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Hi I'm Melissa

I'm a joyfully married mother and homemaker. I love to read, write, and create things with my hands. I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I'm the eldest of eight children. I have lived in Utah, North Carolina, and Uruguay. I love to get to know people from different cultures and backgrounds. My hobbies have included big band swing and ballroom dancing, reading, writing, listening to music, singing, hiking, stargazing, sewing, crafts, drawing and painting, baking, watching movies, playing board games, and solving word and logic puzzles. I have a bachelor's degree in History, with a minor in Classics. I speak Spanish and have also studied Latin and German. I am married to the love of my life, and so far we have one child, but we hope to have a large family. My kidneys have failed and I am on peritoneal dialysis while waiting for a transplant, which means all future children will most likely come to our family through adoption. My biggest goal in life is to have a happy family who follow Christ.

Why I am a Mormon

I am grateful to have been raised in the Church, because I have been blessed by it my whole life. My parents taught me correct principles and displayed strong faith for their children to lean on, but ultimately I had to come to my own witness of the truth. Three scriptures from the Bible help to illustrate how I know that the Church is true: Matthew 7:17-20 teaches that the way to know if a prophet is sent by God is by the fruits of his ministry. Galatians 5:22-23 lists many of the "fruits of the Spirit", or the qualities that the Holy Spirit brings out in people. John 7:17 tells us that the way to know if a doctrine is of God is by living it. Taking these three passages together, I can confidently say that the Church of Jesus Christ has brought nothing but peace, joy, hope, and light into my life. It has opened me to the love of God, and as I strive to live by its teachings I become stronger, kinder, happier, and wiser. Another blessing I receive in this Church is an abundance of scripture. We believe the Bible to be the word of God, and it is a priceless record of God's dealings with Israel and the ministry of His Son among them. We also have the Book of Mormon, a record of God's dealings with peoples of the ancient Americas, and the Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of revelations to prophets in the modern era. And we have the blessing of living prophets today, who continue to receive and transmit the word of God to His children. All of these sources are united in testifying of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His role as the Redeemer of all mankind. They shed additional light on the Gospel of Christ and on God's Plan for the salvation of His children. They remind me that God is mindful of His children in every land and in every time. I know that my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ know and love me as an individual. As I pray, ponder the scriptures, and strive to live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I come to know them better, too.

How I live my faith

In the Church we have many opportunities to serve God, each other, and the world. All of this service is given freely. As a teenager, I was able to participate in various service projects, such as clearing ground for a new community playground, assembling hygiene kits for victims of war and natural disasters, tying quilts for homeless shelters and cancer patients, and gathering and sorting food donations for local needy families. I often tended young children in order to allow their parents to participate in Church activities, and I regularly helped to clean our local church building. I also served as a leader in my youth group, helping to plan activities and summer camps for girls my age and younger. In the middle of college, I took 18 months to serve as a full-time missionary in Uruguay. I taught people the Gospel in their homes, helped to support small, newly-established congregations, and performed acts of service such as helping to tear down a building, doing housework for elderly widows, and repainting orphanages. As an adult in my home congregations, I have served at various times as a music director, Sunday School teacher, leader in the women's organization, genealogy consultant, and activities committee member. In addition, I participate in the Church's "visiting teaching" program, in which each woman is given two or three other women to visit regularly in order to provide friendship, strengthen each other in the Gospel, and watch for each other's needs.

What do Mormons believe concerning the doctrine of grace?

Melissa
We believe that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). No person, no matter how good they try to be, can return to God's presence by their own efforts. Jesus Christ is the only one who can bridge that gap, having lived a perfect, sinless mortal life, and also possessing power over death through His godhood. His grace is available to all who will accept it! We also believe that "faith without works is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). A verbal profession of faith, even a fervent one, is hollow if it doesn't lead us to change our life. Accepting Christ's grace necessarily includes following the path He marked by obeying His commandments and receiving the ordinances (sacraments) of His Gospel. "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" (Matthew 7:21). Because we are mortal, we will always make mistakes as we try to follow Jesus’ path, but He always invites us to renew His grace within us through sincere repentance. The Book of Mormon teaches: "Hath He commanded any that they should not partake of His salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but He hath given it free for all men; and He hath commanded His people that they should persuade all men to repentance. …hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of His goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden" (2 Nephi 26:27-28). Show more Show less

What is the Mormon lifestyle like? How do Mormons live?

Melissa
We believe that families are central to society and to God's Plan, and everything we do is designed to strengthen families. We strive to make our homes a refuge from the world. The Church encourages us to reserve one night a week as "family home evening": all family members avoid outside commitments on this night and stay home to enjoy food and activities together and learn to apply the Gospel in our lives. We attend church on Sundays to renew our commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to learn more about His Gospel. We also strive to include spirituality in our everyday lives through prayer, pondering, and scripture study. Mormon high school and college students incorporate extracurricular religion classes into their schedules. Organizations within the Church also sponsor weeknight activities to teach life skills and organize service projects. We have jobs, shop, participate in recreational and leisure activities, celebrate holidays, and participate in community associations. We are encouraged to gain all the education we can, and we pursue many different vocations. We are taught to dress modestly, choose wholesome and uplifting entertainment, avoid profanity, and honor Sunday as the Lord's Day. We also are taught to abstain from addictive substances. We are encouraged to be financially responsible and self-reliant. We are taught to be honest in all of our dealings, to cultivate the love of Christ in our hearts toward all people, and to be positive and hopeful. Show more Show less

Do Mormons worship Joseph Smith?

Melissa
We do not worship Joseph Smith. We worship God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. But we have great respect, love, and gratitude for Joseph Smith for the mission he fulfilled in restoring Christ's church to the earth, and for all the sacrifices he made and persecution he suffered in the process. This is similar to the feeling other Christians might have for the martyrs of the Protestant Reformation or of the Roman era, that Jews might have for Moses, or that American patriots might have for figures like George Washington. Show more Show less

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

Melissa
The word Atonement refers to the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, although it is mainly used to describe His suffering. The Atonement is key to God's Plan for us. No imperfect thing can be with God, so there had to be a way for us to be made clean. Only a perfect being, both God and man, could do this. He had to come to Earth, live a blameless life, and take upon Himself the mortal pains of every person would ever live. He had to die, like all men, and then through His divinity reclaim His body in a glorified form, thus breaking the bonds of death for all of God's children. Resurrection is free for all, but the redemption of sins depends upon our accepting the Atonement through repentance and baptism, wherein we covenant with God that we will strive to follow Him, and He in return forgives our sins through the Grace of Christ. We renew this covenant every week when we take the Sacrament. The Atonement is Infinite and Eternal, and also personal: Jesus didn't suffer the weight of the world as a lump sum. He vicariously lived each of our lives. He is truly the only one who knows exactly what we are feeling at any moment, and He knows how best to help us. The Atonement removes our sins and changes our hearts. It enables us to do things that would otherwise be beyond our ability. It is only through the Atonement that we can be saved; commandments, ordinances, and covenants only bring us to Christ and guide us in our quest to become like Him and live with Him. Show more Show less

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

Melissa
Sacrament meeting is our principal worship service, and features the ordinance of the Sacrament (communion, eucharist). The usual schedule of Sunday meetings is a three-hour block of time; depending on the location Sacrament Meeting may be the first or last meeting of the block, but the general schedule is as follows: --70 min. Sacrament Meeting for the entire family --10 min. break --40 min. Sunday School (there are separate classes for different age groups; children's classes are called Primary; there is also a Nursery for children aged 18 months to 3 years) --10 min. break --50 min. divided by organization: Priesthood meetings for men and boys (Young Men) 12 and over, Relief Society meetings for women, Young Women meetings for girls aged 12-17, Primary for children aged 3-11, Nursery for toddlers Meetings typically involve prayer, singing of hymns, and talks or lessons by members of the ward (congregation). We try to maintain an atmosphere of quiet reverence; for instance, we don't clap after talks or songs, and we don't call out things like "amen". Visitors are always welcome at any of these meetings. You may come dressed however you feel comfortable. We typically wear "Sunday best," that is, slacks, white shirts, and ties for the men and young men, and modest dresses or blouses and skirts for the women and girls ("modest" for us means that it covers the knees, shoulders, bosom and back, and is not skin-tight or see-through). Show more Show less