What Is a Church Community?

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Hi I'm Steve

I'm a travel enthusiast. I'm a life coach and public speaker. I'm a CPA. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm a father, a husband, a big brother, a brother-in-law, and a son. Professionally, I am an entrepreneur, a college teacher, and a CPA.

Why I am a Mormon

The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and Joseph Smith was God's instrument for bringing it to the world. There are apostles and prophets on earth today, who hold the same authority and power as such men held anciently. I am so grateful that God speaks to prophets in our day. I have no doubt that Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer, lives and leads this church through revelation to his servants. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is an anchor in my life, and it truly means everything to me.

How I live my faith

President Ezra Taft Benson said, "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives." Ensign, May 1988, p4 My wife and I attempt to follow President Benson's counsel by putting God first in every way.

In whom should we have faith?

We should have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, the Judge of mankind. He suffered for our sins, He died for us on the cross, and He was resurrected for us on the third day. He lives, and He loves us. Because of His life, sacrifice, death, and resurrection, we can repent of our sins and come into the presence of God, our Father in Heaven. There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved in the Kingdom of God, except Jesus Christ. Show more Show less

What is a ward/stake/branch?

A "ward" is a local congregation of several hundred Church members. It is defined by geographical boundaries. All Church members living within those boundaries attend the same "ward," or congregational services. A "ward" is often referred to as a "ward family," as the members of the congregation grow close to each other while worshiping together and serving in the community side by side. A "branch" is a smaller version of a ward, typically consisting of not more than 200 members living within certain geographical boundaries. A "stake" is a collection of several wards and branches. Isaiah referred to the "Stakes of Zion." Stakes in the modern Church of Jesus Christ are "gathering places" for the Saints, or Church members. These stakes are strengthened as the missionary work spreads throughout the world, inviting all to come unto Christ and to His Church. Those who join the Church immediately become a part of a branch or ward family, and they belong to one of the Stakes of Zion. Show more Show less

What are Mormon Temples used for?

In Mormon Temples, worthy members of the Church of Jesus Christ worship God, receive instruction, and perform sacred "ordinances," or rituals. Outside the Temple, "ordinances" that the general public are familiar with include baptism, Eucharist, and marriage. Inside the Temple, Mormons are married for time and eternity, and parents are sealed--or bound--to their children for time and all eternity. Thus, families can be together forever, even after death. In the Temple, Mormons enjoy the peace and serenity found in a House of God that is kept clean and pure from the influences of the outside world. In the Temple, Mormons are instructed on how to return to God, or how to get to Heaven, and they make covenants--or promises--to God that they will obey His commandments, be morally clean, and serve Him. Show more Show less

Do Mormons practice polygamy?

No. Mormons scripture teaches that plural marriage--polygamy--is wrong when it is not commanded by God. It is immoral, inappropriate, and offensive to God. God delights in chastity, loyalty, fidelity, and honesty. 120 years ago, a modern prophet of God named Wilford Woodruff commanded all Mormons to cease the practice of polygamy. Members of the Church have not practiced plural marriage since that time and remained in good standing. The Church of Jesus Christ does not currently practice polygamy. Any "Mormon" practicing polygamy is not a member of the Church. Show more Show less

What is the Law of Chastity?

Strictly speaking, Mormons interpret the law of chastity to be that we should not have any sexual relations with anyone other than our spouse, to whom we are married by the laws of man and by the laws of God. In God's law, marriage is between one man and one woman. When one man and one woman have been married by the laws of man, they are permitted to engage in sexual relations. Sexual relations are prohibited in all other circumstances. Mormons have a very conservative view of sexuality, and they consider all sexual activity outside the bonds of matrimony to be immoral and offensive to God. We believe in being morally clean and modest in our thoughts, words, dress, and actions. Show more Show less

Are Mormons Christians?

Yes. At least, Mormons consider themselves to be Christians. We believe in Jesus Christ, and we worship Him as the Son of God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, the Judge of mankind. We believe that Jesus suffered for our sins, died for us on the cross, and was resurrected for us on the third day. He lives, and He loves us. Because of His life, sacrifice, death, and resurrection, we can repent of our sins and come into the presence of God, our Father in Heaven. There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved in the Kingdom of God, except Jesus Christ. Mormons officially belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and they take upon themselves the name of Christ when they are baptized. Mormons do everything "in the name of Jesus Christ." We believe that Jesus Christ leads the Church by speaking to prophets and apostles and by inspiring individual members of the Church to fulfill their duties. Like most Christians, Mormons read and believe the Bible, and we follow its teachings. However, unlike most Christians, Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is also the word of God, another testament of Jesus Christ. We believe Joseph Smith was a modern prophet of God, and we believe that Jesus has apostles and prophets on the earth today. Because of these differences, Christians of other denominations sometimes refuse to call Mormons "Christians." 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.

Judas was one of the original apostles. After he betrayed the Lord, he died, leaving just 11 apostles. The apostles met and chose--or called--another apostle to fill Judas' place. Later in the New Testament, we see that Paul and Barnabas were called "apostles," even though they were not among the original 12. Obviously, the 12 apostles of Jesus' time had an established tradition of calling a new apostle when one of their group died. Unfortunately, the apostles of Jesus were all martyred not long after the death of Christ. Without modern transportation, the living apostles could not regroup and call new apostles before they were all killed. With the death of the apostles, important Priesthood powers and "keys" were lost from the earth. In the early 1800s, God called Joseph Smith to be a modern prophet and witness of Jesus Christ. Jesus sent his ancient apostles, Peter, James, and John, to visit Joseph and to give him the missing Priesthood powers and keys. Joseph was then commanded to call 12 new apostles. The modern apostles have the same calling and responsibility as the ancient apostles had. It is their duty to be a witness to all the world of the reality of the resurrection of the Son of God. They travel the world in a missionary-like fashion, testifying that Jesus lives, and that He is the Redeemer of the world. And, just as the ancient apostles did, modern apostles regulate the doctrine of Christ, ensure that it is taught correctly in all the congregations of the Church throughout the world. I add my witness to our modern apostles. Jesus Christ lives, of this I have no doubt. He leads His Church through modern apostles and prophets. He speaks to men today, just like He did anciently. Show more Show less

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

Mormon scripture teaches that plural marriage--polygamy--when it is not commanded by God is wrong. It is immoral, inappropriate, and offensive to God. God delights in chastity, loyalty, fidelity, and honesty. Additionally, if God specifically commands his servants to practice polygamy, for his own reasons, then it is right for them to obey. God delights in obedience. In Old Testament times, God commanded Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon, among others, to practice polygamy. These servants of God did nothing wrong when they followed the commandment of God to take other wives. However, when they--David, for instance--took wives that God did not command them to take, they incurred the severe displeasure of God. Joseph Smith, a modern prophet of God, was commanded by God to marry multiple wives. These wives would be sealed to or "married to" the prophet for eternity. The parents and siblings of these wives would thus also be tied to the prophet for eternity. In this way, a substantial portion of the early Mormons were promised a place with Jesus Christ and with his Prophet in the next life. Polygamy in the early days of the Church also ensured the swift growth of the Church, enabling the gospel to spread throughout the Western United States and throughout the world. Many of the modern Mormons descend from polygamous ancestors. However, in 1890, another modern prophet, Wilford Woodruff, was commanded by God to cease the practice. Members of the Church have not practiced plural marriage since that time and remained in good standing. God and His Church do not now permit plural marriage, and entering into one is, once again, immoral and against the will of God. Show more Show less

What is done with the tithing that Mormons pay?

As ward clerk, I have participated in the collection of tithing. Two responsible men count the tithing and send it to Salt Lake City. The Church then allocates the tithes for several different uses. A portion returns to each local congregation to be used for activities, supplies, etc. A portion is used to build Temples and meetinghouses. A portion helps fund the Church's extensive missionary and education programs. And, perhaps most importantly, a portion of the tithing funds the great welfare and humanitarian program of the Church, benefiting the poor and needy around the world. No one in the local congregation receives any wages or salaries for performing their duties within the congregation. Show more Show less

Who is the Mormon prophet today?

President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet today. Jesus Christ leads the Mormon Church through President Monson, his two counselors, and the 12 living apostles. Like ancient prophets--Moses, Abraham, Noah, or the apostle Peter--President Monson speaks for God when inspired by the Holy Ghost. When President Monson and his counselors make a unanimous declaration to the Church, it represents revelation from God and the official position of the Church on a given subject. The Holy Ghost has testified to my mind and my heart that Thomas Monson is a prophet of God. Show more Show less

Who was Joseph Smith?

Joseph Smith was the prophet called by God in 1820 to restore the true gospel--or doctrine--of Jesus Christ, which had been lost from the earth since the death of the apostles several centuries earlier. God, the Father, and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph when he was just 14 years old. Over the next 25 years, they revealed--or restored--doctrines and teachings to Joseph that had been lost by the world. Joseph Smith was a first and foremost a witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Joseph dedicated his life to testifying that Jesus Christ lives and reigns as King and Messiah over all the earth. In the end, Joseph gave his life for that testimony. Mormons do not worship Joseph Smith. Joseph was a prophet like Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, or Paul the apostle. Joseph was a servant of Jesus Christ, whom we worship. Show more Show less

What is a “testimony” that Mormons speak of?

A "testimony" is a "witness." In a court case, the testimony of multiple witnesses helps to prove a particular occurrence or event. Mormons who know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His true Church give their testimony in the same way that a witness in a court case gives his testimony. Many Christians have a knowledge that Jesus Christ is their personal Redeemer. That knowledge is their "testimony," or witness. Where does it come from? It comes from God. I have that same knowledge but I have additional knowledge, too. I am a witness that this Church is lead by Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost, who comes from the presence of God, has testified to my mind and to my heart that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of Jesus Christ. As a witness of these things, I bear my "testimony." Show more Show less

Who wrote the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon was written anciently by several "Native American" prophets. The first of these prophets, Nephi, actually lived in Jerusalem at about 600 BC, just prior to that city's destruction, as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. Nephi and his family left Jerusalem before the city's destruction, and God guided them to the American continent. Somewhere in America, Nephi's people grew and split into two factions. The more righteous half of the people were called "Nephites." For the most part, these people believed in God and followed the law of Moses, as revealed to them in the scriptures they had taken with them from Jerusalem. Like the Jews in Jerusalem, the Nephites also had prophets who testified of God and His Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus even appeared to the Nephites after his death and resurrection in the Old World. Nephite prophets wrote the Book of Mormon over a period of about 1,000 years, as they were inspired to write by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the Book of Mormon contains the words of God in the same way the Bible does. The last two prophets in the Book of Mormon were a father and a son, named Mormon and Moroni. Mormon compiled and edited a substantial portion of the book, and so the book is named after him. Moroni completed the book and buried it in the ground in AD 421. In 1824, Moroni--a resurrected being--appeared to the boy-prophet Joseph Smith and revealed to him the location of the book. Several years later, with Moroni's permission, Joseph retrieved the book and began to translate it into English by the gift and power of God. Thus, it could be said that God wrote the Book of Mormon, through ancient American prophets, and Joseph Smith translated the book into English by the power of God. Joseph Smith was 24 years old when the book was published. If you read it and ask yourself after every chapter, "Could and did a 24-year-old in 1830 write this book?", you will know that Joseph did not write it. He could not have written it. And if you sincerely ask God whether the book is His word, He will reveal to you that it is. Show more Show less

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

No. Mormons are encouraged to vote for good leaders who will represent their views and govern righteously. Mormons can and do belong to any political parties. Even prominent Church leaders and well known Mormon politicians belong to "opposing" political parties. In the United States, the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is a Democrat. Former Presidential Candidate and Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, is a Republican. Both are Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing. Show more Show less

How can I find someone to talk with, in person, about the Mormon religion?

You may learn more about the Mormon Church by exploring this website or by visiting with Mormon missionaries or members of your local Mormon congregation. Check out the Meetinghouse Locator on this website to find a local congregation. Attend the meeting, and ask any friendly face for more information about the Church. You should also find a place on this website where you can request that Church representatives visit your home. These representatives will typically be young men or women in their early twenties. They will share their understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ with you and answer your questions. Show more Show less

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

You and any other visitors may attend Mormon Church services. On Sunday, you will feel most comfortable in Sunday business dress, but you may visit the Church in any modest attire, especially if you are attending youth activities or other events during the week. Almost all Mormon services or classes begin and end with a prayer. They typically include hymns and spiritual thoughts or lessons from the Bible and other scriptures. On Sunday, Mormon Church Services typically start with "Sacrament Service." Two hymns and two prayers occur before the young men of the Aaronic Priesthood pass the bread and water to the congregation the "sacrament," "last supper," or "Eucharist". This is followed by two to five speakers and a couple more hymns. The speakers are usually members of the congregation, and they are not typically very professional, but they are regularly inspired of God. They deliver mini-sermons from the scriptures, and the meeting ends with prayer. Following the 70-minute Sacrament Service, the congregation separates for 50-minute Sunday School classes, followed by 60-minute Priesthood for men or Relief Society for women classes. Once again, these classes are taught by members of the congregation, and the lessons center on themes from the scriptures. During the third hour, the men and women typically spend several minutes discussing how to serve the community or members of the congregation who have special needs. Members are encouraged to stay for all three hours of Church on Sunday. Visitors may attend for the entire "block" of Church, or for any portion they wish. Show more Show less