin
There is a chapter in the scriptures that refers to itself as "a word of wisdom... given for a principle with promise." The chapter codifies what you already know about health--that our bodies are temples, and God wants us to treat them right. The Lord counsels us to exercise, to eat right, and, famously, to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and drugs. Interestingly, besides health he is very overt that this counsel is given largely to protect us from the "evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days." In other words, He wants us to be safe from tobacco, but also safe from tobacco companies; and other nutrition related conspiracies that we currently see all around us. 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.

Colin
Where does it say that? Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe the Bible to be the word of God, and He says repeatedly in that book that he will reveal through a Prophet any changes, major or minor, to the church. Jesus changed a lot of things when he was here, including a succession of Apostles in the New Testament--where does it say that these things should stop 150 years later? It doesn't. We have 12 Apostles because that is the way Jesus set it up. Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

Colin
It honestly just pays the basic utilities, maintenance on the building, and for the free materials in the lobby. Mormons are peculiar in that we have no paid clergy--everything in your congregation will be done by volunteers, including the very time-intensive positions like that of the Bishop. In most churches most of your tithing goes straight to the salary of the minister. We just consider that a conflict of interest that the scriptures have asked us to avoid. Show more Show less

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

Colin
Yes. You have questions the world has questions people who have memorized the Bible still debate those questions. Some things simply require revelation. When God wants YOU to know something, he'll tell you personally if you're listening. When God wants THE WORLD, collectively, to know something, he'll pick someone, and tell him--simple as that. A Prophet is necessary. In fact, in the Bible it says "surely the Lord God will do NOTHING until he revealeth the secret unto his servant the Prophet." Since the Bible doesn't say anything about that rule changing, by definition it hasn't because such a change would require it be revealed through a prophet. Why would the Lord all of a sudden hang us out to dry? He hasn't. If something major is going to happen, he'll send someone to warn us, so we can be prepared. But which church guy on TV is the one God wants you to listen to? The only way you can know that is the only way it's ever been known--the way I know--you kneel down and ask God yourself. As Jesus said, "flesh and blood will not reveal it to thee but my Father in Heaven" will reveal it to you. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons perform baptisms for the dead?

Colin
Jesus said "except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." So what happens to those who don't have the opportunity to be "born of the water"? Many churches say they go to Hell. But does it really make sense that a loving Heavenly Father would damn billions of people to Hell just because they were born in Africa or Asia or otherwise never heard of Jesus? No, people who don't have an opportunity on earth will have an opportunity later. But those people can't be born of the water! You logically either have to dismiss the words of Jesus or you have to assume he has a plan to baptize people without bodies. For this reason Paul said, "else why are they baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?" The Apostle Paul was referring to this practice of baptizing proxy stand-ins on behalf of deceased people. Then a baptism is done in their name, and if they choose to accept it, it's there. Note: they still have to accept Jesus Christ and accept the proxy baptism; but if they do, we're ready for them. 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?

Colin
Short answer: No, no, never, nothing like it. Longer answer: The Lord, throughout history and throughout the scriptures, has very overtly given different responsibilities and their correlative gifts to different peoples. For example, only one of the twelve tribes of Israel could hold the priesthood in the Bible. We can only speculate as to why... But the important part is that it never meant the other tribes were being punished or denied any eternal blessings. Likewise, decades ago the Mormon Church, like all other churches, didn't have members of various races in its priesthood leadership. That again never applied to who could join the church, serve in non-priesthood leadership positions, speak in front of the congregation, or go to Heaven. But it made some people uncomfortable, especially since the church was loudly anti-slavery during the Civil War, and since the church claimed to be led by a Prophet who is inspired by God. And that was precisely why it happened--God hadn't yet told the Prophet to call off that policy, and so, as a church that believes strongly in modern revelation, we kept the policy after it became politically unpopular, until the Lord said otherwise. Show more Show less

What is the Book of Mormon?

Colin
The Bible is a record of God's dealings with the people who lived in Israel during a certain period of time. But a loving Father would naturally have some dealings with people in other countries and at other times, especially with those who didn't have access to the Bible. The Book of Mormon is simply a record of God's dealings with the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas. It therefore doesn't replace or conflict with the Bible for those who have both--quite the contrary, having more records of God's views and actions serves to testify and corroborate the claims of the Bible. Show more Show less

What do Mormons believe about the nature of God?

Colin
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. We are all children of our Heavenly Father; and as such, we are all brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ is your brother. God, as our Father, is spiritually similar to us in many ways. Our purpose in life is solely to "grow up," to become more like Him, because that will make us and everyone else happier. Show more Show less

How are the activities of the Mormon missionaries funded?

Colin
The missionaries pay their own way, entirely. The church neither takes a cut of their money nor subsidizes them from tithing. And since most missionaries are young, that means much of that money was saved while they were in high school! Of course there are family members and other donors in place for missionaries that can't reasonably support themselves. Show more Show less

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

Colin
One of the fundamental "Articles of Faith" is "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. We also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." That means, yes, Mormons regard the Bible as Holy Scripture. Show more Show less

What is faith?

Colin
God rarely asks us to Believe something or other, he asks us to Do something. Doing something, acting on our beliefs, requires a strong-form of belief called "faith." In a sense, "faith" is the action-oriented form of the word "belief." The Bible says, "faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." In other words, faith isn't faith without an application of said faith. Trust in God necessarily yields keeping his commandments. Then the last line of that quote--the closest thing to a believer who doesn't have good works is the devil! When the Lord blesses you with a knowledge of his existence and his plans for you, faith is what transforms that belief into action. Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

Colin
Various native American prophets, mostly during the years 600 BC to 400 AD. Just like prophets of God in the Bible wrote the Bible, the Lord has always and everywhere chosen people to convey His messages, to give direction, and to warn the people when necessary. This includes the people of the Americas, who had their own prophets receiving revelations from the Lord and keeping records of such. Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. Show more Show less

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

Colin
Church is three different one-hour classes. One, normally the first hour, has everyone in one room and is probably what you're picturing in your head when you think of "church." Sunday-school is normally second: a class broken down by age mostly. For most ages, the third hour is broken down further, by age and gender. There are always a lot more visitors to each hour than you'd otherwise guess. You don't need to tell anyone you're coming just walk in anytime. Show more Show less

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

Colin
It's slang. For most people it's just a convenient, albeit a tad condescending, term. For others it's a backhanded way to say they don't believe we're Christians (by using the phrase "Church of Latter-day Saints" or "Church of Mormon.") "Colin's a member of The Church of Jesus Christ" just carries too much tacit approval for most people. I majored in Latin Teaching, and from studying ancient history believe Christian was probably originally an insult too... But it never sounded like an insult to the Christians. In the same way, I don't know anyone who's offended at being called a "Mormon" instead of a "member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." We use either interchangeably (but often the latter to add emphasis to the Savior's name and role.) Show more Show less

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

Colin
We celebrate all holidays. Most men wear white shirts and ties to church women predominantly wear skirts and dresses. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons baptize their new members?

Colin
Jesus said "unless a man be born of water, and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Who are we to disagree? Baptism not only washes away our sins but symbolizes our public acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even Jesus himself was baptized. John the Baptist initially protested this, asking why a perfect man would need to be baptized. Jesus responded, saying "thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." In other words, "it's still a commandment." And that's the bottom line--it's such a commandment that even Jesus had to do it. Show more Show less

Why do Mormons believe in the Bible?

Colin
Mormons believe in the Bible because it is from God. Simple as that. We want to study the word of God to learn more about him. The Bible is a record of God's dealings with the Israelites in one place during a particular time period the Book of Mormon is a record of God's dealings with the people in part of the Americas during a particular time and Jesus further said "other sheep I have which are not of this fold and them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice." In other words, Heavenly Father loves his children, and communicates in some form with all of them. We may one day find more records of other peoples, and when they do, and if God confirms to each of us through study and prayer that these records are legit it becomes each of us to "believe in" those books and treat them as scripture. So Mormons believe in the Bible for one reason because we believe it is from God. Show more Show less